The largest vineyard in Europe! That’s where we’re heading now, but this time last year it wasn’t so clear. My husband had just decided with his partner at work that enough was enough in the City – too much stress, too much market volatility and it was time to stop. Aged 45.
My jaw dropped. Was it the lack of income? Of security? Of invites to corporate events? No. (Well, maybe a bit on the events front!) As the words of my mother’s generation floated through my head, ‘for better, for worse, but not for lunch’ as their husbands retired, my friends confirmed my worse fears. He would know what I got up to every day; he would become ‘Chief Sneak’ in my world of women.
I set to work. He admired a wooden bowl – I sent him on a week’s wood turning course. Carving – 1 day or 3 – I chose the latter. Cooking – we went through a phase of curries and complicated condiments on a regular basis. Just as I was running out of ideas he came into the kitchen with one of his own.
“I’m thinking of doing a full time, 2 year course in Brighton on Viticulture,” he said. Relief coursed through my body as an encouraging smile formed on my face. “Viticulture. Marvelous. Brilliant idea!” I said out loud as I focused on the words ‘full time, 2 years,’ and away even in ‘Brighton.’
A pause. I stopped. “Viticulture. What exactly is that darling?”