Gainfully Unemployed

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!


  1. JillywithaJay on November 4, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Nice to have you back, Laurie! Good to see you’ve unpacked your laptop, now get cracking on another book please!

    I’ll buy your next book that’s for sure. Something different would be good; I have a list of suggestions as long as your arm (or perhaps as long as my arm) just send me an SAE! But really I am at your mercy.

    Hope you settle in to your new home soon. Have a little break, enjoyed the new proximity of your grandchildren, then . . .

    Very best wishes,

    JillywithaJay xxx

  2. JillywithaJay on November 4, 2021 at 9:57 am

    . . . and don’t ever consider employing me as a proof-reader!

  3. Helen Evans on November 8, 2021 at 4:04 am

    I have read all your historical books and really enjoyed them , so I will definitely be buying your next one Laurie. Look forward to another DR Dan when you’re ready too.
    Enjoy your break

  4. JULIA MILES on November 25, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    I don’t mind what you write, I read them all, just don’t stop please…… yours impatiently with gratitude


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