More than serious …


A few years ago, after one of the many ‘restructures,it’ I volunteered for the Council’s early retirement scheme. They call it ELI or ‘Early Leavers Initiative’. It gives staff over 55 years old, the opportunity to leave before their official retirement age. The main aim of the scheme is to save money and its premise is that it is cheaper to let staff retire with a offered financial package than it is to keep them employed. It has worked well for all the people that I know that have taken up the offer.

At the time, my application was turned down on the basis that the department did not have any staff that could be trained up quickly enough, to do the work that I was doing. Therefore, they couldn’t authorise it. I spoke to our HR department at the end of February this year about applying again and was advised that they didn’t know if the initiative would be running this year.

Last week, we had one of our regular ‘doom and gloom’ meetings, where we were told how bad the budget was, how much we had to save this year, and the next three years. All told, it does not look good for local Councils in the future. In almost a passing shot, at the end of the meeting, our Service Lead announced that he would support any member of the team wishing to take this ELI. Basically saying, anyone who wants it can have it.

So after talking to K***, we have decided that it probably would be for the best to jump before I get pushed, so to speak. It would mean a great reduction in monthly income, but I would look for a part-time job to help make up for that. Let’s face it, I’m not happy in the job anymore. I haven’t been so for a long time. I’m starting to be at that age when learning new things becomes a real challenge and I simply cannot keep up with the pace now. Then of course, if the future does mean losing staff, I would have to go. What usually happens, is that a post is deleted and staff at the same level have to reapply for their jobs. It happens all the time and given the fact that the people I would be up against having more experience of the work we are doing … speaks for itself who would lose out.

So that’s all I’m going say on the matter (for now!)

Have you ever ?


Some time ago, I had a go at recording a Vlog. I think that’s the name for posting a video as a blog post. When I say ‘I had a go’ what I really mean is that I sat in front of my Webcam and tried to make a recording. It was as I expected a total disaster. So much so that it/they got deleted from my computer within minutes of watching it/them back.

I tried two ways of doing the recording. The first attempt was completely off the cuff. I prepared nothing at all and just spoke, as if I was writing. The problem with that method is that unless you are utterly focused you can just clam up. When I’m writing a post, such as this, I often will stop … pour a glass of wine …look at what my wife is watching on TV  and things like that. It never is a straight forward sit and write until it’s done. That doesn’t work with a video, unless you are an expert in video editing.

The second attempt saw me writing out my monologue/rant/story and trying to read as I recorded. Unfortunately, that is exactly what it looked like. Even though I had practised and rehearsed, it just looked like I was a 1950’s newsreader giving the headlines with no auto-cue. So I don’t really think the Vlog is for me. I may willing to have another go sometime in the future, the distant future, but I think I will need a lot of help if I’m to take it at all serious.

A Long couple of weeks …


Just over two weeks ago, my father-in-law went into hospital for a hip operation. He is in his early eighties and he had been going through a lot of pain prior to going in. He was also very very apprehensive about the aftercare for both him and his wife.  His wife is really quite frail and forgetful these days, so the whole thing had been quite traumatic for him.

Between them K***, my wife and her sister have taken to sleeping at their parents house so that they can help them and gradually ease them back into some kind of normality. The big worry for me and K*** was how our youngest son R***, would cope with his mum not being at home every evening. R*** is Autistic and does not cope with changes to his routine. Amazingly, he has coped really well. He seems to have accepted that mum is sleeping at grandads house and that she would be home the next day.

As an extra trial, we have had the rendering on our house replaced. This entailed drilling all the IMAG0446old rendering off and putting new on. So for just over three weeks (it went last Saturday) we had scaffolding all around the house. One consequence of this was that we lost our satellite connection for the television. I may have mentioned before that one of the things R*** likes is to have his television on all night. It is on with the sound very low, but it is on all the same. We were expecting serious problems. However, he simply played two of his DVD’s over and over again.

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Still no news on the job application. I’m beginning to think I may have missed out, but then again, they simply may not have filled the interview quota. I’ll have to look out to see if it gets re-advertised. The project I’m currently on shuts down at the end of May, and it looks like I may be moved back to the main team. Something I’m not looking forward to for reasons I won’t go into here.

The job I applied for seems to be along the lines of the work I’ve been doing for the past 18 months, but in a more formal and structured way. Although I don’t have all the IT knowledge they ask for, I think it is something I could pick-up reasonably quickly.

The fingers are most definitely still crossed.

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I have always been a knitter. It is something I learned how to do when I was very young. During the early years, I tended to make baby clothes (my parents were pre-adoption foster carers at the time) so I became quite skilful in knitting complicated lace-like patterns.

Now, I have begun to take an interest in crafting as a whole. It was really sparked when we were visiting a small craft exhibition, and I saw a handmade Valentines card. It was simply a piece of card folded in half with a variety of small coloured buttons stuck oMy versionn the front in the shape of a heart. Price was £1.99 for a single card and envelope. A quick trip to our local £1 shop and I had a pack of blank cards and envelopes and a pack of small coloured buttons. Price? £2.00 for enough to make ten cards. I was almost hooked. The thing that finally convinced me that I could do this crafting as a hobby was when I saw how to make a small bow using a four pronged dining fork.

Since then, I’ve been collecting a variety of bits and pieces that I think will be able to make some ‘craft type’ thing with. It has now got to the point where I have subscribed to a crafting magazine that comes with a small beginners sewing machine as a free gift. There is no stopping me now!

No news is good news ?


Well I would have thought I would have heard about the job I have applied for. It’s been just over a week since the closing date and with the last application, I heard within a week. I am assuming that as I haven’t had a rejection yet, I must be still in with a chance. I need to think about some questions to ask, if I do get an interview. I tend to go along unprepared hoping that the interviewer won’t say “Do you have any questions?” But they always do say it, and I sit there with a silly grin on my face and repeat the usual line “I don’t think I have. You seem to have covered everything…” Then within the space of 5 minutes, I suddenly come up with a number of questions I should have asked.

I also need to make a mental list of my external hobbies and things. That’s another question that I usually fall down on. I need to identify which of the few hobbies that I have has some kind of connection with the job I’m applying for. So I have this idea, that I sould re-read the job info sheet and see which parts of the job I can relate to my external interests.

So much for writing everyday !


Some time ago, I made the rather rash decision to write at least a few line everyday. That was back in the middle of February, and I had every intention of doing so, even if it meant just a few lines. Well, that didn’t last. Looking back, I think it lasted a grand total of four days!

(Note to self … avoid publishing rash statements.)

Not too much happened since I last posted. Work still continues to be a drag. People not doing what they are asked to do. People expecting too much … I mean how am I expected to know that “those people sat over there” are one team and “those sat over here (except for those two)” are another team. I’ll tell you what, just give me a list of who is in what team and I’ll have a go at working it out. But that’s not the way we work.

Talking of work. I have applied for another job. It is basically similar to what I’m doing now, but I feel it will be a little more structured than the shambles I’m currently used to. I do like structure. I find the sometimes ‘ad-hoc’ nature of the way our team works very difficult at times. What I also have difficulty with these days, is the constant stress of having to learn something new every couple of weeks. What seems to happen frequently is that we are sent on a training course to learn a new application( or product as we now seem to call them) and then we never use what we learn for a few months. This of course means, for me at least, that I have forgotten everything I learned. It’s the old phrase use it or lose it” and it certainly rings true.

Anyway, back to the job application. The closing date was the 3rd May, so knowing the way the Council operates, if I have got an interview I should get to hear by the end of this week, beginning of the next. It will be quite strange if I do get through the selection process. I’ve not had a ‘proper’ interview for years. The past few interviews I have had have all been part of restructures, which really means that you’ve got the job as long as you don’t totally mess up. This one will be out of my comfort zone, should it happen.

I did also apply for a job through the jobs page on LinkedIn. It was a local job, but nothing has come of it and If the truth were known, I didn’t think anything would. It has probably gone to someone already earmarked for the job.