Retirement has arrived.
As has the summer.
7am alarm Tuesday for our last morning in Antibes. Washing, recycling, quick trip to the Boulangerie for mini gateaux, baguette, croque monsieur, quiche and croissants aux amandes et chocolat for breakfast.
Bus No 6 then the 82 to Nice Airport, all ahead of schedule. Caught up with work emails once we were through security etc.
Good flight – lots of legroom and a sandwich lunch on the BA flight to London City Airport. Farewell to Steffi then DLR to Bank, farewell to Hazel and into work. Sunny in Antibes, sunny in London.
Busy afternoon sorting out doing a few more afternoon 1-2-1s of handover, having my exit interview and in my final KMCA Zoom.
Rendezvous with Phil and down to H’s for Indian takeaway from Khan’s. Tasty!
Weds – up early and into work (for me) to the Breakfast Club (for P). Another busy day, but I made it to BLWV by 6.30pm for WW with Hazel, Rachel and Fi.
Thursday was my last day. A long day, and a lovely day. So many lovely messages and chats.
Pretty tortuous “train” journey back to Hereford but we made it home eventually.
Friday. The first day of the next stage of my life, and I’m doing admin – washing, defrosting the freezer, catching up with photos and weeknotes. Ah, this is what retirement is all about…..
Wonderful how green everything is after a week away, and how many flowers are out. The grass has gone bananas, we have buttercups galore and there is may blossom and cow parsley everywhere. Hedges that were bare when I left are now bursting with green leaves.
I think dad and Jean must have visited while we were away and checked on – and watered, thankfully – the seedlings in the greenhouse. In my office, where I’d left a few scrawny tomato and lettuce seedlings and a tray of weedy onion greens I’ve returned to an array of thriving small plants. Clearly they all do well left alone!
In the orchard, the rhubarb continues to display triffid-like traits, compost corner is hidden by greenery and I have pea and bean seedlings in the veg patch. Success!
More ripe strawberries inside the greenhouse, baby gooseberries outside.
Four newts (at least) in the small pond, but no tadpoles, and no sign of any fish in the big one…. I hope that doesn’t mean we’ve had a heron visiting. The flag irises are out.
Saturday was my first time helping out at the annual Abbey Dore Plant Sale. A great way to meet more people and also to stock up on seedlings. I had a lovely day. Gorgeous sunshine and dad and Jean treated me to tea and cake.
They reappeared at 6pm at Forty Acres for a celebration dinner created by Phil. A really lovely, relaxed evening. Just right.
I slept well.
Sunday was another fantastic sunny day and I spent the morning out with the GVWC on Jo’s Breinton Springs Circular: 7½ miles, 3 hours.
A different route from that CP and I had done back in March 2022; less tarmac, more back alleys and footpaths and a gorgeous old orchard full of cow parsley, apple blossom and may blossom on the final approach to Breinton Church. And not only was the church open but it has a new-looking toilet built into a quiet corner at the back of the north aisle. What a great idea.
Home for a late lunch and a lazy afternoon on the patio and in the conservatory. There was a sofa snooze….
I made dinner – the long awaited lentil soup – and we watched Perry Mason.
Bats zooming around outside as dusk drew in.
Monday was another walk this time meeting up with S&S (but not G) at the Little Black Hill car park picnic spot for Cat’s Back Circular: Cat’s Back – Hay Bluff – Hatterrall Ridge – Olchon Valley (9 ½ miles, 1600ft elevation gain, 4 ½ hours).
The sunshine continued, this time with a cool brisk breeze up on the tops of the Black Mountains – and I got my first sunburn of the year …. and my first Magnum of the year too from the brilliant village shop, Hopes of Longtown. My first visit; I can see why people rave about it.
I’d watched kites soaring high above the Golden Valley, Abbey Dore side, before I headed out for the day.
Home for a pot of tea, sat in the shade (partly for sunburn, partly because it was hot), than a stroll around the garden taking photos of the flowers. I wish we could offer smell-o-vision for the lilac and wisteria – both were gorgeous.
Got the long hose out to top up the large pond. P had spotted some fish – let’s hope it’s just too hot for them to bask and a bit too murky for us to see them …..
Spotted a newt in the small pond, and – amazingly – some tadpoles still….
No squirrels though!
(I spoke to soon – one was trying its luck (in vain) at the squirrel-proof bird feeders this morning)
Retirement Days Tracker: All done
TV: Succession, Barry (season 4), Perry Mason (season 2), Location, Location, Location.
Podcasts: History Extra, The Forum.
Photos: Herefordshire week 177 on Flickr.
Phil: w/e 2023-05-21.