I am walking to work today . . . because I can. Saves the horses, keeps me slim, weather is nice and all . . . This weekend will be a fury of activity to prepare the cottage for my first fete next Friday.
This past two days, the library hosted a motivational speaker for those entering retirement. He detest the word “retire” and encourages people to think of it as Bonus Years, Encore Careers, Second Life, etc. Then he touched on the history . . .
Retirement is a late Victorian concept! I did not know this!!
“Retirement” was conceived by none other than The German Chancellor, Otto Von Bismark back in 1889. It served a dual purpose of preventing Marxism but essentially to push the older employees out of the work force, so the younger people could have the jobs. In a sense, buying off an older person to “go away.” It did not start as a German-wide action, but began in the factories, but the idea gradually spread to other sectors and departments. During the late 1800s life expectancy for a male (who was the predominant wage-earner) was about 76 years old; and that is if one was lucky! Retirement options commenced at age 70. So a person truly only had to save for a maximum of decade or so. Even then, the money did not go far. It was strictly a government “buy out,” there was no personal money put toward this lump sum; no pension accumulated. Those ideas came later. At first people were thrilled to receive the cash and not work; it was certainly a better than the alternative.
In Modern times, the average male life expectancy hovers around 87 and women are routinely living to 90 years of age. With the lower retirement age of 62, people are still living 25-35 years after “retirement.” This brings up a host of modern issues, which I shall not go into, but this is all something to consider. . .
February Pre-Reads is here! There are many new 19th century-ish titles coming out soon! So much so that I had to edit the list, twice! Some books are already out, but most are not. So get your quills and nibs ready to transcribe the titles down! Again, I have not read any of these so I cannot make an honest review of them. Synopsis are directly from my professional reading; Publishers Weekly and Penguin Group Advance Publication Newsletter. I do hope you find one to your liking! Enjoy, Dear Readers.
The invitations have been delivered! My quaint house warming party count down begins! I followed as much of the Victorian etiquette I could on the matter.
“Invitations from the lady of the house went out three to six weeks in advance,” depending on the scale of the event and the distance required for guests’ travel. I resorted to two weeks as all invitees are here, “in town” and the event is rather small.
“A reply within twenty-four hours was considered mandatory”, but I shall give my colleagues a week, as we all have busy lives to attend to and schedules to coordinate.
“A general invitation should never be acted on. An invitation should specify the persons whom it includes, and the person invited should never presume to take with him anyone not specified.” So, I made a point of listing each co-workers’ family member’s name to make sure everyone was included in the invitation. They may decline individually as per their desires. When addressing the invitations, I crossed-reference Emily Post and the British Peerage system for titles, honorifics, and the like. However, with my Modern sensibilities I drew the line at calling men or eldest son’s “Lord,” as it were. Gentlemen were Sir or Mr. and the sons were Master.
“These invitations should be properly sent by a servant, and not by the post, unless the distance be great.” I hand delivered all four and twenty initiations, as my servant has no livery to speak of. *cough*cough*
“Your best plan, therefore, is to invite only one third more than your rooms will hold, for you may be sure that more than that number will disappoint you.” Well, I did request guests to R.S.V.P. as to how much food to purchase, because if every single staff and family member showed up at my cottage door, it would be upward of 70 people! Which I assure you, exceeds the maximum occupancy limit of Diamondleaf Cottage. As per rule of thumb; my livable square footage (furniture aside for this calculation) is roughly 1,4000 sq. ft. (including the ‘carriage house’ fit for two) divided by 36= 38 persons. Oh dear, if everyone shows up, I am doomed! Of course, as luck has it, my colleague’s husband is a Fire Chief and my other colleague’s husband is a Police Officer. . . this does not bode well!
While most Victorian evening gathering commence as early as seven at night and ran until the wee hours of the morning; I am simply opening my door until eight o’clock and then ushering people there after. No need to absorb time, just enough allotted for hors d’eouvres and glimpse into the life of a country princess . . .