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I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Monday 29 September 2014

Autumn changes...and packing up the past

It`s hard to enjoy your panini when an aggressive goose is jabbing you in the back. Funny too--just one of the things that made the three of us roar with laughter over lunch beside a Shropshire lake just now.

A couple of years ago we`d have been sitting together round a busy newsdesk-anxiously racing against the clock, planning and reading news bulletins or researching programme reports.Then a couple of us got the chance to take the money and run; jumped at it; and haven`t looked back. The third in today`s group works part time now--leaving her free to write, and do as she pleases.

We`re all lucky to have that kind of freedom now--the chance to meet a friend, do a day`s work at the other end of the country--or not--or jump on a train for a couple of days away. All three of us have faced some really tough challenges in our lives recently. And for all of us, autumn, as it always seems to do, is bringing yet more changes.

Friends are dropping their sons and daughters at University. I`ve just hugged and said goodbye to my youngest daughter for a few months. Her gap year has taken her to the French-Swiss border to work as an au pair. The house is so quiet. But we`re all incredibly proud of her.

And tomorrow--preparation for yet more changes as I head to Kent to continue packing up my late dad`s belongings, ready for his home to be sold. The shredder`s nearly blown a fuse already; chewing its way through decades of correspondence, council minutes, and `phone bills going back as far as the early 1990s. No, I don`t know why he kept them, either. But the house has lost its beating heart now, and it`s time to let someone else breathe new life into it. Busy days lie ahead: sorting through everything; trying not to linger or shed too many tears over the endless photo albums; choosing a few of his huge, cosy winter jumpers to hug me in the chilly days ahead; and bagging up the remainder for his favourite local charities.

It`ll be tough heading out to his beloved garden, maybe taking cuttings from the plants he nurtured. If I can find the key, I`ll take a last look round his little shed and open one of the empty but still aromatic tins of Balkan Sobranie, that he kept for bits and bobs. I might bring one home. Then it`ll be time to rake up the leaves.

Autumn. Time for change. Kids to school. Students to Uni. Birds migrating to warmer climes, even. Probably why that bloody lunchtime goose was after my panini.

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