Friday, 14 October 2011

Working in the Sun

I don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up. I still feel I am finding my feet in this strange big world of work. Luckily I am employed and apparently useful and making a bit of a difference so most of my key career ambitions have already been achieved.

At breakfast I considered that my ideal job would be living off the rental income of my additional properties which I don’t have. These having been left to me by wealthy aunts, which I don’t have, in hitherto unfashionable parts of London which are now very, well, very now.

On parking the car I was sorry to have to tear myself away from the musical choices and biographical chit chat of Vidal Sassoon as he planned his desert island stay. Kirsty Young said his year of birth, and I tried to count forward to work out his age but I was surprised at how many fingers I ended up having to use and presumed I had miscalculated. It would appear however that he is very old.

His mother didn’t have room for him when his sisters got bigger, so he was placed in an orphanage at the age of 5. He enjoyed being able to have a hot bath and she visited him once a month. Then one day she had a dream that he would be a ladies hairdresser. He played Charles Aznavour in salute to all the men, gay and straight whose talent and creativity he had witnessed and worked with over the years. ‘What makes a man a man’ always sends a shiver down my spine ever since the first time I heard it sung by Marc at the Royal Albert Hall when he was celebrating 12 years (of tears) in the business. I think his concert I went to at the weekend is part of his 30 years celebrations, so we’re all getting older, but thank heavens not quite as old as Vidal, not just yet anyway. Apparently he cut Mary Quant’s ear the day he did that famous bob - Vidal that is not Marc.

I don’t think my Mother ever had a dream that I would become a local government officer. I’m not really aware if her or my father had any particular vocational dreams for any of us. We certainly weren’t expected to follow in their medical footsteps. I don’t really remember them expecting anything much, apart from good manners and tidy bedrooms, although I’m sure this is not the case. Anyway if they did they didn’t mention it often. I think the main things they would have liked would have been a few more weddings, and a whole range of unplanned (planned by Jesus) reproduction.

On leaving the car park I posted my union ballot paper which had asked me whether I would be willing to take part in industrial action regarding the future of my pension. Now my pension is very important to me as I plan to have a long and happy retirement (ultimate job) free from the drudgery of full time working. As I stepped out of the supermarket whose post box I had used, the sun was shining so brightly, that suddenly everything felt good in the world; a wonderful feeling for a Friday morning. Although it was not quite as cold, I was put in mind of my favourite days, those bitter winter ones with sharp blue skies which brace and elate simply by their very existence.

It made me wonder whether I would be best suited to a job which involved the outdoors in some manner. Perhaps working at a research facility based in a grand country house in the gloriaous British countryside. I think if the job involved exploring the grounds in a golf buggy on my way to and from meetings then I may have found a very suitable career option.

I have had jobs in the sunshine. My sunniest job was at the Design Museum - oh my how I loved that job. I worked there during my third year at UCL, having resigned from the Conran shop at the end of my second year vowing I would be far too busy studying to have any time for a part time job during the following three terms.

The Job required me to attend the Museum at 8 o’clock on Sunday mornings. First duty was to collect the deliveries of gorgeous pastries and baguettes which had arrived at dawn from the bakers and which were being guarded by security until my arrival. I would then carry these boxes into the main hall - which was a huge open plan area with huge long tables in the middle. I would set them down, go into the kitchen and bring out all the ingredients, knives and assorted equipment and start to prep all the baguettes. We did mature cheddar and chutney, we did salami and gherkin, we did tuna salad and we did mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes with basil leaf. If nothing else we were so terribly, terribly 1989 and no riposte. Our black polo necks and crisp starched white aprons (replaced throughout the day when they became dirty) were testament to this.

I would be joined by colleagues at 9.00am who would help me finish all the prep. Finally a further couple of colleagues would arrive at 10 when we would open shop and our day of smiling, serving sandwiches and cakes, giving directions to the Blueprint café upstairs and wishing the customers wouldn’t ask for  their espresso in Italian as it only made them look like twats, would begin.

mmmmmm. I would saunter back in just before nine and crack on. My tired and hungry colleagues would arrive, make their own picnics and in time we’d come together and finish making up all the baguettes and be ready to open at 10 with skyscraper like piles of sandwiches, baguettes and beautiful pastries. I’ve never eaten so well on a Sunday before or since.

There is something so magical and relaxing about the waking of a town or city on a sunny morning. Helping my Gran in her shop in Devon used to fill me with a similar feeling of peace and joy, early morning sunshine, the squawk of seagulls, businesses getting ready for the day, waving to neighbours, coffee and a cigarette in the door way, sun on your face. Very Applehurst.

So on reflection, when I grow up my ideal job will definitely have to be by the coast or at least near the water. It doesn't need to be at a research facility, but I would like the golf buggy, and am certainly fine with big country houses. There will need to be sunshine, and there will need to be quiet; no pointless chit chat about leggings or the X Factor, and there will need to be strong cups of tea - lots of them and don’t skimp on the milk, and maybe the occasional baguette, but no smokes. Everything else is up for negotiation.

Well, all that sounds like utter joy to me. Sorted, when do I start?


Anonymous said...

you are Delicious.

we smiled at this line (and lots of others as you are Very Funny)

"grand country house in the gloriaous British countryside"

we will all live together in a big house in the country (was that blur or pulp?) and have devotees of our novels and novelisations of our Very Well-known stories.

do you mind if the country house is not necessarily in england? we could make it look a Lot Like England (they have everything here and it's so much cheaper ;-)

adore you.

_tg xx

Will said...

Blur, and of course it can be anywhere you want my love. x

Michael Patrick McKinley said...

Bitter winter days with sharp blue skies are a treasure, as is your writing.

And now I'm craving a sandwich. On a fresh baguette. And a ride in the golf cart.

More like this, please.