Retirement

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Although officially I went back to work last week, it only seems that today it seemed real.

It was only 10 days off, but it went like a blur — a blissful blur of slowly sinking into a zone where life was simple again — like when you were a kid. And so I lost track of the days of the week and let’s face it — time in general. I forgot to put the bins out, I was surprised when I turned on the TV and saw Rage was on and almost realised it was a “Saturday” and on one occasion Dee and I randomly decided to go on a Day-Date in the country — just cause we could. We could suddenly make up our own routine.

And so I thought — this must be what “retirement” is like.

My mum recently retired and she said to me the very first Monday after she felt edgy, lost and maybe even a bit “left out”. But then a few hours later that feeling disappeared and never, ever returned.

Just quietly — I am really looking forward to be retired. I think I would make a great retiree. And it kinda appalls me to say — but I just might embrace that “grey nomad” vibe. But there is no fucking way I would get a caravan — I can assure you of that. It’s dodgy motels all the way! Just like how I managed when I was in my bushwalking phase.

The other thing I would like to do in my retirement is to build a house. As a big fan of Grand Designs I would be all over it. I’d even be keen to do a bit myself — like co-build. Yeah.

MY FUTURE-SELF

I think I might even resume this blog — assuming of course that I will get bored of it any day now. But beware — I will be more grumpy and opinionated and possibly even more regressive. And of course I actually look forward to that. Just for entertainment value I will try to keep any morbid stuff to a minimum. Maybe. Now I think about it — I can’t really assume what my future-self will be like.

I know as the future-self of many, many previous incarnations of who I “am” today — I know those “childs” were such DEADSHITS. And I am, today, so much more awesome. But I am just maybe also thinking that “me” in the future will be a bit shit. I fucking hope not, but I can’t help thinking that is my destiny. Hmmm.

As I kid I imagined myself in old age a bit like this: elbow-patches on my smoking jacket and a massive pipe lounging in a big leather arm chair in a massive, massive library.

Pretty much: Bertrand Russell.

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BACK TO WORK

But all things must pass and routine has resumed. So today I got up at 5am and fed the cat then let the ladies out. It’s really cool seeing how they learn stuff and working out their intelligence and personalities. They recognise me and they follow me around and they are prompted to explore the scarier sections of the garden only if I am present.

On Sunday Dee and I went on a roadtrip to buy them treats — mealworms. And we had tried to give them treats — like scraps and indeed any stuff from the fridge we thought they might appreciate but they weren’t interested at all.

But then I contacted Kara who gave me all this advice — she having had bantams for ages. So I had never heard of mealworms but holy moly — the ladies go nuts for them. And just saying, but this process involves us having to pick up what are essentially — live maggots. At first they just picked at them, but then the next one they gobbled up in one bite and their excitement was utterly obvious.

And now, maybe 3 times later that we have given them these treats they see me coming towards them with the tub and they start racing towards me.

So back to this morning at roughly 5am. Today we have decided to let the ladies range free throughout the day. They coped well on Sunday when we went shopping and they have an enormous area under the house that is protected from nasties. So I am downstairs just enjoying seeing the ladies’ first taste of freedom for the day and the cat comes down too after her breakfast. And then she starts walking towards the hens and I think, “Aw, that is cute”. But then she gets much closer than ever before and suddenly starts bounding after them.

I scream at her and clap my hands and the cat runs off at a billion miles an hour up some rocks into the front garden and then disappears over the fence, obviously realising she was being ultra-ultra-naughty.

So I put the hens away, just a bit disturbed about what happened, and go back to sleep.

When I get up Dee tells me she has let the chooks out and I tell her about what had happened earlier. But I am convinced the cat was just trying to play and would have stalked them if she was really interested in serious mischief. So I let the ladies roam and head off to work, quite a bit apprehensive.

When lunch arrived I was desperate and so I jumped on the bike and smashed home to check. As I smashed home I was a tiny bit prepared for disaster. Instead I discovered they had made their way back into their pen and as soon as they saw me they jumped out. Meanwhile the cat was fast asleep sprawled all over a bunch of soft plants underneath the bushes in the front yard looking hopelessly cute and innocent again.

So I had my lunch and went back to work and back at home again in the afternoon the scene was almost exactly the same, except the hens were roosting under the big hedge in front of the front deck while the cat hadn’t moved.

I am hoping this balance continues. We shall see.

The ladies got some mealworms as a treat for going back into their pen and the cat got a tin of food she hasn’t had in a long while which she loved.

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Trip to Toro and Sizzler, plus more thoughts on the new chooks

TORO

On Wednesday evening I set up camp on the deck with a perfect view of the chooks playing in the front yard while I read a book about raising backyard hens — but more on that later.

Soon Dee and Laura were home from their trip to GOMA.

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SIZZLER

And then we were off to Sizzler for dinner. I am not sure if I need to describe the cultural phenomenon that is “Sizzler” — but I will attempt to describe what it means to me. It was the very first restaurant I ever went to. But in saying that I am not sure if Pizza Hut came first.

Anyway — Sizzler had the gimmick of the “salad bar” buffet — which to a kid is just orgasmic. Having the omnipotence to choose what you felt like eating and your portions was just pure gold. The first Sizzler I went to was in Ipswich courtesy of my “rich” grandparents and we had to line up to get a table. It was all worth it.

So going to Sizzler with Laura is a tradition that has only been running one year — but I suspect no one cares. YOLO.

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Potato Skins!

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But I am getting ahead of things because on the way we stumbled upon a brand new bar with one of those “sub-60-people” licences. It was called Toro and it was on Milton Road just down from The Deer Duck Bistro. (In fact we discovered it is an adjunct to the Deer/Duck restaurant proper).

TORO

So we were the only ones there seeing as it was so early. But the decor and the vibe were still amazing. We ended up coming back to Toro after our trip to Sizzler!

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Mirrors on the ceiling!

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This bad-boy

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We got amazing cocktails and a couple of complimentary bad-boys.

So then it was off to Sizzler and we were telling our awesome bartender ‘Carmelo’ (not sure if that is how you spell his name) our tale about how awesome “cheesy-toast” is.

So we had to SHOW him. And we did just that. Laura sacrificed a section of her cheesy-toast to bring back wrapped up in a bunch of napkins. Carmelo seemed to like the cheesy-toast or did a very good job of pretending. In my heart-of-hearts I would reckon it was the latter. Anyway – this came next:

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Then Carmelo made us his own version of a “Flaming Moe/Homer”. Just look at Dee and Laura’s faces!

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And then the spices were thrown in!

AND SO HERE ARE MY PETTY INITIAL OBSERVATIONS OF THE CHOOKS

Wow! Just “WOW!”

The chooks are a revelation. They are now my “ladies”. I think about them all the time and indeed I dreamt about them two night’s ago.

They are so fascinating to watch. They are always doing something, unlike the cat, so its almost clinically theraputic just watching them scratch and poke around and be interested in the minutia of the world. You start to doze off into this relaxing zen just casually observing their movements. All your troubles fade away as you just sink into their simple universe like you were slumping into a big lounge chair.

They also make the cutest sounds. There’s two distinct registers. One is the traditional hen cluck and squark — but there’s also a very cute squeaky tone about two pitches above but crucially far, far quieter.

The louder register I am getting to understand. There’s only a few tones but I am beginning to suspect what they mean.

You can kinda observe their personalities too. Freddy is possible the dominant one, even though she is smaller. But because they are inseparable, it’s hard to determine which one is dictating the direction the two move in.

It’s not that hard to pick them up, though sometimes they get a bit flustered. I find if you grab them together and hold them close to your body — that seems to work.

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ImageThey will sit on your lap quite happily

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ImageImageAnd the cat, well it is curious, but essentially indifferent. And if they get too close — scared.  Which is A-OK with me!

DSCN3470And look at me! I am starting to LOOK like our chooks!