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I’ve been busy working! 

Yes, another translation assignment winged its way to me a couple of weeks ago and, after a short interlude of socialising in Suffolk, I buried myself in dictionaries and Microsoft Word for four days, pausing only for essentials like eating, singing and sleeping. No time for superfluous or self-indulgent activities such as drivelling onto a blog!

In fact, for the two most recent translations I’ve done, I have been working alongside a much more experienced translator who showed me some useful tips and also worked with me to finalise the document correctly (she has years of experience with the particular type of document we were translating, and it was nearly two years since the last one I attempted). She is French, and was great fun to work with – gloriously rude about the client, a casual damnation at which I find the French can truly excel. It reminded me of the value of work colleagues. Even if all the exchanges were by email, and I was still sitting alone at my desk, there was a spirit of camaraderie. Joie de vivre, no less.

Anyhow, this work means that I now unexpectedly have slightly more money than I expected to have, which has in turn meant that my latest hotel booking (for a wedding in September) is a little more luxurious than it would otherwise have been, and I have just treated myself to a new frock for a smart event next week. I have thus definitely upgraded my summer.  Even though the amount I earned was modest, I otherwise live on a tight and carefully controlled (but admittedly comfortable) budget. So this is a sort of temporary lifestyle upgrade.

It also meant that, when I needed to pop into central London yesterday on a small errand, I decided to combine it with yet another theatre visit so on Tuesday afternoon I booked a ticket for the Wednesday matinée at the Old Vic – Bagdad Café the only production on sale for which I had not already purchased seats. I chose a cheap seat with a side view of the stage, still not wanting to splash out recklessly and knowing that this would give me a perfectly decent view. Within a couple of hours I received an email from the Old Vic, telling me they had upgraded my ticket and I could now sit in a seat near the front of the stalls with a much closer and face-on view of the stage. I was so pleased; little gestures like this can mean so much. 

Unfortunately, yesterday just before I set off, I received an apologetic text from the theatre advising me that the performance had been cancelled. It now seems that all performances until 14th August have been cancelled due to Covid infection of one of the performers. Theatres never previously cancelled performances; this is a whole new world and I was so sad for them.

Of course, I still had to go to London, so I successfully ran my errand and then determined to walk through the West End, then via Green Park and St James’ to the river and along to Vauxhall, to enjoy what London has to offer, achieve my daily exercise – and save a mighty 70 pence on the fare. Old habits die hard!

As I strode down Piccadilly, I realised that it had been decades since I last set foot inside Fortnum and Mason, so I popped in there – realising pretty quickly that my life upgrade would only take me so far, and definitely not as far as purchasing anything in this illustrious place. 

Undeterred, today I have continued in upgrade mode as I plan for the open-air opera-and-picnic event I am attending next week. My weekly haul from Sainsbury’s was augmented with smoked salmon, fancy cheeses and fresh herbs in anticipation of an attempted preparation of promised buffet dishes. I have chosen the absolute easiest options for dishes because I have realised that, whilst I am perfectly capable of upgrades in some areas, I am fundamentally incapable of upgrading my culinary skills. One of the recipes lists five ingredients (all dutifully purchased) and one instruction: ‘Put all the ingredients into a small food processor. Pulse until combined but still flecked with small pieces of salmon. It’s as easy as that!

Hmm, well I suppose it would be if I had a food processor of any size at all.

I feel a kitchen utensil upgrade coming on…


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