Tiptoeing into uncharted waters
This morning there was another tube strike and I walked 4 miles into work. During this walk I composed a ranty letter in my head to Bob Crow while fantasising about walking along the coastal path.
London looks like Gotham City in the grey light of a wet morning; and along with a touch of light rain – the kind that’s not heavy enough to warrant an umbrella, yet gets you very wet really, really slowly – I can think of better ways to start the week.
20 minutes after breakfast I received a phone call from our mortgage broker. He asked me if I was sitting down (of course I was… that’s all I do 9 – 6, Monday – Friday) and I knew then that this could be the phone call we’ve been waiting 3 1/2 months for. He then proceeded to inform me that Lloyds Bank have agreed – IN PRINCIPLE – to our commercial mortgage application. There’s a bit of work to do yet, a survey, a valuation, and maybe a few other things that involve us paying out lots of money; but we’re over the second big hurdle (the first one was getting them to look at the proposition in the first place), and into uncharted territory.
It went like this: Excitement, followed by ‘I must tell Danny’, followed by more excitement, followed by ‘I must tell my folks’, followed by more excitement, followed by terror.
For the last few weeks Danny and I have been making lists, choosing furniture, and fantasising about breakfasts; and now it’s a reality. Now we’re really going to have to do it. Somebody somewhere has deemed that we are responsible enough, and our business plan comprehensive enough, to lend us lots of money; and I find myself in that place where I think that someone is going to come up behind me, tap me on the shoulder, and say:
“Excuse me, Miss Rotbart. Hello. We’re sorry to disturb you but we’ve identified you and your partner as people who are pretending to be adults, you haven’t done a bad job of it but we have found you out. We got our first clue last year when we observed you making monkey noises at the gorillas in London Zoo, our suspicions were aroused when you went to London Zoo without any children. We also noticed that you skipped across the road in the New Forest last weekend, again, not really behaviour befitting the 34 year old you’re pretending to be. In conclusion, while we love your enthusiasm, we really don’t think that you are grown-ups and therefore cannot lend you this money”
As much as I don’t want anyone to do that it would be the easy option, it would give me the opportunity to RUN. Run like the wind in the direction of a salaried job and a mortgage that isn’t reliant on people wanting to stay in my spare bedroom. Run back to a world with no buildings insurance (I have a leasehold) and a location where I have friends, family, and a solid network.
I wonder if others who go into business on their own have these kind of fears. They must do, surely, but just choose not to talk about them.
I do want this, I really do, the thing is I want it NOW, I want it QUICKLY, and I want it without having to go through all the stuff I’m dreading, like packing and moving (I hate packing more than I hate the aforementioned Bob Crow); setting up the internet / electricity / phone lines / fire systems; having the inevitable arguments over decor; living through the moments when we realise something is suddenly going to cost £5000 more than originally budgeted; need I go on?
I want to be like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I want to click my heels together, say the magic words, and end up in a beautiful, fully-booked guest house in St Ives. In other words I want the rewards but none of the reality.
Just in case you’re curious as to my state of mind I should tell you that I am ecstatic. Sitting at my desk overlooking a Soho back alley (you’ve got a window seat – count yourself lucky!) I have a bubbly feeling in my belly. It’s a bubbly feeling that foretells of a life with no tubes, no smog, no desk job, and no hamster-style running machine. I just need to keep the ‘one step at a time’ philosophy close to my heart and all will be good.
Loyal readers, friends and family, it seems we are full steam ahead into the next part of our journey.