To be honest, retirement was a bit of a surprise when it finally turned up on my door step. It was more the result of a series of happy accidents, rather than a planned event, and consequently I was poorly prepared.
My assumption had always been that I would somehow manage to fill the masses of free time I would have with some new hobbies and possibly some new bad habits. The pub at lunch times had been out of bounds ever since I discovered I could no longer have a drink at lunchtime and remain awake after 2pm.
However, the prospect was not unappealing; a latish breakfast and read of the paper, potter in the garden, stroll to the pub, lunch, wander back and snooze. Obviously I would wake refreshed and put the kettle on ready for when my lovely wife returned from her day at work… it never happened.
For starters, my lovely wife’s view was that I wasn’t retired, but merely awaiting future opportunities, which she would kindly endeavour to find for me. Secondly, there was apparently, a backlog of DIY, which I must admit I always thought stood for Don’t Involve Yourself.
Lastly, and worst of all there was a huge list of housework, which had to be performed almost daily, by me. The most depressing aspect was that, try as I might, I could not even approach the speed and efficiency with which my wife could dispatch these tasks. In the event of my murmuring a small complaint about tiredness, I would be regaled with the fact that while I had been ensconced in a comfortable office, she had been running the house, bringing up two children and holding down her own job. So – not too much sympathy there.
My answer, like many before me, was to turn to technology for the solution. Online grocery shopping could provide an efficient shopping experience, delivered to the door, whilst I could be darning the curtains or ironing the cat.
During the time saved I could investigate new, more efficient, household goods, a new vacuum cleaner perhaps, or a more modern dishwasher. The thought of a rotary iron was quite attractive, until I saw how much they cost. Rooting out the cheapest deals was half the fun – the other half came as a result of being introduced to Give as you Live.
Give as you Live is a free download which allows you to nominate your own favourite charity and shop at online stores, who will donate a percentage of your spend to that charity on your behalf.
Changing our car insurance provider netted £13 towards our local village hall appeal, and the new vacuum raised £3.29 for the same cause. In both cases, we received a thank you email for our support, which somehow seemed like a bonus.
Having spread the word in the village we now have a better chance of raising the money for the appeal, and we haven’t booked a holiday yet, or looked at our energy suppliers, both good opportunities to save money and raise funds.
Things have settled down a little now, but seriously, if anyone has an opening for a lightly used, slightly frayed, one time low-flyer – I would be happy to hear from you.