Running a business from home has clear advantages. You save time on commuting and don’t have to look impeccable each morning.
On the days where I have no meetings and it’s just the Nymph and me in the office, I don’t waste time with brushing teeth or getting properly dressed. I fall out of bed, put a jumper over my nighty and pull up my old comfortable trackies. I live in this outfit for the rest of the day.
On Friday I woke up at 5am and I worked on my next novel until 8am. I then had breakfast with my son and sent him off to cricket training. I was back at my desk by 9.15, now on Peirene duty.
I looked at my diary. I had an appointment at 11 with a lady from the Council of Europe in Strasbourg to discuss the possibility of running a Peirene salon there, followed by lunch with Jan van Mersbergen’s Dutch publisher and a dinner in the evening with Maria Barbal’s agent, Cristina Mora. The international publishing world has descended onto London for the bookfair this week.
I answered a few emails and started to prepare a slide show for a speech I will give at the bookfair on Tuesday. I kept an eye on the time and then just after ten the doorbell rang. It was the lady from the European Council. She had misjudged the commute and arrived early.
I quickly realized I had two options: I either let my guest wait for half an hour while I sort myself out in a hurry and under pressure. Or we have a meeting, I pretend to be wearing heels and lipstick, and then I can have a peaceful shower afterwards. I took the second option. After all I was looking decent. I just didn’t look very glam. We had a very productive meeting.
Just as my first appointment of the day was leaving, Claire, our intern, turned up. ‘It looks nice what you are wearing,’ she said, without any irony in her voice.
Admittedly, I felt slightly proud as I was standing under the shower. I had delivered a professional meeting in pyjamas and had not only managed to let myself forget about my appearance but also everyone else.
Although, I must say, I am pleased that Friday was Peirene’s day off. She would have been first embarrassed, then critical and finally mocking – and that for the rest of the day. She is sitting beside me as I write this blog and I’m pleased to inform you that we are both wearing heels and lipstick.