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Wednesday 25th June

            I didn’t think I’d still be working in my Mum’s chandelier shop at 24. I thought I might’ve gained some independence and be sharing a flat with someone who didn’t wash their dishes.

            I’d hoped to have published a novel too. Not a best seller; just something half decent.

            I read a book called Natural Born Winners which said I was more likely to achieve my goals if I wrote them down.

            So I did.

            I wrote: I want to publish a book by 24.

            Well, I’m 25 in 4 months and my book isn’t written. Instead I’m working in Mum’s shop, where customers mostly come in for therapy and the occasional light bulb.

            ‘A light shop?’ People echo when I tell them.

            ‘Yes, I bring light to the world.’

            As if I’ve never said that before.

            Then I try and make it sound cool.

            I explain how we make the lights ourselves. But in reality, the hard part, the moulding and plating, happens in the factory in Spain. Mum and I just dress the frames with crystal, which we string together with pins, bead by bead.

            It’s a bit like knitting although I can’t be sure of that because I don’t know how to knit. My cousin, Rosie, tried to teach me on a coach to Wales and I thought I was going to be sick.

            Some customers watch closely as we pin the crystal with our special tool.

            It’s actually just a small screwdriver with a hole drilled through it and not that fancy at all. They look on impressed and ask me if I have a qualification.

            ‘That’s a boring job you got there,’ Maggie said when she came in this morning. She’s an Irish woman in her eighties who’s always falling over. She only came in to talk to Mum and left when she saw she wasn’t about.

            It was dead today.

            Two elderly ladies peered through the window for twenty minutes then pushed their trolleys on down the road.

            Someone walked in but realising we weren’t the bakers, walked out again.

            I know things are bad when I’m clinging on to the regulars. They’re the ones who offload for hours, with the exception of George, the retired road sweeper.

            He remarks on the weather sometimes and leaves doughnuts on the counter.

            ‘Slimmin’ cakes,’ he calls them.

            Mum’s been away at the factory and now the doughnuts are gathering at the bottom of the stairs. There are only so many you can eat in a day.

            I was hoping George had a crossword on the go and would ask me a question. His quiz questions are the only ones I’ve ever been able to get.

            ‘The capital of Canada?’ he might ask.

            And I write the answer on the back of a used price label.

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