Freelancing is unpredictable. It’s not just that it’s feast or famine – far too much to do or, more often, nothing at all – it’s the days during which you don’t stop doing but, when you look back for a sense of achievement, nothing counts as work.
Today was one of those days.
I’d had a busy weekend – a training workshop all day Saturday and a long, lazy lunch on the Sunday which, because we ate outside in the shade of an early heatwave, left me good for nothing for the rest of the day (the effect of even a light rosé is long-lastingly debilitating, even when drunk with as much water as wine).
So Monday started late. With someone due to call round at 10.30, I argued that being ready for that was early enough; I deserved a no-alarm morning having spent Saturday with my work brain in gear.
I say someone. It was Suzie of Suzie’s Yard on her way to my local deli to tempt them with her Tuscan treats. I’d offered her a visitor’s parking voucher and expected her just to ring the doorbell and dash off. Instead, I spent an unexpected, and unexpectedly pleasurable, half hour salivating over her latest finds (www.suziesyard.co.uk).
Back to my desk. Check for urgent emails (ever hopeful of a sudden request for something leading to an invoice) before nipping out to the shops. Having been out all weekend, my cupboards were bare and, after drooling over Suzie’s offerings, my tummy was rumbling for its breakfast smoothie the ingredients for which were missing from my kitchen.
And then the phone rang. An hour later, after another “quick look” at emails and sending a “quick reply” I set off. It’s Monday! My favourite (independent) supermarket is closed! So I diverted and started dashing to the only other supermarket I’ll enter (Waitrose).
Inevitably, in our villagey town, I bumped into a local friend and another half hour was lost in enjoyable but non-earning chat. I made it back in time to … well, not to make my breakfast smoothie. With only a few minutes before I had to leave for my twice-weekly remedial knee/back class, there wasn’t enough time. But I needed something.
At a meeting with a colleague last week, I’d been re-introduced to a nutritionally naughty nibble from my childhood and the distinctive packaging caught my eye in Waitrose. With six in a box, I told myself I’d be disciplined, hiding them for every-now-and-then-indulgences when I felt I’d earned it. I unwrapped one for a bit of an energy boost (“I’ll probably work off the calories in the gym”, my head said) and gloried in its gloriousness.
Four thirty, I’m back and it’s time, at last, for lunch. The phone rang. You can imagine what happened next. Perhaps just one more – really, only one – would be ok. It was so good, so dreamily light and smoothly fluffy – what does it say on the packet about calories? Never mind the fat content (surprisingly low), ignore the sugar level (shockingly high), just the calories. Because I’m so, so hungry. And that was three gone. And then, because the photo would look better, a fourth.
Freelance life is like this. Undisciplined days when you are never idle but you don’t achieve anything either – and when the lure of fridge or, given mine is often empty, the box-I-should-never-have-bought, takes over. Tomorrow will be different, won’t it?
Mini clouds as light as nothing (Tunnock’s Tea Cakes)
I remember Tunnock’s tea cakes from my mid-childhood. They are nothing like the supermarket own-brand versions. As light and as heavenly as clouds, they transported me to a much higher place than my top floor flat– and I’m sure it wasn’t because of the sugar rush. http://www.tunnock.co.uk