Saturday, 6 November 2010

Suits you sir.....

This week entailed another business trip to Shannon for a few days. Often, the problem is that I'm regularly on a call when I pack for such trips and inevitably I forget something. On Tuesday night, I was on another mammoth conference call debating some particularly thorny issues over the course of a couple of hours whilst simultaneously slinging my possessions into my travel bag and ticking off my mental check-list as I went.

Work shirts - Check

Razor and cosmetics - Check

ipad and laptop - Check

I proceeded with haste to the airport for my 9pm flight and was just checking in for the flight when I had a sudden realisation that my bag was nowhere near as heavy as it ought to be. Realisation turned to curiosity and in turn into panic as I realised I had forgotten to pack my suit. I briefly contemplated two days of back-to-back meetings wearing a pair of jeans and work shirt combo and quickly decided that would not work at all.

With just twenty minutes to boarding I scurried around the airport looking for a solution whilst noticing that most of the shops were pulling down the shutters with one exception, the Hugo Boss shop. In my younger and more affluent days I regularly shopped there but the financial pressures of life have slowly readjusted my retail habits and these days I tend to just press my face against the window of such luxury establishments like some kind of Dickensian character. However, this was a full-on emergency and I stepped inside praying that a solution to my problem would not involve me taking out some kind of fabric related mortgage.

I moved along the clothes rail from medium to large, which is another journey I have embarked upon over the last few years and arrived at a plain blue suit which looked like a fit. I whisked it off the rail and headed to the changing room. I hurriedly changed and whilst it was not exactly neatly tailored it did fit reasonably well and I began to feel a sense of relief wash over me. Until I saw the priced tag - £440. I have not spent this amount on an item of clothing for many years but Hugo's monopoly meant that I reluctantly handed over my credit card.

The next two days were frenetic and pressured but I got through them whilst sporting the worlds most expensive ill fitting suit. No comment was made so I think I just about got away with it and breathed an audible sigh of relief (that didn't burst any buttons)as I arrived back at Shannon Airport on Thursday night for my 7pm flight home somewhat poorer than  I had been 48 hours earlier.

I handed my passport in at the desk.

"Which flight are you on sir?"

"Manchester" I replied with a smile that was already beginning to fade.

"I have no record of your booking sir"

"There must be some mistake, I booked it myself" I said, instantly realising that was probably where the problem lay.

"I've just checked, you were booked on the 7am flight this morning sir"

"Bollocks" I replied, quickly realising this was intended to be a thought rather than something to externalise.

"I can get you on the 7pm sir, but that will be £150......."

In exasperation at my own stupidity, I handed over my now weary credit card and purchased another ticket to match my defunct self booked ticket.

I arrived home at 10pm £600 in deficit with a steely resolve to get myself organised in my personal life instead of just my professional one.

Yesterday was a day of catching up on my ever mounting work load interspersed with a Skype call to Pat and Fred my parents-in-law. They have been in France for three weeks now and have made terrific progress with our property project. Lights are fitted in the gite, doors hung, curtains bought and hung and best of all our gynormous dining table that Fred had offered to build for us is nearing completion. It truly is massive and will sit well in a room that is as high as it is long and wide. I can imagine it with a huge candelabra at one end and a pigs head with an apple in it at the other. Mel and I can sit at either end and ring each others mobile phones whenever we want to have a conversation. We may have to hire a servant to ferry condiments from one end to the other but is exactly what we wanted and I cannot wait to see it first hand. Regrettably, that may not be for a few months as my workload will remain as it is for a good few weeks yet.

Mel is studying for her masters too so stress levels are high in our house. It's a warm, comforting feeling  to know that Pat and Fred are continuing to build our future life for us in the background whilst we plough on with more immediate priorities. Any light at the end of the tunnel remains a distant speck like a firefly in a cave, seemingly getting no closer no matter how fast we travel. Such is the way of our world right now and we must remind ourselves that we have a long-term plan and everything will be worth it in the end providing I don't spend all of our money plastering over my frighteningly monotonous schoolboy errors.

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