Weekly Round-Ups

How Do You Fit It All In? #12

The latest instalment in a series in which I answer the ongoing question “How do you fit it all in?”, which people ask me when I tell them what I do.

Monday

I woke up in a hotel room in Wales, the sun straining fetchingly through the gauzy curtain.

I checked my phone for updates on Accidental Dog, who was getting along well at my friend’s house with her dog, and then sat down to go over my presentation for the research team one final time.

Sufficiently persuaded that I knew roughly what I was talking about, I showered, had breakfast, got dressed, and checked out. One of the academics I was meeting with was waiting for me in her car outside, and she took me to the Treforest campus of the University of South Wales, where the meeting was to happen.

It was surprisingly quick, beginning at 9.30 and being over by about ten. We talked for a bit longer, then I got on a train back to Cardiff.

I hope the journey today is easier than yesterday’s, I thought. It wasn’t. It should have taken three hours but instead it took six.

I reached London at about five and went to pick up Accidental Dog from my friend’s house. I brought her home and she settled back into her little makeshift den under the bed while I had a client call, then I did a bit of work and took her outside for a final walk before settling down for the night.

Tuesday

Work took up the whole of the morning, gradually going down my to-do list and trying to clear the backlog. Ideally I’d like to clear the backlog, then the current log, then the future log, so that I have a bit of a headstart before I go to the USA next weekend and start a whole new backlog.

It never fucking ends when you travel a lot.

In the afternoon I went to a consultation at Kensington Olympia, where the new owners were talking about how they want to develop the site into a local cultural hub with a theatre, art exhibition space, coworking options and so on. I liked most of what they were saying but I’m a massive cynic so we’ll see what actually happens. I’m going to be very pissed off if they essentially build a second Westfield; I already avoid White City / Shepherd’s Bush, I don’t want to have to avoid Kensington Olympia too.

I came home from the consultation, walked the dog, did some work, watched some Netflix, walked the dog again, and went to bed. At 3.30am she woke me up by barking loudly because she wanted to go outside, which I hope is a temporary phenomenon.

Wednesday

Although I often wake up early, I don’t like interacting with other humans before about 11am if I can help it, so I wasn’t ecstatic about having client calls from 9am onwards but all went OK.

Following the calls I had a driving lesson, which was less of a disaster than most of the others have been so far. Then I came home and did some more work, and then went to the doctor where I finally – FINALLY – got a referral to a specialist team. Hopefully they’ll be able to work out what’s going on with my body.

In the evening I walked the dog, trying to persuade her to go to the toilet outside. I failed. When she woke me up at 1am I discovered she’d decided the living room floor was her toilet instead. It felt very familiar, my most recent pet having been an old incontinent cat.

I haven’t been sleeping well because I think I might be allergic to the dog, which is complicating matters. We’ll see what happens and whether we can locate her humans.

Thursday

We found the dog’s human! She’d been abroad and was travelling home on Thursday, but contacted me to arrange to pick her up on Friday morning.

In the meantime I spent Thursday furiously working down my to-do list, and finally got to the point where I’m no longer in a backlog. Hopefully over the next few days I’ll be able to get ahead with everything, so that when I go to Rhode Island next week it won’t set me back too far.

When you travel a lot, life becomes a constant game of two steps forward, one step back.

Friday

I got up, walked the dog, and then picked my first proper little crop of tomatoes!

In the morning I reunited Accidental Dog with her human, then had client calls all afternoon. I’m currently arranging the first ever Women In Forensics lunch, which will be taking place at DFRWS next Monday. It’s on behalf of one of my clients, Forensic Focus, and in cooperation with Magnet Forensics, who are co-sponsoring. It should be a fun event.

I worked from the garden centre for a bit in the afternoon, then went to meet my friend for Friday night cocktails, which is becoming a bit of a tradition.

Saturday

I got up, pottered around for a bit, then texted a plasterer to ask about my living room walls. He’d been recommended by a couple of local people as being trustworthy and doing a good job, so he came over to give me a quote. The main thing I liked about him was that he walked in, told me what he’d do, and gave me a quote for it. He didn’t try to expand my project into a many-headed beast that’d cost me another £9k. He just looked at the living room walls, said “Yep, I can do those for you,” and told me how much it would cost.

“It’ll take two days,” he told me. “I can do next Tuesday and Wednesday if that suits you?”

Suddenly I was hesitant. I’ve been saving up to get everything finished in the flat, but the idea of making a financial outlay – actually committing to it – was scary. He was looking at me expectantly though, and his quote seemed reasonable, so I pulled myself together and agreed. As I showed him out I felt giddy with excitement. Perhaps the flat would finally be done!

In this slightly dizzy state, I went shopping. Turnham Green and Chiswick have an abundance of nice little independent shops, and there’s a market that happens in Kensington on a Saturday too, so I did a bit of a loop around all of these places and came home stocked up on wine, food and various other necessities.

Since I was in Chiswick anyway I thought I’d drop into the Old Cinema, an antique shop which usually has some interesting pieces for sale. Not that I was planning to buy anything, you understand. I was just going to look. Last time I’d been there they’d had these beautiful deep blue columns, which were almost the exact shade I’m going to paint the living room, but they wouldn’t still be there, of course. They definitely wouldn’t still be there and on sale and precisely the right size to frame my bay window.

Except, oh dear. They were.

Well, I’d already started spending money, and these would make the flat look amazing. So I bought them. It wasn’t an impulse buy, as such – I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about them for weeks – but it was a bit of an unexpected outlay. I don’t regret it though. They’re going to look so good when they’re installed.

Plus, there’s nothing like buying ornate 19th century columns to give me the motivation to speed up the decorating process. I just want them to be there now!

When I got home I thought I’d have a little celebration, because I wanted to acknowledge joining the new research project and how exciting that is. So I settled down with champagne, strawberries, and various snack foods I’d picked up on my shopping trip.

Sunday

I got up late, made a cup of tea and took it back to bed. I read a couple of novels, got up again, did the laundry and generally pottered around the house.

I re-opened the unfinished bottle of champagne and poured myself a glass while I prepared food for the coming week. There’s nothing like champagne to make chores more enjoyable.

The great thing about the current weather is that laundry dries really quickly, so I managed to get four loads done in the space of twenty-four hours. (I know, this is exactly the kind of thrilling content that brings you to this blog).

In the middle of the afternoon I retreated to the park with more books and lay there trying to even out my tan. Then I came back in, had dinner, had a bath, and was in bed with the final novel of the day by 20.20.

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