Smallholder. That's it on the cover: 'Winter warmers'. My journey into this publication was fairly straightforward. I was introduced to it by a fellow freelance who already contributes on a regular basis, so I approached the editor with a couple of ideas. Thanks to luck and a following wind - and, it must be said, a bit of badgering - there I am.
The route to another assignment has been rather more strange. I mentioned on Friday that a new job was in the offing. Well, I got it. I knew it was a good sign when the editor I was meeting suggested going to an independent coffee shop, where he bought me a fabulous pistachio-cream-filled pastry. It turns out that he had discovered my contact details in a rather odd way. He had Googled a few relevant keywords and was scrolling down looking for suitable links in the results, when he spotted a Kettering phone number. Following the link took him to my entry on - and I can't believe I'm typing this - the Sun Online! I can't begin to guess how I ended up there, but I did, and he found me, and I'm glad he did.
There is a warning there, I'm sure, about being aware that anything online is fair game. We can never be sure where what we write or post will end up. Conspiracy theories abound, and perhaps not without cause. A friend is in the process of helping her son with the legal ramifications of signing a new lease on what will be his first post-student flat. Needless to say the landlord wants a guarantor for the rent, since the son is in his first job. No problem, said my friend. Of course she will vouch for her son. The estate agent has now passed her details to a referencing agent who wants to check that she is 'good for it', as they say: to which end she has filled in a 10-page online document that would give any potential identity thief an easy journey to her life. Part of this process is for her to get a reference for herself, which is where I come in. I'm not sure why they think my say-so is any more reliable than my friend's. Perhaps they intend to ask someone to vouch for me. This one could run and run.