Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Getting away from it all

I work freelance from home. Before R died this made for a great life - it made the whole farmstead thing possible and allowed me to take time off too when R was between contracts. After his death I just shut down the business completely, saying "don't call me, I'll call you" and ignoring the increasingly frantic messages on the answering machine. I could barely tie my shoelaces, so there was no point in trying to work.

When the New Year came I realised it was time to get back to my desk. Partly because if I didn't do it then, I probably would never be able to get going again and partly because the household income had reduced to zero overnight and the savings were not going to last forever. (A post on the joys of getting probate when you are unmarried and there is no will I shall leave for another day!).

Possibly the one good thing about the current recession is that the work has picked up very slowly. Perhaps a little too slowly at times, but it has allowed me to retrain the thinking muscles at a gentle pace. However, concentration often eludes me still, deadlines are difficult to meet unless very generous, and my confidence levels remain at an all-time low.

So when a client recently asked me to go on a fact-finding mission / meet-the-end-customer trip, my first reaction was to make my excuses and hide under the desk for a few days. But all the little obstacles that I raised to make the whole trip impossible were somehow overcome and it soon became obvious that I wasn't going to be able to get out of it without appearing a total numpty.

Monday morning therefore saw me loading up the car for the trip up North, leaving my Wonderful BIL and the plasterer working on the house and having to make their own cups of tea for a couple of days.
It was the best thing I could have done.
OK, it may have been for work. It may only have been visiting a magazine printing plant in Sheffield. But two days away being a professional person, rather than a widow have given me such a boost. It sounds awful, but I loved being able to dress up in my posh clothes for a change, eat in restaurants in good company, stay in a nice hotel and talk about something other than dead people for once.

Of course there were tears when I got back home and he wasn't here to tell all about it. I was also greeted by white plaster dust footprints all over the house, a sulky dog and a sick chicken. Even so, I had a glimpse of 'normality' for a couple of days and it now doesn't seem quite such an unattainable goal. This feeling may not last, but at least I know it is possible again.


  1. Good heavens, do all widows work in publishing? You, me, Snickollet... many others. Yikes. Is it because it's a dying industry? (Har har).

  2. Hee hee. I can only dream about publishing. I'm a technical translator, so even further down the food chain than you!