Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Someone of my close aquaintance gets a job.

The master plan to stay in London for the sake of the children has paid off as one of them lands a full-time job working for a company in Soho for a year. 

I won’t say which one, for all you know I could be talking about Youngest, or Middle One, except of course that the law requires them to be in full-time education. So let’s just say I'm referring to an 18 year-old of my close acquaintance. An 18 year-old who just did very well in his A’ Levels and has decided to take a year off before going to university. One who will not now be lounging around on the sofa all day playing guitar, watching endless re-runs of Top Gear, getting under my feet, deciding to fry himself bacon covered in brown sugar for lunch at four in the afternoon, just after I’ve cleared and swept and put the rubbish out and the dishwasher is quietly humming to itself and I'm having a moment of fleeting domestic satisfaction. So obviously this is an 18 year-old of my very close acquaintance. 

He could be a lodger or a nephew who happens to be living with us because his parents are posted abroad, say, or one of those sad homeless types who comes round selling rubbish cloths and dusters at exorbitant prices on the doorstep and who, out of the goodness of my heart, because I am exactly this sort of impulsive philanthropic Dr. Barnardo-type, I have decided to take in off the street, give bed and board, and allow to raid the family fridge at will. Just use your imagination.

Anyway, I am now free to have such moments described above, all to myself. In fact, I reckon I am freer now I have been since June 1996, when I had my first baby. Sorry, the baby I found on the doorstep and took in. 

Think about it. There are no pre-school children at home. No primary school runs. No children on ‘study leave’ (if ever there was a misnomer that is it), just the hilarious Middle One and Youngest comedy duo, who head off to secondary school together each morning, one nearly 6 foot tall, long hair, loping gait, the other less than half his height, shaggy mop top, cheeky rejoinder, a recent example -  

Me: "And that is the end of my pep talk for today.
Youngest: "I think I missed the beginning."
Me: "Well he can fill you in on the way to school."
Youngest, to his brother, just as door clicks: "Please don't.

And now, of course, there are TWO workers leaving the house: Husband and this 18 year-old I speak of, heading off in the opposite direction, one on his bike, one to the Tube, leaving me to get on with my stuff – lots of staring out of the window then.

No, actually, not so much of the staring at the moment, some real work. And not just writing articles and blogging, which inexplicably those around me don’t seem to regard as work, probably because I can do it in my dressing gown. 

I have some of the other work I do, in fact it's possible I am constrained from mentioning it due to client confidentiality or something, so let’s just say that my lovely mate Pat and I are currently charged with making a stirring video, all hearts and minds stuff, for a very large national organisation dealing in health. Well it's national at the moment, just about.

A Polaroid, remember those? Taken on a shoot with Pat, rather a long time ago.

I think this is the work I am charged with anyway, I'm waiting for the full brief, currently living in that happy limbo when you know you have paid employment, indeed you have spent the fee already in your head, but don’t have to do anything yet. At some point people are going to expect stuff: ideas, emails, recces, etc, and then I will start waking at five in the morning wondering what I have got myself into - but not yet.

Interesting that this 18 year-old I speak of has 
a job working in this same profession and wants to study Film at university in due course, and fortunate that he can take a low paid job on the bottom of the ladder to learn the craft in his gap year because he is still living at home. Things were very different for Husband and I when we first moved to London in the late 80s. Then we struggled to find somewhere affordable to live, taking soul-sapping temping jobs to keep the wolf from the door as, in my case, I tried to find a way in to TV. 

It was a lovely theatrical agent who let me pretend to type in her hilariously ramshackle office, high on the corner of Cambridge Circus there, overlooking the entrance to Leicester Square Tube, who took pity on me and herself - I think she really needed a competent assistant who could actually type - and found a proper job for me to apply for, in publishing, which in due course led to a job at BBC Enterprises, which led to applying for a training attachment as a director in the children’s television department, which led to… well, you get the picture.

First job. At a work do. Even longer ago. Tbh I've only included this because I look nice. 

For a while Husband and I shacked up (his term) in a couple of rooms in large house in Herne Hill. We paid rent in cash, a week in advance, to the live-in landlady who was the mother of a friend from uni. When Husband was posted to France for a year as part of his degree and we had to leave, we did a mid-day flit to avoid paying the whole of the next week's money. I thought we left the place immaculate, but it turned out Husband had left our half-eaten Sunday roast chicken behind in her oven (that's not a euphemism). She wrote to my mother to complain. We knew how to eat well even then. 

And so began a tricky itinerant phase for me, which briefly included moving in to The Royal Free Hospital doctor's wing (I had an ex-boyfriend who was a medic there and he didn't need his room), when my entire 'vinyl' collection got nicked as Husband and a mate left it unattended propping open a door. To be honest I've never got over that.

Because we found it hard so to get established in London, both home-wise and job-wise, Husband and I thought if we ever managed to have a house here, we should cling to it for dear life so our children might be afforded the luxury of living in it while trying to sort themselves out. 

It's nice that occasionally things go according to plan, and very nice that we have one more full year with this 18 year-old of our very close acquaintance. We've grown rather fond of him over the years. Almost as fond, you might say, as if he were one of our own.

Love E x

P.S. Thank you to all you lovely readers, especially the new ones. I try to blog weekly but it's not always on the same day so do keep looking, or follow me on Twitter to find it.



  1. I've just discovered your blog and really enjoyed reading it! It's always nice to find someone in a similar boat:)

    1. Hey, thanks Julia, so nice to have a comment. Lots of readers at the moment, which is lovely, but no comments. Glad you liked it. By same boat I assume you mean you have a gap year kid. So nice to have them at home but without school to worry about - no exams! E x