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Well, did you do it? Did you actually retire today, your 66th birthday? Or are you still slaving away for The Man, putting in the shifts at work? The original plan was to retire on my 66th birthday, but at the back of my mind was maybe put it off a bit, till Dorothy hits the big 66 and gets her state pension, so we can both retire together. I'm thinking about going on a cruise holiday to mark our joint retirement, at least three weeks in the sun.....I'll start planning it soon. My thoughts at the moment is to fly to Florida, have a week with Adrian and Karen in Mount Dora, pick up a cruise ship in Miami for two weeks and possibly sail home in that, or back to Miami and fly home from there....by the time I read this, the Retirement Holiday should be locked in.
It's a bright sunny cold morning, Friday 7th Feb, I'm sitting in the living room with Scamp snoozing away on my lap, while Dorothy is in bed, having just come in off a night shift at the Residential home just over the road. I've just come off the phone from the Mortgage Bureau, I needed to re-mortgage the house in Queen Street, get a buy-to-let deal sorted out, as the current deal is running out. I owe £50,000 on that house, and its worth about 70-75 grand, and it brings in a rental income of about 440 a month. It'll be three years in August since Chris died and I bought that house, I'd give anything for him to be still living there.....
Anyway, I need to decide whether to go for a two year fix and sell it when I retire, or go for a 5 year fix and keep it on.....there's only a few quid difference in the cost per month, but the problem I have to wrestle with is the penalty fee if I sell early before the five year fix ends. If I sell when I retire in two years then the penalty will be 2 grand.... By the time I read this letter I'll have made my mind up, but, Future Me, today I'm dithering. 2 years?.....or 5 ? I'm leaning towards a five year deal, I must confess, I see Chris's house as a link to him.....if I sell it, then there's even less left in the world to mark he was ever here.
Work is going very well, I'm slowly picking it all up and starting to feel that I'm pulling my weight. Border Referrals and BSMs still make me think hard on how to get them done, but most other stuff I handle pretty well. An area I seriously dislike is PrevNet, just because the Guidance isn't particularly clear on when to contact the port, and especially Out-of-Hours, who to ring. The second thing that bugs me about PrevNet is when the hits gang up on me and I've got three or four BSM hits come in at once and I start running out of time. Practice makes perfect though, and I'm getting there.
A few thoughts about work:
Mark is the boss, friendly and efficient, I both like and respect him. Sometimes seems a bit tired, I think he has difficulty sleeping, perhaps shift work isn't his forte? A good boss, I'm lucky to be on his team
Charlotte is a Team Officer, very young for her role, but bright, keen and professional, I think she'll go far. She's not been made up from the ranks for very long, but she's good at what she does, and if I need any help she's approachable and knowledgeable.
Steve S is the other Team officer, hard working and good at his job. Whenever I go to him about the job he helps, without making me feel like a dork for asking. A good man.
Matt is very good, been around for ages, calm, knowledgeable and unflappable. He just comes in, gets on with it, works hard, and goes the extra mile. We're lucky to have him on the team.
Paul is also very good, very bright, knows his stuff for sure, and is an excellent man to to have around. A little bit weird, but an all-round good egg.
Kelly is good, hard working, funny, and even though she's only been there about a year more than me she's well on top of the job.
Emmet....he was in the Academy with me, joined in the same cohort. He's also picking it up, pulling his weight, but at times he can be a bit idle. Boy, he can talk! And sometimes gets a bee in his bonnet about how things should be done, especially CEOP cases for Plod, when he thinks we should be releasing more information, which contradicts the Guidance. I sometimes wonder if Emmet will stick it, he has a mercurial temperament and sometimes seems quite down about things.
Caroline joined later than Emmet and I, but I think she's going to be a star. She's quiet, efficient and friendly, sometimes a bit reserved, but a hard working member of the team.
Joe - now Joe's a bit of a strange one to work out. He's a quiet bloke, been there for a while, but was detached to go work off in another specialized department for a year, and on coming back he needs to be re-trained. Has had a few days off recently, and when he comes in doesn't seem to do much.
Then there's me, the old man of the watch. Had my review and appraisal recently, all going very well, I'm making strong steady progress, and my boss is quite happy with how I do things. I'm fitting in well with the team, not yet a star, and I might never be....but I like to believe I'm well regarded and pulling my weight, and not just making up the numbers. I've got two years left in this job, and by the time I read this letter I wonder how my perception of things will have changed.
My weight is still a cause for concern, I just don't have the willpower (or determination) to seriously tackle it. I'm full of good intentions, but I love my grub, and that's all there is to it. I also drink rather too much than I should, but it's not yet a problem. This year I discovered Gin, Bitter Lemon and Tonic.
I have something up with my eyes, I'm under investigation for Retinal Migraine, but I think it could be linked to diabetes. Yet another reason for getting my weight under control, eh?
I worry about my mother. She'll be 90 in March, and in the last couple of years she's been slowly deteriorating. I wonder if she'll still be here when I read this?
Right, that's it. I think I'll get dressed, have a shave, and go outside and enjoy that bright cold sunshine by taking the dog for a walk.
Epilogue2 days later
Updated on 26th May 2022, the day after my 66th birthday. I'm still working for HMRC, but I'm off sick at the moment, been off since Feb 23rd, as I've been diagnosed with cancer. But I'm not dead yet, got a decent chance of fighting it off, even though it's been complicated by breaking my left arm. (bloody lymphoma has weakened the bone, had a minor fall and it broke)
And I did a two year fix on the mortgage for Chris's house, it runs out soon....wish I'd gone for the 5 years!