retirement would seem to be essential.
"It's a girl and all's well," my brother tells me in the early morning 'phone call. His daughter has just given birth to a second child. (The first is also a girl.)
My brother gives me a few more sketchy details as he walks into his office, has a quick word with our father and that is it for now. Mobile 'phones do have advantages!
Our father has been waiting anxiously for this news. The baby was late in arriving and he was getting concerned. This is his fourth great-grandchild and he already has a list of wooden things he "needs to make" for her - more blocks, a doll's cot, a ride on toy of some sort and so it goes on. My brother will help assemble some of these things if they have to be flat-packed to send to the other side of the country. Like my father he is a keen woodworker.
For some reason we had a steady stream of visitors yesterday. One of them was planned but the rest were not. Of course everyone had to hear the news - several of them asked. Several of them asked,
"What are you going to make?"
Late in the afternoon Dad went out into the shed with someone to do a small repair job. His wife stayed in to talk to me about something else but, as they went out the door, she said,
"I wish Don was interested in that sort of thing. It would be marvellous to see our grandchildren grow up with those sort of toys even if they are so far away. It's all I can do to get Don to change a light bulb."
Her husband has retired. He fills his days with fishing, reading, a walk each morning unless he is playing golf and very little else. Occasionally he does a few days work for his old company. He is not happily retired and is considering finding more work. His wife wishes he would. It would mean he would be out of the house all day and she could get on with the gardening, the maintenance, her sewing and other things.
Our last unexpected visitor for the day was also someone who is retired. He was a piano tuner. He is one of the most practical people I know. He can turn his hand to almost anything. He has a passion for history. He has never married but he takes a great interest in his sister's children and, now, grandchildren. The days are never long enough for him.
My father has no hope of using all the timber he has collected. It is another case of what knitters call "SABLE" - "stash advancement beyond life expectancy". Our last visitor is the same. His shed is filled with "useful" things. Don's garage is almost bare. There are only absolute essentials in there.
Without a doubt the happiest and most content people I know are the people who have advanced cases of "SABLE".