It is duly addictive, after eight years of working from home, to have a place of work to which to go. I don’t regret any of the last eight years, in which I have been (mostly) working from home. To accomplish this, I had to pretend that one room did not exist. I could follow the crooked route from my workspace to the kitchen and back, sedulously avoiding the front room. You get used to it. You rejoice in it. But now driving 30-40 minutes to work, most days, seems like a luxury. On the way I pass the sign to Sunderland. Tempting to divert to my childhood, but nice just to know that it is there.
The office is open plan. This doesn’t suit everyone in the world, but it suits me very well. In my past life I had an office to go to. After a while, and to the chagrin of my boss, I had a wall taken down, so that I was accessible. I think I did it on the basis that a Principal (I’m not one!) in Birmingham had dispensed with his office. Privacy at work is partly over-rated, and a bit lonely.
There are flukes and flukes. Who would have guessed that, like my father, I would have changed my career at 49, and that like my father, picked up a new permanent job in my late fifties? Is this genetic or an odd coincidence (bizarrely, I can look across the Tyne to where he re-located himself, too).
The only hard thing is not being able to summon up my lost parents and say ‘Hey! I came back!’ – fifteen minutes away is my mother’s former home. She would have been surprised. More surprising is that the family who now own her house applied for a new number – and got hers. So my mother’s house (still in my phone) can still be called by the same number as 1955. I have never actually heard of this happening to anyone. It adds to the mystery of moving on and moving back in the same breath.
What next? How lucky can I be?