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.
I’ve been quite busy on the electrical front, all small jobs but very profitable nevertheless. I prefer the type of work I am doing for a couple of reasons, not least of all my age! What I like is the freedom and flexibility the smaller jobs allow me to have whereas when I worked full-time I never got a minute to myself unless I turned down work. Not a good idea if it is your main income. However, since I had an income from a private pension when I started self-employment twenty years ago that was less of a problem. Since I began receiving my State Pension eleven years ago there isn’t a problem at all when it comes to taking time off. That however isn’t me, if the work is small, and that’s all I will do these days, I am more inclined to do it. Having said that the pressure of offers sometimes is relentless. I even get called when I am not advertising! Much of my time so far this year has been spent in the gardens and no doubt that will increase as the weather warms up. It was another lovely sunny day on Thursday but still cold in the westerly wind. I went to do a job in a house on the other side of town at nine o’clock and had it finished just an hour later. As has often been the case recently I again noticed a few bluebells in the front flowerbeds on my return home. (Picture taken last year)Most were simply small and close to the surface but a couple were rooted deep beneath the soil. I wondered how I had failed to see them on my previous visits but they do grow quickly and short of removing all the plants and turning over the whole flowerbed soil I am bound to miss a few. Needless to say I put on my overalls and dug them out before digging a few more out of the flowerbed by the small greenhouse in the rear garden. (Picture also from last year) I thought I might have been able to sit out on the patio for a time but the wind was too strong and by early afternoon the clouds rolled in to blot out the sunshine. It wasn’t to be, not yet.
Well last week I was run off my feet with my workload which was only possible because all but one of the jobs were small and easily manageable. During the year I seldom work more than four hours in any day but in the approach to Christmas I seem to be working more hours each day. On Monday this week for instance I had but one job scheduled for the day and that was to be done later in the afternoon. I had disconnected a cooker for someone on Saturday and I had to reconnect it on the Monday at their new address. I couldn’t have done it early in the day for there would be no-one at home. In cases like this I have to be flexible but normally any work would be done early in the day. I had arisen early in case anyone called. After my breakfast I sat reading in the lounge for an hour or so and contemplating what I was going to do about the installation of the intercom unit I had bought last week and had every intention of continuing with the work until I received a call for help. Another small job request but it was well worth doing so off I went and was back home before lunchtime. It had been a problem with an air extract fan in a bathroom ceiling which runs whenever the lights are switched on and continues to run on for a short time after the lights are switched off. The timer circuit controlling this function was at fault and required replacing. Usually these timer circuits are not readily available but as the fans themselves are very inexpensive to buy changing the whole unit is simpler. However as it happened I had a spare timer circuit which I had removed from another fan some months ago. The fan had been purchased in error by the customer who didn’t want the timer fitted but didn’t wish to waste time exchanging it. Result? I obtained the timer circuit never thinking that in a couple of months it would come in handy. Once home I cooked my lunch and had again sat down to read afterwards. This time I managed to remain seated for fifteen minutes before I received another request for my services. The strange but fortunate thing was that this caller’s address was a mere two hundred metres away from the apartment where I would be reconnecting that cooker. How convenient was that? Both jobs were done and I finally returned home for the day when it was almost time to eat again. This is the way many of my days turn out and that is why I have to shelve any ideas of working at home. Well no sooner I had eaten my evening meal when my phone rang again. That job was placed in my rota for Friday morning. Having started the week with very little to do my spare time was soon gobbled-up once again.
A well-known saying but not strictly true. If it were true then I must be one of the most wicked in the land! Remember what I wrote on Monday? This past week I have been very busy indeed, mostly working for other people and sorting out their electrical problems with only a little time spent on working on our own little kitchen project. I expect to be busy at this time of year on the lead-up to Christmas for many folk apparently must have new lighting fittings and other things installed in time for the holiday. It shows where their hearts lie. I don’t mind for it is a money-spinner for me! I am though expected to be at everyone’s beck and call by some people’s attitude. I am far more selective in what I will do nowadays but the pressure is still relentless. I only take on small jobs now but you would be surprised just how many of them I am offered and do. So it has been this past week and it has prevented me from getting much done at home but other events have happened and they too have kept me from working at home. It has been very windy and wet during the last few days but it has finally eased somewhat. It might sound crazy but people do ask me to check faulty floodlights or fit replacement ones when it is wet and windy, naturally I refuse but may offer to do the work once the weather has improved. Even so many will say they will ask someone else! I wonder if they would like working up a ladder in the pouring rain when it is windy too? Well today is Sunday and I am finally not doing anything at all for this week. Maybe the coming week will be a little easier? Maybe I’ve been too wicked and will be run off my feet? Either way doesn’t really matter but I would like to finish the kitchen project sometime this year!
As I write this on Friday evening I have the entire weekend free to myself. I had one job scheduled for Saturday morning but that had been cancelled and now the day was free. When I returned home earlier in the afternoon I found that E wasn’t feeling very well. She had all the symptoms of a cold coming on and she told me that she wouldn’t be visiting her mum in hospital in the evening as she didn’t wish to spread any infection to those in the hospital. At the time of writing we are neither of us sure about her mum’s present condition though I expect her brother will keep her informed. He lives with her mum in a bungalow a couple of miles from where we live. I haven’t seen nor spoken to either of them since 2002 after my transition. They simply cut me out of their lives. E’s dad died a few years ago but he too didn’t communicate with me. E’s half-sister I do see occasionally and we have spoken. She cannot visit her mum at home apparently because her half-brother, E’s brother, is not on speaking terms with her and there is friction between them. Families eh? Mine is just as bad. I have two brothers and two sisters. Both my sisters live in France and I have never received an invitation to visit them since my transition. One of my brothers basically cut himself off from the rest of the family years ago whilst my youngest brother, also the youngest of us all, is the only one who keeps in contact occasionally and I do see him but only occasionally. Now the free weekend could be spent visiting any or some of them were it not for the divisions between us. It is nice for families to come together now and then and many will be doing just that at Christmas but families being what they are makes it impossible at times. Things could be so different. I used to visit them all at one time years ago but it wasn’t always reciprocated. Much to my dismay I had to give up trying eventually. All I get now are token gestures, a birthday card or Christmas card sent every year but not from them all. I have told them not to send cards as I don’t send any but one or two of them ignore my request. I would rather they stayed in touch all year-round than to send me a meaningless card once a year. They cannot be that interested if they remain silent all year. My free time really is my free time as apart from E I have no-one to share it with. Today, Monday, marks the birthday of my youngest sister. I have no idea what she looks like now on her 64 th birthday or my eldest sister who will be 67 early in January. I am at work today as usual.