Back at the beginning of 2016 our Head of Service, brought our team together for it’s monthly ‘Team Talk’. The theme, if you could call it that, was staff cuts. There had been a lot of hushed chatter among some of the more senior members of the team regarding the reduction of office staff in the department. The Council’s solution was a programme called ‘Early Leavers Initiative’ or ELI. What people liked to think was that it was Early Retirement, but was actually Voluntary Redundancy, with the benefit of being able to draw down the works pension scheme early, albeit slightly reduced.
It was made clear to everyone in the room, that the Department were looking for ‘volunteers’ to take advantage of this. It was also clear that this was a case of ‘jump before you are pushed’. If that had been the case, then it would have been compulsory redundancy, with no arrangement to take the pension early. After a lot of discussion at home, I decided I would go for it.
The day came, and it seemed to be just like any other day. I was taking calls and trying to keep my excitement under control. My manager asked what time I wanted to leave, and I had worked out my hours so that I could finish at three pm. At about half past two the office manager appeared with a large cake which was shared with the staff on duty. It was significant that my line manager and the service head weren’t present.
I decided that I would have a couple of weeks living the life of luxury, then get a part time job. It took a lot longer for something to come up. After about 18 months, my current part-time job suddenly happened. Now furloughed (as at 11/03/2021) I am now just waiting to return. It is not looking god, but I will have to just wait and see. But . . . on the 19th April this year (2021) I will have reached my state pension age and will have to decide the future. Do I carry on with two days a week? Or do I cut down to one day a week? Or . . . do I just stop all together?
Well my little part-time job in the local cafe has gone. Hopefully just for the time being. It wasn’t the most intellectually challenging work I’ve ever done, ‘Pot Washer/Kitchen Porter/Kitchen Assistant’ but it was a small friendly place that got me out of the house for a couple days a week. I say ‘hopefully’ because you never know what pressures small business owners have in keeping their business open. I suppose one of the dangers is that the owners will just give up, call it a day and that is my worry now. If the shutdown goes on for too long then maybe the staff will think the same. It has crossed my mind. I was aiming to hang my apron up just before by State Pension date in April 2021, but that may have to change.
K*** has gone off to work and she is not looking forward to it. She works part-time in a large supermarket and has seen first hand the chaos and bitterness this virus has caused. It’s the staff that are getting the blame for the shortages and it can get dangerous in some cases. I can understand a little about ‘panic buying’ and stock piling. When you see someone buying up packs and packs of toilet rolls, you begin to think, maybe I should do the same. But what I don’t get is some of the things people are stockpiling.
I needed to get a few things on Friday and went to a nearby S********s. It was only bread, eggs and a bit of veg that we wanted, but I passed an elderly couple pushing a trolley. There wasn’t much in the trolley, but they were discussing how many bottles of ketchup they needed. As I ‘ear-wigged’ it came to light that they already had two bottles, at home and were a bit disappointed that they were only allowed to buy three. They were actually thinking about coming back later in the day and getting some more. How many bottles of ketchup do anyone need? Crazy! I do think that the rationing most stores are doing, should have been started a month ago though.
K**h has a Mini Cooper Countryman car. She has had it since 2016 and loves it. Last week, Saturday to be precise I noticed a chip and a crack in the windscreen. It was very low down on the driver side and it was only by accident that I saw it. She phoned the Insurance explained and they said the price taking into account the excess and arranged for the replacement to be done today. She is at my son and his partners house today and left me in charge for when A**ogl**s turn up.. He arrived just before 11:00 and the first thing he told me was that the car needed to be turned around.
The problem is … I have never driven this car … ever. I tried when she got it, but I was not comfortable and found it very difficult to actually see where I was driving. As a result, I simply haven’t attempted to drive it. So when the engineer said I had to turn it around, I nearly died. My car is a small Hyundai i10 which I have no issue with at all, but these days driving anything else scares me. But … I did it … I managed to reverse it out of the drive, drive it into the small parking area and then reverse park it. All in all it was about 20 yards in total but it was the scariest 20 yards/30 seconds in years.
So am I more confident in driving the Mini? Possibly. Will I drive it again? Maybe. Did I enjoy driving it? No.
The new “Garden Cupboard” is built and in place. It is a lot bigger than I expected and not as stable as I think it should be. The location where I sited has a slight gradient to it so I thought that I needed to raise one end up on bricks. That might not be the case as it seems that the floor has a bit of give in it. This means that with being raised up a little at one end, it is a little difficult to close the lid properly. I have a shelf to fasten in yet which should help with the stability, so we shall see what happens then. The shelf that I’m using is the side of an old cabin bed that the eldest used have in. He grew too tall for it and we had to get him another and as I’m a bit of a wood-nerd, I refused to throw any wooden parts away. I knew they would come in useful someday.
The youngest is back from his midweek respite this afternoon. His usual lead carer has left to work elsewhere and this could have serious repercussions for everyone. K*** is quite worried about it. The lead carer he had was very good with him and knew all his quirks and ways. One of his ‘quirks’ is when he is asked if he wants to do something. They are big on personal choice, but with R*** you have to expand the choice range. For example it is no good saying “R*** do you want to go shopping?” as he will invariably respond with “No shopping!” That “No” response would mean he never actually take part in any activity as it would always be ”No…” We found out over the years that you have to give him a choice of two things. So instead of saying “… do you want to go shopping?” the question would be something like “R*** do you want to go shopping or go for a walk by the river?” That type of question will always receive a positive response to either one of the two choices. So in actual fact he is getting more choice not less.
It is that kind of thing that they don’t all seems to get their heads around, and it is a worry. The next few weeks are going to be a challenge, especially as from the beginning of July his respite days are to increase. There is going to be a lot of crossed fingers in this house!
These were taken on the River Wharfe between Bolton Abbey and Burnsall. We were walking in the area just a couple of weeks before my heart valve operation. It was this trip that both K*** and me realised how bad I had got. It was hard work and only just over six miles each way!
I’ve missed a couple of these challenges due to not having a photo that fits, but this time I thinks this one works. I got around six or seven images of this fellow. It was is he/she knew I was taking pictures and decided to hang around for a while. Poser !
This is for the August Sunday Write-Up. It’s a couple of weeks late, but at least I eventually did it.
It completely threw him. So much that he ended the call without saying anything. He had no idea why she would say something as stupid as “Hello handsome.” I was not a voice he recognised, and he knew all the receptionists quite well. Since his operation, he had needed regular blood tests, to ensure that his Warfarin was doing its job. It was not just the words that she said, it was the way she said them. It was almost as if she knew him personally. It was quite erotic.
“She must be new” he thought. He tried to picture what she might look like, but knowing the other receptionists well, it proved very difficult.
“I’ll have to go in to the surgery to arrange my test” he said to himself. He knew that they would not be able to test straight away and it would be at least a week later. They would, of course ask why he didn’t telephone. What would he say? How could he explain his rudeness when they asked about his call? It would be all on the phone records. No! There was no way he could go in to book his appointment. He would have to ring again.
He picked his phone up and tapped the Contacts app. The app opened and he tapped ‘D’ into the search screen. It should have found the Drs number straight away, but no! What the search found was an entry called ‘Date Me’.
It then hit him. His brother had used his phone while he was staying with him. His recently divorced brother. The brother who was looking for a ‘friend’.