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Flaxen posted a little conundrum in the comments to my last brainfart –

Here is the conundrum, Granddad. I’m seriously thinking of retiring at the grand age of 62. This means I have the next 14 months to fulfill my tenure. My poor father died just three months before retirement- very sad. I would like a few years free of work’s absurdity and contemplate my navel, in my own free time. I’m thinking of moving to New Zealand’s South Island. Somewhere sleepy and quiet which suits my contemplative nature; nothing too busy or totally serene. In this regard I might have a problem. Regardless of where we hunker-down it will have to be within an hours drive of a major hospital due to my wife’s medical problems. Anyway, after working very hard for most of my life, I deserve a little time in the sun, until oblivion intervenes.

I had much the same conundrum myself.

There were two main reasons for considering a move. 

The first was money.  The Manor is worth a lot for various reasons, but of course it may have a value but it is worthless to us.  Offering a payment in the form of a square yard or two of land doesn’t work.  By moving we could buy a place a lot cheaper and with the difference we would have money to burn.

The second was that this place has a strange layout and is rather old.  The age means constant repairs and the layout is tricky in the event that one [or both] of us requires some form of wheeled assistance to get from room to room.

We considered two destinations – France and the south of Ireland, maybe in West Cork.

France was an attractive proposition.  It had beautiful scenery [in the area that we used to frequent], we could afford it easily and best of all they have long warm summers, which as Flaxen points out is something we deserve.  However there were two disadvantages to France.  One was the language.  I know we could get by with our current smattering and doubtless our skills would improve, but I don’t think we would ever get to the stage of casual conversation and banter.  The second was isolation.  If something happened to one or the other of us, the “survivor” would be totally isolated in a foreign land, hundreds of miles from where we consider “home”.

The West Cork option was different.  They speak much the same language, and property there is considerably cheaper than here.  We had a bit of a health scare a couple of years ago, so like Flaxen we want to be near[ish] to a hospital and it would be handy to be able to walk easily to a shop on tired old bones.  The area around Schull has all those qualities and none of the French disadvantages.  We could afford a small place that Herself could get around, that would require a lot less maintenance and we’d have tons of cash in the bank, though we wouldn’t gain the sunshine.

We decided to stay put, for the time being at least.

There are two huge reasons for staying.  One is the sentimental thing – I built most of this gaff [the bit that doesn’t need constant repairs] with my own fair hands so I literally know every brick and block in the place.  The second is that this really is “home”.  I can’t go down to the village without lengthy chats in every shop, and my visits have become much longer since I rejoined the library [Herself thinks I fancy the librarian but in fact it’s the other way around, naturally].  Our friends and family are close at hand and we are just part of the scenery.

The second reason is probably more important.  Moving house is a massive undertaking, what with people traipsing around the place making sarcastic remarks, having to deal with solicitors and banks, waiting for phone calls that never come and ultimately shifting all our stuff across country.  We have moved house two or three times, and each move knocked years off our lifespan [it’s a wonder Public Health haven’t copped that one?].

So it looks like we are here for the long haul.

At least until we run out of money or health.

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Location Location Location — 10 Comments

  1. My father retired after his second heart attack at 58. The third one got him at 61.

    I retired at 52 and I’ve outlived him. Had a big house in an expensive part of England. Sold it and downsized to a less expensive area. Never regretted it.

    The only advise I’d give someone retiring is retire and don’t make any major decisions for at least 18 months. Give yourself a chance to settle into it. 

    Oh! And don’t join any committees because once people know you’ve just retired, all the clubs will descend on you like ticks on a turd…

    • Mine retired at 65.  His life’s ambition was to build and own his own house.  He bought this place and between the two of us, we built it.  As soon as it was finished, he died.  I still feel his presence around the place, in a very nice way.

      Completely agree about making decisions.  I was lucky to do it gradually, by starting my business and then winding it down slowly over the years, so I sort of eased into retirement.  Retirement is a huge change in lifestyle but a great one.  Very highly recommended!

  2. I retired at 60, and I’ve never regretted  it. I worked for 43 years as a marine engineer and spent a vast amount of time away from my family. Now i have grandkids and have the time to see them on a regular basis. They are the family that I never saw. 

    Although I was obviously much missed by my outfit that I retired from:

    *Ring Ring*

    ME: Hello?

    Company servant: Hello Nick. Just ringing to ask you to send us your ID card and your anti gas respirator.

    ME: OK


    Bearing in mind that I was the longest serving person for the company in it’s entire history of just over 100 years. 


    • Heh!  I have a slightly different distinction – every company I ever worked for [bar the last one] closed down within a year of my leaving.  I suppose technically the department I worked for in the last job disappeared, as the whole thing was “outsourced”.  I am quite proud of that little record.

  3. I have relatives in South Island NZ. Been there twice and it really is a lot like the UK, though I’d hardly describe it as especially sunny. They made many cock-ups with one twit bringing over sparrows – hateful creatures that have thrived in massive swarms. And gorse bushes, there they grow to huge heights. Medical facilities in NZ are very good indeed with excellent facilities in Christchurch as pretty good in Dunedin.

    The further south you go the colder it gets and as my cousin, who lives in Invercargill, pointed out their southerly wind comes straight off the South Pole.

    Dunedin is of course an alternate name for Edinburgh, so many street names are identical. Otherwise I thought it a shit hole and was well happy to get out and away.

    Looked at settling there myself but didn’t enjoy being so isolated, they really do have a distinctly insular attitude – and their television was awful. Plus the cost of a flight to Europe was very brutal (I anticipated doing a return every year or so).

    You’ll know of course that the east coast of South Island can be hit by earthquakes and Christchurch got nailed a couple of years back. Bear that tidbit in mind.

    Where I really felt fantastic was the west coast. Greymouth isn’t that wonderful to look at but the folks were grand. There’s a very good hospital there and the original flora and fauna is the norm. (They call it “bush”). Loads of native wildlife and those pesky parrots that enjoy tires as well as tire valves, plastic trim and wipers.

    Instead chose to spend most of the year in Cyprus. TV is not much use unless you speak Greek, so most expats have satellite dishes or mobile internet to watch the UK bumph. Property is currently cheap as chips (darn nuisance). Best of all is UK pensioners get free access to local hospitals, where 95% of the staff speak fluent English and the pension goes up each year same as in the UK (they don’t do that for people who have retired to NZ by the way). https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-if-you-retire-abroad/rates-of-state-pension

    Oh that and the fact they tax pensioners at 5% after a personal allowance that’s about Euro 11 grand. married couples get double of course, so quite a few Brits here do not pay tax. Unfortunately they also tax deposit interest at a whopping 30%. And dividends at 15%.

    The big problem with relocating isn’t about finding expats, they’re numerous. It’s finding good tradesmen. But that applies anywhere I’d imagine.

    • I very nearly ended up in New Zealand many many years ago.  My sister emigrated to Aukland in the late 60s and strongly suggested I follow.  At the time I was in college and the temptation was very strong as according to the Sister, the opportunities were great.  I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had taken her up on that suggestion…..

  4. French folk are by and large insular or at the other extreme give them an inch and they take a yard!  We’d invite neighbours who knock on the door in for a cuppa but they don’t reciprocate but will happily help themselves to the tools in your garage if you are foolish enough to leave the gate unlocked!  As for finding good tradesmen its the same in France as everywhere else.  Initially when you eventually find one they do a good job but if you want a follow up you get asked if its part of the one they’ve just done.  If you answer “no, its another one” then they say they’ll ring you when they’re free.  For that you will need an answering machine because they ring once, if they ring at all, and if you are not in to receive their call then that’s it, tough!  We spent a couple of thousand euros having new windows installed by a local firm.  All seemed very nice and friendly and were efficient, turned up when they said and did a good job.  However, when one of the locks broke on one of the doors which we inherited we thought we’d go back to that nice company who did the windows to see if they would help.  We got there and told the chap the problem to which he told us “Non!”  and shut the door in our faces.  It happens all the time and its not just us 😀  So much for customer services!  On the plus side there’s the weather.  We intend to move on from France, hopefully in the near future before we enter our dotage. 😀

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