Getting Personal

Today I made a decision. Having spent the past week indulging in an orgy of Olympic-level faffing, I admitted that I need a more disciplined approach to lockdown and so, this morning, I hired a personal trainer. Her name is Laurie and she’s on tap, right here, 24/7. Barmy as it sounds, I think I (wearing my personal trainer hat) may be just what I require.

As a self-employed person I obviously have a modicum of personal discipline. I start each day with a list of (mainly) achievable goals. My problem is a tendency to cherry-pick. I do all the easy or enjoyable stuff first, then slowly edge towards what remains. And remains. Things I hate doing, like replacing light bulbs or checking my bank balance, I too often flip on to the next day’s list, and the next. But today, Trainer Laurie took charge. There were ten items on my list.

‘Number them,’ she said. ‘Not in order of priority. Just number them. Now, in an envelope, place scraps of paper numbered one to ten. Draw a number. Consult the master-list. Do the task. Do not put the number back and try for something more desirable. This is not a Lucky Dip.’

And you know what? She’s dead right. I’m fairly motoring through today’s list. Trainer Laurie would be worth every penny I paid her. If I were paying her.

For those refuseniks who aren’t on my mailing list, here is access to the latest Interview with a Character that went out to my subscribers last week: Lizzie’s store cupboard

Lizzie Partridge wasn’t terribly inspirational. The woman has such an attitude.  But I’ve tested a few of her suggestions and can honestly say that the fishcake idea was a success  –  I’ve eaten worse fishcakes  –  the barley pudding was delicious and the frozen banana ‘ice cream’ does work although I was nervous that my puny Moulinex whuzzer might not survive the required sustained whuzzing.

So there you have it. Efficiency tips from Trainer Laurie and bonus materials from characters past and present. Do I look after you, or what?


  1. Helen on April 26, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Very commendable, Laurie.
    I was surprised Lizzie Partridge didn’t mention the iconic recipe for tinned pilchard curry, recommended by Janine Duvitski’s character in “Abigail’s Party”. I suppose somebody must have tried it and survived.
    Your trainer’s list is a very good idea. I will put it on the back burner while I continue to enjoy total idleness.
    Best wishes to you and all our fellow lockdowns.

  2. Anne Fawcett on April 30, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Laurie – I love your books and your blog. Put away that damn ‘To Do List’ and just keep writing … please. I am just about to send a note to a friend in Berlin to recommend several of your books.
    Anne from Toronto, Canada

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