Week 15

30 March 2009

Life has been so hectic that everything has ground to a halt. What I can tell you is that Pauline & I are in our last few days of teaching. Sooon after Easter we will take paid Gardening Leave, be given a couple of years salary and then take early retirement. We are overjoyed by the outcome. We will put our house on the market as soon as we return from Greek Easter, go to Greece in early July whether it sells or not and return in lat October/early November to explore the next stage of our lives.

The photo albums have hit a small technical hitch but the Repton one will soon be up and running. I aim to get that finished before I fly on Saturday. Some lovely memories to come:


31 March 2009

The Blog has been sparsely populated for a few days. It has been a stressful time combining end of term when we always feel bombed out with negotiating our exit policy to best effect. We look like meeting our financial target and, whether we do or not, we have left in our heads and cannot go back. Our doctor says we have done enough and if we don’t get paid gardening leave, she will write us a ‘stress note for the final twelve weeks’.  We won’t go to Greece early because we are trying to sell the house. We want to be here to keep up the garden and show people round – assuming we get people to look interested.

The Repton Album is up and my favourite photo is of Dad in 1933 in the Picnic Place of the newly built 81 High Street.


1st April 2009

Had to have a couple of days off to calm my blood pressure and prepare for retirement. Pauline and I have been at home today to speak to our legal advisor over the final redundancy settlement, liaise with the Teachers’ Pension Service to get our final quotation, have our car serviced and generally sort our lives out.  I have been emailing friends like Martin in Stroud and Richard & Linda in Ipswich. The more people I tell that I’m retiring, the more it becomes a reality to me. People who have retired tell me that initially it is like a bereavement. Pauline and I have parked in the same place in the same carpark, walked up the same path and opened the same main door every working day of our 37 years sevice. I am now the longest serving member of staff but many have been with us for 20 or 30 years. I don’t think I will miss them much. Keep moving forward is my motto.

Stavros says the Spring flowers are outstanding this year. That means our land will be carpeted. The thought of it makes me smile.


3rd April, 2009

We have retired! Pauline & I left our School at 1.00 pm today after 37 years of loyal service. We cleared our desks and the Office we shared, gave our kettle and fridge away, left our keys in the draw and walked out. It was a very strange experience and soon became totally anticlimactic. We left a couple of years early without loss of pay which suits us fine. Now on with our lives…………

Fly from Manchester with Olympic at 10.15 on Saturday evening. That is 12.15 am Greek time. Arrive Athens about 4.30 am. Only taking hand luggage so we will go to our favourite hotel until Monday lunchtime when we will go down to Piraeus to catch our ferry at 2.15 pm. Our ferry to the island has been withdrawn on Sunday morning so we can’t get there on Sunday. These are the vagaries of Greek infrastructure.

4th April, 2009

Got up early. Got to set standards when you’re retired. Did the Sainsbury’s shop and bought 500Euros. Had to go to the Post Office because our bank, Nat West, hadn’t got enough. How ridiculous! You’re a Bank! Mooched through the day and set off for Manchester Airport at 5.00 pm. Check-in at 7.00 pm and for the first time we only had hand luggage. Mind you we did send a huge box of stuff with Parcel Force a week before. Olympic Airways flight took off on time at 10.30 pm. For once the food was awful. Just had a glass of water and slept for the three and a half hours.

Week 14

22 March, 2009

Back on track after a really difficult week. Losing the internet is like losing my sight and voice at the same time. Tomorrow is ‘R’ Day. Pauline goes before the HR panel to decide if she can claim squillions of ££££££££££££s redundancy money and the we can take early retirement. We are aiming for a quarter of a million. Anything less will be disappointing. Who’d have thought that for two teachers to retire?

Got behind with everything this week being without internet connection. Spent the entire day today collecting material for the Repton Album. When it is finished it should be quite interesting.


23rd March, 2009

Pauline had her redundancy meeting today and all but concluded it successfully. Mine is still to come. Pauline is likely to be given ‘paid gardening leave’ from Easter.

Tonight spoke to Stavros in order that he makes all the arrangements in the house. Some building work is still going on – the log burning stove that we bought in Halifax is just now being fitted. A large pergola is being erected over the patio. Also, Stavros will restart out Nova satellite (Greek Sky) subscription. This gives BBC news and all the Premiership football matches – many live. It makes all the difference.

24th March, 2009

Teaching is getting harder now I know I’m going. You begin to see the futility of it. I’m spending my time preparing for my future life:

  1. ensuring we have someone to look after the house for an extended period if we don’t sell it.
  2. sorting out medical insurance abroad. Extending our Bupa will cost us £5000.00 per year.
  3. sorting out extended car insurance.
  4. organising medication (which I get free) for 16 – 18 weeks.

This all seems so much more important than timetables and lesson bells.

25th March, 2009

The redundancy negotiations are turning nasty which means they are in the end game – I hope. Tell you more when I’ve got it.

27th March, 2009

Very, very hard week as you can see from the lack of material in the Blog. I might have got my internet connection sorted out but I was too exhausted to use it. Web update this weekend.

Week 13

Put the Mum Album up on the web today. Couldn’t use all the photos I had. She looks remarkably stressed in so many shots and there are hardly any of her and Dad. I couldn’t date this one so didn’t include it.


21st March, 2009

Calamity dear reader. During Monday, my modem/router of 8 years died. It was free from BT in 2001 when I graduated from ISDN to ADSL. It had had a good life, gone all round the world millions of times – metaphorically – and all without a hitch. My new one, a Belkin N+ Wireless Modem Router, cost £70.00 and took days to arrive. Even then it fought with me for a couple of hours before it set itself up. The old one had just three green lights. The new one has five flourescent blue lights. You get so much more for your money nowadays.

Week 12

Beautiful day today – sunny, blue skies but freezing. The garden looked nice before the snow.


March 10th, 2009

I don’t like Mondays. ………

March 11th, 2009

Tuesdays are not qualitively different although this one was. Pauline is preparing a joint submission for the Sanders’s to take Redundancy and Early Retirement. The sorts of figures that the LA are offering amount to 2 years salary just for going. Our problem is: Are we indispensable? I sincerely hope not. What we are hoping to do is to go off to the Greek house and return in November. If we could sell our house before we go in July, it would be perfect but if not, no problem.

The scenarios will be:

  1. Sell the house – rent an apartment maybe in Surrey for a while until the Euro declines and then buy in France. April – October in Greece. November – March do some consultancy work wherever we are.
  2. Don’t sell the house – same approach but in the North.

March 13th, 2009

Beautiful day today. Having the day off today to clean up the patio area before our new porch is fitted tomorrow. We have three weeks until we fly to Greece and as soon as we come back we will get a valuation and put it on the market.

If redundancy negotiations go well, we have 127 days left at work. Seems strange now after 37 years of walking through the same doors and down the same corridors. 37 years is only 7770 working days. It seems so many more.

Found this nice little video intro on the web to our island – Sifnos. Thought you might like to see it. The music is one of the best know pieces from Modern Greek. Sifnos Link
Almost balletic, eh Bob. Are you rollin’?

Week 11

Lovely day today. The sun was streaming in; the whole house was permeated by that new carpet smell. Time to read the papers, enjoy the carpet of multi-coloured heathers on the rocks sloping up towards the quarry wall and watch Man. U. beat Spurs in the League Cup Final.


March 2nd, 2009

I hope you are all celebrating ‘Clean Monday’. It is a National Holiday in Greece. “Clean Monday,” refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food, and the widespread custom of flying kites.


March 3rd, 2009

Just an ordinary day. Had quite heavy snow in the afternoon but it soon disappeared in evening sun. Having a new frontage built on our hallway with a new front door. A man came to measure up tonight.

March 5th, 2009

We went out for a meal to our newly found Italian restaurant. We both had:
Spare ribs in honey and balsamic sauce
Chicken with sun dried tomatoes, prawns and scallops

All washed down with half a litre of house white & half a litre house red

Pudding was:
Italian Lemon Cake with vanilla ice cream
Profiteroles and whipped cream


March 6th, 2009

Things are moving fast at the moment. The amalgamation of our school with another and its re-emergence as an academy has led to enormous redundancy packages being offered. Pauline & I are currently thinking of bringing our retirement forward to this summer. Who knows? Nothing is certain but, for an experimental period, I have reset the countdown and it now reads: 133 days. Sounds very close. We’ll see.

Needless to say, we may be redefining our ferry bookings for the summer if the escape plan works out.

March 7th, 2009

A lovely, quiet Saturday. Up early and at Sainsbury’s for 7.30 am. Off to the dentist at 10.00 am and the home for coffee and The Times followed by FA Cup Quarter Final matches. Man. U. thrashed Fulham 3-0.