A year ago I retired from a long-term part-time job, which gave me plenty of time for writing. I intended to transform my life and re-brand myself as a full-time professional writer. So why have I written so little and had no time to edit my fourth book, the first draft of which was completed over six months ago? Much essential PEP (pruning, editing, polishing) is still to be done. The reason for the delay is that during the summer there’s been a significant change in my role and occupation.
After a working life of several decades, and some years later than normal people, my DBH (dearly beloved husband) is to take AIR (active inspirational retirement). The DBH has decided to ‘boot himself upstairs’ and become Non-Executive Chairman (NEC) of the family business, whilst I have been promoted to the position of New Executive Director (NED). Board meetings will no longer be held in our bathroom at 0630 every weekday morning, but will now happen on 29th February. AGM’s will become DGM’s (Decadal General Meetings). Junior directors are invited to be present but discouraged from participation. The NED knows that discussions with the NEC about business will be limited to the hours of 1045-1115 and this only on the third Wednesday of each month.
This means that the POL (pattern of life) had changed here at home in Dorset. We endeavour to be more organised and yet more relaxed. To clarify how this is achieved, one asks: what does the DBH mean by ‘active’ retirement? This DOS (daily operational schedule) will give you some idea:
0630-0730 The NED gets up, does household tasks, eats breakfast and is at her desk by 0800.
0830-1000 The NEC wakes up, listens to Radio 4, drinks tea, reads, rises, showers, and descends.
1010 The NEC has his breakfast, reads the paper, and prepares for the day. At 1120, he goes outside to the rear lawn to practice his putting with the aim of improving his handicap at clockwork golf. The cats, Oscar and Ella, (O&E) are banished from the rear garden at this time as they have a habit of racing after his golf ball and batting it away from the hole. Family and friends (F&F) are allowed to observe but not permitted to make comments. (If weather is inclement, the DBH practices snooker in the games room, to improve his chance of winning against his son).
1130 NED has finished with responding to the day’s batch of emails and opens the post, including a letter from NAS (the Non-Abbreviation Society), which informs her that she and DBH have been expelled from membership. This causes her no regret and she moves on to deal with more significant matters.
1315 DBH prepares his own lunch, pours himself a single glass of wine and at 1330 commences eating.
1333 approx. NED dashes in from the office, throws some food on a plate, wolfs it down and returns to work at 1400.
1430-1530 The DBH has his PLD (post lunch doze) in situ (in his kitchen chair) or, if fine, outside on the swing chair, during which time birds are forbidden to cheep. Guests and Grandchildren (G&G) are requested to keep silent during PLD.
1545-1715 Three times a week, the NEC works out on the rower, jogger and bike at his Weight Reduction Programme (WRP). On other days he takes a hike round the land. The NED is exempted from this activity but any G&G are encouraged to accompany him. On Saturdays this is obligatory.
1845-1930 The NED metamorphoses into Loving & Sympathetic Spouse (LASS) and prepares dinner. 1900 The NEC now becomes Amazingly Genial Husband (AGH) and pours drinks for her and F&F. Important: White wine must be no more than 12˚ in temperature and no less than 13% in alcoholic content. LASS frantically tries to serve dinner on time.
1930-2130 Dinner. Red wine, which was opened at 1800 to allow it to breathe, is served by AGH.
2140 AGH retires to sofa in Monks Room for PPN (post prandial nap) which may involve sleeping in front of the TV, when O&E are discouraged from jumping onto his lap and flexing their claws into his thigh.
2150-2230 LASS retires to bed, sliding swiftly into sleep.
Anytime from 23.10 until 0140 AGH wakes and goes into PAD mode (perambulation around drive) where, unobserved (except by nocturnal O&E), he muses on life, gazes at stars and hugs trees. Sometimes owls hoot. AGH then quietly locks house and goes upstairs to bed without disturbing sleeping LASS, G&G and F&F.
It is important to remember that timings are rigidly adhered to. The ROOL (rhythm of our life) must be carefully preserved. We have shared this schedule with F&F so that when they come and visit, they will be able to slot in snugly with the new arrangements. My plan to become a full-time DPW (dedicated professional writer) has been placed on hold. But I live in hope.