Am in the car singing a song about turning my Fashion into Profit.
'I'm gonna cash-in on my fashion cos it ain't no more my passion...'
After ruthlessly raiding my Ikea zipper bags in storage, I am driving back to Mistlebourne loaded with years of retail mistakes for the nearly-new boutique that's opened in a barn outside Candlebury. It's run by two London girls who used to manage one of those trendy Notting Hill boutiques, and Cass says it's brilliant and you get far more for your old frocks than on Ebay. Am off there tomorrow.
Hmmm. Must think of similarly brilliant entrepreneurial idea that
a) requires no outlay
b) promises quick returns
c) spreads the money-making net, allowing others to benefit financially from my brilliant entrepreneurial idea, while at the same time increasing my profits. A win-win situation!
Hmmm. Sounds like pyramid selling.
Mmmm. Gorgeous golden orange light across the downs. Oh God. Late for Lily. When the road straightens out, I phone the fish and chip van to put in an order for us to pick up on the way to her oboe lesson. Crunch up the Manor drive, bashing my undercarriage on the speed bumps, and pull up outside Lily's classroom where she's finishing prep. She stuffs everything into her overstuffed bag, climbs out through the window (don't ask), and we race to the fish and chip van where the boy is just picking up my phone message.
'Sorry about that,' he says cheerily. 'It'll only be four minutes.'
Ten minutes later, we're back in the car, gorging on greasy chips, which are lodged over the handbrake, with me steering with my right hand and changing gears and dipping/undipping the headlights using the heel of my left hand. Arrive late and dripping with grease.
'Lily hasn't made any progress with her pieces over the past week,' her oboe teacher says pleasantly after the lesson. 'It would be good if she could find some time to practise.'
At home, I make Lily go through her timetable with me to explain why she's done no music practice or games this week. It's an impossible schedule. She's being pulled out of lessons and games and oboe practice to do choir and orchestra and wind band and choral society and riding and singing lessons, and then she has to copy up missed work in her spare time. I Don't Know How She Does It, but she has to.
'Well, darling,' I say. 'The only time you seem to have free is after supper. Can you do oboe practice instead of Cops and Robbers?'
I want to weep. Poor girl has to have some time to play. I can't bear that we loiter and sleep and fritter our time for nine weeks in the summer holidays, and then she has to cram every waking moment with work and activities for the next thirteen weeks. I'm now feeling jangly and slightly depressed. Maybe it's the trans-fats. Or possibly last night's Citrus Passion, mojito and elderflower martini preceded by a glass of wine?
Oh God. Dusty's trying to come down the spiral stairs.