Semi-retired

The Arts Council cuts came into operation for yours truly recently. Like several of my colleagues at Natural Theatre Company, I’m working one day less per week. By necessity, I am seeking alternative gainful employment, but until that comes to fruition it seems that on Fridays I temporarily enter the world of the retired. Or ‘Bring on the beige’ as my friend unkindly put it.

What to do to fill the day? Well, after doing the dusting, renewing my travel insurance online (just in case…I can’t actually afford to go anywhere), putting out the recycling, having a mutual moan with neighbours (mostly semi-retirees themselves) about non-appearance of the bin men, I went into town, using my bus pass of course, and mooched around the shops admiring the sensible shoes on display.

After a wildly expensive latte in a bookshop café I kind of ran out of ideas.

I don’t like retirement! I really need that little Friday job. Trouble is, I’ve only had two jobs in my entire adult career. A mortuary attendant and Artistic Director of the Naturals. In a way the two posts are similar. In both cases one is often required to make the best of a bad situation, and there’s obviously a certain theatricality to funerals. What’s more, my make-up skills might come in handy.

As someone pointed out, I would be really good at being the man who walks solemnly in front of that wonderful horse-drawn hearse one sees around Bath. And I have my own top hat. I’m a bit scared of horse though.

I could never hack it as that old standby for gentlemen of a certain age, the shelf filler. Too many people stop and chat to me in the supermarket as it is. “Colleague announcement. Would Ralph kindly stop gassing to all and sundry in aisle number three and get on with stacking the margarine!”

So, any suggestions gratefully received, bearing in mind I can’t drive and I’m not all that good on ladders. And I can’t count. And my short-term memory is shot. As an eager volunteer at Widcombe Rising once said as she reported to the site manager, arm in plaster, “I can’t stand for long, I can’t sit for long, I can’t lift heavy weights, but I can point!”

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