Freelancing from home requires discipline. Most of all, you learn to avoid distractions. After 10 years, I’m pretty good at ignoring piles of washing and breakfast detritus. I’m even immune to the call of the sun when the garden looks oh-so inviting.
But even experienced homeworkers can make mistakes. Mine was agreeing to house-sit and fish-sit for a neighbour who was acting koi about how easy it was to feed her carp while the family went on holiday.
A nightmare of time-consuming problems ensued during – inevitably – my busiest week ever.
Day one, the bolt to the door of the conservatory containing the fish food shot back in its slot and couldn’t be moved. I drove to the local aquarium for extra food and shimmied out of a window.
Day two, armed with pliers, I manage to force the bolt back and access the fish food.
Day three, arrive to find the fish barely covered by water. Panic! The pump is on but there’s no water flowing. I try the hosepipe. Nada. Thankfully, there’s water coming from a tap on the other side of the house.
An hour later I’d poured 12 buckets of water into the pond. I call the aquarium – no good, running water is needed for oxygenation.
The clock ticking on a deadline, I drive to a mutual friend who gets the hose to work and the pump begins again. What a relief! It was almost ‘carp die-m’.
Fear not, relatives from Wales are taking over on Friday, I’m emailed from Cuba. Leaving my workload pending, I walk over to the house only to find the aunt had arrived on Thursday night. My patience running fin, I hurry back to the house and work like mad until the day’s end.
This big girl didn’t koi, but it came close! Lesson of the day: when it comes to your time be shellfish.