Well as of yesterday evening Lisa and I are back home, having snuck around the M25 when no one was looking and avoided all the people who like to go there on a daily basis to crash their cars. Whilst away, I've received three items of fan mail via my website: one from "a lowly graduate who has as yet failed to convince anybody to exchange cash for her gainful employment" and is therefore refusing to give me any; another who comments "Very very scary how such a seemingly nice guy could be so dodgy! I wonder how his wife and kids are doing now, as she was completely insane beforehand" (I won't tell you who she was referring to); and a third who simply says "Your ace!".
Personally I wasn't aware I had an ace, and I certainly never managed to serve any when I used to play tennis, but I appreciated the comment nonetheless. Especially after coming to the attention of the council with Thursday's blog post.
So with the sound of compliments ringing in my ears, I went to the Jobcentre (sorry, Jobcentre Plus) this morning for my '13 Week Review'. Yes, it's officially three months since I declared myself mentally employable, and what a roaring success that's been. I've boosted the printer cartridge industry with my numerous CVs, and have enough rejection letters to make a handy doorstop. So it's about time the reviews came in. Today's interview was with a man named Justin, and got off to a good start when the bloke on the desk assured me that no one called Justin actually works there. His colleague backed him up, and the matter had to be referred to a third person, who finally confirmed the existence of Justin and agreed to let me meet him.
Twenty minutes later, Justin had confirmed that I'm doing quite well (as well as you can do without actually getting a job), and agreed to remove 'Shelf Filler' from the list of careers I'm actively pursuing.
And for those who think I'm joking...
The other two are apparently non-negotiable, despite my assurances that I'd rather have my own fort or aquarium. I was tempted to quote the woman I saw 13 weeks ago who having put down 'Office Assistant', added "Though no one's going to take you on", but Justin and I were getting on quite well at this point, so I decided to keep quiet and sign the form.
It was an uplifting experience anyway, so with the sun shining both outside the jobcentre and inside my heart, I met Lisa for lunch at the Strength Coffee Bar in St James's Street. Back in November I mentioned (and not for the first time) that they have the audacity to charge £1.30 for a cup of hot water with a tea bag in it. Well since then the place has had a bit of a make-over, and I'm pleased to say the days of £1.30 cups of tea are well and truly gone. They're now £1.50. I need a job just to pay the lunch bill.