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I wrote the previous pages several years ago and have revisited it to see what if anything in my real world has changed.

We still go to North Walsham to regularly see Ken the book man. And there still are many books on our shelves just waiting to be read. We no longer go to Garden Centres instead we go to nurseries where they grow their own plants. Dells being a good example.

The river and the river bank are, if anything, even more important to us and although in the Autumn of our years we seem to be even more attuned to the seasons and their passing. The part of the river bank that forms our garden has seen an increase in the number of shrubs and plants, nothing showy as we are trying to keep it as natural as possible. The biggest increase, however, is in the number of spring bulbs that have been planted. Part of the terrace and steps leading to it has been given over to many, many planters full of herbs, tomatoes and runner beans. This is a warm and sheltered area where we can plant early and the season can be extended at both ends.

Has it been hard work? Well quite frankly no. We have worked with nature and not tried to bully nature into doing something artificial.

Books and a bottle of wine are still taken down to our table on the riverside whenever the weather allows. The bottles still come back empty. The books still come back unopened.

Food and its preparation have become more important. We buy less and less from supermarkets. Meat and fresh eggs are bought from the farm. Fish from the quay at Wells direct from the small fishing boats or from one of the family owned fish monger?s shops. Vegetables are bought on the Thursday market or at Farm Shops. Various breads are made in a fairly recently acquired bread machine. Wine is either delivered by Waitrose Direct or bought on one of our frequent jaunts to the nearest of the continental towns. Wild fruits collected from the hedgerow. All this leaves a lot less to be bought at the supermarket than used to be the case.

We have really settled back into a rural way of living reminiscent of my boyhood even down to the jars of homemade jam, home made soups and freshly baked bread.

Life is much simpler. The hurly burly rough and tumble of today?s stressful life style are things of the past. We are content, we envy no one. Jealousy is such a wasteful emotion.

We have more time for cherished close friends and family because we have far more time at our disposal than we had when we were working.

We no longer feel guilty for getting up or going to bed late. We no longer feel guilty about the lack of structure of our daily life. If it is fine we go out if it is wet and miserable we don?t. It is as simple as that.

Now we are once again in the Autumn season, jam and soup making season, batch cooking season with various pies, tarts and crumbles being made and frozen. Soon mincemeats, Christmas puddings and a Christmas cake will be made.

Each season has its tasks, each season has its meaning and its natural rhythm. Don?t fight against it, it is far more enjoyable to accept it and go with the its natural flow.

I am truly grateful that our retirement has gone so well. Better than we imagined and far better than we deserved.

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