Tim Key: 'There's nothing like working al fresco. As long as I’m far enough away from the fumes'

 

Share

It's nice now it's getting more and more summery. I like to waddle around with my jumper round my waist and my visor pulled down like I rule the place. As it heats up, I loosen my laces and puffen my chest out, I click my fingers as I swan about, squinting and sweating. But the biggest joy of all, when it's like this, is to leave the hot, stuffy Independent on Saturday offices, skip out towards the sun-drenched bits outside of cafés, and conduct my work al fresco.

I've made my way to an establishment on a small street in the guts of Kensington. I've ordered myself a thick black coffee and a fairy cake, and I'm sat outside soaking up beams and muttering the phrase "This is the life" over and over. The table I'd been gunning for as I bought my supplies got snaffled at the very last moment by two young men, so I'm sitting on a lone stool. If I'd known this would be the situation, I'd have pressed on to another café where I might have got a table, but I've already got my coffee now, and I can easily put my fairy cake on my lap and rest my notepad on my wrist, not a problem. The important thing is I'm right in the sun and I'm far enough from the road that the fumes and the noise aren't a massive problem. Lush.

I'm fortunate that I have a trade – I'm a professional columnist – where it is possible to get work done outside. You hear of jobs where there isn't that flexibility. Jobs where, when the sun bursts through the clouds, it is frowned upon to transfer your work to the nearest plaza. Prison guards, for example, can't "go and get an hour done outside a café". Also, snooker players, dentists and videotape editors are slaves to the buildings they ply their trade in. In fact, I can probably name 10 occupations that you can't do to any sort of level while also feeling the sun on your neck. Baker would be another one. Interior designer. That's already five. Choreographer, maybe? They work in studios. Chimney sweep? Roof insulator? Nightclub owner?

I spread my legs and fan my crotch. Occasionally, I send a group text from my iPhone. It's to all the suckers I know who work indoors. I include a photo in my text just to hammer home my point. I take one of the sky, but I have to wait because the sun has gone in for a moment. In fact, now more clouds are coming and it looks like it's not going to re-emerge, so I hang tight. The vagaries of May in England. Nope, it's not coming out, so I take it anyway. With the sun hidden, my shoulders become cold. I shiver and sip my black coffee to warm up.

I guess I'll probably tough this out for another 20 minutes or so before sloping back to the office. I envisage there'll be a fair amount of envy that I've just nipped out and nailed my column in Mediterranean conditions. I'll certainly be explaining to them that that is what I've done. I remember when I was 18, I worked in a library. From 8.30am until 5.30pm, I was imprisoned in a windowless tower, scurrying around and fetching books, stamping inserts and crouching in lifts. I vowed then to work hard and find myself a job that had, at the very least, a window. Now look at me. Outside. Bossing it in my shades. It's genuinely chilly now and I pop my cardy on.

I open up an app on my phone, which lets you tinker with your photos, and I get to work on this one, brightening it and adding an orange hue. It is starting to spit a little bit, so I keep having to wipe my touchscreen with my cuff. The young men have gone inside, so I nab their table. Position A. The photo looks slightly less overcast than real life, so I send it along with the message: 'LOSERS'.

I sip my coffee. That, too, has gone cold. The whole thing is miserable.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
George Osborne appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, 5 July 2015  

George Osborne says benefits should be capped at £20,000 to meet average earnings – but working families take home £31,500

Ellie Mae O'Hagan
The BBC has agreed to fund the £650m annual cost of providing free television licences for the over-75s  

Osborne’s assault on the BBC is doing Murdoch’s dirty work

James Cusick James Cusick
Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high