Friday 25th December
As Arkwright may have mused – “It’s been a funny old year.” I knew it would be a year of change; I had already taken the decision to stop working at the end of March and even though I had written much earlier to my bosses explaining my decision, they really didn’t believe it until I sent them a formal notice letter at the beginning of January. I had progressively reduced my working week to four and then three days over the last few years. But what tends to happen is that even though you are only working three or four days you are somehow expected to do the same amount of work as if you had been there every day. And with the advent of e-mail even the weekends are not sacrosanct. Besides my one Client had suffered the loss of an excellent secretary cum office assistant who really used to help me, and managed the suppliers brilliantly. She also had the bank mandate and used to pay the bulk of the suppliers. Well, she left in March 2014 and her replacement was not prepared to take on any Accounts duties, so it then became my task. And as the company was losing money each month cash flow was critical. I ended up spending half my time fending off irate suppliers and trying to juggle enough money to actually pay the staff.
Anyway, they eventually hired someone to replace me, but stupidly allowed him to take three weeks holiday to visit Pakistan just when he was supposed to take over my job. I realized the chaos that would ensue; I have never even taken two weeks off as the backlog becomes unmanageable, so I volunteered to stay another month. Bad decision. I delayed my full-time living in France by four weeks.
And what a lovely Summer we had. Although I had visited for three years I had never had a full summer here with the Night Markets and festivals and the sunshine and the open-air eating and relaxing. And the summer seemed to stretch right into Autumn too, only really slowing down in November.
Then there was the added excitement of the new house. Totally unplanned of course, but we fell in love with it straightaway, even though there is a mountain of work to modernize it.
When I had thought of retiring I had imagined that we would spend a few weeks in France, and then return to London or Walton for a few weeks and so on. But as it turned out, what with the Café and our wonderful friends out there we come back just for a few days each month for work or to see Mum and Dad and the Grandchildren. So, no regrets – but it has been a funny old year.