New rhythms

Sources of Joy – Day 95

Day 93 (Friday) finally saw the delivery of my office table, a bargain second-hand buy. The last piece of the intricate puzzle that is my new office space, now placed together with the inadequate desk I already possessed, gives me a large desk space on which to order my life.  My sense of appreciation of this room with a delightful view through adjustable shutters and double-glazed windows needs to be seen in perspective. It is seven years since I had a properly organised office and a whopping eighteen since I had a room entirely devoted to my home office. I have never had a room quite like this one; one which is entirely separate and distanced from both the kitchen and the bathroom. Taken all together, this augurs well for improved performance and a greater happiness while working, something which I am always happy doing.

The two leather armchairs belong to the landlord, and came with the house.
The two leather armchairs belong to the landlord, and came with the house.

What is not clear from the above picture is that I have an inordinate number of pens and pencils and coloured markers of various types. These have now been sorted into no fewer than four categories. I shall probably not have to purchase another paper clip in my lifetime, either. I am not sure whether this is a source of joy; at least all the paper clips are in one place now – and within easy reach. This fact alone makes moving house recently a worthwhile exercise!

While this office does not have a sofa in it for power-sleeps in between power-bouts of intense translation advocated by words-per-hour productivity ace, Konstantin Kisin, there is a bed close by. I have already proven that sleep in one of these leather armchairs, with my feet up on my office chair (!) is both possible and comfortable. I like nothing more than an afternoon sleep with the windows open.  Imagine the peace and calm to be derived from waking up to a sight like this, as I did today:

One possible view. The typical Algarve at 19h00 in summer.
One possible view. The typical Algarve at 19h00 in summer.

Work-life balance is something we all wish to achieve on a sustainable basis. With a bit of application – and engaging in activities which we actually enjoy (excluding speed laundry, of course), the sense of satisfaction which comes from activities in non-working hours transmits itself automatically to the kind of calm focus required for real (translation) work.

I turned the penultimate instance of neighbourly generosity into a lovely tomato-based sauce for pasta (most of which was frozen, and some given away); it also became the subject of a photographic still life:

The green peppers did not make it into the sauce; I have an aversion to them!
The green peppers did not make it into the sauce; I have an aversion to them!  To give you an idea of the size of that onion, the tomato in front of the right-hand green pepper is about the size of a tennis ball.

Because the first batch of my peach chutney (again, because I was given a bucket of peaches from the neighbour across the road), was appreciated so much by the two recipients, I picked the fruit off someone else’s tree (itself a pleasurable activity) and made another batch, which ended up being about one kilogram’s worth of chutney bottled according to the appetites of the intended consumers.

I have run out of bottles for jams, and such.
I have run out of bottles for jams, and such.

 

Making the chutney was almost incidental to all the other things I managed to achieve this weekend on which I did very little work indeed. For once, I had no Monday deadline. I am by no means organised yet, and such a state of being may never be achieved. I can live with that for the time being. Why? Because I have the feeling that good organisation will be the natural upshot of a new-found pleasure in skills learned long ago, hanging on my mother’s apron strings, so to speak.

We all know life is not a bed of roses. Nevertheless,  with a bit of luck and the continued beneficial effects of second-hand shower water selectively applied, a bed of roses is what I will be looking at from my office window sooner than I think. At my current slow-poke rate of translation, that will be in about 90,000 words’ time.

Weeded and re-dug flower beds. Office window in the right of the picture.
Weeded and re-dug flower beds. Office window in the right of the picture.

The day after I did this work last week, I took great pleasure in watching a woman – who takes approximately an hour and a half to walk down the road to collect her bread every day from the delivery van which stops at the end of the road – stop and come right up to our fence to have a good look at what had been done. I had a good laugh about the village grapevine when I heard from a friend that, apparently, the flowers (cuttings) I have planted (not pictured here; that happened the day after this photo, taken on Monday), will not survive the summer. All I know is that the cuttings have “taken”, and time will tell.

What does any of this have to do with translation? In my view, quite a lot. These little things have an occupational therapeutic value; they provide a necessary change of pace from the intensity of work; they get me away from the computer screen and place me in a setting where I can think without pressure about anything I care to think about – including what next I am going to do about my translation business. These – and other things – keep me centred and happy, a create an holistic equilibrium which may well prove key to my pursuit of excellence in general. If I am inspired while engaged in any of these activities, I can always wash my hands, and rush to my office and write it down or type it up. Prepositions are funny, aren’t they?

Allison

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