Friday, September 14, 2012


Being retired is a state of mind, not just a date on which you stop working. 

At this point in September when virtually every pupil in Catalonia has gone back to school you really begin to believe that you are retired. 

But, at the moment, I am still finding myself enjoying the present by reference in what I might have been doing in the past.  It is not enough to enjoy myself now; I have to know that I would not have enjoyed myself in the past for it all to be worthwhile!

Thursday was one of the days on which I had an 8.15 am start; to get there on time I had to get up at 6.30 am each day – now the sheer delight of getting up in daylight rather than the gloom of the early hours is difficult to convey!

I went for my swim as children were making their way to school – and I even found a parking space within the centre so I did not have to compete with parents who park for an inordinate time after they have deposited their children and seen them through the gates and doors.  I have often wondered why they do this. 

Are they waiting for their kids to realize that they cannot possibly tolerate the enforced separation from their loving parents that school represents and flee through the gates and demand that their carers take them back into the comforts of home?  In my experience parents cannot wait to get rid of their kids and dread the summer holidays in an exact and direct inverse relationship to how much teachers love them!

The next couple of weeks will see me trying to work out the best time to arrive to have my early morning swim.  

So far I have arrived far too late and not found a single parking space within reasonable walking distance; I have arrived too early and found the place locked up; I have arrived at the swimming pool and found other people swimming in my lane; I have arrived at the time when many of the available seats have been taken up with a gaggle of freed mums – in other words I have not arrived at the optimum time when I make my way to my own free lane and after have my cup of tea in relative silence.  Work in progress.

Lunch today in our local seashore restaurant and, as usual, I did better than Toni.  

As it is Thursday I had the paella followed by lamb which fell away from the bone and concluded with whisky tart (which is a concoction which changes from week to week but certainly keeps the whisky flavour) with wine and bread all for €11.50.  

And without the tension of having to go to work, I was able to savour not only the food, but also the breaking waves made respectable by brisk wind and enjoyed by the hardy windsurfers and kite-surfers who decorate the sea when swimming is more of an ordeal than a delight.  There were people sunbathing and the weather, although changeable, was excellent and I only hope that it continues.

The 12th of September was also an excellent day because our execrable neighbours finally left to return to the city and leave us in relative peace.  They have stayed on this year for an agonizing week beyond their normal time and we had fears that they might stay on, even unto the distant month of October.  They have been on average, quieter than in previous years, but even more obnoxious in their general attitude. 

The father of this dysfunctional family even indulged (I use the word advisedly) in an apology to us for something I will not go into.  Needless to say none of us took his words at face value and, sure enough, his later actions showed them to be a piece of breath taking cheek.  If I though he was capable of understanding irony I would admire his chutzpa in saying such a thing – but I know he actually thought we would accept his, I hesitate to use the word, sincerity!

And the family sits by the pool and smokes.  And talks.  Loudly.  All together.  But, thank god, they have gone.  With any reasonable luck for another eight or nine months.

My nerdish side is positively refulgent at the moment as the Post Office has finally got my order right and sent me the new First Day Cover Albums for the Olympic and Paralympic First Day Covers which should be on their way even as I type.

I have even decided to restyle the way I keep these covers (I cannot believe that I am typing this) and will display the informative card which I have until now kept inside and out of sight in the envelopes.

But enough of such limited interest stuff; I have to turn my attention to my books and their enforced reduction.

Now that is something I cannot contemplate with any degree of tranquillity!
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