The coolest job in the world

When I was a kid, I had dreams.

I still do have dreams, but they’re a bit different. I dream of a kitchen with ALL THE GADGETS. I dream of a nice hot bubbly bath, surrounded by candles, and with a book that is somehow waterproof and doesn’t go all crinkly in the steam. I dream of a holiday to Italy, strolling the streets and licking gelato. I dream of a snuggly weekend doing not-much with the family. I dream of a house that is homely but clutter free. I dream of having time to achieve all these dreams.

But when I was a kid, things like time, money and effort involved didn’t factor into my dreams. They were just possibilities, and endlessly open ones – if I wanted to do something, then there was no reason why it wouldn’t happen ‘when I was big’.

Now big HAS happened, and I am not, as I thought I might be, an award winning cattery architect (and cattery owner). In my seven year old mind, that was THE COOLEST JOB IN THE WORLD.

I spent hours as a child meticulously drawing and planning my cattery, making sure it would be comfy for all the cats I would get to play with. In my mind it was attached to a big tudor style house, with exposed beams, a roaring fire, and a chesterton sofa with a comfy blanket (although I didn’t know it was a chesterton, it was just ‘that bobbly red one’). The cats all had their own little walkways, heated radiator baskets, and treat dispensers, and they loved coming to visit.

There is a cat in my life. But that’s about as far as I got with that dream.

In some respects though, the job that I AM now doing is fairly similar. It’s more to do with creating successful communities than successful cat quarters, but I like to think that the people who live, work in and visit the areas that I help to shape may also be cat owners. Plus of course I hope that I am establishing somewhere that other people can use to discover and explore their own dreams. Architecture was too expensive for me to study at University, so I ended up doing a law degree and then going into social housing, working my way through the ranks and continuing to study so that I have ended up as a Chartered Housing Professional, specialising in regeneration and sustainability. I do find that I often have to curtail my inner monologue as my wider aspirations don’t always fit with the corporate reality (back to that childhood thing of dreaming big again) but generally speaking I find I manage to get at least some of what I’d like to achieve turned into a physical thing, with careful negotiation and wording of business cases.

And you know that cattery dream? It still could become a reality, anyway. I reckon ‘crazy cattery owning lady’ is a pretty good retirement plan.

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