The good life

Now that it actually feels like spring, life has got busy down on the Scott Allotment.
Nestled in the picturesque Aire Valley with Harden Beck running alongside, Mum and Dads allotment is far from the shabby back garden of the loveable Tom and Barbara in The Good Life. However, it produces an amazing supply of fresh fruit and vegetables and is the most tranquil place to dig, sweat, pause and breathe the fresh air. Shame it doesn’t grow biscuits and Irn Bru or it really would be on a Carlsberg advert.
Charlotte and Anya potatoes, garlic, 3 types of onions, broad beans, salad and tomatoes have all been planted this past fortnight, and the fruit trees pruned. The green house has been cleaned, tidied, remodelled and is full of freshly planted seeds. It’s great to see the allotment ‘spring’ back to life after sleeping over winter, and my mouth is already watering at what we’ll be able to eat come harvest time.
We’ve still got 5 onions left from last season to eat up, think we’ll be enjoying an onion tart for dinner one night next week. See Clare for table reservations…

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Playing by the rules

When working 9 to 5, life is governed by rules and routine. Some are obvious – get to work on time. Others are more subtle – you can’t go to work in your pjs! I decided early on that I’d need to set myself some rules whilst on my TimeOut. I didn’t want too many dos and don’ts, this was ‘time out’ for a reason. I said them out loud to make them real.
* Get up, washed and dressed before mid-day
* No daytime tv
* No afternoon naps
And I’m pleased to say I’m conforming quite nicely, kinda…

When I saw on Facebook that Margaret Thatcher had died last week I felt compelled to watch the news. I don’t know why as I certainly wasn’t a ‘fan’ of hers; it just felt like one of those ‘where you you when’ moments. I remember when she announced she was stepping down. We were in the design tech studio at high school. We were allowed the radio on (standard for most school art and design studios) so our class heard it first. Someone wrote ‘maggie resigns’ in the condensation on the window and that’s how it spread across school. Gotta love those pre-internet days! Anyway the news was pretty dull and I found myself engrossed in ‘strictly come saving’ or something. Watched it for 10minutes before I managed to turn it off. Yellow card.

Today I was up and dressed as Clare left for work, the sun was shining and with no rain forecast I knew this was my chance to get the decking stained. It was done before my 10am toast and Berocca. I was on a roll… next was the side gate. We hadn’t painted this for years and I’m quite aware that BronzedRust isn’t the new black, so i got to work sanding, cleaning and painting. By 1pm it was done. Sparkling and looking like new. Lunch was consumed whilst catching up with one of our neighbours and then, there it was, a glint in the corner of my eye. The sun was hitting the armchair like a flashing neon arrow saying ‘afternoon nap here for free’. I sat down, catching up on twitter and Facebook and I could feel the nap monster taking hold of me. The warmth of the sun hitting the back of my neck, the kitty basking on the pouffe gently snoring, the sound of birds happily tweeting.
Then it happened…
I was delivered from temptation – the bread machine bleeped and the watching machine announced I could partake in my favourite chore of hanging out the washing. Woohoo.
Becki 1 – nap monster 0.

Playing by the rules and winning!

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When I’m cleaning windows

Top tip… (Two for the price of one!)
Don’t clean your windows when it’s sunny, as tempting as it is. The sunshine will not so gently show you just how filthy they are… But don’t do it. Inside or out. They will look worse. Wait until it’s a grey day and get out the Mr Muscle (or newspaper and spit if you are on a budget!)
Also when you’ve got a big long list of jobs to do, try not to spend an hour talking to the window cleaner about football.

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My thirty-something gap year / non-maternity / retirement

I always thought it was unfair you can only retire when you had reached (what I thought was an) old age, sometimes too old to make the most of precious time with family and friends and exploring the world. I always thought it would be cool if I promised to work 5 years after retirement on the provision I could have a year off in my 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s & 60s. With a ‘pension’ paid that year I could do & see so much – possibly making me even more employable and wise! Of course this will never happen, and the retirement age has already been pushed back and back… but this blog isn’t a political commentary on the state of the country.
It’s where my gap year starts…
I was offered redundancy at Christmas from a job I loved, at a place that was like a second home with people I considered friends. I’d been there over 8 years and had been through lots of changes. It really rocked my world (and not in a good way). Having already lost my amazing Dad suddenly in the sunny spring of 2012, life was so very different to what I knew. So I thought, here’s my opportunity to take some time out…
Clare (my wonderful wife) and I discussed boring things like money and household chores and I was set… I was going to have some time out. My very own non-maternity leave, a pre-retirement temporary retirement. Not a full year but long enough to get back on my feet; to get all those jobs done that had been on a tatty list on the back of the office cupboard and to have better quality time to hang out with each other and family and friends.
It’s now April and the past 3 months have flown by. I’m learning more about myself everyday, as well as picking up top tips on decorating, gardening, baking and dealing with life and all its little quirks.
I’m not yet thinking about looking for a job, I’m way too busy to work! But I’m wanting to take a little time during the week to blog and share my experience…

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