Monday, 19 September 2011

When is working from home not working from home?

When you are on the beach.

A few months back I was lucky enough to have some time in the gorgeous city of Barcelona. The trip was a mixture of work, holiday and a writing session. All made possible by my amazing wife who sent me away to get on with it.

It turned out to be a key decision point in deciding to change my life as I spent far too much of it trying to get broadband access to be able to check web sites during my ‘time off’. However, as well as checking out the astounding Gaudi architecture ( the inside of La Sagrada Famillia brought me to tears it was so beautiful) and doing the usual tourist things I set out for the beach to catch some rays and to plan my next novel.

I was in Barcelona during the Festival of Sant Joan that basically involves the locals staying up all night throwing firecrackers at each other. I’ll never forget the sight of very young children walking round with a lit cigarette in one hand and a packet of bangers in the other. They lit a banger and held it for as long as possible before throwing it at their friends/siblings while their parents watched. They don’t seem to have bought into the concept of Health and Safety in Spain!

The day I hit the beach was a public holiday and the sand was packed with locals. I silently praised myself for ignoring the clusters of beautiful locals and headed for an area that was less distracting. I was going to nail my plot outline today while getting a suntan – true male multi-tasking.

I was scribbling madly when three women invaded the space on my left, followed by another four in front of me. Clothes were removed in seconds and skin bared to the sun’s warming rays. When I’m writing or typing I often look up into the middle distance and in this instance the middle distance was a lot closer than it should have been. It also happened to consist of a woman applying suntan cream to her breasts.

I looked away quickly and discovered that another female sunbather had arrived on my right and she was bending over at my eye level giving me a prime view of her toned bum. A swift head turn to the left only brought more trouble. This siren had just come out of the sea and was in the process of reaching up to pull her hair back into a ponytail, water sparkling as it trickled down her tanned body.

I shifted round to face the other way but I was now surrounded. The sunbather sitting just a few feet from me was really special. She was smirking at me. Her eyes twinkling as she took in my awkward responses to the stimulating scenes around me. There was something subtle about her expression that left me in no doubt that she was laughing at me and not with me. Also that any flirting or pervy looks sent her way would probably result in physical pain for me.

The heroine of my book came to life on that beach as the sunbathers around me dozed and I scribbled notes on page after page. That evening as I typed up my notes and schemed various plots I laughed at myself too. It’s certainly the first time that half-naked women have helped me concentrate on a task!

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