When I first finished work I set myself the following objectives to give me a bit of focus to get me started on this new chapter in my life story:
- Start a blog
- Be more creative
- Learn to take better photos
- Get fitter
- Keep in touch
- Make my money go further
- Be happy
- Add value to Society
- Keep on top of general household and garden activities
- Have less stress
I thought now would be a good time to reflect on the year and to see if I'd met my objectives and if I could answer the questions I asked myself when I started out on this new stage of my life .... Is there life after working for the same company for 30 years and can you really make a life out of pottering?
I think I pretty much know the answer to both questions but still think it would be good to take a look back over the year.
Early on there were some really sad times. Losing Poor William on the very day that I finished work, followed by losing Martin's mum, just a week later, was not really the start that I had planned for.
Whilst it was very sad to say good bye to both, losing Martin's mum did set us off on a journey of discovery with our finding of the war diaries of William Preston Sidney, Martin's granddad. I am still working through the story of his war years. Through our research we have both learned loads about both Martin's grandad and the kind of person he was and what WW1 was all about.
We've started to get to grips with the new Canon and Martin has even had a photo included in a National Trust garden calendar. We've also had a go at film making, though I think it's safe to say it's early days. This year I hope to work through my photography e-course and do more from a photography point of view.
Along the way there have been our favourite recipes, some new and some old, shared with you all, lots of jam, jelly and chutney making and plenty of garden activity.
Highlights in the garden this year have to be the new fence and gate out the front and the new brick edge out the back. It was also great to be able to spend more time just doing what needs doing. Hopefully this year we will get more time to enjoy the garden, assuming we get some decent weather.
We are already starting to think about this year's cycle and it won't be long before we have a good look through the seed box and make our plans for this year.
There has been plenty of time for holidays with time spent away in The Peak District, Snowdonia, Dartmoor and a week away in Norfolk with the family to celebrate my 50th birthday. We already have places booked for this year with two trips to the Peak District booked in and a week in a wooden cabin booked in the Cairngorms. We'd also like to try and get to Suffolk and the New Forest, so plenty more holiday cottage reviews are on the cards.
There's been plenty of time for catching up with friends and family, combined with days out just catching up and just a spot of caching along the way.
On the boring side there has been lots of thought gone into ways of saving and making money. After all, I can't replace what I spend with a salary anymore, which can be a bit scary at times. It's made me finally have a bash at selling unwanted stuff on ebay and have a good look at cashback sites. It's not going to make me a millionaire, but hey, every little helps.
There has also been time for getting started with some totally new craft projects, including hand made beaded bracelets, which went down very well as Christmas gifts for friends and family, a tentative start at decoupage and big plans for working with mosaics.
On a socially responsible note I've taken on the role chair of governors at a primary school not too far away and, as well as feeling like I am doing my bit from a volunteering point of view, this is keeping my brain very active. I've learned absolutely loads of new things and am really enjoying spending more quality time at school. I'm really starting to feel that I'm getting to grips with how things work and what we need to do.
So, so far, so good!
From an objective point of view, I don't think I've done too badly. Other than my objective of 'getting fitter,' which, I have to be honest, has gone a bit by the by, I think I can definitely tick off the rest, even though I will continue to develop some of them further in 2015.
In answer to my questions .....
Can I make a life out of pottering. Well, I definitely think so, and a good life at that.
So, what does 2015 hold .... More of the same I hope.
This year I hope to finish off telling the story of William Preston Sidney and then we will decide what to do with all of his war memorabilia.
I want to work through my on line photography course and think about where I want to go with my photography. Will it remain just a hobby or do I want to take it further. I'm sure there will be more recipes and more garden activity.
There will definitely be more caching and more time exploring this beautiful land we are lucky enough to call home. .
There will be more craft posts as I now have everything I need to get cracking on with my mosaic and decoupage projects.
I also want to start posting about my '50 things to do before I'm 60' list. It's not really a bucket list, as I still plan to be alive and kicking by the time I'm 60. I just want to make the very most of this next 10 years.
With Martin planning on retiring in early 2016, we also need to have a serious look at finances and find as many money saving ideas as possible, to make sure that this will be financially viable.
Oh yeah, mustn't forget that never ending project - the guest bedroom. This year I am determined that I will see that fully completed.
So, lots on the agenda for 2015 - best get cracking!