15 January 2023

In defense of the man who has become the kitchen god in our house, I should add that he has been cooking and baking since we met. In fact, he knew a lot more about it than I did at the time and without him, I probably would never have mastered the skill of baking bread or making yogurt or fermenting all sorts of vegetables - and grapes, which he turns into wine.

The jam making is just a follow-up from growing masses of soft fruit in the garden which clog up the freezer, which needs to provide space for the overload of Brussel sprouts we are currently harvesting. Tiny, sugary, soft lumps. 

This year is my retirement year - my last official day at work will be 31st of October but depending on accrued overtime and holiday entitlements, I think I'll check out early September. I have just made an online appointment with HR to apply for my meagre pension.

Anyway, another Sunday. I have by now recovered from reverse jet lag, I think. East is the beast and west is best, as the saying goes but I think we sort of went northwest and depending on where you start, could also have been doing a massive planetary somersault. Apart from working for money, I have done very little. Yet.

Watching: Live Stream from the waterhole in the Namibian desert, very soothing. 

Reading: Did Ye Hear Mammy Died by Seamas O'Reilly Foster by the wonderful Claire Keegan and now Akin by Emma Donoghue. 

Other than that, lots of sleeping. Bear with me. It's a big step from there to here.

Seatoun morning


  1. Home sweet home. Rest. There will be time to sally forth into this watershed year.

  2. I retired on October 31, 2013. I dressed up for Halloween and stayed in costume all day for my last day of work. It was thrilling. Congratulations for making the decision.

  3. Rest up and take all the time you need. Retirement is the most freeing exhalation and then the delight of peace. I am so happy you are on your way there.

  4. Jet lag takes so long to get over, sometimes just stress feels like jet lag I've noticed.
    My brother in law is a fan of that watering hole in Namibia. I think I'll take a look at that Irish book. I could use some dark humour.
    Congrats on your retirement, I think I maybe doing that this year as well.
    Take care woman:)

  5. Ah- you will soon be wondering how you had time to go to work. Or at least, that is how I have observed some retirements of friends and my husband. Be well, dear Sabine, and take good care of yourself.

  6. That's some serious jet lag! Take care of yourself! Thanks for that fascinating link to the watering hole. I'm seeing only birds so far -- not that that isn't enough. :)

  7. I think there are two types of people in retirement. Those whose whole life was work and upon retirement have nothing to fill their days because they never developed any other interests and die of boredom and those who embrace the life without having to go to work every day and become busier than ever. Those that continue to engage life are the ones that live long. Be one of those.

  8. Wonderful news that both you and R will be enjoying retirement together soon, possibly as early as September. That was the time of year that I retired. In many ways, retirement has been the best part of my life, expanding the time I have for that which I have loved all through my life.

    When I first clicked the link to see the waterhole in Namibia, it was night there. Returning to the livestream just now, there were two jackals and an oryx, just before sunset. I could hear the oryx drinking the water.

    Years ago, I spent time in a desert area of California and found the near silence to be peaceful. The sound of the light wind was soothing. There was the sound made by the movement of the wings of the low-flying ravens. In the distance, I saw a desert fox that looked something like the Black-backed jackal in the livestream.

    Always appreciate your book recommendations. And photos of what you've seen.

  9. I retired late August 1995, roughly 27 years ago, aged 60. I'd started work aged 16 in 1951, only six years after WW2 ended, an era so distant in time, in life expectation and in quality of life that if I reminisce about it with anyone 60 years or younger he/she tends to shut me up believing me to be fibbing. I'll not resurrect that period now, only add that I did spend a fortnight in 1953 in Hattingen-Ruhr living with a German family and that - hugely beneficial - experience continues to affect me for the better to this day. I owe a lot to the Pollmeiers.

    But I am inclined to talk about retirement given it looms large for you. I had the good luck - much rarer than I ever imagined - to spend my 44 years of salaried employment in the job I'd always wanted to do and for which I was best fitted. Journalism. I was expecting to retire from my then employer at 65 but the magazine I edited was sold in 1992 and I went with it. Only to find that the retirement age at my new employer was 60. And I suddenly realised what a benison this was. True I enjoyed my work but those last five years, to 65, would have been a penance. As it was I was financially secure, was able to move to a larger house in a much healthier part of England, and - in a swords to ploughshare conversion - adjust whatever writing skills I'd accumulated to novels, short stories, verse and - almost accidentally - a blog.

    Our lives have differed widely. Ill-health has only just caught up with me in the last two years but I am, after all, 87. If it hadn't been that it would have probably been the other. For me to complain would be hypocritical. Ill health has dogged you from a much earlier age and I sympathise.

    I don't want to be in any way prescriptive but I hope you are able to take advantage of your new status. To plan something if you feel up to it. For a time I ran a community magazine, later a community website, but then told myself that I might have other fish to fry than pro bono publico. One of the four novels I completed has imaginative passages which still surprise me. Where, I ask myself, did that come from? I hope something similar comes your way.

  10. these brussel sprouts sound delicious. Growing up on a farm in Holland, i do remember my frozen fingers picking them.