Well, only a week to go, and then I am properly unemployed. The last two months and three weeks have been absolutely ideal - no work, full pay and rare vagrants, but reality is about to kick in with the loss of the monthly pay packet. And in the depths of winter with six hours of available daylight, sub-zero temperatures, cold-sensitive children and no rare birds, and with the reserves dropping daily, it may all be rather miserable.
Which leads me to wonder what I am going to do with myself? Of course, being able to stay home and look after the kids is a rare privilege, and all the more so given the demands of my previous career, but the redundancy settlement won't last forever and I will need an income. I need direction. The longer I am out of the City, the more difficult it will be to get back in, and the less likely I am to want to get back in anyway. Right now I have no desire to work in finance ever again, and I expect my enthusiasm for it will only diminish. Which begs the question of what alternative employment might be suitable? I don't need a huge salary, my new lifestyle has quickly taught me that having stacks of money isn't really very important, but that sitting in the garden and looking at the sky is. With Mrs L now the main earner, I just need something relatively lightweight so that we can break even. Working from home, and for myself, would suit me down to the ground, but doing what exactly? I can't think many people are going to pay me for looking at the sky. My current interests are birds, more birds, photography, plants and wine. A few people no doubt subsist quite happily doing one or more of these things, but they are a minority; for every wildlife photographer who makes a living from it, there are probably a thousand who tried and failed. I'm slowly getting better, but I am a million miles away from the elite standard. Similarly, I am not a very good birder either - getting better, but not able to take up guiding, or to write about it and be taken seriously. My plants are too niche to make money from, so they are out, which leaves wine. Now here is one thing I am genuinely good at. In fact I would go so far as to say that I excel at drinking wine. So if anyone out there needs someone to come and drink nice wine for them, I am your man, and you will find my rates very reasonable, especially for Grand Crus.