A small world …


Way back at the beginning of 2017 I posted about a familiar face popping up on FaceBook and how I was in two minds as to whether I should make contact or not. Looking back, I don’t think I posted that School palsI did get in touch. We had a good evening out some time later, and have kept in touch (on and off) ever since. In fact, we had lunch just recently. Now this is where the title comes in. At that first evening meeting we talked about our family and such. But then we got onto work, and it turned out that this old school friend worked for the son of my maternal grandmothers brother (my mothers cousin). Not only did he work for him, but he knew my grandmother and often visited her. All this came out at that evening out. And before you ask, we both did have that amount of hair in those days.

Then around June time, last year I noticed a post, again on FaceBook from a friend that I worked with way back in the late 1980’s. Back in 1986, I went to work as a clerical officer Typingfor the Local Authority. She started in 1988 as a clerical officer and left that job around 2001 which caused us to lose touch. The post in question was a reply to another post from a current local friend who knew this girl from college way back in the late 1970’s. Thankfully, although she now lives in New Zealand we are now back in touch again. She and her husband are a couple of the nicest people I know.

Leap forward to this month (May 2019) and the relative smallness of the world is again raising it’s WPhead. This time, through this very blogging platform. I was reading through some of the comments on a post I had just read. I often have a look at blogs of people who make interesting comments and this was no exception. One of the commenters (is that what they are called?) I visited had an interesting post that had an image of a place near where we used to live. I commented on the post and to cut a long story short, after a couple of messages I now find out that this person lives close to my wife’s father, and may even know him. I refer you back to the title …

Small and strange …


Let me get something out of the way. The title of this post is not a case of self deprecation. No, I’m talking about the world and how is connected by the internet.

A bit of background here. I was doing a search on eBay, for something I wanted to buy. I was not having much luck so I thought I would widen the search to pick up other online stores. I add my criteria into a web-search optimiser that I’m beta-testing and clicked on the ‘Go’ button. The search optimiser is similar to Windows 10 Cortana, and uses all the available search engines such as Bing, Google etc to maximise the search area. Anyway back to the main story. It only took a few seconds before the results were starting to show and some of them were not what I was expecting at all. I found the item I wanted and have ordered it, but that is not what is interesting here. There was about twenty or so links on each results page and I think it was on page four that the “interesting” thing happened I was reading the link descriptions when I spotted a name of a person I thought I knew from school. The link was to a Facebook(FB) page. I don’t click on FB links as they are often not genuine so I opened FB on my tablet and enter the persons name. When FB opened I was amazed at the face that was staring  back at me. Apart from a few grey hairs and the odd forehead line, the person was exactly how I was sure I remembered them. I ‘ummed’ and ‘arrghed’ for a couple of days before biting the bullet last night and sending them a message. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in contact after all these years as I’ve not had a lot of luck with friends from my past. Within a couple of minutes the message was replied to and it was who I thought it was. We messaged back and forth for a good half hour talking about each other and the past, and are now friends on FB.

Now I come to the “Small and strange” part. I had a look through their photo’s and friends list (as you do) and was amazed that (bear with me here) some their friends had friends who were friends of mine! Not just FB friends, but actual real friends. I can never get my head around the fact that a local (real) friend is a friend of a friends friend, if that makes sense. It’s a bit like when I discovered that the son of my manager when I was at work, supports by youngest son with one of his activities. Really does make the world feel “Small and strange…”

Friends … real friends??


This is a bit of a rhetorical question I suppose, but are your FaceBook friends real? It is something I have started to think about recently. In fact as recently as 1 hour ago!

About a year ago, I came across someone I have known or been known to, for about 60 years. This person was a good friend of my parents and her daughter was a friend of mine. When we moved house in 1966 all contact was lost and it was through FaceBook that I was able to get back in contact again. We have chatted (the mother and me) on a number of occasions and it was good. However! The daughter seems to have dropped me from her friends list and I don’t know why. It has happened just recently, possibly in the last couple of weeks. It is this that makes me question the reality (if that’s the correct word) of FaceBook friends. The thing is though, I have friends from work, who are FB friends who still ‘appear’ to be friends. In fact, I have been chatting to two of them tonight. Now they may just be humouring me, I would not like to speculate on that, but from what they were saying, I get the impression that we are still friends.

Now, saying all that, I have myself just ‘unfriended’ (what a stupid word) a couple of people that I used to work with. They have not responded to any messages or posts and so I get the feeling that I’m just a number in their ‘friends’ list. I don’t want to be a number. Is that wrong?

It finally arrived …


After what seemed like an eternity (maybe a slight exaggeration) today has finally arrived. I am now officially retired. Well not quite! Today was the last day I was working. My last contracted is Monday, but as I had managed to build up enough ‘flexi time’, I was able to finish at 3:15pm today.

It seems to have been a long three weeks back at the main office. Even the days when I was quite busy dragged on. But now it’s over. How do I feel? I don’t know. I don’t really know how I feel yet. I thought it has sunk in, but I not sure if I have got my head around the idea that I have retired.

So back to today. It started as a normal day, except for the photos lifted from Facebook that seemed to be plastered around the office. Nothing was different at all. People were getting on with their work and I was busy tidying up the files on my laptop. Then it all started. The manager turned up at around 11:00 and presented me with the biggest cake I had IMAG0546ever seen.

She had told me that she had ordered cake(s) as a celebration, but nothing prepared me for this. She also gave me a bottle of Cava, as I had said I was not having a leaving party and a card also.

This was from her. It wasn’t a team thing. It was my managers way of thanking me for everything I had done. I have to admit, I was taken aback slightly, and if the truth were known, I got a little emotional, but successfully did not show it.

Then at 2pm came the official presentation. I got my official gift from the Council for such long service and with it was £30.00 pounds worth of Amazon vouchers from the staff. The manager gave the customary ‘things that people might not know’ speech and I responded with the customary feeble thank you. Then it was all over! Hugs and handshakes all round and I was on my way home. The only downside, was that a good friend from the other office thought I was finishing on Monday and has got a present for me. I was a little disappointed … no scratch that, I was a bit upset about it. I think I might have a drive down there on Monday or Tuesday and see him. I will have to think about it.

Finding old friends …


I’m tempted to give up on Facebook in some instances.

Over the years, I have lost contact with people I know. Sometime it’s because one of us moved house or job. Sometimes just drifting apart. None of my friends and colleagues from my first and second job are still in contact. These are people that I’ve probably not seen for twenty-five years and more, so it’s little wonder that I’ve lost contact. With todays connected world, it is some easier to stay in contact with people.

Now this is where my issue with Facebook comes in. I suddenly think, “… it would be nice to get back in touch with so and so again …” and of course I naturally assume that they will be on Facebook. So the search begins. Male friends are easier to look for as they tend, for the most part to keep their surname. You type the name you remember in the search box and hit enter. You decide to look at all the listed names, not just the ‘top ones’ that Facebook deems useful. You scroll down the list looking for anything familiar without much luck.

Then, you spot someone! They look about the right age and given the length of passing time, they look like you would expect them to look. You click on their name and wait with fingers crossed.Is it the right person? You check out what personal details they have shared, and it’s beginning to look like you have struck gold! A quick look down the photos and you begin to get more and more convinced that this is the right person. After all these years. I’ll send them a message.

“Hello! Did you used to work at {blah bah} back in the early 1970’s?”

You now sit back and wait for them to reply. Might take a day or two, but your hopes are high. A week goes by and nothing. I’ll check their profile again. It is then that you realise, that the last post they have made was back in 2009! They’re no longer using Facebook. Now you begin to wonder if you have got the wrong person after all. Then finally it starts to creep into your head, that this person may no longer be alive! That is the thought that suddenly deflates you.

This has happened to me on three occasions now and whilst (am I the only one that still uses that word?) I don’t get depressed about it, I do end up feeling a little down. I resolve to check out the posts before waltz off trying to contact them. Maybe next time!

(Posted by email, using ZoHo Mail)

Easter … what a flop!


Well not just Easter. The whole weekend was a bit of a flop. K*** was not working on Sunday, so we were set for a quiet lazy weekend, after the hectic Friday. But, Saturday afternoon she started with what seemed like flu. S**** and A****, his girlfriend had both been quite ill with it during the move, and now K*** seemed to have the same thing. It would only be a matter of time before I went down with the same. So she spent most of Sunday in bed, and a great deal of Monday too. R*** seemed to be fine, and by some miracle, I appear to have escaped the bug also. From what S**** says, quite a few people have gone down with this bug. K*** ended up going to see the doctor, who told her she had a viral infection and gave her an inhaler to help it clear up. It’s beginning to work, but it’s taking it’s time.

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An odd thing happened tonight. I’ve had a LinkedIn profile for quite some time, and I don’t really do anything with it. I’m connected to a few people from work, a couple of random people that seem interesting and one or two Facebook ‘friends’. Well tonight, I got a LinkedIn email connection request. I usually ignore them if the the name is not familiar, but this one was different. The name was one of the (very) few names I remember from school. I checked his profile, and it was indeed someone from school. Strangely, I could picture him in my head, which given the issues I have with memory was quite a thing. It must be nigh on on 45 years since I last saw the guy, and would love to know how he found me. I think it must have been some kind of search on schools or something, but it was quite a shock to hear from him.

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Work is a bit strange at the moment. There seems to be a few people that are taking early retirement. One person, who I worked with for over 20 years went last week, and another goes this week. It all seems very surreal and makes me feel old. I will really have to give it some thought, if the Councils early retirement scheme runs again this year.

Been a poor blogging week …


Title says it all. It has been a poor week for my blog. As I mentioned last time, I have been on leave this week and other things have kind of taken over. For example, I re-painted the ceiling of our en-suite shower. Don’t ask how that went, suffice to say, it took all day. Then there were other things that made sitting down and typing a few words , a bit of a chore. Although I did have a stab at the Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge. This blog give you 10 random words and you have to make a short story using all the words. As the subject says, it was a bit of a challenge, but as some of the words this time seemed to suggest an Easter theme, I came up with this.

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Friday was a hard day. The eldest son and his girlfriend are buying a house, but as with all house buying, there have been a slight delay in getting the key. The place that they have been living for the past two years has been shared with a friend of the owners … it’s complicated, but the short story is that they basically had to move out yesterday. There had been a lot of issues there, and they both thought that the had just got to get out. Problem! With no key to the new house it seemed like an impossible situation. Ta da! Family and friends to the rescue. Me and K***, his university friend R** helped them shift all their worldly goods (and there was a lot of them) to one of his drama group friends garage and spare room. They are also staying at this friends house until they can move into their new one. Now the husband of this drama group friend is local, or maybe I should say national dignitary. I do not agree with the majority of his Governments politics, and I’m not going to embarrass them by stating their names, but have to say, they are genuine, nice people.

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As expected, I did check on my work emails during the week. However I did not answer any, and they are all marked as ‘un-read’. Some of them will just go straight in to the trash/deleted folder, but intend to do what everyone else does, and ‘do a catch-up’ and read everyone of them, before starting anything else. Should put an hour or so away.