95% of writers have a day job, including some very well known ones. This is taken from an article called Author Day Jobs in the Huffington Post …
“Charlotte Brontë was a grossly underpaid governess before she made it big, and Stephen King was a high school teacher. Douglas Adams was a security guard, Kurt Vonnegut worked at a Saab dealership, and Jack London was an “oyster pirate,”whatever that means. The path to authorial fame is a rough and uncertain one, so scores of literary greats have paid the bills by working strange and interesting day jobs.”
I have a day job, in fact I have two, although I don’t think my day jobs are particularly strange or interesting, but then again … ? Some of you may know I am director of the online writing school, writingclasses.co.uk, which is celebrating its tenth year this year, yeh hey! But what you may not know is I also have a small Bed and Breakfast Guesthouse.
The nerve centre for writingclasses is at the bottom of the garden, behind the monkey puzzle tree, in the ‘coach house and stables’ – a very grand name for a double garage, we’re like that in Edinburgh ;o) I run the school with Marc, who is the technical director. We have admin help and six tutors who are based, like our students, all around the world.
The Balmoral Guest House is an early Victorian, Edinburgh townhouse. When we bought the house I thought we’d have it for a year or two and move on, we’ve had it for over fifteen years now! Yikes! One day I’d like to stop at least one of my day jobs, so I can write all year round and not just in the winter months, However, until then, I get help to run the B&B. If I didn’t, I’d never get any writing done, ever. Over the years we’ve had lots of different people work with us. This year we have Emmanuelle or Manu. Manu is French and brilliant at cleaning. She’s been with us a few months now and is in Edinburgh learning English. Unfortunately, she’s only staying until December and being a true Scot, well, I’m already miserable at the thought of her leaving 🙁
Josée, my daughter, is the other half of the cavalry, especially in the summer when we’re really busy and she’s on her summer break from university. This year she took over completely, and together with Manu, ran the place brilliantly. She even introduced us to the use of vinegar instead of bleach to clean with – although Manu doesn’t like the smell ;o). I kid you not, vinegar is a fantastic cleaning product and not harmful to the environment! Josée also cooks a mean full, cooked Scottish breakfast , taught by the best ;o) This leads me to the reason for this blog post and it’s nothing to do with writing. Today I came across a recipe for a full cooked Scottish Breakfast with fried onions in it. No! No! No! No! No! No!
One of the many things I have learned in the last fifteen years of running a guest house is that sharing your house with strangers has its ups and downs (more on that another day, hem!) and there are no onions in a full cooked Scottish breakfast!