It's ironic that now I have all the time in the world to write, my blogging has almost ground to a halt. This wasn't supposed to happen. I'd imagined writing posts about the progress of 'Steerforth Books' and my first steps in the precarious world of self-employment.
Sadly, the last four weeks have been a bit of a disaster. Within 24 hours of leaving my job, everyone in the Steerforth household succumbed to the horrible Norovirus, which had the one redeeming feature of rapid weight loss.
At times I felt as if I'd made a terrible mistake. Lying in bed, surrounded by people making zombie-like groaning noises, I couldn't help looking back fondly to the ordered world of my last job. Perhaps I had just made one of the most stupid decisions of my life.
In the end I wrote a list of the positives and negatives of my last job. There were two positives: the books and some of the people. The negatives were everything else. Suddenly everything seemed much clearer.
It's just as well that I felt reasonably sure about my move, as the month didn't get any better. Bits of the house collapsed, someone died and both of my sons succumbed to further illnesses.
As for Steerforth Books, it was just a name. I had no stock to sell, thanks to my former managing director's last minute intervention.
It would be easy to become despondent, but I'm fairly sanguine. There are times when it pays to be a pessimist and before I handed my notice in, I made sure that my business plan could survive a number of setbacks (including a mean-spirited former employer). I knew that it could take months to get Steerforth Books off the ground and planned accordingly, so it's not over yet.
I will be glad to see the back of October, but it hasn't been completely dreadful. I've been enjoying Vasily Grossman's epic masterpiece 'Life and Fate', watching some long-forgotten British films of the 1960s and trying to become a domestic god, with mixed results. I also had a very pleasant evening out at the Lewes Arms with two fellow bloggers.
In some ways it's not a bad life, but even if I could afford to never work again, I don't think I'd change my plans. I really miss working with books.
I particularly love being surrounded by old books and sometimes feel as if I am in the literary equivalent of a telephone exchange, connected by invisible skeins to the lives of strangers. However great or absurd the titles are, they have furnished both rooms and minds. My passion, I suppose, is to try and find them new owners.
So the plan for the rest of the year is simple: fix the ceiling and get some books. Now that I've come clean about my lack of progress, perhaps I'll also write some more blog posts - there are recent discoveries that I want to share.