Work, Rest, and Play

Work, Rest, and Play

I’d spent an ill advised few weeks in Australia before moving to London, and if I was to pay back the now frightening couple of grand debt I was in I’d have to be somewhere I could work. My first London job, making replica food was minimum wage, so that was hardly going to cut it, even staying for free at my dad’s. So when a friend hooked me up with a decent run of real prop making gigs for west end theatre I worked hard to become debt free. The big push came when I started working backstage at Les Mis. I’d do my ten hours prop making and get into town for the evening’s show, and prop making was free lance so flexible enough for matinees too. The only thing was that this was a six week stint of total work, and by the end of it I was very unhappy. By the end of it, though, I coasted into a period of working only in the evenings, and by ‘working’ I really only mean missing evening television.
I remember having an evening off during that busy time, and getting very drunk, falling over on the bus home, and being frogmarched up the road with a split lip wailing loudly “I’m unhappy, I’m unhappy”. This was a long time before the phrase ‘work-life balance’ had been invented, and was also long before becoming chronically ill had become my full time occupation.
I was musing about all this during my morning bath, here, on holiday. We only have two days to go of our week long vacation, and it feels like a particularly jewel like length of time. Long enough to establish small routines – walk to the Belgian boulangerie for baguettes in the morning, have breakfast and a sunbathe, go into the local small town for coffee and a mooch around, come home for lunch, more sunbathing and reading, then perhaps a little jaunt to the local beach before dinner and early to bed the better to battle the nightly mosquitos. Not long enough, however, to feel obligated to ‘do’ things, to feel that existential drive to feel that day trips will make something of an achievement of the holiday.
I’ve read a book while I’ve been here, which is achievement enough, and I’ve often forgotten to take medication, so well have I been. We don’t have wifi, to the relief of all, so I am writing this in advance and posting in a cafe. I can’t work out how to upload photos, but I have taken some for you, so you will get a glut of them on my return. The book, fyi, is Music for Torching by A. M. Homes. It’s like a mixture between Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Revolutionary Road but brought up to date. Good reading.

Here are my snaps.


8 thoughts on “Work, Rest, and Play

  1. I love A.M. Homes! Haven’t read Music for Torching, but This Book Will Save Your Life and The End of Alice are amazing. So glad you’re enjoying your vacation. Can’t wait to see photos!

    1. I liked it an awful lot. It was very clever and also a ripping read, which is an excellent combo. I also read The Tiger’s Wife, which was good, but rather slow by comparison.

      1. Ooh, I read “The Tiger’s Wife” a while back. I remember it being somewhat of a slow read, but very well-written. Lyrical, poetical, even. Very dreamy. Very thoughful. I liked it very much. You had excellent vacation reads!

        How’s Poppet, ok? Silly girl. She should know she can’t fly.

        1. Bumbling idiot. She is a worry.

          I am a bit migrainous having travelled and arrived to the usual heavy cloud, so the fact that Poppet has taken to her quilts too is good timing.

  2. I look forward to seeing photos. Did you take Poppet with you on holiday?

    We just spent half a week with a friend in Baltimore and had a relaxing, lovely time.

    1. Collating the photos as we speak.

      I’d love to take Poppet away, but going abroad with animals is a bit fraught. You have to get them vaccinated and get special papers, then go to a vet in the country you are visiting for them to okay you. If I end up doing a PhD and spending longer than a week elsewhere then I’d definitely do it.

      I normally vacation within the UK, so this was a special treat. Visiting friends is nice.

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