Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My bank holiday weekend

While everyone else was out enjoying themselves in the sun, I was working on Sunday and Monday. You know, the sort of work you do to pay the bills.

Most of you are probably not aware that I am a qualified accountant. I haven't worked in an accountancy practice for almost 16 years and frankly I have no intention of ever returning, but I do keep my hand in a little by preparing the accounts for my husband's business. He pays me for my work, it is all legitimate and the work is done from home. This means I can work my hours very flexibly around the needs of the boys.

Every year the company's books are audited in September and every year I end up in a mad panic at the end of the summer, working over the bank holiday, tearing my hair out as to whether I can meet the deadline.

Why do I put myself through it? I know when things have to be completed yet somehow there is so often something more important to do. Such as Open University study, unpaid voluntary work or just surfing the internet. All those things which don't pay. Even when I try to clear whole days for work something goes wrong...an unexpected appointment to attend or Hubby forgets to bring the right paperwork home the night before. He works in Central London so I can't easily just rush round to get what I need.

Anyway for the next three weeks or so I will be tapping away on my calculator ( or at least I will when son 2 goes back to school next week.) I will be swearing when the figures don't balance and I may not get on here quite as regularly as usual.

Just doing the accounts will remind me that the part of accountancy I actually enjoyed was getting out and meeting people as an auditor. It was never the figures. It will also reinforce my gut feeling that I am temperamentally much more suited to writing, even if I never make a penny from it.

Three notable things:

1. Finally getting some figures to balance yesterday after spending days thinking perhaps I was going mad.

2. Not having to work today because I spent most of the day being Mum's Taxi service.

3. Persuading Son 1 to go to his therapy today when he didn't really want to, but then his therapist being really pleased with the work they did.


Anne Brooke said...

Accountants - they're all adorable, you know!



Helen said...

Working form home can be a nightmare...could I ask which Open University course you are doing? Is it a writing one? (Sorry if you've mentioned it before and I haven't picked it up). If it is a writing one how are you finding it?

Cathy said...

Anne, I think you are biased! Most people call them boring...



Cathy said...

Hi Helen

I have actually just finished an OU course on mental health...am awaiting the exam results. I did that one for family reasons ( you might have picked up some of that from my blog...)

But I have done several of the OU writing courses and would recommend them...it doesn't feel like studying at all! I did two short courses on Start Writing Prose and Start Writing Poetry (A174 and A175) a couple of years ago just as a taster to see if I could write and they were great. Last year I did A215 Creative Writing in its first year. I loved it and did well, despite having a lot of family crises during the year. It covers prose, poetry and life writing...all interesting though I found the poetry section difficult to engage with, as I wasn't really on the same wavelength as the author, so it was useful that I had already done the short course. Others, however, loved the poetry in A215, so don't let me put you off!

I am going to do A176 Start Writing Plays this autumn in preparation for the new level three creative writing course due to start in a years time, as we understand that will include script writing as well as the three areas covered in A215! There is also supposed to be a possible MA planned for the future, which interests me too.

The short courses are completely online, A215 also had some face to face tutorials. A lot does depend on interation with other students but even if you are in a quiet tutorial group, you should be able to find support from other students online...there are various writing forums on the OU network.

I loved the courses...can't recommend them enough, but don't know how they compare with other courses out there. I just find the flexibility suits my life at present. Oh and if you look at the blog called WikidWords ( link in my blogroll) you will see work produced by some A215 students of last year.

Let me know if you want any more info, as I could go on forever...can you tell I really enjoyed the courses?!!

Helen said...

Cathy that is great information thank you. I was particulalry interested that they might be doing an MA too. Maybe I should start on something like the A215 to get myself into the swing of it before I embark on that kind of study.

Its nice when people say positive things as it will be a financial commitment and I've been on courses before where the teacher just liked the sound of his own voice and promptly read sections out form the Writers & Artists yearbook.

You've given me lots to think about. Thanks.

Jackie Luben said...

Course they're not boring. My accountant - who is also my ex-brother in law - has got loads of personality - and in fact, an accountant is the (first) hero of my novella, A Bottle of Plonk.

I sympathise on the accounts, front, Cathy. My big panic is usually May, when the end of the VAT quarter usually clashes with our holiday. I was a week late last time and got a stern warning from the powers that be. I'm feeling smug at the moment, though, because I've finished the VAT and preparing to package up all the accounts to send to the accountant.

Cathy said...

At least I don't have to do the VAT...or the PAYE, Jackie! Hubby does them himself.