A return to gainful employment
It may have become apparent from my writing that moving back to Colonsay has been something of a dream for Allan and I. To be honest I’m not sure either of us really believe it yet. I was showing our house plans to a friend yesterday and whilst pointing out the large number of bathrooms and mud busting utility room it suddenly struck me that this is actually going to be our house for us to live in………………. I’ve just read back that sentence and it’s no good. I still don’t believe it. Even once it’s built I’ll probably still come into this house instead. A bit like when I moved to a flat below my old one in 2nd year of university but kept trying to break into the old one. It all rose to an embarrassing head one day when the new inhabitants had failed to lock the front door and I walked in and used the toilet before I realised I no longer lived there.
Over the years actually getting here seemed like the hard part. Selling our flat (which was subsiding down the hill at an alarming rate), giving up our jobs and packing all of our belongings into one transit van seemed like a pretty tough challenge. Now we’re actually here it’s become apparent that that was just the beginning. Getting to Colonsay was relatively easy. Now we have to stay here. Of course we did produce a business plan before we were awarded our croft. It was written utilising a level of creativity and inventiveness that J.K. Rowling herself would have envied. Whilst some of our plans were realistic the fact that our croft is still tied up in red tape means very few of them have come anywhere close to fruition.
We have been very lucky though. Sally was a rather well-timed baby and for the last few months I have been the sole breadwinner despite never leaving the house. Sadly my maternity pay will come to an end this month and we are now have to make our spreadsheets balance without a rather generous contribution from the NHS. This isn’t as difficult as one might think. Fortunately my father taught me the first rule of accounting many years ago. Apparently you work out what you want your spreadsheet to add up to and then massage the numbers until they fit. Joking aside I think we’re both quite nervous about what the next year will bring. As well as actually having to earn the money there are all sorts of terrifying prospects such as tax returns, declaring ourselves self-employed and family tax credits (I’m just making it up now) to consider.
In a way I’m looking forward to finding work. I love my children dearly but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes want to rip their heads off. Helen is sitting next to me at the moment industriously sticking stickers in a book. I’m quite concerned that she may be reading this. As I typed those words she viciously ripped the head off of Gaston the Ladybird Dog. Although I have been earning money whilst sitting on my behind it doesn’t feel the same as Allan coming in covered in mud (and other more unpleasant substances), reeking of sheep and devouring half a loaf of bread because he’s so hungry after working so damn hard. All of this has led us to encourage the advances of the new Shopmeister.
Until a couple of weeks ago the shop was run by my Uncle Mike (not really my uncle). He and his lovely wife have finally sold it on to the current Shopmeister who is around the same age as me (a rare thing on Colonsay, an island populated mainly be geriatrics). Sadly timing could not be worse and the Shopmeister’s girlfriend is due to give birth imminently. Undaunted the poor woman is to be seen in there every day slaving over a hot till but no matter how mean the Shopmeister is even he will have to admit defeat. You see it’s illegal to give birth on Colonsay. Well I’m not actually sure if it’s illegal but it’s certainly not encouraged. Once their pregnancy hits 38 weeks woman are frog marched to the pier, loaded onto the boat like cattle and are not welcomed onto the island again until they have expelled their sprog. I hung around myself until 38+1 and every time I saw the GP for the last couple of weeks he looked as though he were going to cry. Admittedly I did think it was particularly amusing to grab my bump and groan loudly whenever I saw him coming.
I actually have some experience of working in the shop. Before Uncle Mike (not really my uncle) took it over it was owned by my Dad (actually my Dad) and I was engaged to work there the summer before I graduated. Unfortunately I abandoned my poor father in order to pursue a young man to South America. By the time I returned, dragging the poor man by his overly long hair, it was time to head back to university so I only really worked there for a few weeks.
Hopefully (a now short-haired) Allan and I will last a bit longer this time. Not only have we agreed to look after the shop while the Shopmeister is away but I will be working there for two afternoons a week starting from next week. So there we have it. I am about to rejoin the rat race – from pathologist to shop underling in less than a year – I couldn’t be happier.
………….Oops I forgot to say thank you so much to everyone who reads my blog and thanks too for all your lovely comments. I have worked out how to add a follow this blog widget-me-thingummy-bob on the right hand side so if you’d like to receive an e-mail letting you know each time I post please click it.