I've done all the things you're supposed to do before going away for a while. You know: sell your car, move an Australian couple into your home... that kind of thing.
Actually, I'm only going to be away from home for about a month. Maybe less. Maybe more. Obviously this doesn't warrant the selling of a car but the fact that my car has been driven so rarely in the last year - make that two - does. It's a pointless extravagance and I'd rather cycle around London and manage when I need to get out of London. In a few days time I will buy another car which will be mine for the duration of this new project but after that I will return to my non-car owning status. It feels good not owning a car. It probably feels good just owning less.
Australian house-sitters are a great idea. Bonzer, even. When Australians are in the UK they are so grateful that they don't have to check their shoes for poisonous spiders every morning that they're more than happy to lavish care and attention on the home in which they're living. Hurrah for that.
My passport was meant to be returned to me yesterday. Before 10am. It wasn't. I called the courier company whose phone line offered me three numerical options. None of which were 'press X if we have failed to deliver your passport.' This is a brilliant tactic on their part... offering a customer service line that refuses to acknowledge your company ever fails and so denying customers the right to complain. I tried all 3 options. The first two went through to recorded messages. The third option went through to a recorded message that told me that this line could not be used for any other purpose before connecting me to a real person.
"Hi... I was expecting my passport to be delivered this morning. I paid extra to have it before 10am..." I said.
"Can I have your invoice number?" said she.
I gave her the number.
"Mmm... that should have been delivered today," she said.
"I know... that's why I'm calling you."
"What happened is they made the delivery order but the van had already left."
"Right... only, I'm paying for the service can you..."
"You'll get it tomorrow."
"Before 10?" I asked. If you don't pay extra to receive it before 10 am they can only promise you some time between 9am and 5pm, a situation fraught with its own difficulties. Not the least of which being that if they screw it up you don't know about it until it's far too late to do anything.
"uhhh.... uhhmmm... yeah," she said with so little conviction that I was left far from convinced.
So I went about my day. Doing some laundry, buying that bag I needed and so on. At 6.47 my mobile phone beeped to tell me a text message had arrived. It was from the couriers.
A secure delivery is set up on 17/10/2006 between 9am-5pm
They somehow managed to send this text without there being a number I could reply to. I called the office I'd called earlier to hear a message telling me that the office was now closed. I wasn't very confident that things would go to plan this morning. In actual fact my passport arrived at 6.40 am. Remarkable. I will be on a flight tomorrow.
Oh... to clarify things: the reason I'm not telling you what I'm up to isn't because I want to keep you in the dark or build up any intrigue. I'm not on some top secret mission... it's purely because I don't want to be bombarded by opinions before the thing has actually unfolded. Peoples' opinions on what I've done are interesting to me while opinions on what I should do next are not. I just don't think interesting work is produced by committee. This point is best made by looking up the artists Komar and Melamid and their People's Choice/Most Wanted series of paintings. Regardless of making that point you should look them up. Fascinating and funny people.
I'll be back soon and one day I'll tell you all about it... but in the meantime, you can expect some website silence.