The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Escape to the sea

For the past 14½ months I’ve been battling to work through construction noise with a new school building being built directly behind my house, which of course is also my office. Because it’s an awkward site on the side of a hill, the work has involved trucks arriving in the street in front of the house to unload materials which have then been craned up over the houses to the actual construction site above and behind the back garden. That’s meant I’ve been pretty much surrounded by noise and at times, it’s made working from home very difficult and very stressful.

After a very noisy patch right at the beginning, I tried renting an office space. For various reasons though, that didn’t work out and after a few months of using it on and off, I was back working at home and just trying to make the best of things. Perhaps the trickiest part has been that the noise has been very variable. On some days, it’s pretty much just background buzz and easily ignored. On other days though, when there’s a pneumatic drill or some other kind of power tool going for hours on end, the noise and vibration is completely unbearable and makes it impossible to focus on work. Of course, the trouble is, day by day, I haven’t known which it’s going to be. And inevitably, that pneumatic drill has often started up just on the day when I’m particularly busy and have a deadline to meet!

It’s taken its toll on my work. I’ve found myself frequently having to work evenings and weekends to keep up because I haven’t been able to get as much done during the day as normal. And that’s taken its toll on my health too. As someone who suffers from chronic pain, extra hours spent at my desk generally equate to extra pain.

The good news is though, it is almost at an end. We’ve been promised that work will finish at the end of this week - hooray! It’s going to be a noisy final week though, with all the scaffolding coming down and the road surface in the street being repaired – more of those pneumatic drills! So I’ve made my escape and come away for a week by the seaside.

One of the joys of being freelance is that, in theory, you can work from anywhere. It’s not something I do very often, because actually, it isn’t quite as easy as it sounds; from the point of view of cost and of having an appropriately comfortable space to work in. But for once, I’ve got myself organized and booked a week staying in a cabin, just yards from the coastal path on the Hartland Peninsula in North Devon. I’ve got a proper table to work at and of course, I’ve brought my separate keyboard and pointer to use with my laptop to be as ergonomic as possible. I’ve got Wi-Fi, if rather intermittently, and in short, everything I need to get on with work. Oh yes, and a view to die for!

Without the distractions of everyday life, the days seem to stretch out endlessly, which means I’ve been able to get down to plenty of work, yet still get out and enjoy the wonderful countryside. With a mini-heatwave at the start of the week, I found that my little cabin turned into a sauna by about midday, so I worked mornings, then went out in the afternoon for a walk along the cliffs or a dip in the sea, before I headed back for a couple more hours at my desk in the early evening.  For the past couple of days, it’s been a bit cooler, but still sunny enough to enjoy an afternoon walk through the fields for a coffee break looking out to Lundy Island.

A good spot for a dip on the hottest day of the year
The view from my afternoon coffee spot
Today’s my last full day here before I head home tomorrow. I have to say, I haven’t started to get bored of the view yet, but I am quite looking forward to getting back to civilization.

Labels: ,