Writing and ULEZ

It’s five to eleven. I’ve stopped on the way home, to see a friend. It’s the first stop I’ve had for 48 hours. Every second of every day has been accounted for, dictated by a checklist. It did have “phone calls and gather energy” written in for 9.30am today, which is barely work. But mostly my list has been a hard taskmaster.

I’ve basically written a phrasebook in two days, whilst hauling around a load of props and wood and cramming Shakespeare learning in any (too few) gaps. I submitted the completed piece half an hour ago, from Holloway Road. The van is heavy with timber that Lyndon hasn’t thought about where to put. Now I’ve stopped for a second I’ve sent him a message telling him I can’t keep his timber indefinitely. It’s not going to be my van much longer. Anyway I’m going to have a healing non alcoholic beer with a dear friend.

Tomorrow the plan was to go to Cambridge, grab a load of rubbish, go to the dump, and get the van empty in time for storage evacuation. Now the van is full of Lyndon’s sodding wood. I haven’t the space in my head to think about logistics right now. “Hugh Hefner had his horse here? How horrible.” That’s my head right now. Ridiculous phrases examining different aspects of the Standard English accent. For accent softening purposes. Here’s my friend and her brilliant dyslexic notes scattered on tracing paper as we worked this evening on piecing everything together into something that could be recorded.


That was my final part of the list. “18:10 – back to S. Work until ???! then drive home knackered.”

Around the world, frowning in concentration, perhaps unaware of how ridiculous it is, men and women who want to be better understood in business will be saying things like “I am renowned for shouting at clowns,” and “I can scarcely bear to pay the fare to go to Zaire by air.” Obviously there’s plenty about “bad banking practice” and “monitoring profit and loss” but I had to keep myself entertained. It’s a relief though, having that particular thought distraction locked down and finished. I’ve got so much to do back in eBay land, corporate Kingdom, audition city and camp tidyflat. But it was very useful to see how I could activate even the five minute wait between arriving on a job and starting the load to get some writing done.

I’m home now, glad to be back. The drive was considerably longer than I’m used to for the distance. The ULEZ means you pay £14.50 to drive through the congestion charge zone even at night. I was driving from Camden to Chelsea which is normally pretty swift through town at this time. Not anymore unless you’re made of money. To save myself a few quid and God knows how long inputting data on my phone to pay it, I chose to go all the way round the edge, blowing a good five quid in extra diesel and adding about 25 minutes to the drive. Still, that’s a reasonable enough hourly rate in savings, but I feel conflicted about it. We all hate paying for what used to be free. I might have to get used to ULEZ eventually though, as I have sympathy for the cause in the name of which this new tax was raised. But not tonight. Tonight I was like “screw you Saddiq, you’ve made me use more fuel to save money.” I might have to start budgeting for the extra cash in future, as the world is dying. But at least it’s only occasionally that I have that conflict. Uber drivers must be getting squeezed hard with their crap enough hourly rates…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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