Pensions soon. The UK state pension is pretty measly. I know I worked in the Republic of Ireland for a bit, but some years back I bought extra, so I get the full state pension without any bells or whistles. £113 a week wouldn’t keep much going if that was all. How do people manage on it?
Then there’s the pension from 14 years in UK universities. That’s a bit better. On top of that comes a pension from 15 years at the College of Surgeons in Dublin. Euro – so that’s affected by exchange rates, Euroland politics, and different tax regimes. What a joy. Anyhoo, all that might add up to something reasonable until western capitalism collapses. Being so cheerful keeps me going.
At some time in the future I start to get a miniscule pension from three years in the Church of Ireland (euro again, maybe enough for the occasional bottle of gin), and some sort of Irish State Pension. Euro again. but worth having, for it’s more generous than the UK state pension. Finally, if I don’t die first, there’s a tiny pension from the C of E. Mind you, I’ve no intention of giving up here for a while yet. We like Burton and this incumbency so far is congenial. There’s a danger that some of my pronouncements may fall foul of church thought police, but I’m not too bothered.
I’ve not been a good husband of my financial resources. I find it so much easier to spend than to earn. It’s a disease I have. I can always sell my body, or teach. I could write a real humdinger of novel about Protestant shenanigans in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom mountains, fictional of course. So the world’s my lobster as Brian Potter might have said.
First we need somewhere to live. But where?
A son, daughter and son-in-law in Dublin, pensions in euro – makes sense, doesn’t it? But Dublin is expensive. We’ve tried Ireland twice. Didn’t someone say something profound about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result next time … ?
A son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in Texas. A big part of me would be off to the US like a shot, and not only for family. I love the feeling of unconstrained-ness, wide spaces, open-ness, expansiveness (Hebrew salvation), opportunities for everyone no matter what age. It’s a pity that a car is a total must-have, but I could live with that. Oh, think of the places to visit!
The cost of health insurance is a bit of a downer though, especially with SWMBO having type 2 diabetes (as yet I am, though deaf, blind and fat, with a dodgy back the result of a weightlifting incident some years ago, mercifully free of disease), so the NHS is something of a twitch upon the thread.
The only place where I feel I know every inch of land is the area bounded by Tebay, Mallerstang, Pennines, Scottish border and river Caldew. That would be a possibility except that property prices are quite high (the M6 corridor). We like Norfolk, but so does everyone else. We’d like to be by the sea, but so would everyone else. Round here is good and we like it.
What I’d really like is a cottage right next to a busy mainline railway. Oxenholme say, or Shallowford near Stafford to choose two places at random. Sitting in the garden surrounded by dogs I could say ‘there goes the 0830 from Euston; a bit late today’ or whatever.
Wherever it is, it needs to be handy for trains to Birmingham or Manchester airports. Answers on a postcard please, no prizes.