And so, back to work
After nine days off, indulging in televised football, food, brisk walks, alcohol (in very small quantities it must be said), taking photographs and finding any excuse to go for a drive in my new car it was back to work. That said it was hardly a case of 'all the world and his wife' going back for one day before another two day break. The schools are still off and I managed to drive the ten miles from home to the office without seeing another car, in fact my first contact with another human was seeing Tracy, the young lady in the paper shop, bending over in front of me showing off her thong (aren't those things as painful to wear as they look!).
The first phone call of the day was at a minute past eight, a member of staff phoning in sick with back problems - yes I know I've promised to take it easy this year and I did actually take a full hour for lunch.
That was the first of three phone calls we received today, which I think must be some sort of record, Britain it seems has finally embraced the European idea of a winter shutdown. I know it's only a change of page in the diary or the calendar but the idea of a New Year does play tricks on your brain, it's as if we all start again with a clean slate, or cleanish at any rate, some of the stains from last year are clearly too stubborn to removed by simply changing 08 to 09.
I once worked with a lovely Irish lady who hated holidays, all holidays, and she would volunteer to open the office early after the Christmas break, it wasn't as if she wanted the company, there wasn't any, she just found being off work for more than a few days too much. I still feel we work too hard as a nation and don't have an awful lot to show for it as a justification of doing five days work when we could achieve the same level of profitability in four - we've all (and I know this is a generalisation) succumbed to Parkinson's Law which states that 'work will expand to fill the time allocated to it' - I'm paraphrasing there of course.
I need to work hard to rebuild the 'brick wall' that I successfully built once long ago dividing work from non-work and hoping that the former does not impinge on the latter. Above my desk at home is a 10 point guide to relaxation that I cut out of the Independent over ten years ago and which I found very useful for a while, it's just a list of things which you should try and do everyday, most of them are from the school of the bleeding obvious - such as going for a walk, listening to music, reading etc but there are others such as 'learn to like yourself more' and 'treat yourself as you would treat your best friend'. I know it sounds like something from the New Age Handbook but the last few years have taught me one thing, we spend a lot of our lives pleasing other people in the hope of some reflective glory, time spent 'doing the right thing' rather than doing what we want. I'm not advocating being selfish, greedy or some other negative outlook on life but I think I have spent too much time trying to be what other people want me to be or at least too much time spent trying to be what I think other people want me to be and I've lost sight of the real me. As an example of that last statement I was watching some of the home videos I 'shoot' and actually watching a clip where Nathalie had been holding the camera rather than me holding it and it struck me that I was laughing - it seems an odd thing, but the fact that I noticed it showed me that I've managed to cultivate this self loathing miserable git which isn't how other people see me - at least not those who tell me I should do comedy (and I don't think they are being ironic or sarcastic!).
Anyway I didn't mean to start the year on a downer but it's better out than in so I'm told.