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In which I confess to an ongoing bout of ‘out of sortism’ (and wonder whether Boris Johnson will come crashing down this week or next)

Since losing the puzzles (which I think I mentioned) and being aware that my annual income has plummeted by pretty much a third, I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts, though not quite in the way you might imagine. The money was handy, the work, though a bit longwinded, easy and highly manageable, but the important thing was the £8,400 it brought in every year gave me a kind of freedom.

I did not spend it profligately, but it meant I could, if I wanted, buy a flight abroad, hire a car and stay somewhere for two weeks without a second thought. Now I can’t. Now my income is down to my state pension and the money I get from the house in Birmingham. What I get is certainly a little more than some — well, pensioners — and I have ‘savings’ which I could, should I want to, spend. But I don’t want to.

The current plan is (though remember telling God your plans makes him laugh out loud) is that I shall as far as possible not touch a penny of it and give it half each to Elsie and Wesley, which sum should be very welcome as they might then be at the age when they want to invest in a house. Actually, Elsie, now married with a toddler, is already at that age.

The other thing is — and there is no reason for this except that it is self-imposed and for entirely different reasons I am trying to learn a little more discipline (the writing, if you must know, which will start once I’ve got this Hemingway bollocks out of the way), so sticking to my rule of spending a less than comes in is what I am trying to do.

This ‘out of sorts’ feeling, which I wouldn’t want to stress too much, however, means that if I don’t ‘do’ something which is not just filling in time or some kind of mindless activity, I feel a tad guilty at the end of the day. Writing counts very much as ‘doing something’. In fact, to be honest it is the only thing which counts as that. And although it is quite legitimate to do the background reading for the Hemingway bollocks — at the moment I am reading Hemingway vs Fitzgerald: the rise and fall of a literary friendship by a guy called Scott Donaldson — I have to persuade myself every day that ‘it counts’. And I don’t like that kind of introverted internal debate.

Today I might have done some reading but I frittered away about four hours making a short video by editing a BBC Michael Cockerell piece about Boris Johnson, our new Prime Minister. In a sense that is ‘doing something’ because it demands thought etc, but on the other hand I can’t deny that it is most certainly not essential and was purely done to be posted on Facebook. But then I might also now post it here, having now mentioned it. So take a look.

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