Friday, 23 January 2015


For the second day in a row, I need a drum roll, please.

I did errands.

I quite often dream of the Organised People. Here is how I imagine they deal with errands:

They say to themselves: ‘Goodness gracious, I have some errands to run.’

They make a list.

They run the errands.

They cross the items neatly off the list.

They go home and have a nice cup of tea.

I imagine that they weave domestic and logistical duties into the warp and weft of daily life. They understand that there are jobs which must be done, and they do them. They do not obsess over the errands, put the errands off, pretend the errands do not exist, wake up in the middle of the night in a muck sweat on account of the errands, dread the errands with a dark, morbid dread, build the errands up in their minds so they take on the operatic aspect of a Wagnerian spectacle.

They just do them.

They do not tell themselves that they have no time to do mundane, administrative tasks because they are a Creative, and they must gaze into the middle distance and think Important Thoughts. Often about The Human Condition.

They just do the errands.

They do not return home after the errands and shout out loud with glee and do a little dance. They do not yell, to the puzzled dog: I DID THE ERRANDS.

They certainly don’t write a whole sodding blog about it.

They do not have to remind themselves that all these dreaded tasks turned out, in fact, to be quite easy, and that everyone was kind and helpful and understanding, and that the young man in the bank said yes to every single question.

The young man had been giving some Euros to the gentleman in front of me in the queue. He asked the gentleman where he was going. ‘Vienna,’ said the gentleman. ‘Oh,’ said the young man. ‘I’ve always wanted to go to Germany.’ Small pause. ‘It’s in Austria, actually,’ said the gentleman, laughing, to take the sting out of the mistake.

The poor young man blushed scarlet in shame. There was a lot of muttering about yes, Austria, of course, I meant Austria. He was still flustered when I came to the window.

I know all about geographical faux pas. I once muddled up Persia and Mesopotamia, whilst talking to an Iranian. I’d love to say that I was ten, but in fact I was over thirty and should have known better. I still go cold with embarrassment when I think of it.

I’ll cheer up the poor young man, I thought, by being extra nice. But I did not have to try, because spit, spot, he pressed a few buttons and typed a few typings and printed out a few pieces of paper, and all the awful admin was done in a flash. The tax remit was fulfilled, a vital standing order changed, some important information given. JUST LIKE THAT.

‘You have made my morning,’ I told the young man. ‘I can’t thank you enough.’ I hope he never thinks of Vienna again.

I was so delighted that I went straight to the hardware shop and bought the red mare a new scarlet bucket for her feed. She deserves a spanking new bucket, and it was only £4.99. (Also, there are few things I love more than a good hardware shop. All those enchanting items made out of galvanised metal.)

I expect that the Organised People do not return from all this and decide that they feel like a new woman. Especially if they are gentlemen. (Although I’m always in favour of blurring a few boring gender boundaries.) But I damn well did feel like a new woman. The cares of the world are off my shoulders.

Why I have to go through all this I do not know. Why I can’t just do the jobs as they arise like a normal person remains a mystery to me. I know I have to write hundreds of thousands of words, and I am idiotically attempting to finish two books at once, and my whole professional future is riding on it, but even so. I don’t imagine Sebastian Faulks (rhymes-with-jokes) gets into a state of hysteria when his tax return rolls round and he has to buy a new mop head.

Ah well, one works with one’s limitations. Mine are legion. But today, the sun shone like honey and the mare was at her crest and peak of dearness and sweetness and Stanley the Dog reached a pitch of comedy styling, and I got my errands done.

And now I’m going to have a bloody big drink.


Today’s pictures:

No camera today, what with the errands and all. Instead, here are some randomly chosen pictures from the archive. Starring Herself as The Red Duchess, Stanley the Dog as Stanley the Dog, some inexplicable leaves as some inexplicable leaves, and me, as the Most Disorganised Woman in Scotland. (But who cares? Because I have a NEW SCARLET BUCKET.)

23 Jan

23 Jan 1

23 Jan 1-001

23 Jan 2

23 Jan 2-001

23 Jan 4

23 Jan 7

23 Jan 8

23 Jan 9


PS. I also put together this album of photographs for the HorseBack Facebook page. I thought you might like to see them. There are only forty-three of the damn things. (What was I thinking? It took three hours. Still, it’s the least all the good people in the pictures deserve. They did great work and I take my hat off to them all.)


  1. You've made my day. It's four-ish, Saturday afternoon, stinking hot and I've just walked in the door for a quick turn-around and was in the middle of getting changed and sat down to quickly to answer an email and knocked The Errand I was 'getting to' off my desk and then I JUST DID IT and now it's done and I've had a little celebratory read of your post even though people are calling me to hurry up!.
    In short, I salute your Organised State (short-lived though it may be).x

  2. I find errands (real life intruding on the inner world) to be debilitating. Housework causes an existential crisis with ten minutes. I do hope talk of such things remains an infrequent occurrence ;) It is grudging envy typing, mind you.

  3. This was hilarious! I am in your earlier category, the methodical-errand-accomplished-and-rewarded-with-tea person. But then I don't get to experience your total joyous relief at knocking them out finally!
    :) For you.

  4. And I note: not so disorganized!! your scarf and lip color coordinate beautifully with the Duchess for a portrait. Or is that just...kismet??

    Anyway. Wonderful.


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