Friday, 9 October 2015

Permission to nag

It's more than a month since I last blogged, partly because I've not really had anything interesting to say (the unkind might say I never do), and partly because I've been so darned busy.

However, I'm in France at the moment for a few days, and I have a little time and energy to be a keyboard. So it's like this loyal reader....I need a collective conscience, and indeed I need to be nagged. Not now, next year. Round about end of March, start of April in fact. But you have my permission in advance.

Here's why. Right now I'm three months into what will be a six month, and could be a nine month assignment. It's one of the best I've had since I became self-employed; a nice firm, a strong leader, remarkably few politics, and a management team that actually wants me there. So far, so good. But it's damned hard work - 4.30am starts on a Monday, often not back till late on a Friday courtesy of the paved hells otherwise known as the A46, M4, M5 and M6, and all manner of stuff in between - one minute I'm talking IT, the next HR, then Finance, oh, and then I need to know how you go about setting maintenance budgets for an HGV. Now, I'm not asking you to get out your miniature violins - the work's well-paid and interesting. But to use an over-used word, it's not sustainable. For example, the 10 days I like to have in France at this time of year to bring my bike contracted to a week, then to three days - because of work demands. Thank God for grass, for if the half-acre's worth here hadn't have needed mowing I might not have come at all.

Which brings me to next year. I'm 50 next year - just about a year from now in fact. I have Plans, partly designed to celebrate that fact, and partly because I'm determined not to work till I'm 60 and then regret the fact I didn't spend my 50s running and riding whilst all my bits worked properly. Or at least the bits that need to for running and riding. Anyway, those plans involve many things, but not being at work in May, June and July is central to them. And frankly, if I work from now till the end of next March, you can chuck April in too.

I know what I'm like though. I don't know whether it's the curse of the Victorian work ethic, a terror of wondering where the next contract is coming from, or old-fashioned avarice, but sometimes I find it hard to say No when a work opportunity comes up. So if I'm working any later than mid-April in 2016 I need to be asked what the hell I think I'm doing. For a few months, creating a fully-functioning veg plot and greenhouse, seeing a bit more of Brittany and Normandy with Mrs M (hopefully on bicycle), training, and then having 10 days in the Pyrenees riding the Etape du Tour 12 years after my first attempt and then watching the Tour de France (having also seen the start at Mont St Michel) matter more than money. You can quote me on that, and in fact, please do.

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