So I’m doing my best to keep a neat and tidy home office that projects just the right blend of creativity and efficiency, a streamlined yet stimulating environment in which to play with words. In reality my organisational skills are less than conventional. My modus operandi is to carry around an enormous amount information in my head rather than keeping it documented meticulously in a sleek filing system. My diary is decorated with scribbles, scrawls and doodles, which no doubt reflect the chaos of my brain and often obscure any important information, contacts, details or ideas I have previously noted.

I’ve tried to be one of those super-efficient people who whip out their smart phone to check appointments, diarise events and synchronise schedules, but there is much work to be done in this department. My smart phone-using report card would read something like ‘her enthusiasm is to be commended; she tries hard but lacks the required skills and level of competence.’  I invariably fumble with the phone, forget which bit to press (not a sign of early onset Alzheimers I hope, given the vast quantity of Sudoku puzzles and crosswords I complete);  I always feel like a bit of an impostor in this screen-obsessed world rather than the cool sophisticated urbanite I yearn to be, in total control of an immaculately kept, regularly updated calendar floating efficiently in the cloud.

What I am good at is pieces of paper. ‘Where’s the piece of paper I wrote the name of that journalist/writer/plumber on?’ I ask anyone within earshot, trying to disguise my mild panic and keep the accusatory tone from my voice. My immediate thought is usually Who has thrown it out? What has some neat freak done with the piece of paper on which I composed that amazingly funny yet poignant paragraph last week and noted that brand of downlights, the ones the electrician recommended, not those cheap ones made in China’, (his words not mine, nothing wrong with China, great wall; if they can build that they can probably make a few perfectedly acceptable downlights). ‘Who the hell has thrown away my piece of paper?’ I ask, the panic rising along with the pitch of my voice.

What I really need is a personal assistant cum housekeeper, someone to organise my work space, tend to my diary and tidy up my living space two or three times a week, someone able to read my mind, know immediately where everything is and how I take my coffee. Lawn-mowing and weeding  desirable but not essential. Kind of like a modern-day version of Mary Poppins for time-poor organisationally challenged adults. That’s what I need.

I look vainly skywards hoping to catch a glimpse of said miracle worker floating gently towards my front door, shielded by her capacious umbrella. But she’s nowhere in sight. Just the swaying branches and the blue sky, which is all very lovely as I gaze through my window but it won’t organise all my files into neat folders or tidy the clutter on my desk that somehow always returns no matter how often or how much I try to control it.

Does anyone out there know any personal assistant cum housekeepers?  I can’t pay much but I’m friendly, fun and very undemanding – except when it comes to my bits of paper.

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