Semi-retired I might be but I’m still clinging to the routine of a working week meaning that my Sunday’s still Sunday. It might be because Mrs Jones works full-time or it might be because I like it that way. Routine has its place but there needs to be variety too and five days focused around work and two for leisure still works for me.
I like that celebratory Friday evening feeling that marks the end of a working week of early morning alarms, commuting and the relative discipline of a school day evening.
I also like Sundays which follow a traditional pattern of spending most of the morning in bed – reading the papers, watching The Andrew Marr Show and a full English breakfast.
We may go for a walk later or slip into our traditional roles, Mrs Jones making Sunday dinner and me out in the garden or doing some DIY. Late afternoon the kids and their partners, when their modern-day irregular work patterns allow, will come over when we catch up on all that’s been going on with their lives.
It’s about the only part of life that’s stayed pretty much the same throughout much of adulthood. It will be interesting to see whether it continues when we’re both fully retired.
In the recent UK election campaign the Labour Party proposed moving to a 32-hour four day a week with no loss of salary. It was one of a number of promises that left the electorate completely unmoved. Whether the country could afford it was one issue, whether we really wanted it was another.
At the time Daily Telegraph columnist Daniel Hannan wrote: “In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that his grandchildren would work a 15-hour week. Advances in technology, he wrote, would mean that the chief question man would face was “how to occupy the leisure which science and compound interest will have won for him.”
The technological improvement has come about as expected; but the sharp fall in working hours has not. Why? The short answer is that we could sustain Keynes’s standard of living with a 15-hour week, even on the minimum wage. But, by and large, we choose not to. We want things that he didn’t have, such as central heating, foreign holidays, Netflix and an extra 20 years of life expectancy. Just as Keynes’s luxuries became our necessities, so the things that we regard as indulgences will be seen by our grandchildren as essentials.”
Now I have the choice I like the five day working week pattern and strangely so it seems does most everyone else.
My weekly first – Bubble Tea
At least once a week I’ve decided to do something for the first time. Yesterday I tried a caramel-flavoured bubble tea. Apparently it’s all the rage in the UK having long been a favourite in countries like Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.
It’s made by blending a tea base with milk, fruit and fruit juices, then adding the signature “bubbles” – tapioca pearls that sit at the bottom. It tasted weird, I hated it!