Live in my Underwear!
My suspicions were correct. As another annoying trickle of sweat began to run irritatingly down my chest, I always knew that I would make a perfect beach bum. Now, and as if to prove that fact, my life revolves around two beaches on different continents, Europe and Asia. Right now I am in the west coast of the UK and just a hundred yards from a 3-mile long white sand beach, with sand-dunes which seem to get higher every year, and the opportunity to walk for hours without ever coming close enough to talk to another person.
For me, the easy-life started in mid-February of 2020, when aged exactly sixty-three and two-thirds of a year old, and encouraged by my wife to do so; I decided to retire and to give up chasing money and the acquisition of the next buck.
Instead, I decided to focus my full attention on my passion for creative writing, only creative writing, and nothing but creative writing, so help me God! Yes, that is a request.
Although I’m an atheist, this is a sort of tongue in cheek prayer just in case someone is listening and wants to offer a helping hand. Creative writing is difficult. Let’s face it, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, and I need every bit of help possible. Over the past twenty years, and as an online marketer or IM for short, everything I have done has started with the written word. Sales letters, scripts for videos, articles, emails, Etc., all of them begin with the composition of words in my notebook or on my word processor. So, creative writing is just the progression of this skill and my homegrown passion for my retirement.
I’m not saying that I don’t want to earn money from creative writing, far from it, income to supplement my pension would be very nice indeed. My wife continually complains that she is a financially deprived spouse. Generally, due to our children, better known as the pets, a sizeable wedge of our living costs and outgoings head in their direction, it seems that there is NEVER a time when they don’t need or want something expensive. We are only just now are discovering that 20th-century children are a lifelong financial commitment! We quite naively presumed that like us, they would work and generate an income.
Yes, additional income and the desire for more is always something which sits guard at the back of my mind, and if that fails, I’m fortunate enough to have my wife continually remind me. However, if it never happens, I console myself with the fact I still have my writing which is an inexpensive hobby and an ideal portable business that allows me to work anywhere, with minimal overhead.
This year, the warm weather surprised us by turning up unannounced at the end of March. In the morning a thick layer of frost covered the ground, and my car like a layer of fine sugar on a sponge cake, and an hour later, I had my shirt off and was absorbing vitamin c. Today is 25th of April, and here on the West Coast of the UK, apart from a few cold and rainy days, it’s been with us ever since. My skin has become bronzed and suntanned and browner than that of my wife’s south-east Asian family. At night, I sleep under just a light sheet, unless my wife decides to dump and share our heavy quilt on me and leave me sweating. This just happens to be the same quilt which for most of the winter, she steals and keeps exclusively to herself.
I so love this warm almost Mediterranean weather, and as I write this first draft of today’s thoughts, I’m sitting in our small private garden, basting in the warm sun and wearing only a pair of summer shorts. I would prefer to wear nothing, but my family complain it would put them off their food, and my private bits get in the way when not hidden in my briefs. I spend as much time in this semi-naked state as the weather allows. I feel quite confident that the less clothing I wear, the more creative I become. I suppose I’m a true Sun worshipper. There is nothing I like more than spending at least an hour so of the day sitting in the sun, reading, writing and listening to classical music. I am easily pleased and don’t need much to make me very happy and contented in life.
One of my neighbours, just half my age but not nearly as handsome, yesterday teased me by saying, now you’re retired I suppose you have nothing to do all day? He was looking for a friendly confrontation; he got it! I’ve heard it said many times before when people retire that they can never understand how they found time to go to work. It’s true! Every morning I am up before the light and start my day. I usually begin by clearing space to write. By washing up and tidy the kitchen as the pets who stay up till the small hours generally leave it looking as though a hungry bear and two cubs had spent time there.
Half an hour later, again it’s looking like a show home, just in time for the family to start messing it up again. This process I repeat multiple times every day. I then make a cup of tea and retire to my office and my new 35-inch computer monitor, big screen, big letters, no need for strong glasses, life is good. My little bird’s nest office at the top of the house is a great place to focus and become productive, and usually, I’m up here until midday-ish. As soon as I’m disturbed by growls in my tummy and hunger, I retire for lunch. If the weather allows me to do so, I eat outside and read my Kindle. Or even in our large and warm conservatory. If not, I study the television, yes, studying not just watching, I’m learning and taking notice of techniques, and so TV study is now part of my daily ritual. I enjoy a hugely varied day and work seven days a week simply because I have a deep passion for my objective.
Round two, about mid-afternoon I start working again. Armed with the knowledge of how the day is going, I generally write in my journal freehand and with a fountain pen. Journal is a well-disguised excuse for allotting time for thought of my moans, groans, and occasional observations, which I now smugly refer to as flash fiction as it sounds so much more intellectual. On an average day, I write between two and five thousand words, depending upon if I’m writing by hand, on the computer, or, much faster, using voice-activated software.
I generally spend my time reading, writing, rewriting and learning until around six in the evening, at which time I shower. My wife and conscience in life is my continual reminder that I smell; I’m so lucky to have her performing this critical role in my life. Then comes the hardest part of my day, I take a stroll down the beach or the pathway on top of the sea defences, yes, I am extraordinarily indolent and dislike physical exercise. [Note to myself: should be more of this!] This concludes my working day, and generally an hour later I prepare my food. Why do I do it? Simple, because I’m fat, and my wife makes excellent food that continues to keep me plump. So, I take responsibility for preparing my diet personally, but still, I remain fat. Bollocks!
I spend the evening eating my food and watching more TV. Yes, and generally as my children find difficulty in sharing more than grunts with me, the flatscreen has become my closest of friends. As I sit in front of it, I laugh and make mental notes on how to write better. I would like to stay awake later than I do. I suppose this has everything to do with my great age and lack of fitness. Still, at around nine, and however engaging the program I’m watching is, I start to lose interest, and my thoughts become consumed by sleep, and I begin tuning in on my comfortable mattress.
At this point, I head upstairs, but on the way, I usually stop off in the office to tease my wife, as this is where she can be found at this time of the evening, struggling to write her thesis. [Note to myself: be more helpful to my wife!] By 10 o’clock, I’m in bed, and generally snoring quite quickly after this, especially in these warm summer months.
My lifestyle in the UK from April till mid-October is predictable, but when the weather becomes less Clement. Then, migration becomes my main objective and to head off to the lovely island of Cebu in the Philippines. You probably have already guessed, I married a Filipina, not just for her dusky feminine beauty, or quite amazing Oriental cuisine and skill in the kitchen. Or even her kind and loving nature, (SARCASM), but in the hope that when I retired, I could spend the winter living in her beautiful little tropical island. (SUCCESS!) For the last few years, we, or should I say SHE, has been building for us a cosy residence next to the sea.
I was going to say house, but it’s not a house. Instead, it’s folly and closely imitates a castle which I have named ‘Fort San Sala’ Sala being her family name! The name generation not so much because the residence is large, but because my wife has somewhat eccentric tastes. She decided to surround the third-floor garden terrace with battlements which are an excellent defence in case the neighbours ever become hostile. A miniature white castle is the last thing you would expect to see in this tropical location, especially one flying above it a large union jack. To the east, ‘Fort San Sala’ is overshadowed by high towering green and vegetation-covered mountains. To the west, and just metres in front of our Asian home is another beautiful sandy beach with natural palm tree casting shadows, blue sea and lush green outlying tropical islands. The variety of colours is stunning.
Here, heat is not a problem, escaping it and hiding from the sun is the main preoccupation of most local inhabitants, as the temperature even at night, rarely drops below twenty 25c. With the friendly chatter and small talk of neighbours, and noisy motorbikes buzzing their way along the beach road, this will be a very different way of life to the UK, or, will it? I am sure; however, I will still be working seven days a week, up before the dawn and following pretty much the same routine which I look forward to with a passion daily. Whether I’m sitting on the beach, annoying the neighbours, or sitting writing in my yet to be built rooftop garden office (HINT, to my wife), there is one thing of which I am confident.
I will only be wearing shorts!