It’s the school holidays and I’m off with two of the children, staying in a B&B in Maldon while they spend their days racing sailing dingies on the Blackwater.
Does this mean I’m on holiday too?
After breakfast the landlady explained the difference between four stars and five stars. Five stars for a B&B, would you believe, means silver cutlery, crystal glasses and fresh flowers in every room. She can’t run to that – not with the way business is going.
Oh yes, the recession has hit the B&B business. It was supposed to buy them their pension. Now they’ve no idea when they’re going to be able to retire.
Well, I was just off to the sailing club so it wasn’t a very good time for me but we’re going to talk next week about an alternative strategy…
Then, down at the water’s edge as Hugo, my eight-year-old set off with his skipper into the throng of flapping sails and shouting children, the skipper’s father introduced me to the skipper’s mother – we had something in common:
I used to be a reporter for the Daily Mail and she works as a freelance writer for them – and I can tell you that anyone who has worked for the Mail has a fund of stories to tell – not all of them with a happy ending.
“Well, at least they pay well,” I said.
But apparently I’m out of date. In the new economic climate, freelances are suffering too. And this was a woman who by her own admission, likes to spend money – and not just on her son’s boat.
Now, I could have leapt in there and then with “I ought to tell you what I do.” But the conversation was clearly going to continue…
“No, the only writing I do now is a blog. I’d recommend it: For instance, if you think of a better way of saying something, you just go back and change it. Also you haven’t got some young tyro in their early 30′s deciding to change the brief or the deadline or the length – and there’s no-one to go through it all taking out the jokes…”
“What do you blog about?” she asked.
“Network Marketing. I love it.”
And so, sitting at a picnic table in the sun, chatting as you do on these occasions, I gave her a brief run-down on what we do. I showed her how the money works – how there’s no pressure – how a couple of hours a week on a consistent basis can build up an income which will keep her in shopping and her son in boats for the rest of their lives…
We’ll be talking again next week when she’s watched the DVD.
And I’m still on holiday.