It's been just over seven weeks since my early retirement started, and I'm still trying to get used to being my own boss. As much as I used to grumble about my old job, at least I knew what I was supposed to be doing for 7.5 hours per day, whereas now I find myself in the (incredibly fortunate, I know) position of being able to (mostly) please myself. I'm still taking and/or picking up my husband from work (he used to cycle the 10 mile round trip every day, but after being knocked for six by Covid in December he's having to take things steady to rebuild his stamina), and I walk the XXSCat dog with my daughter during her lunch-break, but the rest of the day is basically my own. So I've been making lots of to-do lists, and telling myself I have to do something really constructive every day, and then feeling horribly guilty if I don't. My friend, who early-retired a couple of months before me, tells me that she's "loving life", and wakes up every day feeling like it's Christmas morning, but I'm not quite there yet! I don't regret my decision, and I certainly don't miss the stress of work - I just need to figure out a routine that works for me.
So the past week has been an eclectic mix of activities. Cleaning, gardening in the occasional gaps in the rain storms, taking the car for its MOT, getting a blood-test and discovering that I'm Vitamin D deficient after a year of lockdowns, and indulging my creative impulses in between:
- The Gnome Rejuvenation Project continues. This little chap started life as an Ikea Santa Claus, but was looking very pale and worn, so he's been given a regular gnome uniform instead.
- After longing to escape the constraints of my 2.5" fabric squares for the #100DayProject, I sat down to play with watercolour and acrylic paint on a sheet of A5 paper...and ended up with this little painting of a cornflower - in the middle of the page and almost exactly 2.5" square! How did that happen?!
- I cast on 54 stitches (multiples of 18) and knitted myself another stripey multicoloured scarf - in feather and fan stitch this time - because a person can never have too many stripey multicolured scarves. It's made with Sirdar Hayfield Spirit variegated yarn in two colourways - one predominantly shades of blue (because I live in jeans) and the other a pastel rainbow sequence (because who doesn't like rainbows?). I love the colourful squishiness of it, and the non-stop rain provides the perfect justification for me to be wearing a knitted scarf at the end of May! My hands are already itching for another knitting project though...
- There is a print-maker/sewist called Margaret Molinari on Instagram (@margarts) who I started 'following' after I discovered her through the #100Day Project. Her project was to use different found objects for printing onto fabric, and I was completely captivated and amazed by her work. I couldn't resist having a go myself - so far with some leaves from the beautiful whitebeam tree at the park, and a slightly-past-its-best kiwi fruit. I'm nowhere near as proficient as Margaret, but I still think the results are fabulous! I'm deciding whether to add some more colour with my Setacolor paints, and thinking of using the fabric for some extra-special Extra Pocket Bags.
- I was dusting the windowsill earlier in the week and came across this gorgeous Giant House Spider, which had spun a funnel-style web in the bottom of a reflective glass tea-light holder and was patiently lying in wait for passing flies. I'm a bit wary of spiders (having been bitten by one many years ago) but I thought it was such an ingenious (not to mention beautiful) choice of location that I immediately went into full-on 'Charlotte's Web' mode, and announced to the rest of the family that we had acquired a new pet. I'm probably biased, but I think she's extremely photogenic!
- Finally, although bluebell pictures are absolutely everywhere at the moment, there is always room for just one more. Doesn't this little path through the lush green woods look so much more inviting when it's edged with a carpet of blue?