Category Archives: breaking a leg

Reading short stories online

bookshop rye

I’ve found it hard to read books recently. They’re too challenging. With so much time to sit and think every word carries more weight than usual. It’s too much to comprehend without over thinking everything.

Instead I’m reading short stories online, which is unusual for me as I never read fiction online and shun the Kindle. Maybe it’s the literature degree, my hoarder mentality, or the fact I want to make sure one aspect of my daily life has nothing to do with digital. Whatever, nothing beats a physical book in my hands.

Despite my reluctance I’ve been coping well reading short stories online. Especially when they are super short. I think I’ve found one form that I can comfortably enjoy digitalised.

Short stories. A central theme articulated to perfection. It’s cheesy as hell but inevitably I end each one with a smile, a tear or a nod of conviction.

Free return
Alexander McCall Smith

She was lonely. Exactly six years earlier, her husband, the owner of a company that planted trees across Scottish hillsides, informed her that he had been conducting an affair with his secretary, a woman named Bernie. Bernie was twenty-eight and was keen to meet a man of substance so that she would no longer have to work. Martin, the husband, fitted that description: he had shares in a race-horse called Highland Dancer, and he drove a car that only a wealthy man could own – an old Hispano-Souza. Bernie seduced him by standing very close to his chair when she passed him documents, and making sure that she inadvertently touched his shoulder or forearm at every opportunity.

After the affair was revealed, Clara, his wife, was filled with self-pity that lasted for some years. “I did nothing wrong,” she told herself – and her friends. “I was a good wife to him – and now this is how he behaves. Now there’s nothing for me. Nothing.”

Gradually she grew out of her self-pity and took to going to the theatre. She hoped to meet somebody there, but she found it difficult: people did not talk to one another in the theatre bar at intervals, nor did they linger after the show. But then she had an idea. She decided that she would purchase two tickets for each play, but would leave one at the box office, as a free return for anybody who wanted it. She knew the woman behind the counter and said to her: “Give it only to a man. “ The woman understood exactly what was going on, and complied with the instruction.

On the very first occasion on which she tried this, the ticket was given to an orthopaedic surgeon whose wife had just left him to live in the Scilly Isles with her lover, a tax accountant. He thanked her for the ticket and shyly invited her to join him for dinner after the show. She agreed, and they married four months later. They did the newspaper crosswords together, although she was rather better than he was at this. She said: “It doesn’t matter – it really doesn’t. It’s not a question of being clever – it’s more a question of tactics.”

via Alexander McCall Smith on Facebook

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Recently I’ve read a lot of blogs from freelancers and bloggers about working from home. I thought I’d throw my few thoughts into the mix and kindly ask for any advice you might have to give from your own experiences!

Working from home

A few things about my situation:

  • I’m currently working from home because I broke my leg, so there was no transition period to prepare.
  • I predominantly work alone in the office, so I’m used to planning my days and managing my workload alone.
  • At work I have a huge number of emails in my inbox. I find it very hard to delete anything and am guilty of sending too many emails.

Dedicated space
Ask anyone about working from home and the first thing they’ll say is ‘make sure you have a dedicated work space’. It could be a home office, a desk in the corner of the room or even under the stairs, or so they say. There’s no doubt in my mind that that would help, but up until last week I needed to keep my leg elevated at all times so sitting at a desk wasn’t going to work.

However I tried to take that ethos and adapt it to my own needs. I found that simply moving between chairs throughout the day helped me keep my focus. I sat on the sofa with my leg up to check emails, research and read industry blogs. Then I’d move to a sturdier chair with my leg up on an ottoman to produce work. It might seem silly, but simply mixing things up helped me schedule out my day into tasks.

Continue reading

If only I had a porch

floral porchWithin a week of breaking my leg I started wishing for one thing. I wished I had a porch.

When I talk about porches I’m talking about the Deep South. A porch with proper swings as chairs, where you sit and chat with passers by over glasses of iced tea. A place that provides a change of scene and that special kind of companionship with people you don’t really know.

I’ve never visited the Deep South so my knowledge is a stereotype gleaned from too many books and films. For all I know the pretty picture I’ve painted in my mind is a lie; can anybody save my dreams and tell me this type of living exists? Is it as magical as I wish it to be? Continue reading

Thoughts about riding in an ambulance

I recently broke my leg. Housebound and bored, I’m blogging my way to a clear mind. Read all posts about breaking a leg.

As soon as I fell someone called an ambulance. I wasn’t sure why (an ambulance is for sick people, not for a simple fall…) but during the 50 minute wait I realised that I would actually be going in an ambulance for the first time. This seemed kinda cool as I’ve always wanted to look inside an ambulance, and considering I was in a lot of pain the thought of a new experience was the only silver lining coming to mind.

Needless to say being in an ambulance was not as interesting as I had imagined. I guess it never is unless you’re lucky enough to poke around because your friend is a paramedic and not because you or a relation are in pain and on the way to hospital. I was lying down the entire time which also limits your ability to look around.

Almost immediately the paramedics said I had broken something. I guess the 45 degree angle my foot was rocking was a clue so they said I must be in a lot of pain and would I like some gas and air? The thought of gas and air sounded awesome – it makes you happy and giddy right?!

Apparently it works amazingly for some and doesn’t work for others. Despite inhaling deeply during my ride through London it didn’t help at all which was a shame. It would have been nice to have been light headed and calm whilst I waited for my foot to be reset!

All silly thoughts about ambulances and gas and air aside, the paramedics were amazing. I’d like to think I was a pretty good patient, all British politeness and bad jokes, and they made me feel really safe and secure after 50 minutes shivering outside in the cold worrying.

It wasn’t until I was in the ambulance that I began to realise that whatever this was it wasn’t going to go away today. As the engine started I remember the paramedic talking about holidays. I told him I had just booked flights to America, a trip of a lifetime, to see a friend who had moved there and… and oh my gawd it’s just hit me would I still be able to go?

Turns out the answer is no. I now need to stump up a few hundred pounds to change my flight because I can’t get a refund on the original flight. After months of saving it made me want to cry more than a little inside, but now I’m just grateful that my experience inside an ambulance was boring and peppered with the luxury of talk about a holiday, rather than having to endure the full ambulance experience that paramedics administer to save lives every day.

Thoughts about breaking a leg

I’ve broken my leg so there won’t be any blogs about London life for a little while. I don’t have any hobbies, I just spend my spare time exploring London and trying new things in the city, so to have that taken away for any amount of time was always going to leave a huge gap in my life.

It’s been just over a week since the accident and I’m frustrated by the lack of freedom. My mind is still sluggish after the operation and painkillers add to that weariness. To get my mind back on track and to collect my thoughts I’ve set myself the task of free writing a short blog post every couple of days.

Anything to stimulate my brain and make a connection with the outside world!