Thursday, May 29, 2008

Planning the Future

Billy and I have talked a lot about what our autmn years might look like. In Canberra last week I think we agreed that we are well on the track to where we wanted to be. Bill is still considering his contract work - enjoying it and not really wanting to give up the additional security that his income ensures. At the same time there is the pressure to be enjoying the lifestyle that we have anticipated at Ballina. At this stage he is discussing a new contract with his employer but he is not sure yet of the timeframe.
I felt the same when I was working in Cancer Australia last year. I really enjoyed the work atmosphere, the challenges and the successes and the wonderful opportunities for making a change. However I was anxious to move on to the next step where my life was more contemplative and I had the time to think more about things - I imagined a time where I could just be me - rather than be someone doing something! I am almost there!!
In planning our retirement I think I changed my philosphy from not considering what I needed and then working out how much income we needed to support that (especially when I realised it would take many more years of work!) , to looking at my current income and considering how I can live on that....and I did! It is a challenge, and will be more challenging when Bill stops work, but I am sure we will be able to manage and be very happy. Bill says we might have to eat fish several times a week but we will get by!
Since settling here I have endeavoured to keep my life simple - this has not been easy with the many friends I have made and all their little projects! Not to mention my Aunt Dympna who is an endless ball of energy and hopes I might keep up with her! I have not made any commitments but feel I am doing my part in all the activities I do join. I was quickly invited to assist in the liturgy at my new Parish and our local Crowley mass - and I really enjoy that. I am working on the card stall with some wonderfully creative ladies for our Crowley fete in mid June. My job is to creat and print and cut the inserts for the cards they have made. It is keeping me busy. I am reading again and get through one or two books a week. Now I have recommenced this blog I hope to do some other writing and maybe get my book started! I have joined the local U3A and hope to do a creative writing course shortly.
Right now I am busy planning a relaxing weekend for Bill. He arrives on Friday evening - I will drive to the Gold Coast about one hour away to pick him up and he returns late on Sunday evening. I am so excited about having him here with me again and knowing that he will be back again next week for another few days. We have an apointment with our new solicitor to finalise our wills on the Tuesday and it will give Bill a few more days to check out the fishing. He has bought himself a fancy boat to go fishing with and is still deciding how and when to get it to Ballina. It is currently parked in Ally and Joe's back yard where Shilo is keeping guard on it.
We had a lovely rainy day today - it commenced during the night and I enjoyed hearing the rain on the roof. It has cleared up now so I might see if I can find someone for a walk on the beach.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back to Ballina and The Shutters.

I arrived back to beautiful weather and sunshine after a rainshower. I felt like I had come home when I walked back into my door. a/Dymp had met me at the airport and filled me in on all the gossip on our way home. We still had lots to talk about so I suggested a walk along the beach. It was lovely to feel the sand between my toes. The gentle waves with white tops were a sight to see and did wonders for my jet lag.

We have decided to call our new home The Shutters - I love our new window dressing and they are called Vogue Shutters!! We installed them in the lounge and dining rooms and the bedrooms and bathroom. They are very functional as well as very attractive. While I was away the electrician put in a few extra powerpoints for me so it is now all organised. I feel my home is settled and looking forward to Billy coming next Friday to spend some more time here. I have invited friends for a dinner on Saturday night and already looking at the cookbooks for something special.

This is the view from our patio. Bill has already planned a lemon tree for the patio and I am looking for an orange jasmine - also known as a muraya - in a pot so we can have wonderful perfume from the blossoms and lemons from our tree. We have never had a home without a lemon tree so looking forward to getting it all potted in. I am hoping you will be able to see it from the kitchen. We are still looking at furniture for the patio - it is a very pleasant area to sit and relax and the birds and tropical plants are new and interesting for me.
Looking forward to entertaining you all in our new home - we have a wallunit bed in our guest bedroom that is for our special guests!! Maybe you might spend a night or two relaxing here??

Monday, May 26, 2008

Leaving Canberra

Today I leave for Ballina again. I have had a busy, invigorating and enjoyable stay here in the National Capital. I have dined out at excellent restaurants with Bill; attended the Russian Ballet's version of Swan Lake; visited friends; had a great dinner & night out with my old bookclub members; visited my old workplace; considered and rejected a new job offer; attended Dante's first birthday party - in three sessions!; attended the National Art Gallery to see a Monet to Turner exhibition on landscapes; met old friends for coffee and lunch - and enjoyed some quality family time with Bill, Ally, Joe and Dante. I am going home to Ballina really looking forward to that but appreciating just how much I enjoy Canberra and all it has to offer. For my last dinner tonight we dined in after lunch at the National Museum where we took some great photos of autumn in Canberra and the lake. I cooked a roast lamb with old fashioned veges and Dante ate it all. We followed up with some Margaret River chocolate and a game of scrabble. Ally won hands down so I need to practise a bit more!! Bill drove me to the airport at 6am. It was very cold and I wanted to bring him with me! Goodbye Canberra! See you on Friday Billy...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Canberra Again

Hello Everyone,
Well I really did escape! Loved all your responses but since my first blog I have retired from work - really - and retired to another city! It has taken all my resources, physical, emotional and financial!! Bill and I are now comfortably ensconced in a wonderful three bedroom unit in Crowley Village at Ballina, northern NSW. You will hear more about our move and our life at Ballina as this blog progresses.
I am going to change the name of the Blog to "Our Autumn Years" and the focus will be how Bill and I are living and enjoying our retirement - or the autumn of our life! Bill is still finishing off his contract in Canberra and we are both commuting from Ballina to Canberra as time and finances permit!

This week I am back in Canberra - we are staying with Ally and Joe and about to celebrate Dante's first birthday on Friday. I fly back to Ballina on Monday for another few weeks until Bill comes up at the end of May and again Mid June for a few days.

Autumn is a wonderful time in Canberra and we are expecting our retirement to be the same. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since we commenced our plan to retire at Southport several years ago. Those plans were slightly revised and on the 7th March Bill and I got the keys to our own home unit at Ballina and moved in. The moving in was such fun and we had all our family around to help us. Moving to Ballina has taken us much closer to most of or siblings and it is somewhere where I am sure the children and grandchildren will all like to visit.

More about Ballina and "the Shutters" in the next post.

Gemma Ann