Who’s calling . . .


I got one of those calls again. I may have mentioned before, that I have a policy of not answering a call, if I don’t recognise the number. I work on the basis that if the call is important, then they will either call back or leave a message. I started this policy some years ago, when I got a call, which started with the caller saying “We are sorry to hear about your fatal accident …” Over the past few months, I have had a number of calls starting with the same four digits … 0758. As I understand it, these numbers are allocated to the EE network, but can be transferred to any network

I spoke with a former colleague a day or two ago, who indicated, that these calls are probably from ‘claims experts’, wanting to help me with my claim (that I don’t have.) Another possibility is that they are crooks posing as Amazon couriers. This works on their hope that you are expecting something from Amazon. They tell you that they have tried to deliver a large parcel, but you were not in and as this was the second attempt, there is a charge before they can deliver again. The charge is usually minimal, say £1.00 but it is so they can get your bank details. A third idea is that they are just ‘phone harvesters‘. These ring random numbers and when you answer, it tells the ‘harvester‘ that yours is a live number and can be sold on.

My wife will answer any call that she gets, regardless and laughs at me when I don’t answer. But I think it is better to miss a call than to get scammed.

Not had the best of starts …


Firstly there was the new ‘lock-down’, which was not unexpected if a little late. Secondly, the dishwasher has packed in. We think it may be the pump but are waiting for someone to have a look. Then I had the sad news that a former colleague had died. DWP2Thankfully not the virus. Then we were hit with the snow, again not unexpected. The final kick in the nether regions came with the post yesterday. I got my “State Pension Invitation!” Another thing that was expected, but something I didn’t really think about too much. I do think it is a bit of a strange way of putting it, an “… invitation to get your State Pension“. An “invitation” to get something I’ve been working towards since 1971. Are they really expecting me to pass on it? 

Many people thing I have retired already. However, leaving the Council back in 2016, was actually a form of  Voluntary Redundancy. They called it the “Early Leavers Initiative” or ELI. It was basically redundancy with the ability to take a slightly reduced workplace pension early. Everything just fell into place at the time and with the rumours of compulsory redundancy in the air, it was the right thing to do … jump before I was pushed.

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Step ShawlI finally finished the piece of knitting I had been working on for the past two months. It’s called a “Step Shawl”, but it’s more like a neck warmer than a shawl. I used Aran yarn on 3.5mm straight needles. It got a bit tricky towards the end as I nearly had too many stitches and should have changed to circulars needles. I’ll know next time. I had started this pattern before using some 4ply and had managed to knit six ‘steps’ before it accidently fell off my lap, dropping four stitches which ran to the beginning of the piece. After advice from fellow knitters, I added a ‘life-line’ every couple of steps, just in case. I’m quite pleased with it, but I’ve no idea what to do next.

From Then to Now … Journeys end


It was an unusual way for me to find a job. I had been on LinkedIn for quite a few years, and it never really had much for me. It was basically just a way of staying in touch with colleagues that didn’t use the ‘normal’ social media platforms. I had entered all the usual details about me, but never used job hunting. Oddly enough, I was scrolling through some of the bizarre jobs that it was deemed I would be interested in, when one came up that seemed to tick all my boxes. It was part-time, local, no responsibilities and paid what was expected for the role. It was advertised as a ‘Kitchen Porter/Assistant’ in a small but popular local cafe, and I could apply by just clicking a button. This apparently sent my ‘CV’ to the employer and just over an hour later, I received a phone call asking me to call in for an informal interview.

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The interview went very well, and to this day, I still think that I was interviewing the owner as I seemed to ask more questions than he asked. He confirmed the hours and rate of pay and then asked if I wanted to see where I would be working. I said it would be a good idea and he took me to the kitchen. He pointed out all the parts of the kitchen and then went into great detail about how to use the dishwasher and what to do if if got blocked. I was then shown the food store and he explained the procedures for dealing with the waste bins. He told me that the cafe was a very busy environment and it would be a very rare occasion if I was needed to work over-time. We agreed that I should have a ‘trial run’ the following Monday and we could take it from there.

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The Monday came and I was introduced to the chef and the table staff and the job started. It was hard and heavy work at times, but all the team were nice to work with and I enjoyed my trial day. It came to light during the course of the day, that two of the waitresses knew my eldest son and had worked with him for a time. By the end of the day I was a little tired, but generally speaking was pleased how the day had gone. I was paid ‘cash-in-hand’ for the day and and was told “See you on Monday then!” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement to which I agreed “Yes. See you on Monday!” I had a job, and when I looked back, I had come full circle. I had been a Kitchen Porter/Assistant in my first job after leaving school and I was back doing more or less the same job.

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I am now furloughed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and if I’m honest with myself I can not see me going back to work there if and when the cafe reopens. It will be simply impossible to have the number of tables that we currently have and less tables means less customers, which in turn means the need for a reduction in staff. The kitchen is not much bigger than the average domestic kitchen, so safe distance working would be difficult. However I may just be proved wrong.

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This brings me to the end of this series of posts. I hope you have enjoyed my journey as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

From then to now … difficult days


I was now back as a full time help-desk operator and I’m struggling. I had been more or less thrown in at the deep end. I had explained before I went into hospital, some 4 months previous, that I was going to need to retraining. But when asked again I was told that there was no individual training. The Government cuts to the Councils budget was beginning to hit hard and the only training that was available was the old school “sitting with Nellie!’ Now this would have been fine if so called ‘Nellie’ had any sort of patience. This ‘Nellie’ was the colleague that wanted the job that I got, so you can imagine that there was a little bit of animosity going on.

I plodded on through the next couple of months and managed to let colleagues believe that I knew what I was doing. In reallity, I was bluffing it. There was a few things that I did know, but these were the easy things that I tended to miss. One of my colleagues realised what was happening and began to take me under their wing. She pulled out a lot of training manuals and told me to ask if there was anything I needed. I found out months later, that she had been asked to help me by the service manager. I was still struggling, but it was starting to get easier.

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Then came the Christmas shutdown. That’s when the Council made non-essential office staff take leave from Christmas Eve to January the 2nd. But, just before that holiday, I was told that I was to be working on another project. I was to be part of the Waste Collectors team (bin men). The Council were developing some software to monitor the amount of waste that householder put in their waste bins. I was transferring back to the office where I had been working for years in the Parking Service. I had come home.

The project should last a year and I was back amongst real (sic) friends.

Life changing day plus 8


When the doctor said that my angiogram appointment would not take long to come through, I was kind of thinking four to six weeks. We all know how the NHS works. Unless it’s an emergency, you wait. Well the doctor was more than right. My appointment is on Wednesday, the 12th of February, which considering that we only talked about it two weeks ago, is a pretty fast move. I’ve told my line manager, my service manager and my former colleague D***, and of course they are all very supportive, but I’m betting they’re more than a little concerned about the timescales. I still have to get some pyjamas!!

It also suddenly hit me that I had not spoken to the two people I supervise. I have been meaning to tell them. I’ve been meaning to get them both together in a room and explain what is happening. I just have not got around to it yet. There always seems to be some reason excuse why I have not said anything. So I’m going to do it the coward’s way. I shall send them an email. An apologetic email. I shall feel really bad about it (I do already) but I hope they understand the pressure I’m under. You see it’s not the op that I’m worried about. I thought I was worried about the recovery time, but it’s not that either really. No what worries me, is what happens while I’m away. I could be off work for three to five months, and a lot happens in a week these days given what the government is doing to public services. I had to explain to our finance person today. One of the things I have to do is run some nine or ten reports on the 1st of April. There was a problem last year, because D*** forgot to refresh the report (it has to save with data) and the finance person has no faith in D*** being able to do the job. I do have faith in him and I am thinking of emailing his manager to ‘fly the flag’ for him. As in the song ‘… there could be trouble ahead ….’

Now, back to what this thread is about. I don’t really think this has sunk in yet. I will have the angiogram next week and then wait. But for how long? A month? Three months? Or will it be the following week? I cannot really get anything straight in my head yet. I suppose with time it will come and the worries that others seem to have will start to form. Hopefully, this thread will help me.

Fancy dress


     Wednesday saw a family birthday meal for S****. To coincide with Halloween, S**** decided that he wanted us to all dress up. His theme was Black! I had no idea what A proper Charlieto wear, until I saw that S**** had a bowler hat. Now, I thought, I only need a black suit and tie (which I had), a cane (which S**** had) and I was sorted.

Now this kind of thing is not something that Mrs H and me do. In fact this was only the second time I have worn any kind of fancy dress at all! The only other time was nearly 40 years ago, when a colleague, R***** decided to have a Tarts ‘N’ Vicars party for his 21st birthday. I was in two minds as to whether I was going to that, but in the end I went as a vicar. I was the only one !!! No not the only vicar !! The only one in fancy dress !! R***** had changed his mind when a few people had said they did not like the idea of wandering around Leeds in costume. In those days, it was not the done thing. He had omitted to let me know.

All done bar the shouting


   The panto programme was finally finished tonight. I dropped it off at the hall at around 08:30pm after typing in the huge cast list. It would appear that there are over 40 characters in this production. A number of the cast have more than one part, but even so. I was quite pleased with job, and I just hope everyone else is as pleased with it.

   The facebook issue took another turn today. I added an ex-work colleague, who immediately sent me a suggestion to add the very person who is the cause of my dilemma. I am now of the opinion, that I must add this person, and then in a week or so amend my settings so that they do not show on my profile. Then maybe, in a month or two, I’ll then ‘un-friend’ them. Is that not the most bizarre phrase …… ‘un-friend’ …… what on earth does it mean ????? Anyway it is now done. Hopefully I’ve done the right thing. Only time will tell.

Wednesday again … so soon


The hospital appointment went well. No waiting about much, which is one of the features of York District Hospital. That is probably why North Yorkshire NHS Trust is in such a bad way financially. 

My consultant does not seem worried about the progress of my condition. He did explain a bit more about the problem I have. It seems tYork District Hospitalhat the valve that is not working correctly, is in a part of the heart that is more difficult to repair. He explained that repairing this valve is not an operation that is usually done in Britain. so what we are looking at is a replacement valve. This also has its risks and downsides. A metal valve and life on Warfarin. But he did say that I am not at that stage yet, and that here is no point doing an operation when it is not yet needed.

My new works laptop is due any day now. I’ve not taken the old one out of the drawer since last Wednesday. There’s not much point really, as I think the battery has died. It did not seem to be charging when I last used it. I have taken the floppy drive out as there is no point throwing that away, when I may be able to use it somewhere else. It will fit the other laptop, if not my new one.

I emailed the tickets and poster off this evening. I just hope they are alright. It is difficult to know what someone wants, when you only hear the details second hand. I think they look quite good, but we will wait and see. I think I will offer to laminate some of the posters. They will look better, when they are attached to the street lamps.

I planted out my Dahlias on Monday. There is about 14 of them, and they look quite good. They have done a lot better than the Nasturtiums I planted. I have the strangest feeling that the compost was too good for them. I recall reading somewhere, that they grow better in poor soil. The leaf-beat has been a great success too. We have lots and lots of leaves, and managed to cook some on Sunday night, albeit not really enough to go round.

That old work colleague from my cooks days, that I contacted on Friends Reunited, sent me a ‘jokey’ email today. I get quite a few of them from various people (mainly Sue), but this was quite a useful one. I was just reading through the list of people that he had sent the mail to, when I spotted the email address of another old colleague who I would like to keep in touch with. We met up a few years ago, when his son was going to the same school that my son goes to. This may be just the step I need to find another old friend from those days, who I would dearly like to get in touch with. That would be really interesting. JT was the guy who got me interested in computers in the first place. I have trawled the internet, trying to find him, but to no avail. I will email RH tomorrow…fingers crossed.