Tuesday, 1 September 2009
The Day Job by Mark Wallington
Well, I said in my last post that I had wanted easy reading, and this book certainly met that requirement. The Day Job is the story of a year in the author's life before he and his partner managed to sell a script idea to Not the Nine O' Clock News. Since then he's written quite a few things I've never seen, though I note that he adapted one of my favourite travel memoirs for the BBC (Terry Darlington's Narrow Dog to Carcassonne - review coming up sometime soon, since I am about to start re-reading it). Unfortunately, I can't see any sign of the film having been finished - rats.
Anyway, back to The Day Job. Unable to sell his scripts, Mark Wallington decided that the best way to earn a modest living while keeping enough time available for writing would be to take up gardening. He didn't seem to know a great deal about it, but was fortunate in his first client, who needed help because her arthritis had become too sever for her to manage her large garden alone. Under her guidance, Wallington seems to have managed to wing it, doing mostly maintenance work during the summer, gaining clients by word of mouth and being lucky enough to find Mr Gold, owner of an extensive string of properties let to non-gardening tenants. Mild excitement is provided by his rivalry with Powergardeners and by the author's lack of any real knowledge about gardening - will he be unmasked as an imposter?
I was kept reading by the fact that there is nothing to object to - Wallington and his friends are an amiable bunch, and his adventures mildly amusing. The writing is chatty and eveything moves along at a fairly rollicking pace, summer reading if ever I saw it.
Mark Wallington has written a better known book, 500 Mile Walkies, about a journey along the Pennine Way with a dog. It has, I see, 2 sequels, so perhaps he has found his niche as a writer (and explains his interest in the Narrow Dog book). I think I might give the first one a try...