I’m surfacing at last from the exhaustion of moving, not just house, but country too. I’m home, after a long absence and my children and grandchildren are relieved.
I haven’t done a lick of work in weeks, which got me thinking about some of the jobs I’ve had over the years. My first, at the age of 15, was as a table-wiper and dishwasher in a cafe. There was then a brief stint at Woolworth’s, doing hourly rounds of the tills and scooping up cash into a leather bag. I’d have been a ripe target for mugging, but mugging had yet to be invented. Also, it was Woolworth’s, not Harrod’s.
I have also been a cashier in Halford’s Car Accessories, a temporary mail-sorter in the days when people sent Christmas cards, a canteen dinner lady, a pharmacy sales assistant, a bookshop employee and a printer cartridge factory operative. My patchy memories of this very chequered career are that I grew to loathe the smell of institutional gravy, that I spent most of my bookshop wages on books, and that I looked pretty good in a boiler suit.
Oh, and I have also been a feature writer, a newspaper columnist, a novelist and a script writer.
Now, approaching my 74th birthday, I am unemployed and not sure how I feel about it. I can start on a new book tomorrow. Today even. But I’m rather enjoying the novelty of an empty diary and London outside my front door so I’m thinking that I might doss until January. Dan 5 probably needs to wait until the Covid dust has settled, so next year’s project might be something different. Perhaps another historical novel that no-one buys…
So, not a gap year, but a gap November/December. The sheer luxury of it!