Claire Black: 'I contemplated going bare-foot for a while, but, living in Oxgangs, it seemed a little impractical'
ONCE again I find myself out of sync with my generation. The first time it happened I was eight and had developed a fixation with Sarah Vaughan. The next time I was about 15 and all of a sudden my fashion sense slipped out of 1989 and landed in 1969.
I looked like I'd just landed from planet Woodstock – all cheese cloth and old men's pyjama tops, flared jeans and friendship bracelets. I even contemplated going bare-foot for a while, but, living in Oxgangs at the time, it seemed a little impractical.
Well it has happened again. But now it appears that I'm ever so slightly premature in being Retirement Ready (RR).
I realised it over a large slice of rhubarb and ginger pie, although it didn't quite make sense then.
We had friends through from Glasgow. We hadn't seen them for ages so the chat was of the catching-up variety. Once upon a time that might've been clubbing adventures (showing off), drunken escapades (showing off tinged with just a tiny bit of worry) and tales of messy encounters (showing off tinged with shame). Now it's Irritable Bowel Syndrome (how to cope – an exclusion diet apparently), the joys of Jonathan Creek repeats (another kind of coping mechanism, I guess) and the pros and cons of Marmoleum flooring (showing off combined with bitter experience of caring for a black floor).
I know it sounds like it's my conversation topics that mark me out as being RR, but no, it's not that. We were just heading through for a comfy seat, trouser buttons undone to allow a bit of room to breathe.
Again, I know that it sounds like something someone RR would say, but no, it wasn't that either. It was just as Pete was taking his indigestion tablet that it hit me.
"So where is it to be: Berlin, Brighton, New York or Carlops?" he asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Those are all the places you've said that you want to live while we've been sitting here."
It was true. I had. It's a new obsession I've got. I don't know why, because actually I do like it here, but I do know that I'm not alone.
A survey of 7,500 people by a company called Aon has revealed that if you ask people who live in the UK where they'd like to live when they retire, only 43 per cent of them say here. And that means nearly six out of every ten of us imagine escaping these shores and ending up somewhere else, preferably in Spain according to the survey, just as soon as we can. (I realise Carlops doesn't quite fit the profile, but it is very pretty so I've decided that it counts).
And just like that, I found my people. Yet again I have arrived at slightly the wrong time being three decades short of being able to Really Retire, but if generational synchronicity didn't worry me at eight, it's not going to now.
It should worry someone that so few of us like it enough here to imagine staying, but I've decided to look on the bright side and start embracing the wanderlust because by the time I actually get round to doing something about it, I'll probably be just the right age.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
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