Taking a holiday - all through the looking glass
So I said to the boss - looking him straight in the face. " We need to talk about my holidays". Couldn't catch his eye at all. You'd think that wouldn't really be possible when you are confronting yourself in the mirror - but I did seem to manage it. Because, of course, when you are your own boss, holidays are a matter of quite delicate internal negotiation.
Anyway the boss did eventually take himself to one side and explained to me that in his/our/ my new situation every 'holiday' is going to have to be - to a lesser or greater extent ( but mostly greater) - a working holiday.
That's all very well for me, I thought to ourselves but whose going to explain it all to the ...
( You know, I had a curious rush of blood to the head there . I was actually going to write the word 'partner'. Just who am I trying to kid? The mode of attachment that I have - of course - the coal fired, steam powered, full carbon emissions, traditionally brass finished version known as a marriage. Oddly though, just to confuse the unwary - and to give the whole thing a rather cool, twenty first century gloss - my spouse has never actually taken my surname. This was a decision she took rather more years ago than either of us care to remember so it's not that contemporary at all. But there you go. New acquaintances confronted with our different surnames and our ( wholly playfull and deeply ironic , rest assured) perpetual bickering say with some surprise that we are just like a married couple - and then gasp with delight as we out ourselves as just that.
Oddly enough the only person who has consistently addressed my wife as 'Mrs Loftus' is her own mother - I suspect on the grounds of re- assuring herself that she has indeed been wholly handed on to me.)
But I digress.
So, anyway, words were had and when high dudgeon had eased down towards manageable exasperation we were able to begin more considered planning - that is the boss, herself and me.
Contact databases searched - emails sent and half a dozen obliging folk agreed to meet and discuss issues - so the boss can be put quietly back into his box . A programme of cultural, historic and family events and the distaff side is equally relaxed. Only the in house support team now has to be brought up to speed.
I will just about concede that when Air Force 1 landed here last week it was marginally better fitted out with communications and associated kit then we were when we left home. What I am certain of however is that the President didn't spend the morning he left the White House obsessively checking that all the bits and pieces he needed to continue the run the western word were stowed in his bags.
So - a netbook, mobile wi-fi connection, a Blackberry, two other mobile phones plus all of the associated bits that are needed to ensure that this stuff functions at the final destination and intermediate stopping off points. All of this in the carry-on luggage due to an concern (and this is one that I know Barack Obama shares acutely with me) that if packed into the hold it will finish up in the wrong place. Catching sight of the x ray screen and the tangle of wire it reveals as we pass through one security check I can't help but wonder what the staff there make of this unexceptional middle aged couple and the yards of cable we are transporting with us across the world. On one leg something does cause some alarm with them and a bag is searched in scrupulous detail to reveal - an apple. No, not the latest manifestation from Steve Jobs and co but a simple piece of fruit. And the evidently dim view that the Chinese authorities take of inadvertent apple smugglers certainly was discouragement to try anything more subversive.
The real kicker in the obsession with kit is the power adaptor. Due to past phase of regular panic buying in departure lounges I now possess more than half a dozen of these in a variety of designs and exotic combinations and the confidence that ( if I have remembered to pack them) I can extract power from sockets in absolutely every corner of the known world. In fact I am pretty sure that one of these devices will ensure that equipment bought on Venus will work on Mars - so I am already set up for the day that Richard Branson's inter-stellar travel service takes wing.
And of we went - and it all went very well. Both holiday and work-wise.
I put the boss in the frame as soon as I got back. On reflection, says he, that was a good idea of mine.