Winter Playlist

I hate Winter. I also secretly think everyone else does; they’re just better at kidding themselves than I am. If, like me, you’d rather hide inside until it’s at least warm enough to not have to wear scarves and gloves…

Michelle Payne, Stevie Payne and the race that made me think

Op shop on Monday (charity shop to you Brits) looking for a hat; Melbourne cup on Tuesday, wearing it.  Glorious day, my hat passed muster, I didn’t get lost on the drive into Melbourne and no need for the Uniqulo gilet … Continue reading

The baking, the washing and learning from John C Bogle

Preparing for Robbie Williams in Armadale

Preparing for Robbie Williams in Armadale

Well I have been on my adventure for a little while now. Piper and I are settling into our respective roles. Mine involve baking and cooking; Piper’s involve eating and washing up (from time to time).

Today is turning into a lovely day (after a breezy start), which makes it a good drying day; hence the decision to do the washing.   Baking leaves me time to surf the net, to check out Facebook (to see who liked my Robbie Williams photos) and to review homework feedback (from assignment 1 of my online writing course).

IMG_1263 3I have a carrot cake in the oven, which is taking longer than expected – perhaps too many carrots – and I want to head out for a walk along the beach shortly so I decided to update you on my progress while I wait.

I am starting to better understand my situation and my challenge; I have been looking at blogs, books, magazines in a quest to shape my thinking.   To keep me company today I have the TV on in the background and Richard E Grant is doing a programme about New Orleans and the hotels there.

Richard heads over to a restaurant called Dooky Chase’s to interview Leah Chase, who is the chef there. This place is a very big deal and not just for the cooking. In the 1960’s this was one of the only public places where people of all races could meet to discuss strategy for the local Civil Rights Movement. Although illegal the popularity of the place meant that local law enforcement had to turn a blind eye.

Leah Chase, Chef at Dookey Chase's

Leah Chase, Chef at Dookey Chase’s

She is talking to Richard about her cooking, the fact that ‘white’ restaurants now all serve gumbo and how much has changed over her lifetime (she is 93); and then she says something that really resonates with me.



He says to her “So you won’t ever retire then” and she replies with absolute conviction “Of course not, I still have work to do”.

She has so much energy and sparkle it is clear that she loves what she is doing.

To find my ‘retirement’ work is my challenge . My situation is that I have the time to explore what that is for me, and perhaps help others in the process.

So what have I learned so far:

  • I don’t want to retire but I do want to change how I work. To do something that contributes, makes life better for people (including me)
  • I need to better understand my finances (I have been doing a lot of reading about passive investing and why ‘costs’ are important to pay attention to).  I really enjoyed listening to John C Bogle talk about investment.  I actually think I am capable of understanding it (soon).
  • There doesn’t seem to be an appealing word or an active word for retirement (if you know of a good term please let me know)
John C Bogle, founder of Vanguard

John C Bogle, founder of Vanguard.  First person to make me laugh when talking about investments.

So my challenge is underway and my situation is that I am lucky to have time to step back and think.

I am yet to crack the goal of running each day.  (Well that is harder than understanding finance).



PS. I have also found a really interesting blog for anyone who is interested to retire early, and I do mean really early. It is called Early Retirement Extreme, and I have enjoyed all of the postings I have read to date.

Time to think about life, the universe and what’s next for me

Sunrise, Ocean Grove

Sunrise, Ocean Grove

Over the last couple of years my life has changed a lot.  The death of my parents has changed how I am looking at my own life and the way I view the future.  I would love to say that everything has become clear and I am now on the path to my life’s true purpose.  I think that I am in the right area (helping people to realise more of their potential) but how I do that is less clear.  Ironic I know.  So I have decided to take my own medicine and take some time to think about what I want to do with the next 10 (?) years, starting with some thinking over the next couple of months.

I am very used to my work creating limits and boundaries, real or imagined, and this has created structure and a sense of purpose; places to be and people to see, stuff to do.  Recently I used some tools related to the Eyes Wide Opened ‘What makes me ME’ course and there is one exercise called ‘the living landscape’ that really stopped me in my tracks.  When I tried to visualise my future it was very hazy (and in relation to my past, very short).  On the plus side I have got some breathing space to think about all of this.  I didn’t take a gap year, I worked my University holidays and I don’t take time out without having a strong Plan B.  This does feel a bit odd.

So almost by accident I find myself in a small coastal town called Barwon Heads in Victoria, Australia.  I talked to my friend Pennie about what to do and she generously offered their house as a place to think.  So here I am.  I wanted to experiment with writing;  I don’t think that there is a novel in me but I have a friend’s notes about his life to work with, my ideas for an eBook to formulate.

I am lucky enough to be spending time with Pennie and Ian’s daughter Piper, who is staying here for a couple of weeks.  I have known Piper since she was 7, now she is 15 and taller than me.  You see time does go quickly.  We are going to a concert in Melbourne this afternoon, Pattie Smith tribute to the album Horses.  We need to go, so I will sign off for now and I will keep you posted on my musings.

Barwon Heads with Piper

Barwon Heads with Piper

Expat deciding, expat sorting, expat leaving

Expat leaving.  This is a headline you get used to seeing on supermarket noticeboards, on email subject headings – often from people you have met a couple of times.  Sometimes from people you know well and are really close to.  It is always interesting … Continue reading

What a wonderful world, a year has passed and the power of youth




It has been a year since my dad died, and I think of him almost every day. There are things I want to tell him (that I am feeling happy and settled), things he would want to know got resolved (that my client paid my final bill) and things I know he would have liked to see (the world cup). We played what a wonderful world at his funeral and dad really did enjoy the world and enjoy every experience that came his way. All of this week I have been working with a group of students from the Royal Docks Business school from the University of East London who are here on a global scholarship. The photo on this post is of my dad during his national service when he was about the age of the students who have been in Bahrain, many are from the part of London he was born and so it put me in mind of the amazing power and resilience of youth – and how being connected to young people and learning about how they see the world and what they want to do is truly inspiring to me. So dad just know that I miss you and that you live on in my mind as someone who loved life, saw the funny side (of most things) and who started life in East London and his ‘Global Scholarship’ was national service in India. He told me that his officer training and the experience he had in the army was life changing, it opened up the world in lots of ways – I hope that the trip to Bahrain has played a part in doing the same for the 10 students who came courtesy of their Lord Noon global scholarship opportunity.

Mum you have been amazing this year, I am so proud of how you have coped and pulled things together for yourself.  Looking forward to spending the summer with you.  This photo was of mum celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary a couple of months before Dad died.  Amazing to think that a year has passed.

mum dressed up and ready to party

mum dressed up and ready to party