As a child, I always loved to watch those entertainers from a bygone age on tv, usually jugglers, whose grand finale was always setting plates spinning on a row of thin poles.
I'd be on the edge of my seat with excitement as they'd notice, from one end of the long row, a plate at the other end, slowing down and threatening to fall off, so they'd have to dash back, wiggle the pole to get the plate going again, then back to the other end to finish placing the pile of plates.
The anticipation of impending doom, mixed with unbridled anxiety and the hope that not a single plate would fall and smash before the final plate was spun wreaked havoc with my young emotions, and to this day, similar endeavours sweep me in and I'm back to being a child, gripping the arms of the sofa and yelling encouragement.
So these days, when I'm performing the role of plate-spinner myself, I can appreciate just how alert and focused those jugglers really were, in the guise of light entertainment.
Today, and for the next two weeks, I shall be in a constant state of nervous agitation, trying to keep umpteen plates all spinning safely, while continually adding more.
I like to think I'm quite good at multi-tasking and while things are going more or less to plan I'm usually happy to add more to the mix.
However I need to be constantly on my guard, for I only need to take my eye off the plates for a nano-second, for them to begin to wobble precariously before crashing to the ground and invariably shattering into a gazillion pieces.
This morning was a useful taste of things to come. I had to simultaneously juggle two rather complex financial transactions, compose two letters related to same, catch up on emails and snail mail correspondence, deal with several urgent admin-related matters and design and execute an online survey related to our January Home Workshop Pack project before dovetailing some micro-wigging with preparations for a new batch of exotic animal pullalong toys.
I'm now in a bit of spin myself, so I'm taking a few minutes out for a tea break.
When I return to the fray shortly I shall be revising my 'to do' list and working out what is realistically achievable in the next 10 full working days before we pack up for the Thame Fair.
I can confidently predict the onset of a run of 12-hour days...... hope I don't run out of plates.