At this start of this week, the Boon Companion and I finished two years of retirement, both of us still completely untroubled by this allegedly Major Life Event. To celebrate, we cracked the final bottle of wine in the mixed case I had received as a retirement gift from my colleagues. (Cheers for that, folks.)
I still don’t miss work in the slightest—it has rapidly faded into a background memory, as seemingly remote as university days. The only insight I’ve gained from this airily detached viewpoint is that giving anaesthetics for a living was a very strange way to spend my time. But then, I always had a strong suspicion that was the case.
Some may remember the two mind-maps I drew two years ago, of my then-current and anticipated future activities:
So that’s all worked out pretty much as planned, with probably a bit more model building and a bit less computer programming than originally anticipated. And while this blog certainly counts as writing, I have yet to buckle down and write anything with the intention of actually selling it, which was a fairly common occurrence in my pre-retirement life. That’s nagging a little, so I may need to do something to rectify it in the coming year.
The blog ticks along, with more readers every month, mostly arriving from search engines. It’s odd what takes off and what doesn’t. A sudden burst of visits from the Netherlands to my Wrangel Island post alerted me to the fact that Dutch television had just screened an episode of Floortje Naar Het Einde Van De Wereld featuring a visit to Wrangel. (The host, Floortje Dessing, had travelled on the same ship with us, along with her cameraman.) My review of Paul McAuley’s “Jackaroo” short stories, which I considered an extremely minority interest at the time I wrote it, is much-visited and now even referenced by Wikipedia. And there was a minor social-media frenzy in these parts a few months ago, when a former colleague posted a link to “Biggles FRCA” on her Facebook page—suddenly traffic was dropping in from all around the UK, and then started arriving from Canada and Australia, too. The Australians seemed to be particularly taken with Biggles, and I’m still seeing sporadic visits from that part of the world.
In view of the increasing traffic, I’ve fiddled with the blog a bit more in the background—moving it to a new server and doing a few things to reduce the page-loading time. On automated website rating tools, I now have an astonishingly skewed rating—typically scoring pretty highly on page delivery speed, very highly on website security and an absence of broken external links … and zero on social media presence. Well, that’s not going to change any time soon. This is as social as I get.