I put a sign on my door this morning. Red with stark black lettering: Thou Canst Not Enter But By Death.
It’s a quotation from Shakespeare’s Henry VI.
I bought it in the RSC shop after seeing Sir Ian McKellen in Lear at Stratford six years ago almost to the very day.
It was my 50th birthday treat from my brother and we sat transfixed as Sylvester McCoy who played the Fool was literally left hanging as the audience bolted for the bar.
Bad form. We drank our G&Ts with an easier conscience once he’d been cut down by stage hands.
This is not my attempt to gatecrash Coun David Owen’s campaign to get Blackpool to brush up its Shakespeare.
It’s my bid to redefine my bedroom as a self employed work zone from 9am to 5pm on the one day of the week I don’t actually work for four other people – which doesn’t stop three of them calling or emailing any of the other days.
As a newly self employed person I’ve lost my “self” in the process.
In reality you’re at everybody else’s beck and call whenever they want wherever you happen to be and regardless of whatever hours they may have booked.
All that and working out your own tax, NI, submitting invoices, paying for your own printing and phones and... just remind me why I left The Gazette?
To unwind a bit. Be my own boss. Work when I wanted.
Well, that’s not working – not that I’m complaining. Far better than stretching my Werthers allowance (sorry, pension) until I get what’s left of the state pension in nine years.
I now have five phones, like an almost pensioned-off call girl, each colour coded to indicate a client.
Blue for caring, red for finance, black for ghost writing, pink for soft and fluffy client, amber for family – the only ones I put on hold.
I play catch up between clients at home and try to remember log ons for three remote access email systems, and not get carers mixed up with accountants or accountants with entertainers or entertainers with lawyers.
Although I rest my case that the last actually applies.
Then there’s getting the hang of ghost writing in the Cloud rather than Ghost Riders in the Sky. Hey ho.
I’d be better off hot desking, the office equivalent of sofa surfing when homeless.
Or lingering over cold coffee in a warm cafe and trying not to drop scone crumbs in my laptop.
I miss my old desk each time someone walks into my new office – which just happens to have a bed attached – and asks “have you seen my pills, pension, People’s Friend?” Delete as applicable.
Or “you on Facebook AGAIN?” “No, I’m Googling (it’s now a verb) just what Standards and Procedures mean.
Because I have to produce some. By 9am. It’s now 9pm.”
Did I say nine to five earlier? More Fool me!
Proof of the pudding...
I have been reading etiquette tips in a bid to be more Downton than downmarket.
Apparently we should say pudding instead of dessert.
Reminded me of a former colleague who raved about “canopies” and “dessert” whenever she reviewed food.
It was cult reading in the newsroom before we edited her copy to become more palatable for publication.
Before and Afters?