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Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Lifeways of the Semi-Retired

'A New World'. No, a 'Brave New World'. No. That's not it either. How about 'New Beginnings', 'A Fresh Start'? 'A New Order' suggests itself, but I'm sure it has been used before. Maybe, 'A Veritable Paroxysm of Newness'. No, too pretentious, besides being stolen from Dr Donald Fagan, only he was describing the change from a semi-agrarian existence to one of Urban slavery. After many permutations, I finally hit on the right phrase. A writer, I have been told, has to undergo much turpitude, mental anguish and sit facing the blank page, sometimes literally for minutes before they find the exact phrase. In my case, a quick trip to the liquor store, and the problem is solved, as the exact literary phrase to sum up my current condition presents itself. So, as a subtitle to this entry, 'Pig in Shit' it is.

What I had been struggling for is a way to describe the change in lifestyle, and outlook from the days of my daily commute to Leeds, to my current patterns. Going to bed at night is now easy - there is none of the dread that accompanies not knowing how long it is going to take to get to work, or how unhygenic the coffee shop at the local station is going to be this morning. I rise, not with the lark, as in my Leeds existence, but with the sloths, slowly unravelling, grazing gently on prepared breakfast materials, or not, as I feel like, instead of handing the best part of five dollars over to the putty-faced miserables of Pumpkin for a sandwich (that better be genetically modified), and coffee as bad as only English train stations can make it. There's no unceasing fight for space on the delayed 7.33, no Jean from Accounts Recievables tutting loudly, and no blast of Halitosis from uncleaned teeth when I finally arrive at work. Overtime, of which there has been plenty already in our house renovations, is completely unplanned, unpaid, yet totally welcome.

It is not just absences though which are keenly felt. The longer (in time) and deeper(in digging out the foundations of this house) that I've gone, the better life seems. Each morning, after falling over what seems like thousands of cats, I bid Nel fond adieu(if I can find her under the mountains of aforementioned moggies that we seem to now be responsible for), and saunter up Salisbury Avenue for 5o yards, exchange pleasantries with the local newsagent, updating him on the renovations (he's very excited by solar), take a sharp right down Ella Street and arrive at my new work site within seven minutes. A quick reassuring pat of the Crosstowner's saddle lets the trusty steed know he's not been retired, and I get the kettle on.

Full thinking mode usually kicks in around 10am, and from then on in, the day is over too soon, including evenings which are still full of calculations, budgets, plans and design. The evening has, over the last week, concluded with a few failed attempts to write a blog entry, but they have been abortive, so far, for two reasons. The first reason is that the new patterns are exactly that, new, and a good 'slot' for writing has not yet made itself obvious. The second reason is despicably Disney, in that I am as happy as the Pig referred to earlier. and therefore am deprived of this writer's most fertile vein of subject matter. In other words, I have nothing to complain about.


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