Friday, 28 December 2012

First Day of the rest of my Life.

Well today marks my official retirement day from the Foreign Service, so I am officially a pensioner now. Would like to join these fellows ( see photo below), smart uniform, nice hat, living in London in Chelsea no less. Apparently I do not fit the bill to become a pensioner at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, pity, I do fancy those tricorne hats.

At any rate I am busy with different projects as a volunteer at the National Gallery of Canada and at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Social Sciences. I have the dogs to look after and lots of other things, like Mr. W. I have also started to read more books, thanks to our friend in London, D.N. who has come up with lots of nice books I can order on my Kindle. What I like about the Kindle is it takes no space at all and books are a lot cheaper electronically, I love reading so its a good fit. I just started reading Sonechka by Ludmila Ulitskaya, a very popular Russian author at the moment.

What is fun about retirement is that I have no stress anymore about the job and what to say and not say and a million details about policy and decisions. I can also express an opinion now which I could not before since I had to be mindful of Government Policy or position papers. Someone said once that being retired was like getting out of jail, I see what they meant now.

Strangely enough I just learned of the death of General Norman Schwarzkopf who led the American forces in Kuwait against Iraq in 1991, I remember that time well, I was posted to Cairo and we went down to the Suez Canal to see the Canadian Warships cruise down towards the Red Sea. These were events that marked my years there.

So this is my new image now, having lunch in Vienna in the old greenhouse of the Hofburg Palace

Or watching the Tiber flow by on Tiberina Island in the centre of Rome

To celebrate this first day we are going to Al's Steak House on Elgin street, love the place, it is a sort of a Who's Who spot and they have my favourites on the menu like the giant shrimp cocktail served with the spicy sauce and the steaks are always done perfectly, good wines and good friendly service, very much the way restaurants use to be 40 years ago, best of all no families and no kids. Have nothing against children, I just believe they should not be seen.

Blue bird of Happiness!


  1. May the blue bird be ever with you (cue happiest Tchaikovsky). Delighted you've got hold of Sonechka. If you like it, try The Funeral Party, which is one of the wisest little books I've ever read. Today seems a strange 'un to be ending on, but we will raise a toast to you as we play a little cards up the road tonight.

    1. David thank you so much for your good wishes. I will be sure to let you know about Sonechka.

  2. Congrats -- enjoy your freedom! I envy you!

  3. or as I like to say.........Today is the first day of the rest of your don't fuck it up.

  4. Congratulations are in order, sir. You're moving to yet another interesting phase of life, and I'm looking forward to hearing about it. May it be blessed, peaceful, and exciting.

  5. As usual I am getting caught up and late to the party, but I too want to join the conga line of congratulations! OOXX

  6. Thank you for the kind words.