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Thank God It's Friday

Monday I sit at my desk in the study and draw up a new timetable. Today will be washing day, with the ironing on Tuesday. I will do the garden on Wednesday and make the weekly visit to Waitrose for the shopping on Thursday. Fridays can be given over to the cleaning. Fearing withdrawal symptoms, I think I need the structure.

Tonight is yoga. I still can't touch my toes with straight legs, but I resist the temptation to make that a target in my body development plan.

Tuesday Ironing completed, I put on Radio 3 and start going through my files. I sort out the one marked "interesting articles" to find that most are about education. I reaffirm my new life by putting them in the recycle bin. I have a cardboard box of memorabilia from school, which I will put into the loft, to be opened at some unspecified time in the future.

Wednesday To hell with the garden. I see that there is a Ramblers'

Association walk not too far away. I've been a member for years, but have rarely been out with them because of work. I decide on a whim to go today.

It is a walk on Oxfordshire clay and I end up with platform boots. I am much more sociable than usual on the walk, probably because I am missing contact with people already. They are all retired, too. We exchange information about best value across a range of goods and services. Frugal is the name of the game now.

Thursday It is easy to find a parking space this morning, and Waitrose is strangely empty. There are different people from my previous Friday evening shopping group. I know a few of them, meeting at various points in the aisles, and have to explain my sudden appearance. There is a much better selection on the fish counter, but I note that the wine no longer looks as tempting as it used to.

Tonight is singing with the Woodstock Music Society. I don't yawn once during rehearsal.

Friday The best thing you can say about cleaning is that it is good exercise. In fact, that's all you can say about it. I begin to regret letting my cleaning lady go, but as frugal must now be my middle name I have to accept my new role with good grace and a clean duster. As I Dyson around, I think back over my new timetable, and realise that I must revise it for next week to include rambling, reading, going to the library, and keeping a diary.

Phil Bloomfield recently retired as head of Fitzharrys school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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