Nice as it is to have something to do during retirement I sometimes feel I am neglecting some things in favour of others. On the one hand I am keen to sort out my projects and get them completed as soon as possible whilst on the other hand I am keen to keep the gardens as much in order as I can. The weather has been fine for carrying out work in the garden but unfortunately I have not had much spare time to do it because of my indoor activities. However I have made every effort to keep as close a watch on things as I can. At this time of year it can turn cold very quickly and some of the plants suffered because of that last year. I did manage to put up some frost protection but not soon enough and some plants were damaged. This year I took time out from my projects to erect better frost protection for the more vulnerable plants knowing we were in for cold spells. Everything seems to be in order but I still keep an eye out for any damage to the protection screens. At the time of writing (25 th Nov) we haven’t had any strong winds blowing. I am hoping the frost protection is strong enough to withstand any wind coming our way and again I will need to be alert and keep an eye out. Today is Sunday and I have been in the garden checking things out though I’ve not done any work. The garden does need tidying up I admit for there are still fallen leaves gathered in places and scattered elsewhere. Twigs from the neighbour’s tree lie fallen on the grass and in the flowerbeds which we are forever picking up. All these things can be tackled sporadically but I would really prefer to spend a day at least to get it under control. Well I have a couple of months yet before the weather turns warm again, plenty of time for gardening duties. In the meantime most of my work will be concentrated on my projects.
The picture was taken today and yes, those pebbles still haven’t arrived!
Most of us who shall I say are of the older generation if they are honest, that is true to themselves will admit to wondering sometimes where the time went when they look back on life. Time wouldn’t exist at all if it hadn’t been created. Before Time there was nothing. It is only in life that Time has meaning, without the passage of time it would be difficult to relate to others and even to ourselves, there would be no reference points. It would be impossible to think back! We wouldn’t have a past and we wouldn’t have a future in this life, just the immediate now. Life itself would be meaningless. We exist in Time therefore because we were not created meaninglessly. ‘ Cogito, ergo sum’ as René Descartes wrote, and Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”. We obviously exist, of this there is no doubt. Time is hard to understand but as we live in it there is nothing we can do other than reflect on its passage. In life we learn, grow in knowledge and perhaps do great things in the time allocated to us yet at the end of life it is all futile, we don’t really benefit from it all and we leave no better off than when we started. Others may reap the benefits but they too suffer the same fate. We ask therefore what is the point of life other than to live it? Read here for an answer.(https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+1&version=NIVUK )
I remember lots of things from my past and when reflecting upon them wonder why I did this or that and ask myself why? Did I benefit? In the short-term the answer has to be yes for I must have been doing whatever it was for a purpose at that time. Later something else would be the focus of my attention and I would forget the former things or at least archive them in the depths of my mind. We are like clockwork toys acting out our lives in much the same way as our fellow beings, it is all for a purpose isn’t it? Well many live out their lives without asking the question. For them it is meaningless to seek something that is pointless in seeking. For others who seek they may think they’ve found the answer. For myself I think there is only one purpose in life and for it and that is to worship my Creator. Yes I am allowed to enjoy my existence, in fact whilst we are here in the flesh we should be enjoying life. In death there is no Time, Time doesn’t exist in the spiritual realm. For us right now there is a time for everything under the heavens.(https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+3&version=NIVUK )
I like that title. I am inching forward. Inching forward only really makes sense for anyone who uses or has used the old ‘imperial’ measurements of the UK. It somehow loses all meaning if we were to say ‘centimetring’ forward. In fact there is no such word as ‘centimetring’ as this spell-checker keeps telling me as I write! Inching forward means slowly creeping forward little by little or in tiny steps. Well what am I inching forward to? The weather has begun to change a little, at least for a short time and it means the temperature has dropped a few degrees. Today for instance it is 21 deg C though it is supposed to be increasing again tomorrow (11 th). Cooler temperatures mean I am more likely to do a little manual work outside where there are a couple of things I wish to do. While it has been hot and sticky I found it hard to do anything except water the gardens. In fact that is mostly all I have done over the past few weeks as far as work is concerned. The longer I have had to wait for it to get cooler the more reluctant I have become to do anything. Only my determination will prevent that. So what are these small jobs I am wanting to do outside? One is to finish fixing eye bolts around the garden, especially around the patio. They will be used when it comes to protect some of the plants from winter’s chill. Another is to manufacture a small wooden fence to replace the temporary brick one I fitted on the small wall near to the side gate. I could have done both of them today as it has been cool but other things got in the way. I can wait, there is no hurry, just as long as I can do these things when it isn’t raining. Rain, yes I remember that stuff, it used to fall around here up until a few weeks ago! When it gets much cooler I will do the internal jobs I keep promising to finish, the gym floor being the biggest of them.
If today is anything to go by it looks as if we are in for yet still more hot weather. Yesterday was hot enough and today has followed suit. It is the last week of the month, even the last Monday and I am glad I am not still working as an electrician. It always seemed the way that during the hot weather I was stuck inside a house or inside somewhere on a building site but in the cooler and colder months I was asked to do outside work. I looked forward to the days when I could decide to work in conditions I preferred and better still not have to work at all! I used to dream about such days. As a youngster I dreamt about growing up and especially how I could become a girl. I didn’t wish for anything else.As I grew up I realised life had other ideas and there were things I had to do before any of my wishes and desires could come about. My future didn’t quite turn out as I had originally intended but you can read about that in my pages section of this blog. In the winter time I used to yearn for warm weather but not so much these days. Much as I like the warm weather it can be too much for me to cope with sometimes. I prefer it to be cool though not freezing cold! You might therefore assume I am at present wishing for cool weather and to a point you would be correct. I am however enjoying the fact that I can walk about in a swimming costume and a slip-on skirt. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we wish does it? Now I am retired I have a more controlled future and can pretty much have things the way I want. These are the days I dreamt would never arrive until they did. I used to imagine what life would be like for me at different stages of it. I was born in 1945 which is of course the last century. Not everyone will be able to claim to have lived in two different centuries! At ten years of age I thought about what I would be like twenty years later and then when those days arrived I thought about 2005 and my sixtieth birthday. It was too far ahead to worry about so I carried on and gave it no more thought. When I did reach that age I realised that it had crept up on me and suddenly there seemed to be nothing to look forward to, nothing to dream about, in this world at least. These are the days though that I once could only dream about.
I had yet another night with little sleep, managing to get only three and a half hours deep sleep and a couple of hours afterward trying to return to sleep. I felt a bit groggy at first but soon perked up once I was out of bed. Saturday was ‘clean sheet day’ as the first thing I did was to replace the bed linen before going downstairs. After putting the laundry into the washing machine I spent some time on the gym equipment before breakfast. I was dressed and out in the garden long before E put in an appearance. I heard a voice call out ‘good morning’ and I turned around to see our youngest son looking out of his bedroom window. He lives in Manchester but had stopped over for the weekend because he would be seeing friends and celebrating someone’s birthday on Saturday evening. He never hangs around much whenever he visits so I saw little of him all day. I had made up my mind to take a break from working in the cellar and rest for the weekend. During the day I kept thinking it was Sunday because I don’t work on Sundays except perhaps to do a little gardening if the weather permits. On Friday evening E and I spent some time online making purchases for clothes. On Saturday I browsed the Internet looking for other things to purchase. This time it was for floor paint and a cordless vacuum cleaner. These things were not being purchased on the spur of the moment because we had discussed the possibility of buying them weeks ago. It was just a matter of where and when and being on a buying spree we decided to push the boat out and go for broke as they say. Oh, the clothes we were buying were summer tops and light summer cardigans. Makes a change from building materials! I still kept thinking it was Sunday throughout the day. I guess I am not used to not working every day.
It was Tuesday morning (24 th) and I had planned to take a walk as soon as E had eaten breakfast. The thing was E didn’t get downstairs until ten-thirty! Yes in hindsight I could have taken the walk and been back before she got up but I had taken it upon myself to prepare her meals whilst she is struggling in getting around because of her back condition. I had thought because of what she had said the night before that she is usually up around nine o’clock that she would be. I prefer taking my walks before breakfast if I have other things to do in the day, like my projects for instance. I couldn’t make up my mind whether to eat breakfast and take the walk later or chance it and hope I would be back in time to prepare E’s breakfast. Finally I decided to eat breakfast and simply wait for her to come downstairs. With nothing much to do while I waited I sat and looked at the (rear) garden, something I like to do quite often. I watch the birds and the squirrels if they are about and admire the variety of plants and flowers we have accumulated over the years. We have a number of plum trees growing in the Mound and at this time of year they are in blossom….I took the picture above on the day. The plum trees are clustered to the right of centre and almost dead-centre (of the picture) stands a wild cherry tree which is also in bloom. In the centre of the adjacent bed and about a metre out in front of the wall’s buttress stands another cherry tree but this one has edible fruit when in season. I looked at the apple trees which stand in front of the greenhouses and took this picture…They are only now (at time of writing of course) breaking out in leaf but I suppose by the time you are reading this (May 7) they will be in blossom too. Behind them the rhubarb is flourishing at the rear of the bed and finally the potatoes we planted a few weeks back have begun to sprout. One of the new shrubs we planted recently is in bloom too. It has white flowers and stands in the other bed beneath the small oak tree (just left of the tall holly at the end of the larger greenhouse). At last E came downstairs and I sat her down to her breakfast before putting on my coat and taking my walk. On my return it was time to prepare lunch for us both, though we ate different things. We sat and watched tv whilst eating lunch. Soon after I had eaten I put on my overalls and spent an hour or so painting in the cellar storage room. Though it seems to be taking forever I have been making good progress and I don’t think it will be too long before it is finished.
…didn’t happen! I was writing about making plans in yesterday’s post but on Friday, that is today as I write, I overslept. Over sleeping isn’t really true for had I not needed the sleep I wouldn’t have taken it. In real terms it meant I awakened at nine-thirty instead of eight o’clock which would be more my usual time. So it wasn’t the sleeping-in that prevented my doing some more work in the cellar but more the other things which got in the way. Prayer time, a shower, getting dressed, applying make-up, putting the soiled towels into the washing machine which had piled-up during the week and chatting with E all before I grabbed a quick breakfast, those were the things which prevented any work being done before noon. Following that I decided to venture out into the rear garden to sweep up the enormous piles of fallen ivy and some holly leaves that had been nicely stored in a couple of places by the high wind. It was another miserably cold day though it was showing signs of getting warmer for the snow had been slowly melting. According to the forecast it would be far warmer by the following Monday. It was now almost twelve o’clock and time to return indoors to thaw out! I had been to the garage to collect the brush and bucket with which to sweep the leaves but returned later to empty out some things from my van and sort them out for storage. Now it was time to hang the washing after which I fitted a coat hook behind one of the doors upstairs. I was about to prepare lunch when E asked if I could help search for something in the cellar so off we went to do that. I had lost count of the number of trips to the cellar I had made in the previous couple of hours which is often quite normal in this house! At last it was time for lunch, it was one forty-five. By the time I had finished lunch I was in no mood for starting work, which would have been painting the room in the cellar. What can I say? There’s always tomorrow.
I was in bed by ten-thirty after which I remembered nothing until I awoke for a little trip along the landing at five in the morning. It was new year’s eve but not that I’d noticed, I was too tired. On waking I should have done some exercising but my limbs were aching. Whilst I had been collecting stones from the beach the day before I noticed my posterior thigh muscles were beginning to ache. It had to be the elliptical cross trainer, well not the machine but my lack of experience on it! It isn’t as though I have been doing much on it but even the small amount of time I have spent was enough to cause my injury. Latterly I had been spending only a couple of minutes on the machine and even then with the supply switched off, in other words using it at its absolute and lowest settings. It is more the movement the legs go through rather than the resistance level though I suspect. Until I can get used to it I will have to ensure my time on it is kept to a minimum. Anyway the long and short of it was that I decided to once again take a short break from my regime. My day, new year’s day was therefore spent relaxing and doing nothing for once, oh sorry, except for taking out the trash! I don’t make resolutions for the year as you may remember which means I am not setting myself goals which I probably would find difficult to maintain anyway. If I do set myself a goal it can be anytime throughout the year and it usually involves a project of one sort or another. Those things I do keep. See last year’s posts! I do have one or two things I would like to do but whether they will come to fruition remains to be seen. In the meantime one of my aims is to get used to that damned cross trainer!
As long as it didn’t rain on Saturday (23) I intended to spend some more time in the garden again. It would be the last day in the year for doing any work for me but alas it didn’t happen. I had gotten up early and went for a long walk down the coastal road to Ainsdale. I chose that route as it was still dark at the time I went, 7.30. I wanted to take the route through the sand dunes but that could have proved very difficult in the dark. However, by the time I decided to return home it was light so I walked back through the dunes. When on the beach the sky was clear toward the south but northward it was dark and heavy. To the south I could see the mountains of North Wales, easily seen when the skies are clear. The oil rig westward out to sea was still fully lit against the dark sky. This time the tide had receded before I arrived but it had left an enormous amount of seaweed behind! I walked northward again along the beach to the point in the dunes where I would turn into them and off the beach. I was back home before 10.00 and had breakfast whilst E was busy doing something associated with her crafting hobby. As I mentioned I wanted to do a little gardening but events got in the way during the rest of the morning. After lunch I just didn’t feel like doing anything. It has been quite a busy twelve months with all the projects that I have been involved with both inside and outside the house. It helped not having to do electrical work for others, at least for the last nine months anyway. My time became my own and I could concentrate on my little domestic projects, and there were many! Just the way I like it, better for my health and well-being to have things to do to wile away the time. When I look back on the year I am amazed just how much was done, all of them written about in my posts, and there was still plenty of time to relax too. Saturday afternoon being one of them. There was always Sunday for a potter around the garden!
At this time of year I was always busy working but this year all that has changed. Since my retirement back in April I have not done any electrical work to speak of, just a couple of very minor jobs and some of them were at home anyway. From around September until the week preceding Christmas I was kept busy doing electrical work with little time for myself. I was used to the pressure but then again I worked better under pressure, still do. However over the last few weeks I have had very little work to do, certainly no contract work and what I have been doing at home wasn’t that taxing. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am glad the pressure has been lifted from my shoulders and that now I can please myself what I do and when I do it. It is simply that it feels a little strange having all this freedom. I have been occupying myself outside of any domestic jobs I do by taking walks and exercising more on what equipment we have accumulated over the last few years. I am currently getting to grips with the new elliptical trainer we purchased a week or so back. Having not used one before it certainly felt strange when making the first attempt! I am more used to the treadmill, that is my muscles are more used to it.
With the elliptical trainer however those muscles are exercised in a different way and other muscles not exercised much when running or even walking have to adjust too. I wake up in the mornings with a kind of joy in my heart knowing I haven’t any reason to rush into the day so in a way that too feels strange, though I am getting used to it. To be honest I rarely lie in bed for long once I am awake and half the time I have something in mind I want to do anyway. I never thought of it before but having one’s remaining years free to one’s self is often not appreciated until the time it arrives. I’ll try to make the most of them.