I can live with a lot of things (cold snaps in December, congestion charges in London, traffic in London – for that matter, anything related to driving through London), but jetlag is not one of them.
I am feeling jetlagged as I write this, so the simple act of typing has transformed into an unfeasibly difficult task, like trying to unknot a tie whilst wearing oven gloves. When I raise my head from the keyboard to the screen, or turn it from the screen to the clock on the wall, vapour trails blur my line of sight. My thoughts are little helium-filled balloons which gently bob up somewhere to the top of my mind where I can’t reach them.
I’m just back from The AGA shop Shrewsbury, you see. It’s that time of year again, when I squeeze a turkey into a bucket of ice, squeeze the bucket into my passenger seat, cover it in the seatbelt and whip up and down the length and breadth of England doing Christmas demos for Aga. If you need a refresher course in just how far past the limits of my sanity this pushes me, read last year’s blog here.
But James, you may ask, how can you get jetlagged travelling from Shrewsbury? Well, I neglected to tell you that right before I made that drive I had just arrived back from Toronto. Yes, you read that correctly: I flew home from Toronto in the morning, then got in my car late afternoon and trekked up to Shrewsbury. Before flying to Toronto I was in New York, and before that in Northern Ireland, and before that I was in… well, to be honest, I lost track of where I was. During the past year I’ve flown through so many time zones and clocked up so many air miles it would be cheaper and less hassle to set up my own travel company. Whisk Air, I like the sound of that. You know you fly too much when, after you sit down and buckle yourself in, the BA air hostesses smiles sweetly and says, “Your usual, sir?”
Let me explain. First off, I was in Northern Ireland to visit family and present at the Aga Shop, Belfast. I always look forward to going there. The team strike the right balance between friendly and professional, and I know that I can always rely upon them to pick up the right ingredients for the recipes I am deming. A good home economist should never blame his spatula, but there is nothing quite as embarrassing as cooking in front of the people when you don’t have the correct condiments.
However, this occasion was slightly special: it was a charity event tied in with Children In Need. They had even provided transport for me. No, not a helicopter or a limousine, but a donkey and cart. You wouldn’t catch Kanye West doing that.
Secondly, I had to fly to Toronto for a meeting in Aga’s Canadian HQ for their coverage of North America. I can’t go into the specifics about what this meeting entailed, other than it was both stressful and exciting in equal measures. Meetings such as this one can mean the opening of new doors for me, or the flowering of fresh opportunities, so they are always filled with emotional, intellectual and physical pressure. Fortunately, I thrive under these conditions. I always have. But it’s getting to the stage of the year where I could do with a day or two without meetings like this. I am, to use the vernacular, blootered. And jetlagged. And when I get like that I moan a lot. It’s not an attractive quality, I know, so for my own sake – and the sake of my nearest and dearest – I am very much looking forward to the Christmas break when I can unplug my laptop – and my brain – and unwind for a few days.
But Christmas, of course, means demos. And dozens of turkeys. And journeys up and down all the motorways England has to offer.
Now, where’s that bucket?