As I post my latest photos of me on a tractor and tying back the vines in a vineyard on Facebook, people are commenting about what I shall do next. Let me just explain. In 2020 I stepped back from a job I had for 23 years. I never thought I would be comfortable doing that. After all, there are so many things to consider; what about my pension, how will I pay my mortgage, what if I get myself into poverty? Pretty big questions eh?
My first ad hoc job was playing Mother Christmas at Lapland Uk. Maria Lopiano, Head of performance called me on a Sunday night and said 'You'll be great, I'll send you the script, be in hair and make up Tuesday morning'. When I put the phone down I went into a meltdown. The next 24 hours was spent talking my lines to my sofa. I nearly froze when I saw all the faces looking at me as I sat on the stage. What it did, this baptism of fire, was give me the confidence to try other stuff.
Next up I was a team leader for the Census. 3 months pretending I was a proper supervisor with spread sheets and zoom meetings! So this was civil service eh? I always wanted to work for the government but I had MI5 or MI6 in mind not the Office of National Statistics. But hey ho you can't always get what you want as the famous song goes...
My radio station keeps me pretty busy if I am honest and we have cultivated the most peerless of internet radio output. I mean who has presenters from round the globe and music from the Philippines combined with the latest reggaeton track from Cuba? Yep I thought not. Peerless as I said. Check us out by the way: www.crewradio.com
Some lovely jobs painting and decorating for my cousin. She needed it doing and I was lolling around so off I went to Swindon for a nice mini break (air quality could have been better but that's paint for you ain't it). It had been a while since I had painted and so I was pretty chuffed when she was pleased. She said I had 'worked like an animal' although I am not sure I've seen any living mammal who paints three storey houses!
I was invited to give a travel talk to the Oddfellows society in Salisbury. This was a first but thanks to the White Heart Hotel in Salisbury the projector operator was assisted by their lovely staff. Right after it was over a woman pushed her way to the front and asked if I would speak at two more clubs in the area... Michael Portillo move over... but where can I get some salmon chinos and loafers? I am bookable so go to my 'hire me' page.
I've never worked in a restaurant. How difficult could it be I thought! Let me see. So just before Christmas I rocked up at an Italian restaurant and started working behind the bar.The first couple of pints I pulled looked like Santa's beard but I soon got the hang of it and I also managed a coffee making class Italian style.
Now we are in 2022 and since the year has begun I have worked on the Flying Scotsman as a Chooie which is the official name for a host/waiter/crewmember on the steam trains. If I am honest this was the toughest job I have ever had. Beautiful though it is, being on my feet for 14.30hrs is tiring. However, the lovely passengers and team onboard was a bonus.
Then only this week I got to work alongside my friend Andrew on a real live Vineyard. Who knew that the sap rose and the vines, ancient and withered needed to be trained south facing? A fascinating study of the biology of plant management. I got to ride a tractor too and that, for a country girl was a first.
So people are asking me 'what next'? Well you will just have to wait and see.
I am by no means earning a living at the moment. I barely have enough to scratch by but I am enjoying being 'Flockless But Free'. One of these days I will get myself a full time job or perhaps I will finally make my station pay for itself.
If you are reading this and thinking 'wish I could be like that' let me just say this: you can! You need to bring to the table your fear then crush it in one fell swoop. A bit like you do when you are crushing a garlic pod. Don't think too much about it and always remember that things are sortable. I fluffed my lines a couple of time as Mother Christmas (don't tell Maria), I broke a vine (I'm sorry Andrew) and I even filled up a beer with more froth than the Thames at high tide but no one died and my confidence got a wonderful present. The gift of adventure is one we can all give ourselves.....