We have just had a hectic long weekend babysitting our two grandsons who live in Hove, near Brighton. Their parents were attending a wedding and at the last moment their local babysitting arrangements fell through so it was SuperGrandma and SuperGrandad who (literally!) flew to the rescue. Dublin to Gatwick on the plane, Gatwick to Brighton on the train, Brighton to Hove in the taxi. Departed Dublin Thursday at 7pm, arrived Hove just after 9:30pm, so relatively quick and easy.
Serendipitously, Angus’ class had invited parents and grandparents to a “Special Assembly” on Friday where they performed items loosely connected to the story of Noah, but updated to include water conservation messages and green principles in a very socially responsible way! So of course we were delighted to attend. We then explored Hove for the rest of the morning, or more accurately should I say Pip and Sarah explored Hove’s Op Shops, of which there are at least 10 – 12. I, meanwhile, was reduced to looking like the retiree that I very possibly am. Coincidentally, just yesterday I read this quote from Charles Lamb, the 18th century English essayist, on retirement, and I seem to fit it exactly: “I am already come to be known by my vacant face and careless gesture, perambulating at no fixed pace nor with any settled purpose. I walk about; not to and from.”
Quoting Lamb? Pretentious git, I hear you cry. Yes, maybe, but what I was reading was the very last Inspector Morse detective novel, and the author prefixes each chapter with an appropriate quote, of which this was one. I must admit I wouldn’t know a Lamb essay if it was served up medium rare on my plate – Essaie of Lamb on a bed of sweet potato mash with blueberry jus.
One of the benefits of non-employment is the chance it gives for more reading. Not only the Morse book but also another detective story by Simon Brett. I knew of him as the author of that brilliant book of cartoons, 101 Uses for a Dead Cat and so reasoned he couldn’t be all bad, but it turned out he could. Never mind. And I’m currently reading David Jason’s autobiography which is fascinating and very funny. I have to say that the second hand bookshops in Ireland are wondrous places and I can usually find one or two good books within a few minutes at rock-bottom prices.
On the way back from England on Sunday evening I developed quite a sore throat which has been annoying me for a couple of days, so I’ve been taking things easy the last couple of days. This afternoon I took my David Jason book and sat in the sunshine at the local park near the river. Simple pleasures for us simple retirees. (Well, I’m not really retired (you listening Pip?) but am waiting to hear back from three job applications. Nothing so far – I may yet have retirement thrust upon me…)