‘Retiring at 49? I’m trying hard not to be jealous, but it isn’t easy’

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks who is retiring as head of roads policing for Norfolk and Suffolk. Pict

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks who is retiring as head of roads policing for Norfolk and Suffolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

I like to think of myself as a generally decent kind of bloke. I buy the Big Issue sometimes, avoid kicking cats and don't take too long in the shower.

But I am worried that I am becoming resentful and envious. And such emotions are clearly sinful, so I'm compiling this confession.

The root of all of this is a feeling that 'it's all right for you', even though I know that it probably isn't – at least not for all of you.

I'll explain and, by doing so, will probably get many of your goats.

You see, I'm not part of the golden generation of people who could retire at a decent age, pick up a nice pay-off, have a good pension, take plenty of holidays, buy a big house – and get free bus travel and the winter fuel allowance.


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Good luck to you all – but don't hate me for being jealous.

The first trigger for my issues was when I was on a packed bus, going from Aylsham to Norwich last Saturday. The bus was so busy – and hot, and claustrophobic – that some people could not get on.

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But more than half of the people on the bus – by my estimation – were getting a free ride with their bus passes.

So lots of people who can't afford it were paying, while a fair number of those who can afford it were not.

And people willing to pay were left standing in the rain while some people were getting a free ride. And all this at a time when bus firms are having their subsidies cut. I'm still scratching my head.

The second prompt for a green-eyed monster attack was a very nice chap who has just retired from Norfolk Police after 30 years, at the age of 49.

Chris Spinks really is a very nice chap, and I take my (civilian) hat off to anybody who could last 30 minutes in the police force, let alone 30 years. I simply don't have the patience to stop myself from delivering instant justice to yobs.

I'm not among the people who think we should satisfy our resentment by making people in the public services work for longer before they can retire. That's just vengeful. I just wish I could do the same.

If so, I'd be looking at another six years of stout service before taking the money and running to somewhere exotic – like Overstrand. Instead, I'll probably be working into my 70s, with a gouty leg and no tolerance of young people (as opposed to the current 'almost no').

It's all very depressing, and far removed from the utopian dream we were expected to believe in when I was younger.

•The views expressed above are the opinion of Steve Downes. You can read Steve's full column in the EDP every Saturday

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