Wednesday, 10 September 2014


On Monday Ann and I met up with her brothers and their wives at the Fire Engine House in Ely. Coming into Ely from the Newmarket direction I finally managed to take a decent snapshot of the Cathedral through the car windscreen. 'Our Cathedral' (as we called it when young) was perfectly visible on the horizon from our village, although we were twelve miles north of it. In fact it was quite useful for weather forecasting purposes. When the Cathedral could clearly be seen we were told, by old fenman, that this meant that rain was on the way. If the cathedral could not be seen at all, it meant that it was already raining.  This is known as dry fenland humour, and as nearly everything else in the fen is usually wet or soggy, this meant that anything dry (perhaps especially the humour) was much appreciated.


Today we motored into Bury Saint Edmund's to meet up for lunch with her old friend (and next door neighbour - although in this case their two houses were about four hundred yards apart) Barbara and Barbara's husband Alan.  I don't know if anyone remembers this, but in the sixties and seventies everyone said that they were planning, when they  retired, to a Landrover and drive overland to India, or to.... convert a 'bus and drive to Morocco with a group of friends, or to - well generally to see the world, if you get the idea. Well, the only ones we ever knew who stuck to their plans are Barbara and Alan, photographed above on either side of Ann, at lunch in the Cathedral Refectory in Bury St. Edmund's. On retiring, fifteen years ago or so, Alan commuted part of his pension and bought a very good mobile home with the proceeds. Since then, every October, they lock their fixed home, climb aboard their mobile home, and head South. We tend to get exotic postcards from them during the winter. They return to their home, usually during April. This coming October they've planned to drive a long and complicated route down to the Greek islands. Barbara takes copious photos and keeps a journal as a record of their travels.  She plans, eventually, to precis and generally tidy it up, so that their grandchildren get a record of their grandparents' adventures.   I am lost in admiration, but as  Ann says, we've done what we wanted to do with our life, and so have Barbara and Allan.

After lunch we had a wander round Bury, and on Angel Hill the Angel Hotel was looking so bright and colourful, that I had to take the above photo of it.

                                          Good Night All.


Liz said...

I like the sound of Barbara and Alan's retirement. I suspect that a lot of peoples' retirement plans have been knackered by lack of funds or poor health. Sometimes it is just lack of motivation - stay away from the comfy slippers!

Nice photo of Ely Cathedral.

Mike and Ann said...

Hi Liz. I have always respected their retirement project - having a plan and sticking to it. I still think that the best way is not to retire at all, like I haven't done. I mean, have you ever seen me in carpet slippers?

Nea said...

Oldest said following to me:
When you're young you've got the energy and the time, but not the cash to do it. When you're middle aged you've got the cash and the energy, but not the time. And when you're old you've got the time and the cash, but not the energy :) They're very lucky to still have the energy... And you two still don't have the time.... 'Cause you're not old yet :)

Mike and Ann said...

Thank you Ruth. I think your Mama has it right. I think we're still doing what we want to be doing, 'cos we enjoy doing it - which is more or less what you said - I think.
P.s. - when you come to us in October, please spare me an evening to put this machine right - It's still very with photos. Went, with family on the Cam yesterday - well we didn't in that we were excused boating so that we could look after Elsa. At one stage Mummy was looking after Elsa, David's shop (in the middle of Cambridge), David's guard dog, etc, whilst I nipped round with David to his home to look at a long case clock that he wants me to do up - it was a good hectic afternoon.

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. Sorry - it is still very reluctant to accept photies and to publish them.

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. Should add that I bought a couple of bits from David, and accepted the job of putting his clock to rights.

P.p.s. And thoroughly enjoyed pushing Elsa, in pushchair, from river to David's shop and (eventually) back.