A DAY IN THE LIFE OF RICHARD BAKER, INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE GURU

My alarm goes off at 6.00 am…
well actually my wife’s alarm goes off, I don’t have an alarm. Libby gets up to do all sorts of secret stuff for and with the kids, I roll over. At seven I awake again, mostly because a six year boy is slapping me about the face. I check my emails in bed, well I pretend to as I haven’t got any, I look at Crossy Road instead. At seven thirty I get up, shower, shave my entire head and eat breakfast, cereal as usual or whatever is left in the bottom of all the various boxes the kids consider empty, today it’s a dusty Special K, Shreddies, Coco Pops combo. I drink a sweet builders tea, his name is Ted, he says he doesn’t mind but tells me off for missing an apostrophe. The gym beckons so Libby goes, I open the front door for her, I need the exercise as I am thinking of training for a triathlon. I get dressed in something versatile that passes for smart, in the International Furniture Guru business I could be doing anything from meeting an unsuspecting client to blowing the dust out of the bottom of a mug, although compared to what my kids are wearing I look like a well meaning tramp. I walk my youngest to school, at the school gate all the mothers huddle, they smile at me inscrutably, one day I will pluck up enough courage to speak to them. On the way to work I pick up a health drink and a fresh fruit yoghurt at my favourite cafe, Harry the owner tells me to put them down as the chap he’s made them for is looking anxious, Harry hands me my egg and bacon sarnie and it’s off to the shop.

I am responsible for…
earning all the money, at least that’s what I tell everyone, especially Libby. She just smiles and gives me a pat on the head and a biscuit. I am also the only one who can open the high windows at the back of the shop, I have fashioned a special pole with a hook, the girls all say they can’t do it but actually I think they just don’t want to, it’s a man thing, like coal mining or putting the bins out.

I got my job…
because my father owned the company, we are a bit like the Borgias, except without all the sex, drugs, money and violence, so nothing like the Borgias. Actually Libby and I started the business and employed each other because, coincidentally, we were perfect for the jobs we had in mind for ourselves.

My typical day…
is spent standing in front of my computer, I don’t sit, that has to mean something, standing is hard work. I design furniture by trying to forget the internet exists and do almost all of the talking. Sometimes I will say something worth listening to, just ask Haley who replaced Heather who replaced Helen, she sits next to me doing all sorts of unknowable ‘H’ business but as she is sitting I’m not sure if it counts as work. I know when I’m talking rubbish as her eyes slide very slowly to the left. I am always on the phone, but usually it’s with a nice chap from India who is worried my electricity meter’s going to blow up or the sweet northerner who is concerned I’m paying too much in rates or even the lady who keeps trying to give me free money for having PPI that I never took out on a loan I never had. I try to tell them what I do, sometimes I sense they might not be all that interested but I persevere, being an International Furniture Guru takes a lot of explaining.

My most memorable work moment…
would be this afternoon, I don’t have a particularly good memory but I distinctly remember turning the open sign round, it had something else written on the back. Other than that I have done loads of work for very celebrated people, not that you would be interested in that, bread and butter. Closed, it had closed written on the back.

The worst part of my job…
would be cutting up cardboard boxes. People are always coming in and asking if we have any cardboard boxes because they are moving house or storing all of their happiest memories in the attic and I always feel terrible because I would have just spent the entire morning cutting every cardboard box we have into very small pieces. I save the boxes up in the hope that someone will want them but they never do until the moment after I cut them up. I look them straight in the face and say no, sorry we have no boxes. It feels like a lie. Their and my disappointment is palpable, sometimes it is hard being an International Furniture Guru.

The best part of my job…
is the variety, one day I will be standing in the shop thinking about plumping a cushion and the next I will be in the shop plumping a cushion.

After work…
I am going to retire to Cornwall, Libby has a lovely house down there. I am hoping that she will let me live with her, unless you mean what am I doing after work today? In which, case being a Friday, I am going to the pub with my most excellent friend Hugh, the International Architectural Guru, where we will raise hearty toasts to the International fraternity, drink heady beer from heavy tankards and stroke each other’s hoary beards.

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