Downtime Abbey

"What is a Weekend?"
It's one of the most quotable lines uttered by the imperious matriarch Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, on the smash British mini-series Downton Abbey, airing on Masterpiece Classic for American audiences. For the aristocratic Violet ("Granny" to her family), a life of leisure before the first World War meant everyday was a Saturday. Or a Sunday.

It's also a line that many a busy freelancer might utter.

In the freelance business, it can be feast or famine - insanely busy months or weeks followed by the sometimes dreaded/sometimes relished downtime - and workdays can lose their distinction between time off.

When in feast mode and the work is pouring in, the nature of the freelance business is such that jobs almost always have a way of coming in late on a Friday at, say, 4 p.m., accompanied by a request that they be finished and delivered first thing the following Monday. Therefore, I and others like myself are behooved to work on Saturday and Sunday - and thus we are well inclined to ask, "What is a Weekend?"

After a good long stint like that, slow time may be well deserved and even wished for, and when it comes, we may wonder ever-so blissfully, "What is a Weekend?" or better yet, "What is a Vacation?" The thought being we've no need for planned leisure time off - we are pretty much there already.

With my Masterpiece Classic viewing obsession of late (and the last show of season two to air Sunday), I like think of any lulls in my business activities as time spent upstairs at Downtime Abbey, where the aristocrats live and love. I spend my afternoons sipping tea, reading novels, taking walks along "the grounds," refilling the well of inspiration and creativity, possibly doing some charity work, and ... well - you get the picture.

Then, when it gets busy again, I go downstairs, to the servants quarters, to get things done.

Either way, the lines between the days of the week and the weekends can tend to blur.

And that's just fine with me.

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