A Quiet Hero: Mrs FitzjamesHorse

No greater love has a retired man than getting his working wife out to her work every morning at 7.30am…before he goes back to bed for a couple of hours.
On Friday, I did that for the last time. Mrs FJH retired on Friday.

Unlike me…Mrs FJH has actually been working for nearly four decades making lives better in West Belfast. Unlike me…Mrs FJH is not lazy. I spent most of my working life, looking out for a raindrop so that I could phone in saying that I was trapped in a flood, a snowflake so that I could report a blizzard and a sneeze that could lead to six months off with pneumonia. I am married to a woman who has a work ethic and a devotion to making lives better. At times, it has been downright embarrassing.
But on Friday she retired. She has done her time.
Welcome to my world.

I think the dynamic has changed for both of us. Working five days a week means that there are “windows” available from 5pm on Friday to 9pm on a Sunday….hardly more than a few hours for grocery shopping, visiting family, going for a drive etc. It all seems to end too quickly with getting diesel for the car around 7pm on a Sunday night.
Initially…I dont think that my wife will notice much difference. I guess this feels like an ordinary weekend. Tomorrow will feel like a normal day off. And this week. And this month.
But there will be a dawning that this is how it is…forever. And its generally good. Actually…its always good.
For this is exactly the weekend we planned and lived for.
There was a time when we loaded two babies into a car and drove over the mountain into Belfast…twice a day.
And now those babies have babies or are about to have babies of their own.
And there are great joys and sad tragedies shared.
And more to come.
Thats the good thing about Retirement. Windows open.
The alarm clock has been disconnected. If we take a notion to go to Tesco at 2pm on a Tuesday, thats what we will do. And if we want to go on the train to Derry for the day, we will do it. Or if inlaws visit on Wednesday evening, we wont be watching the clock, thinking its an early start. If the grandchildren come to visit on a Thursday, it wont be unusual. I will no longer be the sole grandparent at the school nativity play, sports day and summer evening under-14 GAA match.
MY retirement was a good thing.
OUR retirement…an entirely different dynamic…will be a lot better.
It is empowering for us both…and the things I used to do to kill a few hours like going to An Féile, the annual festival in West Belfast to watch assorted spoofers from Sinn Féin and their admirers in the blogging community appear artistic and cultured, well it holds little appeal in 2016. But you can still read about it on Slugger O’Toole.
The Future is not a “public” thing.
The Future is surprisingly “personal”.
Others think the EU Referendum was about “our children and our childrens children”. Which is rhetorical bollix.
Our childrens future involves a son becoming a father for the first time.
Their childrens future involves a 3year old getting a pair of shoes to start “big school”.

We intend to enjoy it.

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8 Responses to A Quiet Hero: Mrs FitzjamesHorse

  1. Mary Martin says:

    Best wishes, I hope yo both enjoy your joint retirement and have the health to enjoy it..

    People often worry about how their mother or father will cope with retirement, but from what I see most people, even work loving people, enjoy their retirement, when they are healthy enough to do so.

  2. Plenty of freedom, good luck, keep posting though, want to keep an eye on you all.

    • Thanks …I appreciate it.
      But definitely running down this Blog.
      I am by nature “liberal” and have had no problem adopting to all of the social changes that have occurred over the last 40 or so years but I wont be at ease with the next raft of social changes that young people will be talking about over the next 20 years.
      Its their world not mine but I dont want to be part of the conversation.
      Really “social change” and “political change” are two different things.
      Certainly over my political lifetime…I have seen unionism in control up to Direct Rule and then Good Friday Agreement.
      The Good Friday Agreement cant and wont deliver a united Ireland. It effectively proposed and promoted LetsGEtAlongerism which in turn promoted a soft unionism of status quo.
      Assembly Elections 2016 was pretty depressing. Nationalism …specifically SDLP lost ground. And Sinn Féin is very much a junior partner.
      Brexit DOES change things. And I think swings things towards SDLP …but really I dont think that nationalists within SDLP can really sieze the initiative. Increasingly the self-styled “progressives” within SDLP look like a rival philosophy to mainstream SDLP thinking.
      But SF is too addicted to Power and would rather do nothing to promote change…spoofing at An Féile.

  3. Political Tourist says:

    Regards to FJH on her retirement.

  4. benmadigan says:

    hope you both enjoy your retirement into private life. Am sorry you have decided to close your blog – it will be greatly missed as it provided a valid and valuable point of view

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