I finally made up my mind to 'express an interest' in early retirement today. It doesn't at this stage commit me to anything and they may or may not offer it to me in any case. I decided I've had enough so after discussing it with the other half - who finally said as he isn't the one who has to go into work every day and be bored and/or annoyed he didn't feel the final say was up to him - I did the deed.
We keep being reminded of the mobility clause in our contracts and I have no wish to move house (even if it is at my employer's expense) or face a lengthy journey to work each day so it seems like the best thing to do. At least I'm doing something and not having something forced on me. I'm confident we can manage financially and in any case I shall get my state pension in 2013 - which is nearer than you think!
I told my manager I wanted to get on and enjoy my life - not very tactful as he pointed out to me though he understood the sentiment. So I shall keep my fingers crossed and see what happens. I could be turned down; they could say I can have it when the office closes next year or I could get it within a few months - who knows. Watch this space.