In the game of bowls the trajectory is determined by the effort applied and the bias of the wood itself. It takes a curve that seems to defy expectations. As it slows the turn is exaggerated. As the forward momentum diminishes the force of the curvature dominates. Yet, as it slows, it has a lasting powerful effect. Looking back over a decade has a similar feeling. It’s a ten-year transition, not a straight line.
Personally, I consider this transitional decade as where “I” became “we”. Once driven by occupational necessity we had created the possibility of making decisions about what we wanted from active retirement. We are still pondering those decisions, of course. Meanwhile, there are some strands that emerged over that time.
A key dimension was working from home, or spending more time at home and in the neighbourhood. One aspect is the Friday Health Walks from the Singleton Environment Centre. This combined the purposes of exploring the immediate urban and rural area with the opportunity to meet with a variety of local people. We now meet people we know out and about in Ashford and beyond.
I attended a few consultations and, in due course, was elected onto the Parish Council. This came with some unwelcome responsibility due to an attempt by a few residents to face-down their own mistake in misjudging the likelihood of a major housing development on the patch. As a natural protester it seemed odd to face such antagonism, and it required some perseverance, but is was important to defend the democratic process. It was stressful but we came out the other side and stronger for it. There were a few blogposts about this over on my, now discontinued, blog called www.pannage.blogspot.com
When it looked like the Singleton Environment Centre might close the Parish Council took up the challenge to set up a new trust to manage the Centre and community activities on behalf of the owners, Ashford Borough Council. With a basis of community goodwill and commitment by the manager and cafe operators the Centre appears to be on a sound footing. More needs to be done to secure the community programme and strengthen the environmental work but progress is being made.
The i-paper started in 2000 so it spans this decade. I was an early fan of this tighter format of news reporting and have held a subscription for some years now. I still like The Guardian on a Saturday. The media story of the decade is new media or social media of Facebook and Twitter etc. These were new companies just ten years ago.
This latter-part of the decade also saw our introduction to indoor bowls. The key factor being something we could do together. The background story is here >.
Although it is said that television broadcasting has fragmented during this decade, we have not been part of the paid-for satellite or streaming services revolution. We have enjoyed some major television series. I have loved the BBC4 foreign-language series of which “The Killing” as probably the first and best. I like the different geography and occupational relationships they present. I think having to concentrate on the subtitles helps as I am otherwise distracted by reading while viewing. Some of these series were gory like Giri/Haji but “Montelbano”, set in Sicily, was milder and I even read some of the books. Memorable series include: Line of Duty, Happy Valley, Fleabag. I am not interested in period drama or the fantasy of “Game of Thrones”. Margaret liked “The Great British Bake Off.” We are not really ones for the phenomenon of binge-watching but we did “watch forward” the second series of the marvellous “Killing Eve” series 1 and 2 and have made use of the i-player for catch-up. BBC4 have also done a great job with their music documentaries and re-run concerts.
On music, I am an avid user of Spotify (as Pannage) and have loved the instant access to so much choice. It has changed the way we consume music. I have written about “my music” here. We have also attended the Broadstairs Folk Week for more than a decade and love the live music presented by Folk In the Barn. We have enjoyed seeing some young folk musicians make fine progress.
The decade saw us move from thirty years to forty years of marriage. We have had some lovely holidays both in England and abroad. We were thwarted in our trip to Iceland in 2019 but it is booked again for 2020. A learners interest in birds has taken us to RSPB reserves Titchwell, Minsmere many times and recently Arne, as well as our local Dungeness. An avoidance of flying has opened up the European rail network and we have been to Nice, Dordogne, Beziers, Sitges, Rome and Sorrento, Tuscany and the Rhine. Marg has taken up photography in a big way while on these holidays and while walking in Kent. After years of resistance, she has become a regular Facebook poster. I have maintained our “Places” website.
This is my England and Yours. Peter Jukes 18 December 2019
The Old Internet Died And We Watched And Did Nothing. It’s 2020 — do you know where your content is? Katie Notopoulos, 28 December 2018
This was written at the beginning of January and I didn’t get around to posting it. By the end of March and April 2020 we all had new-found time “locked-down” at home due to Coronavirus or CoVid-19. We might be thwarted in getting to Iceland again. Further to the point in this post, it means we have been together a lot.