What will you do when you’ve retired?

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Al fresco dining

Al fresco dining

I retired a week ago and so far, I have to say, retirement’s been good to me! But what will I do when the novelty has worn off? Because people keep telling me the novelty WILL wear off and I WILL get bored. Hmm, I don’t think so but – just in case it does- it probably wouldn’t do any harm to start formulating some plans.

So here they are, my plans for retirement (in no particular order because I don’t have to bother about that kind of thing any more):
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Entertain kids for free in the school holidays

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It won’t have escaped your notice that the school holidays are fast approaching – or for some people they’ve already begun. For many parents this fills the heart with dread: the squabbles, the boredom – and the expense. Grandparents are also racking their brains, whether the grandchildren are coming to stay or whether you’re helping out with child care during the school break. Yes, you love to see the children, but keeping them occupied and happy can be a real challenge, especially if you need to do so without breaking the bank.

As a matter of fact, money isn’t the real issue: you could spend a lot of money trying to entertain and occupy kids, only to have them still whinging and moaning that they’re bored. The truth is that a bit of imagination and preparation will ultimately contribute more towards a happy holiday than a whole pile of cash will.

The ideas below are free – or very nearly free, often reusing or recycling items the children already have. Many of them will fill hours or even a whole day in a very enjoyable way. I’m not going to pretend you won’t need to get involved: most of these need an adult at least to set them up and start things off (although obviously this depends to some extent on the age of the children). But what we’re talking about here is spending quality time with the children, which has to be better than sorting out the arguments!
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Use your leftovers

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FoodA couple of years ago, I was coming out of a tube station in south London when I was confronted by an interviewer with a microphone and a cameraman.

Do you use up leftovers or do you throw them away?

I was asked. I’d like to be able to tell you that I launched into an eloquent speech itemising all the food items I have left over and exactly how I make use of them, with a few tempting recipes clearly explained along the way so that TV viewers would be amazed and inspired by my resourcefulness.

Unfortunately, though, my mind went completely blank and I just mumbled some nonsense which had no chance of ever being broadcast. Which was a shame because, as I later found out, this had been my big chance to make an impression on BBC News! And, more to the point, I DO consistently use my leftovers and rarely throw food away.
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