Someone has been bold enough to ask me what I do to
amuse myself when I’m not writing this blog.
While the question isn’t in itself rude, the way it
was expressed – “What do you actually do when
you’re not blogging?” – verged on the querulous, the insertion of ‘actually’
tending to suggest that my life, when I’m not penning my occasional pieces, is
an aimless void.
Rude or note, the question deserves an answer, to which
I haven’t really given much thought. If
nothing else, it may serve to remind me of how I ‘actually do’ fill my days,
and may point to some carapaces that I might usefully fill with improving
Although I have long retired from business life, I
have recently invested in, and will serve on the boards of, two companies. One is a start-up, the other an established
enterprise but in need of rejuvenation. These
activities don’t, I realise, constitute amusement in the formal definition of
the word, but I consider them to be so. I also hope to make a few bob out of
If you must know, the start-up venture advises
companies how to reduce their utility bills, taking a commission out of the
money demonstrably saved, and the mature company sells voice communications
systems to banks.
The two ventures between them typically take up two or
three days of my ‘working week’. My professional
contributions ostensibly are a well-developed sense of business strategy,
knowledge of specialized areas such as fund-raising and, most important of all,
the wisdom of my experience.
There, I knew you’d laugh.
The rest of the week, I busy myself pottering in my
fairly large garden, socializing in London
with friends, many of them former business colleagues, expeditions that usually
take the form of convivial lunches. These
can last up to four hours, representing our contribution to the vanishing art
of intellectual post-prandial conversation.
In addition, of late, M and I have spent some time
looking for a house considerably smaller than the mansion around which we
presently rattle. Moving isn’t something
we have taken very seriously so far, but the time is coming when …. Well, let’s
just say that it is coming, and for several reasons.
I read a great many books – the real ones, not the
e-book variety –probably two per week. We
both enjoy the ballet, theatre and dining with friends, most of whom for reasons
unclear to me are younger than we are.
Whatever we find ourselves doing, or not doing, the
weeks seem to fly by. My mother always
used to admonish me, “Fill the days, there aren’t so many left as you think”. The advice always struck me as oddly
inappropriate, coming from a woman who lived to be 95, but I take the
I do hope the above reassures those of my readers who
may have been fretting that I’m not yet reduced to spending my autumnal years
sitting in an armchair by the French doors watching the birds on the feeders,
spilling as much of my own food as they do theirs.
But now, please excuse me while I take my overdue mid-morning