The Porters are on the move!

Big time.

In 2011 Jaqui and I will both reach the milestone of 60 years of age. Recently we have had an increasing feeling that our lives are drifting along, mainly under the influence of forces outside of our immediate control. In retrospect, we feel that we have not made the best of our early retirement nine years ago. This is about to change. The Porters are going walkabout!

In 2011 we are moving to the Island of Malta. We expect to be there for at least 2 years. After that our plans are flexible. We may stay there for longer but our current thinking is to experience life in several countries before returning to the UK. Nothing is decided yet beyond 2013 but our itinerary could be something like:

  • 2011: Malta
  • 2013: Spain
  • 2015: South America
  • 2016: Antipodes
  • 2017: North America.

The essence of the decision is very simple: if we don’t do it now we’ll never do it.

Jaqui’s Mother

We moved to the Midlands in 2009 to be close to Jaqui’s mum who was not at all well. Thankfully her health has improved to the extent that we feel comfortable setting out on our new project.

We will however be keeping our Midlands house on, unoccupied, in case we need to return at short notice. The house will be available for use by friends, especially those visiting the UK from abroad.

Another piece of good news is that Jaqui’s mum has been cleared to fly, so we hope she will be joining us for some of each year.

Our Stuff

Despite two major downsizing exercises in the last five years, we still have far too much stuff. In our walkabout we will be limiting our total possessions to less than 50Kg in weight. This means that we will be renting furnished accommodation abroad. Currently we are looking for a villa with a pool and sea view which we hope will be an attractive place for our friends to come and visit!

Before we leave we will complete a further massive reduction in what we have at home. Currently, in addition to the contents of our house, we have a 21 foot container packed full of furniture and equipment. We are ceasing our two most equipment-intensive hobbies, caravaning and canoeing, with immediate effect. The caravan and canoes, and all the related materials, are being sold and the container discontinued.

This still leaves us with plenty of hobbies, including music (harp and concertina), bridge and long-distance walking (me walking, Jaqui as base camp). Jaqui’s folk harp will be shipped to Malta as soon as we have established our new residence.


Currently we run a home office with two laptops, a terabyte of network-attached storage, printer/scanner/photocopier and several filing cabinets full of paper. Additionally we both run blackberries with a full data plan and full synchronization with Google apps. We also have 2 Kindles and an iPod Touch. I spend a minimum of 30 hours a week on the computer, much of it in voluntary work supporting various websites and other admin activities.

We will be leaving nearly all of this kit behind. We will be limiting ourselves to two Pay-As-You-Go mobile phones and one lightweight Apple product such as an iPad or 11” MacBook Air. We will not have an Internet connection at home (either in the UK or in Malta) and will be dependent on occasional access to public wifi. This will enable me to make a complete break from intensive web-development work and spend more time out-of-doors.

Kingston the Cat

Kingston is an important part of our small family and will be coming with us to Malta. He has already had his rabies injections and will soon have his pet passport, enabling him to travel within the EU.


Freemasonry has been a source of great pleasure and inspiration to me for many years. I have taken on many ceremonial and administrative responsibilities which, although time-consuming, I have found very rewarding. In 2008 I was greatly honoured by appointment as a Grand Officer by the Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent.

However it is also fair to say that my Masonic commitments have played a role in preventing us from making the best of our retirement in other areas. I will be ceasing my active involvement in UK Freemasonry as early as possible in 2011.  I will be handing over all my current roles and responsibilities, including web development and webmasterships, in a planned manner but with minimum delay. I will be retaining membership of my various Lodges and Chapters but will not be attending.

As it happens, I am a Past Master of Union of Malta Lodge No 407 and, as a result, have Masonic friends in Malta. I may therefore occasionally visit the English Lodges still working in Malta.

On our eventual return to permanent residence in the UK, I will re-engage with Freemasonry but, to be frank, probably never to the same level as before.

What Next?

We hope to be resident in Malta by April 2011. There is a lot to get done over the next couple of months in terms of logistics, finances and handovers. We are off to Malta for New Year to get the ball rolling over there.

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15 Responses to The Porters are on the move!

  1. Noel Voice says:

    Dear Larrie
    I really admire what you are planning – very exciting and obviously well thought out. We will miss you in Freemasonry and in particular the contribution that you have made in the many Degrees in which you have been immersed over the years. I particularly want to thank you for your help to me personally on a number of occasions and your participation in the Lodges in Petersfield and the Winchester Group, which is doing particularly well at this time.
    I wish you and Jacqui bon voyage and good luck in all your travels and experiences over the next few years. Keep in touch from time to time.
    A Very Happy Christmas and an adventurous New Year.
    Kind regards
    Noel Voice

  2. Stephen & Sarah says:

    Go for it Porters ! Lets see how many others you inspire. Book us in and big love X

  3. Alan & Vicky says:

    Best wishes to you both, having visited (and a long time ago “Worked” OK Royal Navy & Fleet Air Arm!) i guess you either love Malta or **** it, BUT at least the weather is good most of the year and i bet you’ll never have the snow like worcester has this week!
    Have a great time and we will see you (soon?)
    Alan & Vicky

  4. Roy Morris says:

    Best wishes to you both, hope you enjoy the next few years to the full I admire what you are about to do it will be a fantastic journey for you both and a new way of life.
    Masonry will miss you Larry as you are such a prominent figure in the ranks.
    Enjoy Malta it’s such a lovely climate and very diverse with plenty of history.
    Roy and Maria

  5. Roy Peters Winton RX says:

    Best wishes from me and all the members of Winton RX. I shall pass on your news letter to Terry Bruty and read it to the members at the March meeting.

  6. dear both, cannot say i am surprised about it, although (a bit like the illusion of freewill) I did not predict it. brilliant. my only bit of advice is that in the downsizing leave plenty of room for a bigger roomful of different behaviours and try to leave as many habits behind as you can! This will be worth quite a bit and will counter the normal tendency people have to look for something life changing on a world trip when they take themselves everywhere! love you both, yrs ben and karen

  7. Barry & Ann says:

    What a fantastic decision and you have the sense to go for it while you are still young enough to enjoy and explore each of the destinations.
    We wish you the best of luck and look forward to reports on your progress over the coming years.
    It goes without saying Larry that your input into freemasonry will be greatly missed

    Barry & Ann

    • Lindsey and Brian Palmer says:

      Wow! So the wanderers are off again to pastures new, but this time off-shore to Malta. We hope that you will have a great time out there, we know it well.It seems as though you are about to embark on a whole series of exciting new adventures and we wish you both well. have lots of fun and do keep in touch Happy Christmas.
      Love from us both L and B

  8. ian leslie says:

    Hey Lawrence & Jaqui thats all very sudden but should be exciting.
    I can recommend the iPAD I am converted to Apple stuff.
    Most importantly you MUST come here and come to a music session probably on a Sundayevening [2nd of the month] or Friday [1st of the month] and bring your harp and concertina, meet Alan & Anne again, and probably Marlane. e can do something Midhurst based too. Dont forget this! I currently finish my contract 21 Jan so sometiome soon after that?
    All the best, and i am coming to visit you in Malta sometime!

  9. Barry says:

    Bloody hell Larry, how can you go to live on an island and give up kayaking?
    Good weather? The only time I went there it rained so much the harbourside was under a foot of water and looked like a weir in spate. I was there to do trials on a yacht and had to come home again because the storms just kept coming.
    50kg will be a real challenge. Jaqui’s first aid kit alone must weigh twice that.
    Long distance walking? You’ll be doing laps, but at least Jaqui won’t have to pack a kilo of compeeds.
    Two years? I’ll bet you a meal for four that you’ll be somewhere else by Christmas 2011. Wherever it is we’ll have to try and catch up with you to settle the bet ….
    Bev says “What about the Ridgeway?” Are you standing her up?
    We’ll miss you both anyway. Have a great time!
    Barry & Bev.

  10. Richard & Barbara from IOW says:

    You’re mad and we love you.!!
    Do you get free bus passes on Malta when youre 60??

    You on your Island and we on ours and hopefully the twain shall meet!!
    We’ll be over by hook crook or kayak!! or more realisically “Flybe”
    Lots of good luck and love for your new adventure.
    R&B xxx

  11. dougal jeffries says:

    Hi Jacqui (and Larry) – funnily enough we’re just thinking of taking up kayaking, from our new base near the Helford River in Cornwall. I’m retiring in May, all being well.
    Are the Alan and Anne mentioned above by any chance from Pulburough in Sussex and called Wheeler? If so they are good friends of ours and have been over to Scilly for some folky stuff. If not, forget it!
    Good luck with your plans , which sound exciting and challenging. I’m all for putting my feet up, staying put in a quiet corner of England, and travelling less far afield – although might try a bit of cruise doctoring to see a few more places for nothing.
    All best, love

  12. Sylvia says:

    What adventures lie ahead for you. Can’t believe you’re 60! Mind you Keith was 80 yesterday and I certainly can’t believe that. It all sounds very courageous to give up all that you have enjoyed in recent years and head for pastures and countries new. You aim to stay in one place for two years?? We wish you every blessing and we envy you all excitement that lies ahead- you always were ones to go for it! Keep us on your mailing list and I hope we will catch up in person sometime, even if it’s not in the New Forest.
    Lots of love to you both, Sylvia and Keith

  13. Vic and Hen says:

    Can we come too! We just need to shift some stuff….including two fine rugrats. Any takers?????

    Very jealous and hope to come out and visit in Malta.

    PS Hen says he will house your DVD collection whilst you are on your travels!!!

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