Playing hookey

red capri pants and striped top
Cramond Island
shoes
Cramond Island

[Capri pants: ASOS // tank top: River Island // shoes: gift from my parents // glasses: eBay // cardigan: shop in Orlando about 8 years ago // Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs c/o Shopbop]

Back in the days when I used to dream about one day being self-employed, I thought the best thing about it would be having the flexibility to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I imagined there would be lots of spontaneous day trips, for instance: times when I woke up and thought, “Hmm, don’t really feel like working today: I think I’ll have the day off!” I also thought that my house would always be immaculate because of all of the extra time I’d have to clean, and that I would spend rainy days curled up by the open fire with a book, rather than chained to my desk, working.

I was pretty stupid, huh? Especially given that we don’t even have an open fire.

The fact is that in the five (!) years I’ve officially been “my own boss”, I’ve hardly ever taken an inpromptu day off just because I felt like it. (And the house is never “immaculate”, because, well, we’re in it all the time, making a mess. Also: Rubin.) As my fellow self-employed people will testify, working for yourself is one long guilt-trip, in which you’re scared to take any time off AT ALL, because you know that if you do, your business will instantly fail, and you will be sent to the workhouse to eat gruel and wear rags. Or something like that, anyway.

This summer, though, the non-stop rain (hey, did I mention that we’ve had non-stop rain?) and generally gloomy weather has prompted us to change the way we work a little: to be more flexible, so that when the sun does decide to peek out from behind the clouds for a few minutes, we can just drop everything and run outside to bask in it. And I mean that literally: we’ve had so little sun over the past month that the few times it HAS come out, Terry and I have both downed tools and run outside, to sit at our little picnic bench (HA!) and gaze up at the sky, like a couple of country bumpkins seeing our first ever horseless carriage.

With all of this in mind, then, when the weather forecast informed us that this Wednesday would probably be the only dry day this week, and might even be sunny, we knew we had to take full advantage of it. Otherwise we would probably get rickets and die.

We looked forward to Wednesday the way most of you look forward to Christmas. We worked extra hard on Monday and Tuesday, so we could take the day off, and we talked excitedly about what it might be like, this “sun” we had heard so much about. I barely slept on Tuesday night, I was so excited.

Finally, the blessed day came. We woke up on Wednesday morning and… it wasn’t actually that sunny. Oh.

Undeterred, we got ready, and headed off on our planned adventure to Cramond Island, which is an island (the name kinda gives it away, doesn’t it?) in the Firth of Forth, near Edinburgh. It’s one of those islands you can reach via a causeway during low tide, so you get that slightly eerie feeling off walking along the sea bed, and knowing that in a few hours time the path you’re walking on will be under several feet of water, and you’ll possibly be stranded on an island which has nothing on it but an old ruined cottage and some World War 2 fortifications (also ruined).

And actually, that would’ve made for a much more exciting blog post, so let me just quickly lower your expectations by telling you that no, it didn’t happen. Instead we had a little picnic, and enjoyed the amazing views of Edinburgh and the Forth, while wandering around the island, which is possibly the most “Famous Five” kind of place I’ve ever been. Seriously, they would have LOVED it there. They would have camped out overnight, and had a “ripping” adventure, featuring smugglers and circus folk, and at least one unnaturally intelligent animal. And then they would’ve gone home to a huge cream tea, with potted meat sandwiches. It would’ve been ace.
view of Edinburgh from Cramond Island
Berwick Law from Cramond Island
causeway to Cramond Island
On Cramond Island

(ONE ARM!)

As for us, we finished our sandwiches, packed up, and headed back across the causeway and into Edinburgh, where we engaged in the not particularly adventurous, but still very enjoyable, activities of “drooling at the shoes in Harvey Nichols” and “having dinner at Jamie’s Italian“. It was a good day. It was a day we will no doubt look back on and describe as “summer 2012″.  And not a single dot was worn that day…

Forth Bridge from Cramond Island
(P.S. Yes, I wore low wedges and stood briefly on sand and OMGROCKS. And the world did not end, and nothing bad happened, because they’re really comfortable and easy to walk in…)

11 Comments

  • Roisin says:

    Your hair is fabulous, and I love the colour of those capri pants on you, for the first thing. For the second thing, I’m not self-employed but I know what you mean about taking a day off – we flexible working hours so I’m often able to take a day off in lieu of extra hours work, and I often find it hard to relax because I’m worrying about what won’t be done in my absence. Which is STOOPID, because it’s just work. But I understand, anyway. I’m glad you had such a good day off and I’m hopeful that the nice weather we’re enjoying down here will make its way up to you before long! x

    • Amber says:

      Thank you! My hair actually started out really curly, but I don’t know why I bothered because within seconds of getting out of the car, the wind had whipped most of the curl right out if it – gah! (And actually, it wasn’t even particularly windy: even the slightest breeze seems to turn my hair into a rats’ nest!)

      We used to flexi time in my last job, too, and I remember always getting a huge guilt trip from my bosses any time I asked to actually use it: most of us were owed DAYS worth of time off, but we were reluctant to take it because it meant coming back to utter chaos and vaguely resentful colleagues: fun times :)

  • haha, I think that’s the attraction of wanting to be self employed and clearly those don’t come often. I love this look, the red is very striking and its fit you great.

    p.s love your social follow buttons-how/where did u get them?

  • Colene from Aberdeen says:

    LOVE the Famous Five reference! We walked round Loch Muick bear Braemar at the weekend, and there was a similar little island. One of my favourite books when I was younger was Enid Blyton’s The Secret Island, so I tried to explain to Jason that it would be a fantastic island to run away to and build huts out of trees, and forage for food. Of course, I wouldn’t actually do any of that – I would get cold and lonely after approximately an hour, moan about how dirty my shoes were, and get a craving for a cup of tea and a hot meal…

    • Amber says:

      Oh, I loved The Secret Island! Didn’t they live on it for, like, a YEAR or something? I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes. I remember as a child I was always so disappointed by the fact that I never seemed to have any amazing adventures, but the truth was that at the first sign of an adventure I’d have been scared out of my wits and gone running for my mum and dad!

  • Alice says:

    I used to desperately try and convince my parents to let me camp on Cramond Island so I could have a famous five like adventure but they never fell for it. You look great, and this sounds like a lovely day too, fingers crossed the rain is actually over xo

  • Call me M says:

    Your hair looks fantastic in these photos!
    I was actually thinking the same things about being self-employed! I know it’s just a dream, but I still think it must be much better than working for someone else.
    That’s why I haven’t really searched for a job after I graduated from university. After all, I live in Greece, and we’re in the heart of the crisis. So it’s not like there are many jobs out there waiting for me with open arms, while I sit home being lazy. So I don’t feel so guilty for delaying the job search as much as I can.

    • Amber says:

      For me, it’s definitely been better than working for someone else – I really hated that, and I love being self-employed: I can’t imagine ever going back now!

  • David says:

    Hi
    am an architecture student and doing a project here in cramond island, as ur standing next to one of the pillars i wanted to ask what is ur hight so i can estimate the size of the pillars.

    thanks
    David shohada

  • David says:

    p.s your very beautiful ;)

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