Brian's Blog

…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World



I was having a conversation with my mum about retirement, I’m not sure how it came up, but anyway, the gist of it was that we have known people who work all of their lives, retire, and then die shortly after, or be in poor health and not be able to enjoy their retirement as planned.

Here in the UK the retirement age is set to increase to 66 by 2020, because apparently we are now living longer. I’ve had a few family members die before they’ve reached that age so it does makes me feel like there is something wrong with the system.

I think it’s all well and good if you find yourself in a career that you enjoy and your work is just what you do, but for many their job runs them into the ground, they can suffer both physically and mentally because of their line of work, and should they even reach retirement they will be far past their prime and unable to enjoy life thereafter.

Coincidentally I came across this poem in The Children’s Encyclopedia (volume 3 p.1720):

After Sixty Years by Egbert Sandford

I’m pensioned – well,
I must not mind ;
The best is not
Always behind.
Maybe that my
Remaining years
Will bring new songs,
New sighs, new tears.
But if God wills,
And I will too,
Much yet remains
For me to do.
And bird and beast
And flower and star
As ever my
Companions are.
I’m pensioned – well,
I don’t mind ;
The best is not
Always behind.

Egbert Thomas Sandford was a regular poet for the Children’s Newspaper, which spawned the Encyclopedias, and I was curious to find out when he actually died – perhaps it would back up my claim here, that not everyone gets to enjoy their retirement once it arrives, but perhaps he lived to a ripe old age. Sadly I cannot find that information online. I have stumbled upon an online collection of The Children’s Newspaper – I have registered with the website which has allowed me to search within the scanned pages, but that still hasn’t answered my query to I have contacted the team with the hope that someone there might know.

Edit: I got a reply from Look and Learn… but sadly no joy. The question remains unanswered: When did Egbert Thomas Sandford die?


3 comments on “Retirement

  1. James
    16 July, 2015

    I have the editor of ‘The Children’s Newspaper’ Arthur Mee’s copy of Egbert Sandford’s ‘Poems’ (1927), loosely inserted into which are: i) a photograph of Sandford, signed by the poet on the back & dated September 1938 – depicting an elderly pipe-smoking man, seated in an armchair beneath various framed portraits (one of which can be identified as Robert Burns), with an open book on his knee; ii) a manuscript poem ‘Our Editor’s message to me’ by Sandford, dated 16th February 1941, and addressed to Mee (who is also the subject of the poem); iii) a letter from Sandford to Mee dated 15 May 1942, addressed from 6 Mill Pond Road, Gosport, Hants., and containing seven manuscript poems.

    I have pencilled Sandford’s year of birth in the book as 1871 – I can’t remember my source, but this was years back (long before the internet), and probably came from a printed bibliography.

    All the above point to Sandford having attained at least the age of seventy.

    Are you sure his middle-name was Thomas? A quick online search reveals an Egbert Theodore Sandford as an officer in the Devon Regiment in 1917. This would seem to tally with his proposed age at the time (about 46).

    • Brian
      16 July, 2015

      Thank you for your thorough reply. I see “Poems by Egbert Thomas Sandford” on Amazon: but indeed, from your details “Egbert Theodore Sandford” could be likely, and the age of seventy is intriguing… only enjoying ten years of retirement.

      • James
        16 July, 2015

        The computer-generated Amazon attribution sounds wrong. And how many Egbert Sandford’s are there likely to have been in that period, or any other?

        Don’t forget he was still alive and composing verse in 1942. He looks robust in the photograph, well up to a good further ten years plus, I’d say. From the subject-matter of his verse, clearly a healthy liver: a born conservative, no risk-taker.

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This entry was posted on 24 April, 2015 by in Books and tagged , , , , , , .
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