Friday, 25 June 2021


Flaxen at Bay   (window?)

And so it has come to pass (wind), Flaxen has entered the hallowed halls of: 'Oldus Fartus Maximus'. Last Tuesdaytide I received my first old age pension payment, or as the New Zealand more prosaically calls it, Superannuation- I'm officially, superannuated. Tis a landmark; a mark in the road which I have left far, far behind/beyond. 

The 'Gold Card' will soon come in my letter box allowing me to travel free on public transport, but not during rush hour. Can't have the oldies cluttering up the buses and trains smelling of peppermint and piss. Though to be fair, this appears sound, public transport is busy enough at certain times and apparently 'Old Folk' are notoriously early risers. As I'm stuck on a busy commuter train twice a week, the last thing I need is to stand two hours because the local pensioners rise at 5.00am and would like to do a spot of shopping in the Big City. Tarry a while and catch the 9.20am to Wello, instead. Early rising is one aspect of age that I haven't embraced, yet. On this particular Thursday morn I awoke at 09.15am, and am currently languishing in bed as I write this blog, at 9.50am, drinking tea and farting with gusto. I dare say I will languish under the covers until about 11.30am. I'm not  a 'Night Owl' either, invariably I'm fast asleep by 10.00pm. For some reason, and if there is no need for early arising, I can sleep for at least ten hours, sometimes more. My big brain needs rest, rest assured. 

Apparently, the Gold Card (of Doom) entitles me to discounts from stores throughout the land. Unfortunately, these stores are not the big brand monoliths spread far and wide. The stores on the list are small affairs indeed. Moreover, very few of the selected outlets are within my township. In other words: The Gold Card is bloody useless.   

I reached 65 in February, this year. For reasons, that lie deep in my tortured psyche, I didn't apply for my pension until late May. To be more exact, my son submitted the application. He had become infuriated at my procrastination and applied for me. Not as daft as it sounds as he currently works for the government department that deals with this sort of thing. I just had to supply various primary documents duly countersigned by a Justice of the Peace. My delay has meant I've missed out on a couple months of 'free money'. More fool me. As they say (who?) - "There is no fool like an old fool". Wisdom is not a necessarily a companion of age and age sometimes travels alone.

 I've met many 'Oldies' (Twats) who are willing to espouse 'wisdom', however they end up regurgitating hackneyed aphorisms, of scant regard. They look so earnest as they dispense their drivel/dribble and expect you to react as if they have just spouted the distilled sagacity of the whole Western world. If I ever start to talk to strangers in the supermarket I commend Woden to take my poor soul. Although on the upside, I can now happily piss myself in the 'Exotic Lard' aisle at the local supermarket and shout, "Arrrrrse", very loudly with impunity. What can the management do under such circumstances? I can always pull out the Gold Card as mute testament to my decrepitude and mental infirmity. I can hear them muttering: "Poor old sod, he should be in a home". Ten minutes later I'll be driven home by the local, on call, social worker. Once trapped in my presence I can randomly ramble about how, years ago, you could buy a whole pig's head for less than ten groats, etc.etc....     

As my regulars doth know, I'm semi-retired only working two days a week in the 'Big City'. My contract runs out mid-November and I've decided to call it a day. I will miss the pay and the intelligent discourse with colleagues, but it is time to go.      

The NZ pension is not particularly generous. I wonder how unprepared folks get by especially as rental property is exorbitant. In fact, the rent for a modest house would likely use the whole pension. I'm sure the government helps in these circumstances. Even so, unless you have other streams of income, you will be consigned to a life of unremitting poverty. Sadly, it appears that a lot of Kiwis are in this position. I'm okay financially as I also receive a pension from the UK. In addition, I  have savings and investments. I will not starve. I don't pay rent or a mortgage on my house. If desperate I could sell my house and land and downsize. I hope it never comes to that as our home is perfect for all our needs. We not going to be able to live the 'High Life' but we should be okay. Mrs. S has completely retired. She retired early due to health problems although she doesn't officially reach the age of retirement for a further six years.  

How will I keep busy after finally, fully retiring? This is a question I'm asked on a regular basis, and on balance, a reasonable one. Many folk appear bereft once retirement kicks in. Considering how much time and effort that goes into employment these days this is understandable, but avoidable. It seems obvious, but folk should plan ahead and introduce new hobbies and expand old interests. From my perspective, I will be fully engaged. Obviously I have my blogging activities to contend with and other writing assignments and I enjoy making things out of wood. I've appropriated/apportioned a good sixed space in the 'barn' as a workshop. This is well provisioned with benches, hand tools and power tools that I have accumulated over time. As mentioned before in this blog, I'm not particularly skilled, but I am determined and persistent. I'm currently engaged in fashioning a crossbow with a medieval mechanism. There is much to do on the property. The property is extensive and requires some maintenance. Lawns need a cutting and feeding. Even with a ride on mower this generally takes two days. Weeds need a weeding and flower beds need attending. I'm not a happy gardener but it has to be done. The business- I have started a modest 'sideshow' business with my son selling bows and archery equipment. This is doing well and takes up a surprising amount of time to organise and administer. We are only selling to NZ at the moment but hope to expand the business internationally. We have managed to secure selling rights from a European company and now act as their sole New Zealand representatives. And finally, I'm an avid reader of books. I'm very catholic in my tastes, eschewing fiction, and concentrate mainly on ancient history, military affairs, science, mathematics and theology. 

Seems I'm more busy now than when I was fully employed.                  

Toodly Pip, for now

The Reality?



  1. I was in a fortunate position and took 'early retirement' (aka voluntary redundancy) when it was offered. Some years later I was entitled to a 'bus pass' (the entitlement depends on a complicated bureaucratic compromise depending on your state retirement age or if you are living with someone who will shortly qualify for their own state retirement, bearing in mind that male and female retirement times are converging, and both progressively increasing).

    But that's not why I wrote... in most places you cannot use your bus pass for free travel before 09:30. And because many retired people are indifferent to the passage of time they often have to ask "am I too early?". Hence our collective name 'the twirlies'.

    I rarely use my bus pass, but it is handy if I want to go into the city for a meal and drinkies with friends.

  2. You could write, from the grumpy old male perspective, something like that lovely poem, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple." by Jenny Joseph.
    I suggest that you train Shagger to peep out from your wide open fly.
    Open flys are common amongst my contemporaries.

    1. 'Shagger peeping out from my flys'- And teeth marks in my scrotum. No Thanks.

  3. If you haven't done so already, check if you're also entitled to a State Pension addition on account of your UK NIC record - a number of countries have mutual arrangements, I think. If I'm wrong, sod it and sorry.

  4. "...Seems I'm more busy now than when I was fully employed..."

    Prior to retirement I frequently heard this from the retired but always thought "Yeah, right" or a similar sentiment. Once I retired I realised just how true it could be.

    1. At least I'll be doing stuff I enjoy. Tis time for me to retire fully. However, I don't rule out a little local part-time work in the future. Something simple like stacking supermarket shelves or similar.