The assignment in Huddersfield had finally come to an end and so the consulting manager told me about another engagement based in the heart of London. I must admit to feeling a little dispirited about this, since I had made it clear that working in London was something I did seek to avoid. But now they were paying me for my services, whether I was assigned to a client or not - so I was obliged to accept the engagement. To be under the orders again was something I had not clearly thought through before accepting this new role of the Associate Contractor - the role of the self employed contractor, on the one hand, and the as-if full time employee, on the other. With me this could not sit with comfort but thankfully my contract is only till Christmas - and when something is disagreeable and only temporary, we can almost enjoy the situation: almost as if it was agreeable and permanent. Also, it meant I could return home to my caravan each night and indeed this is a luxury for the consultant - even if your home is a cabin on wheels. And next week my Swiss girlfriend will be in England – yes this nomad now has a girlfriend – and I shall be in a position to meet up with the Swiss lady every night for a fortnight. So all this really is very good indeed.
And so I arose on the Monday morning from my slumber at the dark hour of half five. The rain patted the caravan's roof as I made myself a strong coffee and prepared for the journey into the heart of one of the most important commercial capitals in the world. I walked to the station and stepped into the train. Thankfully there were many spare seats and I sat down.
As we approached closer to London these seats were taken, and then the commuters were standing. As I sat there throwing my eye at this person and that person - observing the stress and the fatigue of a life whose grimace is the currency of the city commuter, I thought back on the changes in my life over the last year and a bit.
No longer chained into this life of bills and conferences and queues and delays, I could at least appreciate that there was some worth in it all. The caravan and the camper and a life with little in the way of the material - all this was both a reduced and an enhanced life. It allowed me to see things from a different angle - and I was, to be sure, a much happier man.
And these were my thoughts as I commuted into the heart of London. Like a character in a Dostoyevsky novel I seemed to be both in the world and out of it. As I shook the hands of those to whom I was introduced, as I looked into their eyes and held my smile, it was as if I was welcoming them into my world as much as I was being inducted into their world.