Thursday, 20 March 2008

Episode 22 - Reluctant Retirement

Ken rolled over on to his back and blinked against the brightness of the morning sun. Far too much to drink last night, he thought ruefully, have to start cutting back, don’t want to end up like Martin, nearly pegging out at your own birthday party.

‘Pass me the suntan lotion babe’ he called out to Lizzie who was busy watering the flower beds around the patio. ‘You know it’s a waste of time doing the watering now you should leave it until the evening when its cooler’

‘I don’t want to leave it, I want to do it now’ Lizzie answered through gritted teeth.

‘But I’ve told you before. You’re just wasting your time by this evening the soil will be rock hard and you’ll have to do it all over again

‘So I’ll do it again, what’s your problem? I’m not asking you to do it am I and let’s face it it’s not as if I’ve got much else to do.

‘Don’t start that again babe, why can’t you just learn to relax. That’s what retirement is all about isn’t it, taking it easy, enjoying the sunshine, having a drink when you want one. Don’t you think that I deserve a bit of peace after all those years driving a cab around London? And look what happens when you don’t know how to relax, you end up like poor old Martin. Just think he’s five years younger than me, far too young to have a heart attack’

‘I don’t begrudge you your retirement Ken but I’m too young too young to be doing nothing all day, I’m bored. I’m not ready to retire. I need something to do with myself, I want to keep busy. All this sitting round is driving me up the bleeding wall.’ She shrieked as she grabbed the suntan lotion from the table ‘Here and put your hat on or your brains will boil in this heat’

Ken looked at Lizzie standing over him waving the bottle like a club to hit him with. His wife left him baffled sometimes, after all the years of hard work providing for his family the best way he knew, he just couldn’t understand why Lizzie wanted to start working all over again. He was quite happy with his life just the way it was, thank you very much.

‘What kind of something were you thinking about then,’ Ken asked as he pulled himself upright ‘charity work?’

‘No not charity work, you plank, I want something of my own, a business’

‘Didn’t you have enough of work when we lived in Ilford? You were always moaning about working all hours in the hairdressers’

‘But that was my sister’s salon that was her business, not mine. I want to do something for myself’

‘And where is the money coming from to set up this business?’ Ken asked

‘Don’t start Ken. You know we are comfortable for money. When we sold our house on the Cranbrook Road we made a very tidy profit’

‘But that has to last us for the rest of our lives Lizzie. We can’t afford to loose it’

‘Well thanks for having so much faith in me’ Lizzie cried’ what you makes you think that my business would loose money, you never know it could make us rich’

‘How many people get rich from hairdressing, your sister certainly didn’t’

‘Who said I wanted to do hairdressing? And anyway, you know that Lottie is sitting on a gold mine. The hairdressing mightn’t make her rich but the shop and the flat above it are worth a bomb now, especially with the 2012 Olympics. She’s planning on renting them out and making a fortune. No, I’ve been thinking about this and I want to open a shop’

Ken looked up at her in disbelief ‘What do you know about running a shop?’

‘I know what people want and that has to be a good start. Look at the all people who move out here from the UK, they buy villas and apartments with bare white walls and spend ages trying to make them more homely. Well I thought if I could have a shop that sold pictures, rugs and trendy ornaments I would clean up.’

Lizzie sat down on the lounger next to Ken and looked into his eyes. ‘I’ve been thinking about this for ages babe, people like to have things that are trendy and modern in these new villas but there is nowhere around here to buy them. I could start off small by bringing a few things over from England and selling them in the Market and if the demand is there then we could start looking around for something more permanent’

‘How long have you been hatching up this little plan?’ Ken grumbled as he stood up ‘and when were you planning on letting me in on the secret’

‘Don’t be like that babe. It’s just something I was talking to Frankie about’

‘Frankie, I might have known you brother was involved somehow’

‘He’s not involved with anything’ Lizzie sighed ‘I just wanted to have it all thought through before I told you’

‘Oh so you did intend telling me then. I suppose I should be grateful that you didn’t raid my bank account first and then tell me what you’re up to.’ Ken shouted as he stormed into the house.

Lizzie raced after him yelling ‘Your bank account!! Since when was it your bloody bank account’

‘All right stopping yelling at me, our bank account’ Ken turned to look at Lizzie ‘I just wish that you had spoken to me before Frankie, that’s all’

‘And would it have made any difference? You’d still have thought I was mad. I have really thought about this Kenny’ she cajoled ‘It will work, I know it will’

‘The next thing you’ll be telling me is that your Frankie has arranged for stuff to be shipped out already’

Lizzie smiled as she kissed Ken on the cheek ‘He should be here with the first van load on Tuesday’