What a Monday…

My day has been a long and relatively uneventful one. And dull. Very, very dull.

I started out with a brief conference call catch up for the project I am leading to launch a certain brand of coffee, for which my company is set to become sole business distributor in Scotland from October. That was nice and painless, thankfully, but is still dampening my enthusiasm for coffee.

I then spent the remainder of the day setting up, or more accurately emptying out, the budget workbook from last year, so that is it ready for the 2017 budget process which begins for me tomorrow. It may seem early but I will be spending rather a large amount of the next two months driving around the country getting business updates and key indicators from my Regional depots in order to feed it into the ma-hoo-sive spread sheet that I battle with every year. Not only have I had the joy of trying not to delete important information, but I had to feed in 4 new centres which didn’t exist when I last set the budget and make sure that all the formulas add up correctly and that all links are functional. The workbook consists of 8 different spreadsheets, the largest of which contains the master cost centre reports for all 23 depots, some thirty pages long in total.

If it sounds dull, that’s because it is. I never wanted to be an accountant which is why I studied literature and not maths or finance at University. Then again, I never wanted to get a proper job which is why I went to University in the first place. Who knew I’d end up driving around the country all year, managing a rather large logistics team. Try and link that back to my degree… I still haven’t figured it out.

Still, all of this driving and spreadsheet stress means that I have come to rely on books and reading as a form of relaxation. Since cottoning onto the wonderful world of Audible, I am now also able to use books to help me relax while driving. I used to find that when listening to my iPod while driving, it was always some up tempo or heavy rock piece which came on just when my road rage was at its worst, not helping my mood at all. You cannot under estimate how much music can affect mood when already stressed. I also found that when something mellow came on, say something from a musical, I tended to drive more slowly. I should probably listen to that a lot more… Nowadays, I settle for finding the most gruesome audiobook I can (Val McDermid’s ‘The Mermaids Singing‘ was thoroughly gory but surprisingly effective) and imagine the pain carried out on the numpties on the road who cannot seem to drive with any consideration for their fellow road users. (In case anyone is now concerned, I should probably point out that this is purely a coping strategy in heavy traffic and I do not condone violence in any form outside of the safe sphere of fiction.)

So, through books, I had quite a relaxing week last week. It started with a long drive to Basildon and back where I listened to around 85% of Ian Rankin’s ‘Tooth and Nail‘, which I finished the old fashioned way when I got home. I then also managed to find the time to read 4 absolute crackers – ‘Dance with the Dead‘ by James Nally; ‘Saving Sophie‘ by Sam Carrington, ‘All Fall Down‘ by Tom Bale and ‘The Devil’s Work‘ by Mark Edwards. Reviews for ‘Dance with the Dead‘ and ‘Saving Sophie‘ are already up on the blog and, if you can be bothered and I haven’t sent you to sleep yet, ‘All Fall Down‘ is reviewed on my GoodReads profile and will be on the blog in a couple of weeks, with the final review for ‘The Devil’s Work‘ to follow.

My only piece of advice. Read them all. You won’t be disappointed.

The books that is. My reviews are ropey at best ๐Ÿ˜‰

5 books in one week – I think that’s a new work week record for me.

Besides that, I have firmed up a trip to London at the end of the month to see Sheridan Smith in ‘Funny Girl‘ with my eldest sister, and two more trips, later in the year, with middle sis to see ‘The Bodyguard‘ and ‘Dream Girls‘ for which the tickets arrived last week. Eek. Excited.com.

The moral of this tale… Well there isn’t one really. But, despite the fact that excel really does suck, (that and I have to get up at 02:00 am tomorrow and 01:00 on Thursday to drive to Bracknell and Washington respectively) life, dear friends, is good.

Happy reading.

JM