As I write this, I'm actually in Chelmsford on my parents' reclining sofa, next to my hairless cat. She and I came up here on Thursday afternoon with Lisa, after my plan of telling her she could only come if she was ready in half an hour backfired when I found her standing at the door with a holdall at 2:30pm (Lisa, not my hairless cat). As usual we timed our journey perfectly to coincide with a major traffic jam on the M25, and arrived in Essex an hour later than planned. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I've spent the last three days exploring the local area on foot while Lisa reads 'Notes on a Scandal' in bed. Yesterday I made it out of my parents' cul-de-sac and over the pelican crossing to the Boleyn Gardens, where garden designer Bella D'Arcy (a made-up name if ever I heard one) has been instrumental in creating an 'Elements Garden'. I'm quite open to the elements, but I didn't fully understand what it all meant. I sat on the bench in the photo above though and checked my text messages, so I did feel myself becoming one with nature.
From there I headed deeper into Beaulieu Park where you can currently buy houses like the one on the right for £945,000. Needless to say my parents don't live in Beaulieu Park. It's six bedrooms though, so personally I'd turn it into student flats and make a mint.
But when I'm not roaming the northern reaches of Chelmsford, and standing in Sainsburys watching Lisa buy 'Taste the Difference' Belgian Waffles and Pain au Chocolat, I've been busy entering a Radio 4 writing competition. Obviously I don't listen to Radio 4, but fortunately for me, Lorraine, my Scope Job Broker, does. She's supposed to be working tirelessly to find a job vacancy I'm capable of filling, but that's obviously easier said than done, so instead she's started listening to the radio on my behalf, and e-mailing me with competitions.
This one involves writing a 100-word story which features the words Bacon, Bodies, Experiments, Fire, Paper & Organic. Which leaves only 94 to write yourself. First prize is £50 in book tokens (why is it never a top of the range sports car?), and I'm confident of success. Just as long as they don't mind me leaving the 'i' out of 'papier mâché'.