Well more than just my usual normality actually, it's better than my "normal". Since getting back from Wales I have been trying to get into some kind of routine to find out what being retired actually feels like. So on Sunday and Monday I forced myself off the sofa to go out walking as the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Freezing cold - but I never mind the cold - with bright sunshine. And of course, being out in the fresh air blew away all the cobwebs and allowed me time to just daydream and think. Then Monday evening it was back to my weekly sewing club where I am now Madame la Présidente! I have to admit that I like routine, with maybe just the occasional "blips" like holidays and outings (though certainly not deaths), but generally, as I say, I like routine. I was a little scared what retirement and lack of routine would feel like so I knew that I would have to get a routine established pretty quickly. The other side of that coin, of course, is being careful not to sign up to too many activities where I would overcommit myself as I don't want to go down that road either.
Before Christmas I had spoken with a lady at my sewing club about a local yoga class that she attends in the next village. Before I quit work I tended to do things in Geneva as there are lots of well organized opportunities, but Geneva is very expensive and I knew I didn't want to get into a new routine of driving into Geneva all the time - that's what I was getting away from by retiring right! Anyway, I had planned to go with Geneviève to this Tuesday afternoon yoga class (now I'm a little old lady I won't be wanting to drive in the dark right?) but of course having to dash off to Wales meant that I missed the first two classes. Anyway, I went yesterday and I reckon I was the youngest one there by about 15 years!!! To my taste it could have been a little bit more dynamic but either way it was great! The young teacher had us doing loads of exercises aimed specifically at the spine and the neck and I tell ya, after that 90 minute class I came out of there like Raggedy Anne - all wobbly and glowing! So I will definitely be going back. But just to put me right in my place about those "little old ladies", the group organizer gave me a flyer for a snow-shoe outing that they were all going on on 29 January and "would I like to join them"? Put me in my place why don't you! I have never snow-shoed or cross country skied, although I used to do downhill (very badly) many moons ago. Who knows, I have even given some thought to getting back to that too. So there you go, never judge a book by its cover, nor little old ladies by their ability (or otherwise) to put their legs behind their heads - these old ducks are going snow-shoeing next week!
Actually, my first aim is to get fit(ter) as I am woefully out of shape. The stupid thing is I always loved sport as a young woman but I guess like most of us marriage, kids, jobs, commutes and so on meant that these things fell by the wayside. So I decided that Wednesday would be my day to drive into work to use our work's gym. It is very very cheap (about one-tenth of local prices) and well equipped. I like the machines anyway and they only ask that retirees don't use the gym during the busy periods. It (finally) started snowing this morning but I was determined to go so drove in at 1 p.m. so I could get my retiree badge and stop by the office to chat with my former boss. He is a bit worried as the recruitment of my replacement has gone pretty much nowhere so far and, he was told, they were unlikely to have anyone in post before April/May. To be honest it only starts hotting up towards the end of March anyway and really busy in June/July so those dates are doable but I sense he won't rest until he gets someone in that post.
So anyway, I spent a rather nice 90 minutes in the (empty) gym and then met some friends for drinks afterwards, thus allowing the rush hour traffic to subside. It felt great not to be sitting in that traffic I can tell you, particularly as it was snowing hard enough for the snow ploughs to be out. I am still on a Facebook feed about local traffic conditions and on Sunday night traffic was apparently at a standstill in the direction Geneva/Chamonix and then on Monday morning the major border into Geneva was also at a complete standstill! I'm so glad I'm out of that it's incredible. I did have a bit of a scare as I was driving into Geneva though as as I was driving on the motorway towards the toll booth I noticed that the hood of my car was juddering and I soon realized that we must not have shut it properly after messing around with the battery when I got a flat battery on 2 January. Obviously having to dash off to Wales and since then just tootling down into town occasionally I hadn't noticed it, but belting along the motorway at 110 km an hour I was just praying that it would hold until I could pull off at the toll and get it locked down. Thankfully I was able to slow right down, pull over and shut it properly - Lord knows what would have happened if it had flown up and left me "driving blind" on the motorway!
Tomorrow, all being well, I am joining my friend in a hiking group that she was introduced to by another former colleague. Throughout the skiing season they go on local walks, initially around some rather nice spots in Geneva and then, as spring nears, going on hikes further into the mountains, with those that want to either run or ski being free to do so (I don't think I'll be joining either of those two groups just yet!). D said she has always been the youngest and the least fit in the group - time to hand over that mantle to me then I guess! We'll see what the weather is like tomorrow though. If it's still snowing heavily I don't suppose we will go but we have time to make our minds up tomorrow!
Regarding my brother's death, my nephew just contacted me to say that they had finally been able to get the death certificate (him being "selfish" enough to die late on a Friday afternoon meant they couldn't get the death registered until yesterday). The funeral is on 8 February so I plan to fly back for that, but guess what, yesterday as I was making dinner I looked down and there was a little white feather on my kitchen floor. Very small really, but it hadn't blown in from outside (I had my doors and shutters shut because of the cold and the dark). It may just be baloney but I felt it was a message from my "guardian angel" and it made me smile. Thanks Phil!