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Dispatches from retirement


I spent a fair amount of time on Friday trying to track down the ‘feast’ referred to on an old postcard I found for ‘Honley Feast and Sing’. I let loose the heavy artillery of the internet age, and searched Wikipedia and interrogated Google. I even push against the limits of new technology and, using voice command, asked my iPhone to "tell me all about the Huddersfield Feast". The response added nothing to my knowledge of possible local holidays, although it did enlighten me on some of the salacious facts about the activities of a local priest.

Google 0 : Travellers Rest 1

A poster for the Honley Feast and Sing

But then the following Saturday night, I was sat in a pub on the far side of Huddersfield, enjoying a drink and a meal with a party of delightful in-laws, and I decided to float the question among the gathering, asking whether anyone knew about a local feast that took place in September. With the speed of the very broadest of broadband, the answer came back: I must be referring to the Honley Feast which did, and indeed still does, take place each September.

So well done the Travellers' Rest in Brockholes, you have beaten Google at its own game. You serve up a far better pint as well.

Once in a Blue Pension

I was chatting to the chap next door one morning and we were complementing each other on living to see another day (it's the kind of thing you do when you get old).

We were saying that one of the joys of retirement was that one day could happily be like any other – there was no need for high days and holidays when all days were equally high. But, he reminded me, one month was not necessarily like any other, because of the peculiarity of the British State Pension system.

While most occupational and private pensions are paid monthly, and therefore on the same date each month, the State Pension is paid every four weeks. One of the consequences of this is that to engage in any kind of financial planning, you need both a calculator and a set of astrological tables. But one advantage, we agreed, was that very occasionally you got a single month that would include two State Pension payments – the pension equivalent of a blue moon. We went our separate ways – he to his garden me to walk the dog – trying to think of a name we could give this new phenomenon. The best I have been able to come up with is a ‘blue pension’.

Uncle Harry looks a bit off colour

The problem with Photoshop is that it is addictive. You start off with just a little adjustment – something to take the edge off, something to get you through the night – and you finish up getting sucked further and further into the mire.

There might be nothing wrong with a little re-framing, a bit of selective cropping, or the removal of a minor scratch or two, but then you start thinking, ‘while I am here, why don't I get rid of that troublesome mole Auntie Annie was plagued with all her life?’  

A picture of Alan Burnett's Uncle Harry and family

Then there is Uncle Harry: looking less than his colourful self in this old black and white print. He wouldn't want remembering by history like this – if nothing else he was always thought of in the family as a colourful character.

Why don't I just change the colour balance a tiny bit, and while I am at it, why don't I just increase the hue?

And that is the problem with addiction. You wake up in the morning knowing that you went a bit too far last night and wondering why poor Uncle Harry looks a bit off-colour.

What does a typical week of your retirement look like? We’d love to hear from you so feel free to share your comments with us below.

This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.

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