Her Majesty's sun slipped over the horizon a few minutes ago this morning in the manner of a beater or junior game-keeper late to the day's briefing. One moment not there, the next a slow sidling up, hoping no-one would notice.
This contrasted with yesterdays performance when Mr Sun appeared in a spectacular blaze of crepuscular rays, very briefly, before falling asleep behind a thick wad of dull, grey cloud.
It's makes me giggle to think of a dirty great ball of nuclear (nu-cu-lar) fire arriving for work with all of the same tricks that I used to use when I worked for "the man" on office hours complicated by night-shifts, callout and "exigencies", when komputahs were rocket science. If I needed to bog off to do the food shop mid-morning or take the dog to the abbatoir I'd make a noise first thing so that everyone noticed I was there, leap into the air waving on old-fashioned print-out, shout "aha!" and wander off. This is known as the "he'll have gone somewhere quiet to think" ploy.
In order to leave early with absolutely no intention of coming back the same day it was only necessary to not shave, wear yesterday's clothes, be at the office five minutes before the boss and then invent some devilish overnight problem with one of my systems. Even one of my totally invented non-existent systems that I often supported for long, gruelling hours much to the boss's admiration. If it's in the knowledge-base log it must be true. Yes boss. Of course. I'm going home to, er, sleep now if that's alright with you.
Arriving late was not a problem either - the trick there was to always keep some obscure item of impressive looking hardware in the boot of my car. Something with dangling wires and about the size of a Kenwood was ideal. Drive up to the gates with headlights on, skid to a halt, swipe the pass so the barriers raised and then walk at a high rate of knots straight past the office towards an equipment hall, shouting "bloody idiots - this is going to cost the company a fortune - try this one".
Bosses are usually so gullible that it didn't even feel like sport.
Boot's on the other ruddy foot these days.
No, seriously; I have problems dressing.
Spent a happy week so far doing very domestic things, ranging from writing guest articles (mostly on why event photography is indispensible and adds multifarious value in unexpected ways, or why our pricing is the way it is) to listening to recalcitrant B2B debtors explaining that their business partner has the cheque book and that they are currently on a North Sea oil rig. I kid you not. In-between these fly-me-to-the-moon transports of delight (actually, writing the articles is pretty good fun) I've been keeping up with training and dallying with the sanity of several business consultants hailing from the far side of Her Majesty's Atlantic Ocean.
What they've been saying these past few months is all fascinating stuff indeed. I don't take photographs for a living using Nikons or lovely old mahogany & brass bellows cameras. No, I am building an "... audience-based loyal-following service company with a subscription list ...". Actually, that would account for why I spend only about ten percent of my time near a camera and the rest paddling out to North Sea oil rigs on a leaky lilo waving an invoice, a highlighter pen and a penalty clause.
Still, twenty-metre waves and the Coastguard notwithstanding, I wouldn't go back to working for "the man" for all of the tea in the Owl Towers main pantry. Seriously so. I may not wear the kaftan, the feathered boots, the beaded bandana or the John Lennon blue specs of the stereotype, but I have discovered late in life that I am a hippie at heart, and probably always was in spite of the suit.
A few nights ago when the "it" was crisp and cold and as clear as a convent bell the full moon was shining so brightly that I had to go outside and return the favour. The moon and I outshone each other for half an hour, and to be brutally honest, the airing-off worked wonders through the long-johns cat-flap.
The sky overhead was as black as pitch and puntuated by pin-point stars - and I felt as though I was in a vast room with an enormously high ceiling. Micky d'Angelo couldn't have painted it any better. So much out there, and all beyond the reach of my primitive little primate paw. The only way to see it (at the moment) is with the mind. There's so much reality chugging past in foreign places that we'll never get to see!
Now, what's next in Realityshire? Oh yes - please to quote for providin' nineteen-twenties style mobile studio service for four hundred guests at the Anaesthetists' Annual Ball. Hmm, that should be a laugh once several of them independently decide to smuggle in a cylinder or two of isoflurane & nitrous oxide. What the hell do I quote for once it kicks in? Carrying each of the snoring guests onto the set, composing some inventively incriminating photographs and then putting each of them back randomly to wake up next to somebody else's wife and with underwear that's on back-to-front? Might quote £0 and then just make a fortune on the blackmail ...
Do hippies resort to blackmail? Twenty-first century hippies, that is? How do I write that into my business model? How do I translate "Hole in my shoe that was letting in water" into commercial-Americanspeak, and combine it with the Boomtown Rats, Duran-Duran, nineties techno and a touch of Delibes to give the correct image? How to blend seamlessly Victorian/Edwardian, Roaring Twenties, nineteen-seventies, eighties, nineties, noughties and teens with a background fixation on Poonah in '43 or '44 and the invention of the diesel-electric elephant in re water-polo for the Regiment eh? All while wondering what is going on among the stars.
What curious creatures we all are when you stop and think about it, living on a spinning ball of rock and metal, paddling out to Britannia Platform A/471b with a tin megaphone, shouting "I know that you have a cheque-book up there with you Mr Smith, you can't escape" while all of those bright little nuclear fires burn overhead.
How do I know that I am a hippie at heart? Because, proof positive, if I could find one, I'd much rather drive one of these than all of the shiny LED-headlighted Audi A6s or BMW Flash-Coupés in the world. It's a 1959 DKW. Isn't it the most real-looking vehicle you've seen since your first pedal car?
Tea. I think I need more tea. And biscuits. Tea and biscuits will sort it. Always has, always will.