Today I travelled to Bath for the first time in nearly three weeks and again for the sole purpose of hacking foetid bits off fungal soles to earn a crust, pay my mortgage, help my kids where necessary and finance my quest to attain global supremacy in the field of global wandering.
Sadly my first port of call this morning was in exactly the same building as my last one had been the day before I jetted off to sunny Peru. The difference in my frame of mind between then and today could not have been greater. Well actually it could. I wasn’t exactly ecstatic but I was cheerful enough. I've long since come to the conclusion that I’d rather not go to work at all if I didn't have to but as I do have to, I’m happy plodding along in my own little self employed world, sitting on elderly people’s elderly sitting room carpets, drinking their tea, eating their elderly date and walnut cake, and listening to their tales about their great grandchildren in New Zealand, what they did in the war, how the wound from their recent operation is failing to heal up and the woman at number forty two with the low cut top.
Today was my second day back at work and, apart from being long, it was no trouble at all. And neither was yesterday. That’s the acid test for me with a job . . . being able to sail back into it after a fabulous holiday without suffering abject misery. In my former job I was so pissed off on my first day back after a lovely holiday in Ireland with my beautiful offspring that I was physically sick on the end of the platform at Bristol Templemeads railway station when I got off the train to head for the office. That was the day I decided I needed to work for myself. It took a long time to make the change but I managed it and now I'm happy. Perhaps if I'd decided to become a freelance railway station platform mopper the transition would have been more rapid.
The contrast between this week and last couldn’t be greater. Last week I was swanning around in the Andes with nothing better to do than take photographs of humming birds, and this week I have got more work to do than I have ever known before. But plying my trade late into the evenings, on Saturdays and on public holidays pays for the things I really want to do. Once I’ve left home to see one customer my day is practically ruined so I feel I might as well keep going until my diary and my work wallet are full.
And another good thing about my job is the fact that all my lovely clients are fascinated to hear about my latest trip, so I can sit and talk about my adventures to my heart’s content and at the end they pay me. Call that work? I don’t think so.
So as soon as this current frenzy of business activity is over I’m going to be preparing in earnest for my next trip which will be to Islay, a Hebridean paradise off the west coast of Scotland. That’s going to involve drinking whisky and cycling. I’m going to need stabilisers for that . . . and a safety helmet, whether I get on the bike or not!