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Working after retirement: A life on the ocean wave (part 4)

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The art of paddle holding

The next day of the cruise, we visited Tangier. The tour guide was a sturdily built chap, wearing a fez. “These people are your responsibility,” he said crossly, and proceeded to lead 43 people of a certain age into the Kasbah. After five minutes, he turned and shouted “you’re not holding the blooming  paddle high enough. How do I know where the end is?”
I spent the next two hours dragging people out of shops and counting them while holding a paddle in the air. All that time, I couldn’t help thinking “I’m a professor of psychology...” Well, I was! I didn’t lose anyone, I don’t think so anyway... losing a passenger is probably frowned upon.

An unexpected change

Back on board, the captain advised us there was a storm coming and he was going to cancel the last two stops and run for home. No-one seemed to mind.
The cruise director asked me to do an extra talk as there was an extra sea day, so I put together one on treating the mentally ill. Amazingly, the lounge was full for this – standing room only.
It was the first time I’ve delivered a talk hanging on to a lectern that’s moving across the stage. Fortunately, the grand piano was chained down so I didn’t get run over. It went well.
I might have had a bit of a stereotype about people over 70 and I apologise for this, my audience were really interested, enthusiastic and keen listeners – with this crowd, working after retirement was shaping up pretty well.
It was the first time I’ve delivered a talk hanging on to a lectern that’s moving across the stage.
So, despite nearly walking out of the departure lounge in Southampton, I actually rather enjoyed my time onboard the cruise. Apart from anything else, the food was excellent (a huge emphasis on hygiene) and the crew very friendly. Some of the passengers said they spend a lot of time on cruise ships, as some companies (like this one) do a ‘buy one get one free’ deal.
“Cheaper than home”, said one chap in the bar. He’d paid £10 a day to get all the beer he wanted, and apologised for going to sleep in one of my talks. “Try to get early ones,” he said, “I need to get my money’s worth in the bar”.

Time for reflection

You don’t get paid for doing the talks, but you do get the cruise for nothing, so working after retirement can be a good gig, as I believe they say these days. Once I’d returned home, the agent rang and offered me another one on the same ship this October, this time for fifteen days to the Canaries.
I need to do eight talks but he said he’ll try to make sure I get at least one a year, so this does seem like a pretty good project for retired life – keeps the old mind active and gets me out!
Have you found yourself in circumstances you could never have previously imagined, in retirement? Do tell… we love a good story! 
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.


Enjoyed your story. Seems strange to be talking about working after retirement, but I guess retirement is just a new chapter. A chance to do something else other than what you've always done. Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure.

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