Retirement in Lockdown has been a mixed experience for myself and Mr Fitz. My previous post outlined what we did to fill our days in the first few weeks.
So it’s now June and we’re 2 and a half months into this unusual phase in the world. Time has flown for us and it’s interesting to reflect on our activities.
Mr Fitz who was working for the NHS as a hospital porter took early retirement at the end of April. This date was pre planned prior to the Covid 19 outbreak. This is a lifestyle decision following the death of his brother aged 66 and my brother aged 70. John is 62 in October and not due to receive his state pension until he is aged 66. He has therefore not got an income – his NHS pension is very meagre as he was only employed with them for 10 years. He does have some personal savings to keep him going for a while. We are not planning on changing our lifestyle though, just being more frugal and looking for value for money. His plans for retirement though looked so much different, we would go for long walks, pub lunches, restaurant meals, trips into Manchester and further afield. Instead he’s captive with me! We are lucky to celebrate 35 years of marriage in September and still get on so well. We have had no problems being with each other 24 hours a day.
We have continued to walk, not further afield like the Lake District and Whitby as planned but just locally. We have found many local tracks, one track provides us with 4 different options of routes to take, all semi rural with beautiful scenery. We pass horses, sheep, cows, have seen hares frolicking in fields and seen crops and mowed fields now showing new growth.
Gardening was never on our agenda in Retirement, however our garden has been our saviour. We have spent hours in it tidying and replanting beds. I have even cleared one bed to start my own Vegetable patch, using the square foot gardening technique, something I discovered whilst researching how to start growing my own. My first seeds are now beginning to shoot. I love seeing progress each day. The sun has been shining a lot and we have enjoyed beer and wine in our lovely tidy garden. Watching and listening to the birds. One robin has become quite tame and given us lots of pleasure as he hops around us after scraps of food.
I have talked about reducing food waste, this was something we have tried to do when accessibility to shops has been limited and bearing in mind our new frugal life style in retirement. I have been consciously still avoiding waste but one think we have noticed is that we haven’t been cooking a meal everyday. We haven’t been as active so some days we’ve had a side salad with a jacket potato or the previous days leftovers. Crackers and cheese has been very popular with us. Not the healthiest but very satisfying.
We are of an older generation so don’t tend to regularly binge watch Netflix, in fact we don’t have a subscription. We do have a full Sky package and I have an Amazon Prime subscription. One thing we have realised is how much we enjoy the Soaps, and the reduced episodes from all of them have been a big hole in our viewing along with no live sport. In my opinion the TV has been poor, we have struggled to find anything exciting many nights. I said we don’t binge watch but we do occasionally find something that grabs us.
Our favourite shows have been The A Word from the BBC we have watched the previous 2 series and this series has been the best so far. The storyline of a family coping with the diagnosis and then the behaviour of an Autistic boy called Joe is charming. The casting is marvellous, Max Venta as Joe is adorable, Molly Wright plays his sister Rebecca and their relationship is so touching. However many scenes are stolen by Christopher Eccleston who plays Joe’s grandad – hilarious bringing the humour to the show. If you haven’t watched it yet all series are available on BBC iPlayer. Pointless has been something we have watched several times a week. There are always a few episodes on our planner, both the regular and the Celebrity versions. I love, love, love this show and would love to be a contestant. Mr Fitz is warming to the idea. I find myself punching the air with glee when I get a Pointless answer. Surprisingly we have also watched hours of gardening shows – is this a sure sign that we are now in retirement? Not something we have regularly watched before lockdown.
Tracing my Family Tree
Following VE Day celebrations when I celebrated my parents contribution to World War 2 I began to reflect on my family and it’s heritage. Coincidentally my older cousin was experiencing the same thoughts and we talked by telephone. My SIL passed me some photographs that were in my brothers possessions, mostly black and white, with people I did not fully recognise. My cousin and I swapped photo’s as he had some well. We started to try and identify who they were. I had started to look into my family tree 2 years ago. I have picked it up again. I bought some books to keep records and have been totally absorbed in it. Once lockdown is over I am going to join a Geneology group at my local library and investigate it further. I have manged to trace back 3 generations on my fathers side.
What have you been up to? Have you found yourself taking up new hobbies or interests? How have you found TV, I’d love to know if you have any recommendations.