I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas. In fact, I would go as far as to say, I almost ‘hate‘ Christmas. I think it’s a combination of the cost, the ‘compulsory’ happiness (that’s expected), terrible television (repeat upon repeat) and the fact that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost.
When I was a child, one of the most exciting parts of the day was opening the present (not presents) and wondering what you had been given. Hoping and praying that Mum and Dad had taken the hint and realised why that mail order catalogue had been left open at that particular page.
These days that expectation that had kept you from being a bit naughty has gone! Today, children have a list of things they want (not things they would like).
Saying that Christmas Day and Boxing Day were enjoyable days. The youngest was home from his care home for the week and was quite excited. He just loves opening parcels. Does not seem to care what is in the parcel, it’s the opening that matters. The eldest, his partner and our Granddaughter came too which made for a pleasant day. Boxing Day, saw my father-in-law come for lunch and another pleasant day ensued.
It went downhill from there!
Eldest and his partner both were suffering from a terrible cough and cold, and I knew it would only be a matter of time before me and K*** followed suit.
I started on Monday evening with a cough and by 10:00 the following day, I was taking a Covid19 test as I felt so bad. Thankfully it proved negative. It seemed to get worse. By the time to take the decorations down, I had decided to try and see my GP. Luckily, there was a slot that day and after a good examination, the doctor pronounced that I had some kind of virus. As my chest sounded clear and my blood pressure was normal (for me) there seemed to be no need for any antibiotics.
I should be back at work tomorrow but I’ve decided to ‘throw a sickie’. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not a difficult job, but it is heavy going. I doubt very much that the boss was pleased that I called, but my health is more important. this may just be the first step to me giving the job up.
As I mentioned earlier, my time at Hillside APH was a little boring. The job had no prospects and had little in the way of challenges. Compared to the previous 15 years, the work was easy, although some of the staff weren’t. But it paid the bills and we were soon back on the right foot again. So much so, that by December 1988 were discussing the possibility of having a child. Early in February 1989 K**h discovered that she was pregnant.
Work for me was much the same as it had been all along. The only thing that changed was that I had started to get paid for any overtime. There wasn’t much overtime and what little there was was paid as time off in lieu. Basically you worked on your day off and you got that day back at some point. For some reason, and I think it was something that the unions had been working, we were now getting paid at time and a half. So the money was increasing slightly but the work load remained the same. The problem had been (as I was led to believe) that although the APH was owned an run by the Local Authority, the support or ancillary staff were employed by the APH and paid for out of the establishments budget. As I understood it was the unions that had forced a change, so that the support staff were now employed by the Local Authority and now came under their rules and conditions.
The pregnancy followed its course without too many problems (those are for another time) and at the end of October 1998, S***e our son was born. Work was still the same, but towards the end of December things began to change.
Firstly, the Council ‘Rumour Mill’ began to feed stories into the work place. Again, the word “Privatisation” was banded about. Some APH’s in other parts of the country had trialled outsourcing some of their support jobs with laundry service seemingly the most popular. Then in January it was announced that the laundry at Hillside was to become privatised. It didn’t seem to have any effect in the early days. The staff stayed the same, they were paid the same and did the same hours. But when one retired, she wasn’t replaced. We now had two people doing the work that three used to do.
Things were starting to have the effect that the unions had been talking about for a couple of years.