“Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.” is the inspiration line for the local writers’ group Christmas project. I’ve not been to the writers’ group meet-up, but I read their website, follow them on twitter, think a lot about having the courage to go. That line has made me think a bit, and I guess going to the group would be a start to something. Maybe.
Mainly because I write a blog, and I’m hoping to write a book.
But at the moment I’m working as a parcel courier. I did have a job in a travel agents, but I was made redundant. The courier company’s warehouse is next door to the travel agents, on an industrial estate, and I got the driving job straight away, to tide me over the festive season. I don’t fancy doing it forever.
Up at 6am, it’s still dark when I set off at seven. Driving past darkly clad figures on their way to the train station, on to London; driving past cars who haven’t bothered putting their headlights on; arriving at the warehouse in the dark. Loading my little car up with parcels, and then driving off with my delivery list. By then the sun has risen, although most of this winter has been cloudy, dull weather. I take a flask of coffee and some sandwiches to save money, and it’s the money that spurs me on through the day. A day of searching addresses, finding parking spaces, knocking on doors, ringing bells, barking dogs, people in their pyjamas, people out, difficult gates, long paths, steps, stairs, slopes, back in the car, in traffic jams, not let out of junctions, cars not indicating, cyclists wobbling about, buses, white van man… No two days have been the same, but they all have a monotony, and as we get nearer to Christmas everything gets busier – more parcels, more cars, more road rage.
The writers’ calendar has got to day nine, and by now the schools are on holiday, which changes the road patterns – it’s nice and quiet at 8am. I think I’m doing well, get ahead of myself, then by 10am all the roads around the town centre are jammed. How can people need to buy this much Stuff? Is this all that Christmas has become? I’m thankful my family downgraded a few years ago, and we just do a Secret Santa for £5 each. That makes you think, rather than spend. They’ll be twelve of us round my Mum’s on the 25th, and once again I’ll probably be asked if I’ve found Mr Right yet (no), a proper job (no), am I still vegetarian (yes). Then eat my plate of vegetables while watching nieces and nephews have tantrums under the table.
My last parcel on the ninth day of Christmas is quite heavy, but also quite near my flat. We can just go home at the end of deliveries, and I have done fairly well – it’s not dark yet. I find a space, get out the box, and pray “Ms J. Bovey” is at home. I’ve only had two parcels today that I need to try again tomorrow. Ms J. Bovey lives in a standard Victorian terrace, so no gate, no long path, and a traditional door knocker.
I knock, and quite soon the door is opened by a lady with incredibly short, dark hair.
“Oh brilliant!” she says as she spies the parcel.
“It’s quite heavy,” I say.
“Sorry, I thought it might be.” She quickly takes it, then pauses. “It might be a bit vain but I got copies of my novel printed to give as Christmas presents. I was worried they wouldn’t arrive in time.”
A cog clicks in my head. “Oh! I think I’ve read some of your bits on the Writers’ website…. ” I trail off, but she takes up the conversation baton, and five minutes later I’m sitting at her kitchen table chatting about Evelyn Waugh and Scott Fitzgerald. It’s like something has started…
( I do sometimes go to Tunbridge Wells Writers but I was very bad at writing to the deadline. I am not a parcel courier either.)