When you stop working, your neighbourhood, which you thought you knew so well, becomes unfamiliar. The world is suddenly populated exclusively with mothers, pre-schoolers and the elderly. The rhythm of the streets feels different - parking spaces you thought were always full are now empty, roads you knew as quiet are rowdy with schoolkids.
All this is unsettling when you are trying to decide what to do with your newly won free time. I was delighted to be able to spend more time with the children, and I was resigned to going from a good income to no income. But it seemed mad to go from being a full-time, competent professional to being a full-time, incompetent homemaker. So I compromised and allowed myself a little feckless dilettantism as well.
I retained some childcare and decided to do a magic course. Yes, that's right, pulling rabbits out of hats. Everyone asks me, why magic? Well, in my new incarnation magic was tangible, useful even. The kids love it and, when asked for the hundredth time what you are doing with yourself these days, even adults are pretty impressed when you audibly tear up a piece of paper and then unfold it whole again in front of their eyes.