Retiring from Russell-Cooke was a real challenge for me, at first. I had been a partner there for almost 40 years with 25 of those years spent as head of the private client department. These days, my job consists of helping out when I can and staying out of everyone’s way when I can’t. I might occasionally crank out a book on private client law.
All in all, my life as a consultant has become more pleasant than I could ever have hoped. In fact, if there is one thing that this pandemic has taught me, it is that I am in an extremely privileged position. I am on the outside, looking in.
I live in a small village in Aberdeenshire. It is a beautiful but often cold place. Living so remotely has meant that my daily life hasn’t been dramatically affected by Covid-19 and the restrictions that closely follow it. I can still stroll down into the village to get my paper and my vegetables. I can sit outside and chat over a double espresso.
On a professional level, however, it has meant that I haven’t been able to make my bimonthly visits to London to speak to clients or visit my daughter who still lives there. I do miss her terribly.
Nowadays I try to see to my emails and my work in the morning and do something physical in the afternoon. That mostly consists of gardening or going for long walks in the surrounding hills. I used to be out there from dawn to dusk, climbing mountains and exploring the area, but with the days getting shorter I’d rather not take the risk. Much better adventurers than me have underestimated these lands and paid for it…
I’ve also continued to write – my latest book is due for publication next month, by the way. Usually I write in English but am not frightened to read German or French. Recently i have decided to develop my linguistic skills in a different direction. Languages have always been a fascination of mine, and with my son now a linguist for the European Parliament in Luxembourg, I thought it might be time to add another one to my repertoire. He is currently trying to learn Luxembourgish so that he can obtain citizenship there, so why shouldn’t I challenge myself too? With the help of the Duolingo phone app and online courses at the Gaelic College in Skye, I have been trying to learn Gaelic.
While I struggle to find people around here who actually speak Gaelic fluently, I sometimes manage to exchange a few words with local shopkeepers. I’m also an avid consumer of Gaelic radio and television. Anything to immerse myself in the language!
I am very lucky to be where I am, doing what I am doing, concerned with finding Gaelic speakers in Scotland. When I hear from my daughter of how things are developing in London I am struck by how different our experiences of this pandemic are. I am living in a far off land. My thoughts are with everyone who has been personally struck by this disease and its effects on our world.
I sincerely hope that, as a society, we can climb this mountain together and conquer it once and for all. The view from the top should be breath-taking.