In the Sticks: The chicken lorry had the best career

I KEEP seeing the names of people I was at university with popping up in prominent positions. People who didn't have a brain cell at 19 have blossomed into geniuses by 40, with words before their names like Professor and Dame. All I have to offer where it says "title" on forms is "Miss", and even that's a terrible mistake.

I envy their status, but the thought of what they do to get it makes me feel faint. They have workloads that would make an elephant stagger, and internal organs adapted to bathe in a constant wash of adrenalin. My own achievements consist of removing sources of stress from my working life. The only commuting I do is the 30 feet from the Aga to my desk. As a consequence, of course, there is one question that I do face with boring regularity: "Where is the next mortgage payment coming from?" In an effort to find an answer that my bank manager may find more acceptable than "The fairies will bring it", some stress has to be put back into my schedule.

So last Monday was a Big Day. An opportunity to sell my wares to a market so vast that the mortgage may never be an issue again. My preparations were meticulous. I bought a new pair of tights and hit the second-hand clothes shop in Scungeton.

Luckily there's a local gal who buys Armani and is the same size as me. Sadly for her she has some sort of pen fetish so her kit ends up in "Second Time Around" with little marks on the skirt where she sat on a ballpoint. Good news for my Big Day: 500 quids' worth of power-dressing for the price of a month's supply of chook feed.

On Monday at 6am I was ready. At first it all went well. I washed my hair and put my underwear on without a hitch. Even the blue pen on the suit didn't seem to show. Doug was quietly supportive.. He didn't even say what he usually does when I'm dressed up and on my way out: "Don't pull, will you?

But what I hadn't allowed for was Offa, the driver of the big truck that every Monday delivers feed to the 7,000 broiler chickens up the road. Hot for his rashers and eggs in the next village, he drove straight into the front of our car, as Doug drove me to the station to get the 8.51 for Paddington. Offa's truck was barely creased but the front of the car looked like a left over from a giant's origami course.

So it was that in spite of all my best efforts for my Big Day I fell out of a taxi at the venue only just in time to scramble on to the stage. I stood behind the rostrum my hands shaking like the star turn at an AA meeting. All the clever little witticisms had gone from my head. All I could think of was Offa's truck whacking the car like the big fat hand of retribution, serving me right for my shameful years of avoiding a real career.

I can't really remember what it was I did manage to say. All I am sure about is that as I tottered back to the slough of anonymity at the back of the hall my audience were showing signs of the worst of all possible responses. I would disappear from their memories faster than the numbers on their cloakroom tickets.

So when the bank manager rings, he'll find the phone unplugged. It's OK to do that, because when the fairies ring in with a job offer they can do it on an unconnected line.

Arts and Entertainment

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade

radio
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?