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.
Well, Monday was frustrating.
I spent the morning on business admin, which isn’t generally the most exciting of pursuits but I do quite like it. Then I had a couple of client calls, and then it was time to phone HMRC and tell them off for getting the numbers wrong on the PAYE system. They agreed it’s their error, which is good, but it’s apparently going to take them “several months” to fix, and in the meantime they’re racking up charges on the business account. These charges can be deleted eventually, but only if I call back again to dispute them once they’ve sorted out the problem.
Despite working for HMRC, the customer services person was actually quite helpful. Feeling buoyed by this experience, I called BA to pay for a specific seat on an upcoming flight. Oh. My. God. It was the most frustrating conversation I’d had in a long time.
“Hi, I booked a trip through American Airlines and one flight is operated by BA, so I couldn’t choose a seat on the website. Can I book one over the phone please?”
“You can book a seat on our website, just go to www-”
“No, I can’t book a seat on the website, that’s why I’m calling you, it said to call you.”
“OK, you need to email our customer services team to book a seat.”
“No, I’ve already done that and they gave me your number.”
“So you’d like to book a seat today?”
“OK. What’s your BA booking reference?”
“I don’t have a BA booking reference because I booked through American Airlines, but I can give you my name and the flight details, then maybe you can find it on the system?”
“You can’t book a seat on an American Airlines flight on this number.”
“I know. It’s a British Airways flight but I booked it through American Airlines, because they are one of your flight partners.”
(I cannot be the first person to ever have done this.)
We located the flight eventually.
“I can only see one flight.”
“Yes, there is only one BA flight on the itinerary.”
“But you said there was more than one flight.”
“There is more than one flight in total, but there is only one flight with BA. The rest are with American Airlines.”
“I can’t book you a seat on an American Airlines flight.”
“I know. I’m trying to book a seat on the BA flight. Flight number XXX.”
“I can’t see the rest of your flights though, are you sure you booked them?”
“Yes, I booked them through American Airlines though which is probably why they’re not showing up on your screen.”
“So you’re only taking one BA flight?”
“But you said you were taking more than one flight.”
(By this point I was trying very hard not to lose it.)
“I am, but only one is with BA.”
“Did you book a BA holiday?”
“No, I just booked a flight.”
“And how did you book it?”
“Through American Airlines… Look, can I just book a seat on the flight you can see on your screen, please?”
“Yes of course, which seat would you like?”
(I choose the seat.)
“What’s your email address so I can send you the confirmation?”
“Can you see the email address that was used in the flight booking?”
“Is it jeviscachee at gmail dot com?”
“Yes, that’s it. Can you send the confirmation there please?”
“Yes, but where is the www?”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Is it just jeviscachee at gmail dot com? No www?”
“Then how do you get the emails?”
“If there’s no www, how do you get there? Don’t worry, I’ll add it in for you. W-w-w-jeviscachee at gmail dot com.”
“NO. No. There is no www”
“Then how does it work?”
“It just does. Please send the email to JUST jeviscachee at gmail dot com.”
“And what’s the name on the front of the card?”
“Can you see the name on the flight booking? It’s the same.”
“Can you confirm it for me?”
“Sure, it’s Scarlett de Courcier.”
“Can you spell that please?”
“Yes, it’s S-C-A-R…”
“No, S-C-A-, like it says on the booking.”
“Oh, exactly like it’s written on the booking?”
Finally we managed to book the fucking seat on the fucking flight, but holy crap I never want to have to do that again.
By the end of the day I was understandably quite stressed, so I went swimming, then came home and binged La Trêve on Netflix, which is very good.
On Tuesday I worked at home in the morning, then retired to the garden centre café, followed by the garden of a local pub, to continue working. I realised about halfway through the afternoon that I had an entire book to proofread by the following Tuesday and I was only about 1/5 of the way through, so some hardcore working was in order.
Happily proofreading is the kind of work you can do from a pub garden with a glass of wine.
I carried on proofreading until dusk, then I walked the long way home and went to bed.
Wednesday was an unproductive day. I did the bare minimum at work, then sat around watching comedians on YouTube until I went to bed. It was mainly unproductive because I had to wait in for a glazier who said he’d be arriving “between 7 and 12”, by which he meant quarter to four in the afternoon. By the time he’d gone and I’d cleaned up the significant mess he’d left behind on my newly sanded floor, I was not in the mood to do anything else.
Thursday was better, though. My favourite builder came back and worked a fourteen-hour day in which he almost finished the living room.
In the meantime I was proofreading a book in four languages, so I worked a fifteen-hour day and almost finished my project too. As soon as the builder left I went straight to bed and fell asleep right away.
Friday was a normal work day, and then Saturday morning was spent brunching with friends, which turned into an all-day thing and I got home in the afternoon. I made a start on rearranging the flat, which I continued on Sunday, and then the BFF came over to help me carry stuff between rooms. It’s nearly there! Just a few more things to put away…