Skip to content


June 15, 2014

Hi Folks, and to all you other dads and grandads celebrating Father’s Day today, have a good one.  I will.

Here’s a diary entry dating back nine years to my early retirement, which came about through my post being axed during a reshuffle.  As things turned out, I was soon back in harness and worked a further two years in social housing under temporary contracts.

Please note that the artist’s gallery referred to closed in October 2011 though there is an online version with a selection of prints.


SATURDAY 02/04/05


Freedom!  My contract with the Council ended on Thursday.  I’m no longer using up the last of my leave.  My early retirement is official.

After 34 years in local government, 43 years in work altogether, I’m my own man.  How strange!

I knew there’d come a point when it would feel wrong to be home on a working day, as if I’d fallen overboard with the ship disappearing over the horizon… And so it was at the beginning of the week.

Come Thursday, though, Freedom Day, I took myself off to the Geldart Gallery at Henbury, near Macclesfield, my first visit.


I’ve long been an admirer of artist/illustrator William Geldart’s work, especially his wonderful pen and ink drawings such as farmers’ markets, rural views, townscapes and animal studies.  Semi-circular steps took me up to the front door of his lovely old house and passing through a bell rang.

I was greeted by Anne, the artist’s wife, who runs the ground floor gallery with him, then spent a delightful forty minutes examining the work for sale, finally settling on a coloured print of a Peckforton cottage for a friend’s birthday.

Geldart shook my hand and we had a chat.  A very pleasant chap, bald with grey side-whiskers and beard, humorous eyes, dicky-bow.

He grew up in Marple and knew the Memorial Park where I worked as a housing manager for six years in the 90s.  He’d dash to the railway station to get to Hyde Grammar School on time – “fear lends wings!” he said.

Before turning freelance in 1979, he worked for Cheshire Life magazine and once did a number of studies of my hometown Northwich for them, his favourite being one of a decrepit old salt mine.  He’ll be doing the cover for their Christmas edition again this year.

Geldart’s commissions include illustrations for children’s books, and I was delighted to find that one was ‘David and the Kittens’ by the late, great, totally unforgettable Robert Westall [whom I knew in the latter 80s].  What a shame Bill never got to meet Bob.

With his eye for detail and genius for conveying character, Geldart is well established in his field.  But does he like to push the boundaries sometimes too?  “Yes, indeed,” he replied, gesturing to an original work depicting a wide woodland view.  On the left, against a warm background, a tiny figure waits for a bus… but the eye is drawn through a labyrinth of tangled branches in cooling colours to a pool of chilly moonlight on the right.  Geldart joked that maybe he’d call it ‘The Blair Witch’…


As I made to leave, Bill told me that if I returned in a couple of years’ time, I’d find a very different display.  “I’ll look forward to it,” I said.  He’ll find I’ve changed too, as I’ll have reinvented myself by then.

No doubt about it: my visit to the Geldart Gallery did me a power of good.



Copyright © Paul Beech 2014



From → Diary

  1. Congratulations Paul. Welcome to the world of retires. First I would like to wish you, my husband, son’s and all the great dad’s out there a happy Father’s Day. Your love and guidance will always be remembered.

    Back to the retiring world. I have found that retirement has made me re-invent myself. Each day I can do what ever I like, well most days. The sunrise’s and the sunset’s bring more beauty, my grand children much laughter. Each day is now an adventure. I find that I can appreciate the world around me more, instead of having to rush. The very first day of my retirement I watched the sunrise with new eyes, and thoroughly enjoyed my cup of early morning tea. I did not have to rush to jump into the shower, get dressed and jump into my car, sit in traffic and worry about being late for work.

    I have the time to smile more, be more sympathetic, enjoy the love around me and laugh easily.

    Yes, retirement is wonderful, I like it here, so I welcome you to the club with open arms. I am sure you will like it too. :o)

  2. Dear Pat,

    Thank you for your lovely comment and Father’s Day wishes. It’s been a double-celebration for my family because today is also a precious granddaughter’s 10th birthday. We had a lovely meal out and continued the celebrations at the birthday-girl’s home until dusk. I hope your husband and sons enjoyed the day too.

    I’m so glad you liked my old diary entry. I was nervous about taking early-retirement in ’05 but found the Geldart Gallery inspiring. Chatting with William Geldart and perusing his wonderful work gave me a vision for the future though it wasn’t until ’07, following several temporary contracts, that I finally quit housing. Not that mine has been an idle retirement with grandchildren to look after regularly and so on.

    I feel I’m now getting somewhere with my writing and, like you, I enjoy every day to the full.

    It’s been a great Father’s Day and never far from my mind has been my own wonderful dad. His memory will always keep me smiling and see me through.

    My very best to you,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: