… when I’m 64. I was reminded of the lines of that famous Beatles song as I wrote Barry’s card a few weeks ago. It used to sound so old. 64. Now it somehow doesn’t.
We’re acutely aware of the inevitability of our gradual decline into our ‘later’ years. We’ve both had teeth crumble this year, that had to be either taken out, had a screw in implant, or filled. Barry’s knee went funny the other day, and my left hip keeps seizing up! My eyesight has worsened slightly and I’ve had to get a new prescription so I can read clearly. As much as we’d love to pretend these little nuances don’t matter, we know it does. And that we’ll experience more body bits and pieces working less well in future.
It just makes us want to seize the day even more, live each day fully, and grasp opportunities while we’re fit and active and can afford to financially.
Fun With Friends On Land
We arranged to be off the boat for Barry’s birthday weekend in early December. Friends in Sheffield and Leeds had too much going on work-wise to be able to come to us – so we went to them.
Fred and Sara live in a gorgeous big house on the outskirts of Sheffield, en route to ‘Snakes Pass’. We love visiting them and getting to know the surrounding area more. This time we visited a National Trust property on Barry’s birthday called ‘Hardwick Hall‘. We’d not heard of it before. What an incredible place! Sadly in the winter months you can only visit the first two floors. The third floor is apparently even more magnificent, having all the original furniture and fixtures and fittings.
Sara and Fred were persuaded to join National Trust on the day (we may have talked them into it!), and we think they were suitably impressed. Although we were rather late in the day getting to the house, a most informative guide shared his knowledge of the house and its history. I was fascinated to hear an inspirational woman was instrumental in its creation:
“A remarkable house for a remarkable woman. Bess of Hardwick, a formidable and talented woman, was responsible for the creation of both Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House. Her four marriages led to her becoming the Countess of Shrewsbury and one of the richest women in Elizabethan England.”https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/discover-the-hall-at-hardwick-
So impressed were we at the beauty and history of this place, we’re hoping to find a way of returning one summer and experience the delights of the third floor. We’ve visited many National Trust properties over the past ten years, all have been spectacular, but this one we think may have the accolade of being our favourite.
Sheffield to Leeds
As we were in the north east, we also planned to visit Gavin and Helen in Leeds. They’re busy running not one but two Calendar Club outlets there, but we managed to squeeze in an overnighter with them on the Saturday. They’re looking happy and healthy in spite of working their socks off for three months solid. Must be a newlywed glow …
And Back to Sheffield …
While it may have been quicker to drive from Chester to Sheffield and Leeds, and back again, we chose to use trains. We just find public transport so much more relaxing than cars. A lot cheaper of course too, even with both of us travelling – though we both have Senior Railcards now of course so get a third off!
Fred took us out to a local pub on the Sunday evening, where we listened to a brass band playing carols – and most of the people in the pub singing. That was a first for us both, but apparently it’s quite normal in Sheffield. I loved it.
We had another fascinating day on the Monday, when Fred drove us to Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District National Park. A glorious sunny day gifted us with spectacular colours and views, and we even enjoyed a long walk to ‘High Peak’. Another National Trust area.
We’re eternally thankful we chose to live a life less ordinary and be able to grasp these type of opportunities to regularly. We may not have millions in the bank, but we have enough. We still work just in a different way to most, a way that gives us amazing flexibility to relish new experiences and adventures.
Feeding The Birds …
Back in Chester again, we caught up on our respective roles ready for the festive period. Our grandsons visit regularly, and there’s so many fun things to do with kids around the area it’s an excuse to have even more fun!
There’s a pigeon population not far from the main shopping area, which is a designated pigeon feeding place. We spent over an hour there with a bag of bird seed. Pigeons were eating out of our grandson’s hand, on his hood, basically surrounding him. He adored it. So much better than watching a screen. I even fed one that landed on my hand. They have surprisingly soft feet.
We went to the Falconry next to the cathedral. What an incredible place. Another couple of hours of enjoyment there.
Fed the squirrels peanuts in Grosvenor Park two weekends in a row with each grandson respectively.
Oh yes, and we listened to ‘Carols by Candlelight’ in Chester Cathedral. Admittedly I was far more enthralled by that than either of the males!
Happy New Decade
All that’s left is to wish all our readers a very Happy New Year & decade. Maybe we’ll find twenty twenty vision in 2020, and discover even more clarity about focussing on the priorities of living well. For us that’s not and never will be about working as much as possible to accumulate wealth and watch it grow in a ‘fund’, while we wither and die. We’d prefer to be spending our earnings and slowly our savings and pensions, experiencing as many abundant adventures – and special times with family and friends – as possible.
Arohanui everyone. Big love. Don’t save anything for a special occasion. Live well and prosper in 2020.