I CAN’T find something and frustration besets me. No matter how many dusty sheets of paper I rifle through, the one I seek just isn’t there.
I need this important document in order to fill out a tax-form as a self-(under)-employed person. So there is no choice but to contact my old employers, although not directly: no point phoning the York office as hardly anyone works there anymore. The modern, forward-thinking company divides itself up and scatters the pieces to the far corners, a bit to the south, a bit to the north, some to the west too. I have forgotten the east but there must be something there, too, as newspapers in Essex are about to lay off their photographers (oh the sorry echo of it).
Anyway… I phone Bradford, thinking that should do it, and press the relevant number for accounts. The woman who answers is pleasant and helpful. She also has a Welsh accent. She hasn’t moved towns or anything but is speaking from Newport in your actual South Wales. She wonders if I have tried phoning Bradford. So that’s what I do. Again. And again.
Unable to locate any sort of sentient accounting person in Bradford, I put myself through to Newport once more. A different helpful woman with a Welsh accent suggests phoning Bradford.
Ah, tried that, I say, hoping that my blood pressure hasn’t made my voice squeak.
Eventually, my helpful new friend in Newport finds a phone number in Southampton. So off I trundle to the south coast. This turns out to be the right port of call, although they need a letter from me as a phone call or email won’t suffice. So I sit right down and write a letter, and even stride out to be post box.
There is something exquisitely infuriating about losing a thing. You know it is there somewhere, only it isn’t. Perhaps there is a circle of hell in which the damned are condemned forever to seek what they cannot find. Or maybe that is just another definition of life. Who knows for sure.
In the past year or so, I have lost my way often, found it again, only to see it disappear once more. Working for yourself is like that, or it is if there isn’t enough work to be found.
Last weekend I had two features in the Yorkshire Post magazine and that was a genuine thrill. A true hooray moment. A two-in-one offer of Julian-ness. But the fee for two features only stretches so far and those bills don’t go away, never mind how many words you hurl at them.
There is another piece of paper I need to find. This is the one that tells me what to do with my life and how to go about it. I am sure I had it a few months ago, but now it has disappeared. Oh well. I shall keep on looking. I am sure I left my future lying around here somewhere.
Is it on that scrap of paper stuck to the fridge? Ah, no. That note is there to remind me that I have to go out soon to interview a man who makes beautiful objects out of Yorkshire wood. So for today at least, I have found my way again.