I shall be retiring from my work with my employer of the last 18+ years at the end of November, that is in precisely
It will be a bitter sweet day. I have dedicated a lot of my time to working there and made many good friends. But a major divestiture programme over the last 2-3 years has meant that most of the sad days have already passed. Many of my colleagues have already moved on, some to the various new owners, others to new employers and some back to their home countries. I won't be the last to leave so someone else will be "turning the lights out".
I will miss being part of a global team with colleagues across the globe, inluding the US, Australia, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Canada, the whole of Europe and in the past, Russia. I will miss their skills and perspectives, the debates, disussions and their ideas. In a way this is my own personl Brexit. I will be dropping out of an international community of friends to make my way on my own.
I already have a long list of projects to keep me (and my husband) busy. Rooted to the Spot is one of them. Retired friends tell me I will wonder how I ever had time to go to work and based on my preparations and planning I can understand what they mean.
My workload in the office began to ease off about two years ago and it was amazing to get some "life back" after years of work, collapse and sleep, work, collapse and sleep with a few sessions of running per week to keep me fit. With the returning time and energy I began to work up towards my planned retirement activities, of which many revolve around my "garden".
The shrubland and trees
Reclaiming the extremes of the garden which was left to return to wilderness for about 15 years is one of them. Trees which I planted from pots are now 15m tall and a whole forest of holly trees and sycamores has sprung up. Buddleia, cotoneaster, pyracantha and viburnum have spread everywhere, as have the nettles, docks and brambles. On and off over the last two years I have been clearing scrub, pruning bushes and cutting out low, mostly dead branches to open up space and allow in some light. But the wild life is amazing and I don't want to disturb it too much, so there will be no manicured garden. (I hear my husband sigh with relief).
The Orchard and vegetable garden
The orchard and vegetable garden have fallen into disrepair but not to the same extent as the wooded area or the internal hedges. It should not take too long to reclaim them. The only snag is that an old Christmas tree we tranplanted from its tub into a spot behind the vegetable patch to see if it would recover (it was dry and brown and we thought nearly dead) has grown into a magnificent pine tree with the most impressive cones. It now shades almost the entire (former vegetable plot) so we will have to find a new home for it.
Actually there is another snag. The council changed the road drainage and diverted the flow into an old ditch which connects, by a land drain under the road, onto my property and within a few years the land became so wet most of my (then recently planted) fruit trees died. A few survived although somewhat stunted, but the apple tree has done very well. Maybe with a bit of love and care after the previous neglect they will recover. The field is still too wet to manage properly and rosebay willow herb, thistles and docks are beginning to colonise it. I think I may invest in some water tollerant trees. Maybe too ambitious. But this is a rest of life plan.
The pond and borders
Together with the grass, I would not call it lawn, the pond and the borders are the most visible to passers by and visitors so we have kept these areas reasonably well maintained. The blue geranium have spread rather to much and the frogs have taken over the pond, reducing the months when we can work on it. A passing heron put paid to the fish years ago. But there are still things to be done and in our efforts to reclaim the wilder parts of the garden we need to remember to maintain these familiar places. Adding more colour to the flower border might be an easy start.
Supporting the wildlife
But the birds, frogs, insects and other creatures love it. Earlier this year I was about to take the strimmer to the weeds in the orchard. I was surveying the spot through my kitchen window, berating my husband for not doing more to keep it tidy (he doesn't go out to work you see) when about a dozen small birds which had been balancing on thicker grass stalks of the overgrown clumps, rose up, fluttered for a few seconds and then settled again. I'm not an expert on birds but after consulting several books and on-line bird identification sites, I think they were probably tree sparrows. Needless to say, that was just the excuse not to get going with the strimmer.
As good as Brexit!
Just like the Brexiters I have a vision of paradise (mine is a tidy, productive garden that remains the wildlife habitat of my current wild garden) which like their vision is probably unattainable. It will be my cake after I've eaten it! After years of living on a salary, earned off the back of my international corporation employer, I have become fat and lazy, as the trade secretary might say, and this new independence from wage slavery will make me learn to stand on my own two feet again and dig for victory.
Of course restoring the garden isn't my only plan; others include writing my book (everone says that don't they?), building my IT business, exploring within my ten mile radius and occassionally venturing further afield to make international trade deals. Once liberated, there will be no stopping me. I don't need a salary when I can get a pension (erm, well in a few years time) and live off belief in my own overarching ability to get what I want simply by wanting it.