Friday, 28 June 2013

Back in Spain

Yes here we are back in our house in Andalucia for 3 weeks just relaxing after my retirement which kicked in at the end of May.   Time now to rebalance my life.

In the meantime we are enjoying the sunshine, conversation with our new friends and exploring new towns and new restaurants.  Last week we spent a few days near Tarifa and had an enjoyable day at Cape Trafalgar, where the famous battle took place.

Back now in the House near Alhaurin El Grande.
We return to the UK next week.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Goodbye, Dad

It has been such a busy few months, that I have not had time to properly reflect on my Dad's passing.

In February, just after I had taken the decision to retire but when I was still snowed under with work, I got a call from Dr Gray's Hospital in Elgin to say that my Dad had been admitted and was in a serious condition.   He was in a 'do not resuscitate' regime.

I flew straight up to Aberdeen and was at his bedside late that day.   He was perfectly lucid and pleased to see me.  But he was also very frail.   I stayed with him for the next 48 hours as he slowly slipped away and on Monday February 18th he died.  He was 96 years old and had had a good life.  The last few months were challenging for him, and he was ready to go.

My Dad was born in Plymouth on 1 July 1916 - the first day of the battle of the Somme.  He came up to Scotland in 1947 and stayed there ever since.  We had the funeral service in Keith and I was pleased by how many people came along, even though most of his friends had died over recent years.

His passing marks the end of an era - the end of a generation in my family.

This week I have been going through old photographs trying to put them in some sort of order and into albums.  But of course this has not been easy; each photo captures a moment in his life and each photo cased me to reflect on that life.

Rest in Peace, Dad.    I am grateful to you for so much.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Looking back / Looking forward

So at the end of my first week of retirement, how do I feel?   Truth to tell, it is a strange mixture of excitement and apprehension.

On the first day of retirement, I played 6 sets of tennis for Hertford and, after hurting my leg early on, can now hardly walk.   Not a great start.

I have then had a few days of administration stuff - clearing rubbish out of the flat, getting paperwork in order, filing old photos (of which more later) etc.

And lots of time to reflect.   Trying not to be guilty about lost opportunities in the past or worried about uncertainty in the future.   I think this reflection has been necessary before moving on.  Which I am ready to do.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Moving On

Well five month have passed and I have not added to this blog.    I guess I have been busy.   They have been a life-changing five months.   At the end of January, I decided to retire from work.   So many reasons - some work-related, some personal.

It is probably not appropriate to list the work-related ones here.  Suffice to say that I was under great stress, feeling under-supported and came to the conclusion that resigning was the only option.   I was asked to stay on until the end of May, which I have done.

The personal reasons are also many and varied.   A couple of close friends have recently died;  that concentrated the mind.   On the positive side, we bought a house in Spain and I want to be able to spend more time in it.  I am also keen to start to do more creative things with my life but didn't have the time.

Yes I have retired earlier than I had intended.  Yes that means that finances will be tight.   But I hope I still have the energy and the mental ability to move on to new experiences.  I'd like to take a few months to chill out then make positive decisions about the future.   I hope that future includes travel, new friends, new accomplishments, time in Spain and generally a new control over my life.  And I hope I can share some of them here.