A long time away from my desk

Tuesday August 22, 2006

I’ve never quite lost my sympathy for those who drive to work each day, nor my memory of the sheer hard grind of my own motor commuting days. This period, when I’m commuting five or six days each week between the caravan in West Quantoxhead and the Bridgwater house, is reinforcing both sympathy and memory. Can’t say I’m enjoying it too much.

It’s not a great distance—about fifteen miles each way—but it takes me over a winding country road, all of it single carriageway, that is a main route for commercial, rural and tourist traffic. I can do the trip easily in twenty minutes at quiet times but it can take up to forty-five minutes when the traffic is dense. If there’s been a serious accident on the way—and it’s astonishing how seldom that happens—then an additional delay of an hour or so can result.

I’ve been doing it for only a short time, since we bought the house, and it’ll soon be over, in two or three weeks. Even so, I’ve had enough of it, and shall be glad to see it end. And I salute those who are, as I used to be, condemned to drive to and from their place of work day after day, year after year. I find it hard to believe that many do it for fun.

Apart from uploading the journal and doing a little Internetery, there’s not too much need to make the journey every day. Having spent a little time today in cleaning the kitchen, there’s no real need at all. The house is ready.

The move is ready, too. I spoke on the phone to a nice young woman at the removal firm’s office, confirming the detail and setting up for the final, account-closing payment, and they’re all set to go. All that’s left is a waiting time before the sixth of September, when a big truck will pull up outside the house and our stuff will be unloaded. All those empty rooms will be empty no more.

“I’m not one to wish life away,” I said when I got back to the caravan and reported progress, “but if I had a fast forward button I’d probably press it now and jump ahead to moving day.”

“Make it a week after moving day,” Graham said. “That’d be more comfortable.”

“Mayhap. Haven’t got a button like that, though, so I’ll have to fill the time with pleasant anticipation.”

“You’d do better to forget about it until the day. You’ll run yourself ragged worrying about it if you’re not careful.”

“You know me so well.”

“Nobody better.”

That is the truth of it, of course. If I’m not wary I shall plan myself into a dizzy dither, thinking about it. Perhaps a sleep button would be of more use. It’d certainly be more sensible.

My writing group is talking about holding another ‘story a week for six weeks’ challenge, sometime after the move. I’ll probably take it on again this year, as a way of getting back into serious writing again. I enjoyed it last time, even if I never did get round to working the stories up into a little book. I’ve had quite a lot on my plate since then.

This time, I’m noodling at the thought of writing a set of six ghost stories. Stuff to raise the short hairs on the back of your neck.

Caught up in a moment of untypical enthusiasm, I’ve suggested we set up for a ‘Winter of Writing’, running a series of consecutive challenges, with a breathing space between each one. I doubt they’ll go for it but I’m toying with the thought of doing it for myself anyway. I’ve been a long time away from my desk.



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