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Christmas preparations

I wonder if you enjoy preparing for Christmas. Being retired certainly helps as there is usually plenty of time to think about what you want to do. I enjoy making personalised gifts wherever possible though it’s not always viable. I used to like making gifts for the grandchildren; now they are grown up money in an envelope is what they enjoy best.

Last week I made the Christmas puddings. One large one and 6 individual. Ken said he had to taste one which he did. The look on his face was of pure bliss. We always go through the ritual of stirring and wishing and then taking a photo.


Today I got started on job of cooking Gingerbread Houses. Every year from way back I’ve made gingerbread houses which the children decorate at a family gathering just before Christmas. They all love it and even though my eldest grandson is 20 he still wants to be involved. Last year he and his girlfriend came and stuck the houses together with icing cement ready for decoration. This year I need nine houses so the cooking has to be done in two batches. What an undertaking.

Nic with his girlfriend Sarah cementing the gingerbread houses

Nic with his girlfriend Sarah cementing the gingerbread houses

I’d love to hear what you are planning.


When you first retire

I have been retired for just over 8 years. At first I felt really lost. The routine of every day life was gone, so too was chatting with all my customers, fulfilling their orders and providing them with the best service. I used to love going into my office each day, turning on the computer and getting started.

Now there was a huge void.

My daughter had been telling me for years it was time to sell the business retire and do all the things that I couldn’t do while in full time work. Now that had happened, I really didn’t like it at all.

Ken had always been interested in South America. When he was young he had the vision of going down the Amazon: too old for that now but not too old to take a trip. We set about planning our adventure which took us to Oaxaca in Mexico. I know, you are thinking how dangerous going there, but really it wasn’t.

Oaxaca is about an hour’s flight from

Mexico City and is a very popular cultural area. For economy we did a home stay with a Mexican family organized through a Spanish teaching school. I had the idea I was going to learn to speak some Spanish in the three weeks we had allotted. In fact, I spent the whole time at the school learning verbs but it fired my enthusiasm to learn.

It was an absolutely wonderful experience, the people, the archaeological sites, the music, the food, all so different. Here’s a link so you can take a look if you are interested:

Our decision to travel to Mexico set me on the path to speaking Spanish.

I’ll share those challenges with you in future Blog posts.