Last week brought about judgement day for London Living’s Henry, who had offered to sell his services to a London Living reader for the day.
Yes, we’re talking about our PA for the Day competition that we ran last week.
The lucky winner? Step forward, Julia.
To give you a little taster of just how the day unfolded, Henry’s here to give you the lowdown on what it takes to cut it as a PA for a day…
“After some rigorous training and pearly words of wisdom from my fellow London Living colleagues, I pulled off the marigolds, unpinned my apron and filed my last practice paper away in preparation for the next day’s activities. I was going to be a PA for the day!
With no prior training and not a relevant qualification to my name, I knew this would be much a day of trial and error as it would be one of surprise: it’s difficult to prepare for something when you don’t really know what you will be doing!
That said, I decided to take on the day with vigour and an open mind: ready for anything that was thrown at me.
I was instructed to meet Julia at 7am sharp (I know – an early start!) in the Shoreditch Grind, the lovely coffee house that sits next to the bustling roundabout by Old Street station.
Julia works in film, but she is also an aspiring writer. We grabbed a coffee and sat down for a briefing. Julia had an agenda for the day ready for me, and I eagerly listened whilst she ran me through the day’s requirements.
It was lucky I had bought my laptop along – it was clear I would be doing a lot of reading and typing: scrolling through all of Julia’s scripts, prose and notes, sorting and editing them as required and generally transforming them into legible files. Julia told me she hardly ever had time to do this task, and after years of pining for her own PA, this was her chance to make it happen!
I was confident I could help. Julia promptly left for work at 8am and with another coffee at the ready, I began in earnest to dive into Julia’s notes and stories.
The hours ticked by as I got to grips with a varied selection of quirky short stories and compelling poems. ‘This isn’t bad at all’, I thought to myself. Before I knew it, lunchtime had swung around, and with some Peanut M&Ms at the ready for my boss (a personal request from Julia) I took a break to chat with her about film, culture and London – things Julia is very passionate about!
Munching my way through a delicious toastie (Shoreditch Grind really does deliver the goods) I began the afternoon session on a slightly crazed caffeine buzz, getting stuck right into the 6,000 word long story Julia had crafted.
Once Julia had finished work, she’d agreed to meet me back at the Grind at around 6pm – good job it wasn’t any earlier, as I would really have struggled to have got everything completed in time.
After taking Julia through everything I had done, I handed back her memory stick, now loaded with neatly typed prose, organised headings and smartly formatted work, and grabbed us both a final coffee.
I think (or at least I hope) Julia was impressed with my services. She thought the idea of having a PA for a Day was simply marvellous and was a very worthy experience indeed.
Having got herself organised, I hope Julia can now make sufficient headway with her writing because she’s armed with a great talent.
Julia’s works are not yet published, but if this has whet your curiosity, you should head over to Julia’s blog: an online bible of cinematic and film fanaticism, London life and culture.
In the meantime, if you’re fretting over missing out on Henry’s services for the day, never fear – there will be more opportunities to win his services on London Living in the near future!
For now though, our thanks go to Julia for being such a worthy winner!”