As the world begins to open up again, I buy a new mid-year diary twice the size of my old one.
After crossing out practically every event in the last sixteen months due to Covid restrictions, I’m hoping I’ll need more diary space to make up for lost time. I have so many missed social engagements with family and friends to make up for, not to mention practical appointments with doctors, dentists, hairdressers and garages.
My favourite time for appointments is 11am. With 11 as my default, I am more likely to remember when my meetings are and to turn up on time. Similarly, when I’m working at my desk, I generally down tools at 11 for a coffee break.
I follow Winnie-the-Pooh’s advocacy for elevenses – “Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o’clock in the morning” – although I don’t share his taste in refreshments.
Rabbit said, ‘Honey or condensed milk with your bread?’ Pooh was so excited that he said, ‘Both,’ and then as not to seem greedy, he added, ‘but don’t bother about the bread, please.’*
My plan for more outings is soon scuppered by increased traffic congestion. (Yes, I know, I’m contributing to those traffic jams by driving places.) One Friday afternoon in early July, when it takes me two hours to drive the six miles between Junctions 18 and 19 on the M4, I resolve to avoid motorways at weekends until after the summer holidays.
Consequently, the Monday to Thursday pages of my diary are soon choc-a-bloc, while the rest are almost empty. But that’s fine by me. Being self-employed, I am fortunate in being able to work whichever days I choose, including weekends.
My next challenge is to fit a whole week’s work into Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Nearly 100 years ago, leading economist John Maynard Keynes predicted labour-saving technology would soon shorten the standard working week to 15 hours.
In my teens (not quite 100 years ago), futurists were still predicting a four-day week for us all. Even so, to avoid burning the midnight oil, what I really need is a five-day weekend.
But after more than a year of not being able to tell one day from another, that’s a good problem to have.
(This post originally appeared in the August 2021 edition of the Hawkesbury Parish News *Copyright The estate of A A Milne)
Summer Holiday Reading
Two books in my Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series take place in the summer holidays:
Best Murder in Show (first in series) revolves around the annual horticultural show, where Sophie finds a dead body on a float in the village carnival
Murder Lost and Found (seventh in series) takes place just after the end of the academic year at the village school, when Sophie finds a dead body in the school’s lost property cupboard
All of my novels are available in paperback online or to order from your local bookshop and in ebook from all the popular ebook store sites. Best Murder in Show is also available as an audiobook from all the major audiobook sites including Audible – or you can buy it at a very special rate via my AuthorsDirect shop here.
Summer Diary Date
The highlight of this month in my diary will on Saturday 28th August – the fabulous Hawkesbury Horticultural Show, in the Cotswold village of Hawkesbury Upton where I’ve lived for over thirty years. I’ll be manning the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival stall – if you’re at the Show, do come and find me and say hello!
Find out more about the Hawkesbury Horticultural Show at www.hawkesburyshow.org)