The More-Than-Twelve Labours of Crookall


I work a job with a fortnightly shift pattern that breaks into two sections. Firstly, there is an eight day spell in which I have off only one day, and which incorporates six 9.00pm finishes and one 9.00am start, directly after a 9.00pm finish. Then (starting today) I have a six day spell in which I only work two days, and those short with finishes at 4.30pm and 5.00pm respectively.

Given the impossibility of getting much done in the Hard Half, I frequently get days like today in which, instead of relaxing and winding down, I have more things to do than the average work day!

It’s a bit steep calling them Labours, so let’s go by Tasks.

Task #1. Clean the Toilet. I shall draw a veil over further details, in consideration of delicate minds.

Task #2. Clear the top of the desk, putting completed books and comics back on the shelves, so I can get at everything else again.

Task #3. Fold and put away in wardrobe and drawers all the clean clothes from the last visit to the launderette.

Task #4. Parcel up and label Sunday’s e-Bay sales.

Task #5. Revise, tag and publish the Prisoner: Hammer into Anvil – discursion blogpost.

Task #6. Complete the first draft of the next Prisoner blogpost, to be published later this week.

The next five tasks involve leaving the house in shoes being worn for the first time, and four different bus journeys.

Task #7. To the Doctor’s, to collect my repeat prescription, and fill it at the Chemist next door.

Task #8. Call in at the mobile phone shop. I’m out of credit and topped up last night at the Co-op, but I’m still restricted to Emergency Calls Only. The guy gives me details to call Customer Support and what info I’ll need to have to hand.

Task #9. The Post Office, to post Sunday’s e-Bay sales.

Task #10. The other supermarket (not the one I usually use) for today’s Guardian and some quick essentials.

Task #11. The Co-op, where I top up my electricity key before everything goes blooey on me. It’s busy so I don’t get to talk to the nice one with the short blonde hair as much as I’d like.

Back home, in quick order are:

Task #12. Get my maroon pullover off, it having gotten considerably warmer in the last two hours.

Task #13. Top up the leccy, with only pence to spare!

Task #14. Put the food in cupboards or fridge.

There follows a brief interval, during which I grab a late lunch, as picked up at the Supermarket, check e-mails and skim the paper. I have this week’s Guardian Soulmates recommendations (I haven’t renewed my subscriptions after last year’s unsuccessful foray, but I haven’t deleted my account either, so I get six women a week, so to speak, and amazingly, one lives less than a hundred miles away from me! Having stipulated that I was looking for women within twenty miles of my phone – busses, remember? – it says nothing for the reliability of the process that I am regularly fed recommends for women living in France, Spain, Africa, the West Indies, America….)

Task #15. Try to phone Orange Mobile Customer Support but the number the guy in the shop gave me isn’t recognised. Go online and try to register with Orange but the security code text to me fails to arrive twice. Start Task List for Wednesday with a visit to the Orange Shop.

Task #16. Stack accumulated dirty plates in bowl with hot water and Fairy Liquid. And you can take that expression off your face. I am a fifty seven year old single man living in a pokey little Council flat that’s too small for visitors, so what else did you expect?

Task #17. Spray kitchen floor and mop clean.

Task #18. Collate a month’s newspapers, check answers to the August Bank Holiday Prize Crossword: damn, never come so close to actually finishing the Bank Holiday Crytpic before: a double-gridded unnumbered Alphabetical Jigsaw with an undefined theme running across all twenty-six letters of the alphabet and both grids, and I got this close: no answers wrong and five short. Bag papers for a Green Run tomorrow (another Wednesday Task) to the recycling bins.

Task #19. Wash crockery and cutlery and leave to drain. If you expected there would be no follow up to Task #16, shame on you.

And Task #20 was going to be cooking tea, but after a day like that, I wound up going out for Chinese.

This was supposed to be a day off, you know. How is a writer ever going to start his new novel?

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