Friday, 13 November 2009


Before I get into the topic of this posting, I must firstly thank Ladybird World Mother for kindly giving me an award. Here it is-

It is a rather girly pink (and flowery) but based on the "it's the thought that counts" I am very chuffed to have received it.

I also feel somewhat embarassed as I am very conscious that I have been neglecting my blogging readers over these last few months. I've also noticed that many of the bloggers I've been following since starting this milarkey eighteen months ago have likewise either reduced or, in some cases, actually ceased blogging. In my case there hasn't been a great deal going on that I felt was suitable blogging material. Some things seem too personal and some things have to remain confidential (I'll explain more below). I read my daily newspaper and many of the things I read irritate me and give me a strong desire to blog about them but what bothers me doesn't seem to push the same buttons with many of my readers.

When people meet me for the first time and learn that I'm an "early retiree" one of the first things they ask me is "so, what do you do with all your spare time?". Some people actually ask me every day what I do with all this leisure time. These people are referred to on this blog as "Mrs Troy".

So I thought today I would try and answer this question. Having no work committments I no longer need to get up early for a long commute to work. What does stop me staying in bed in a decadent way is the need to walk Troy Junior to school. So I'm up and dressed by 8.30am, at least during school term time. I then walk down to the village to pick up my Daily Telegraph from the village store. Breakfast is now a hearty meal at about 9.15am (I could never eat heartily at the crack of dawn) whilst I peruse my newspaper. Usually the business section first but the sports section on Mondays. I'll then have a quick glance at the Letters page. I've had a few letters published in the Telegraph - about 40% of those I submit. I used to feel most aggrieved when a letter I sent in wasn't published. Recently I learnt that they receive 700 letters a day and publish about 20 - so anything better than 3% success rate is actually a good result and gave me a smug smile!

Time then to boot up my PC. (Truth is that I've already been on my netbook at 8am prior to getting out of bed to catch up on the news headlines and weather forecast. I used to listen to the radio but now prefer to go online and choose the topics myself). I look to see how my share portfolio and my gold bullion are doing. I might do some buying or selling and research for this can take up a good half hour or more of my time. Mrs Troy and I are also looking to invest some of the surplus funds we got from the sale of previous properties back into the property market so I keep a eye on Rightmove and also on several property auction sites. We've done quite a lot of viewing and made the odd offer but so far its come to nothing. Only last week we offered on a house that would have been a great renovation project and potentially would have given great blogging material. But the price it actually went for made no economic sense. I'll never make a fortune as I'm too cautious!

I'll stop for a coffee and have a trawl through the several blogs I follow then "bang, clatter" - it must be about 11.45am. The post has arrived - usually several envelopes for me and I'll spend some time dealing with them.

It's now "post meridian" and my thoughts turn to lunch. I didn't used to "cook" but now I'll do a couple of soft boiled eggs with bread "soldiers" or perhaps pate and toast. (Yes, I include toasting within my definition of "cooking"). I'll take this with a yoghurt and a drink through to the sitting room and I'll turn on the TV. 12.40pm and its half way through "Bargain Hunt". A very silly programme but if I catch it after half way through I enjoy watching the auctions of the things the contestants have bought. Usually they lose money - buying retail, selling wholesale ain't the cleverest strategy after all - but I find it interesting viewing. I keep meaning to apply to go on the programme with Mrs Troy's father - one day! Then I'll watch the One O'Clock News.

Mrs Troy gets home about 1.50pm from her part-time job. So I've just time to remember that I haven't yet washed up the breakfast items and now also have the lunchtime items to clean as well. Usually I just get the washing up done, wiped down all the work surfaces and have gone back to the PC in my study when Mrs Troy gets home. We catch up on her office politics and anything in her mail whilst she has her lunch. I'll show her anything I've found of interest on the internet (properties, blogs, news etc.) and she'll have a leaf through the newspaper's main section (which at this stage I've still to read!).

Time then to collect Troy Junior from school. Mrs Troy likes to do this but usually I'll also come along for the walk. When the weather is fine (Easter to early October) I'll play football outside with Troy Junior but in winter TJ will play with his toys and watch the TV whilst I finally get to read the main section of the newspaper. After dinner, if Troy Junior is watching a ninth repeat of Top Gear on Dave I'll read a book for a while.

That's a typical stay at home day. However, if the sun is shining (summer or winter) I'll jump in the car, head down to the beach with lunch, a rug and a book in a rucksack. I'll walk 2 to 3 miles then have lunch and a read then walk another 2 to 3 miles and get home just in time for the school run. I do love the coast on a sunny day. Other days I might potter round the shops and meet Mrs Troy for lunch.

On summer evenings the three of us may go out for long walks or get our bikes out. In winter its just the TV or the occasional live Ipswich football game. I've also got quite a few evening committments arising from my School Governor role. I'd love to be able to blog about some of the things I see and hear but it's all done in the strictest confidence.

It was a great regret not to have succeeded in the Council election back in June. That role, which also comes with a useful monetary allowance, would have greatly occupied my time whilst serving the local community. I've recently been approached to be co-opted onto the local Parish Council. Not quite the same thing (and not helped by the image set by the Vicar Of Dibley TV programme!) but I've said yes to them.

So, in a nutshell, that's what I do all day. I very rarely get bored although I much prefer the summer to the winter. In a perfect world I'd work, in an interesting role, from October to Easter but so far that concept has proved easier said than done.


Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

I think your days sound great.

Well done too on having letters published in the Telegraph, especially as they receive so many each day. Quite an achievement.

HelenMWalters said...

I've also just become a school governor. Have only been to one meeting so far, but looking forward to getting stuck in.

cheshire wife said...

Interesting to read how you fill your days. No DIY or housework though!

If you lived in our village, you would by now have been pressed ganged into joining the village hall committee, which is mainly composed of retirees both young and old.

Troy said...

Debs - there are many aspects of work that I miss, but also many I don't!

Helen - you'll get plenty of paperwork but I've found it very interesting.

cheshire wife - excuse me! "WASHING UP!" Maybe I'm working my way up to being on the village hall committee. Give me time - Rome wasn't built in a day (but that would make a good DIY project).

Ladybird World Mother said...

Sounds like a perfect day to me. Oh, by the way, that free book has arrived... read the first bit... promises to be an informative read.
Keep trying with council work... next time you may well get in. You'd be so good.

Troy said...

LWM - funny, that's what Lou Reed told me too.
The book gets a bit hard going but from page 70 its an inspiring read.
Next elections are the District ones in 2011 - I'll give it my best.

John Woodman said...

Lin Yutang said:

If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.

I don't know who he is* but he seems pretty sensible.


Troy said...

John - somehow I think it would be useless to argue with you.
Did he have any advice about how to spend one's mornings?

Anonymous said...

You are a young retiree but you seem to be enjoying life to the full, whether retired or not. So does Mrs Troy do the general housework when she's finished her job at 1.50pm? Or do you get the vacuum out?

CJ xx

Troy said...

CJ - I actually enjoy pottering round the house with my Dyson vacuum cleaner, but not on a daily basis. Mrs Troy does the rest of the housework but I act in a supervisory and quality assurance role!

Lane Mathias said...

I had no idea The Telegraph received so many letters so well done on your publications!

I like the sound of your day. It's busy but not frantic which is just about right.

Joe Stein said...

Ah, Troy, now I’m envious.
I wasn’t envious when you could have been a councillor, I wasn’t even envious when you got a free book in your last posting and I have to say, envy is not the prime emotion that springs to mind when I think of you standing on the terraces at Ipswich Town.
But you seem to have got things worked out well enough to have some time on your hands and I’m a little envious of that.
Not jealous mind you, just a little envious...
Still, all power to you for sorting things out so well!

Troy said...

Lane - it came as a surprise to me when I read they get 500-700 letters a day.

Joe - with my "some time on my hands" I was hoping to reading your third book soon. Do I have long to wait?
Oh, by the way, we all have seats at Ipswich. Is it some time since you went to a football game?

Catharine Withenay said...

No Working Lunch, then? It has become a punctuation point in my day.

Troy said...

Catharine - excellent point. I ought to give that more attention than I do. Just think, with one small blog comment you may have changed the daily viewing habits of someone on the other side of the country. The power of the blog!

Joe Stein said...

Troy, the third book is written, edited and was ready to go, but then my publisher became a victim of the ‘credit crunch’ and I’m stranded. Apparently you can still buy the first two (this is not a plug as I won’t get any royalties on them now!) and I’m now on the l-o-o-o-n-g haul to try to find a new publisher. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation, but it’s a shame as number three was due out two weeks ago. I hope you still have time on your hands in about 12 - 18 months time as that is how long it would probably take to get it published, if I was accepted by a new publisher tomorrow.
Seats? At a football match?
I still remember my first match. My dad taking me to Torquay against Bournemouth. A friendly. One nil to Bournemouth. An own goal in the pouring rain and some bloke near us shouting “I paid 75p to see this rubbish!”
I’ve been a lifelong Torquay fan ever since, which for a born and bred Londoner is quite an achievement.

DJ Kirkby said...

Troy, your day sounds idyllic. I envy you (well not you but your ability to be a stay at home dad), but you already know that :) Please coem visit my blog on Sunday as I have a great book to give away, one I am certain you'll enjoy reading, it will stimulate that very clever mind of yours (in an intellectual way). Oh and 'Hi' to Mrs Troy!

Troy said...

Joe - I'd guessed from reading DJ's blog that the publisher might give you problems. At least as an author with a prior sales record I'm guessing you have a start when finding a new publisher. Good luck!
I can't believe there are too many born and bred Londoners who are Torquay fans - maybe you are unique.

DJ - my days are better now but the end of the month (pay day) lacks a little something nowadays. I'll call by your blog tomorrow (Sunday) as I missed WW this week.