Bl**dy postal system … part 4


Friday (27th) Mrs H mentioned the problem to our local Postman. He said he would mention it to the Office Manager and he would look into it.  We received a phone call from him saying that the delivery in question may have been delivered further up the street and he would speak to the delivery driver on Monday and call us back.

Monday (30th) By early afternoon, we had our expected call, so Mrs H rang again. She was told that the office was closed for the day and someone would ring on Tuesday.

Tuesday (1st). Another phone call by Mrs H, only to be told that the manager was not in that day. It was beginning to sound like we were being fobbed off.

Wednesday (2nd). Our regular postman told us that he had had a look around the house where they think the parcel was delivered and could not see anything. He also mentioned that. the house was now empty. The “Denial of Receipt” form has now gone to the seller and we wait for their response. It is not looking too good.

<><><>

Latest: We just got a reply from the seller. They are now going to investigate with the courier, but have asked if we are looking for a “refund or a replacement”. Looking a bit better, but we are not holding our breath!

 

 

From then to now . . . back to work


Jump forward to the 1st September and I am summoned, by works phone, to appear in front of my line manager. It seems, that although it was pre-determined how long I would be away work for recovery, I had to have an interview to discuss my “return to work strategy“. It was not a disciplinary interview, more of “fact finding interview” Fortunately I had already formulated my phased return, so I was able to show her my plan of action. There was a slight moment of finger wagging during the twenty minutes I was there, but I got over it.

Two weeks later, and another phone call. This time it was HR, who wanted to have a little chat with regard to my phased return. They said they could come to me at home, or if I wanted I could see them, at my nearest office. I opted to see them and made an appointment for the next day. This turned out to be a real discussion. I explained my plan, which was to phase my return over four weeks. One day, then two days, then three days followed by the last week of four days. The lady that interviewed me said the plan was a good one, but was worried that it might be too quick and they would monitor my progress. I did mention that I had had the same interview with my line manager and was told that it should not have happened. It seemed that because it was a pre-elective procedure with a set recovery time, I was technically not on sick leave.

The phased return worked well for me, and I managed to get back to working full time with very little problem. However, people were very understanding and I think they made special efforts to get me back to normal. In all truth, during those four weeks I had very little to do. In fact apart from reading work newsletters, catching up on emails and trying to read software manuals, I did very little at all. It became very boring and quite stressful.

<><><><><>

From then to now … onwards and upwards


The early 1980’s saw a few major changes in the kitchen where I was now working. The Kitchen Manager (or Kitchen Superintendent to give him his official title) retired. In the past, the job would have gone to the then Head Cook. There would have been the usual interviews, but he would have got the job. This time it was different. This time, he claimed that he had no interest, but the rumour had it, that he had been ‘advised’ that he was too old.

We had at the time, three Assistant Head Cooks; A**n, S***e and D**e, and to everyone’s surprise, A**n got the top job. This caused a lot of upset in the kitchen as although he was a capable cook, he was not a good manager. He had very few people skills and was basically not really liked. Within 6 months, the other two Assistant Heads (A**n was not replaced) were looking for other positions.

It was around this time that the local bus company, which was still in the public sector, announced a recruitment campaign. Partly as a response to the increase in passengers after the energy crises of the 1970’s, Leeds City Transport decided they needed new drivers. As a result, D**e applied to be a driver and was successful. S***e on the other hand found a job at sea, as a cook.

After a few months, A**n suddenly announced that he had another job and was leaving. Because he still had his four weeks annual leave, he left that same day, taking his leave as notice. Nobody knew why he suddenly left, although there were a few rumours that he had been fired, but none of them were ever proven. But it was time to panic.

The Catering Manager was now looking for two Assistant Heads and a Kitchen Super. It was expected that I would apply for the Assistant Head and of course I did and after a rather difficult interview (the original Catering Manager that hired me had now left and the new one had a different approach) I got the job. For a short while, it was just me and the Head Cook who still was refusing to apply for the Super’s job. After about three/four weeks, the Catering Manager informed the whole kitchen, that a new Assistant Head and a new Kitchen Super had been found and they both would be starting the following Monday. We were to make them welcome as they had never worked in a Hospital kitchen before!

From then to now … the start of something big


One of the things that was enjoyed during those early years was the local pub. For us in the Main Kitchen, our favourite port of call was The George. ItThe George was quite easy to get to, just a matter of out of the kitchen, through the loading bay, cross the road and we were Town Hall Tavernthere. The staff in the Staff/Private Patients Kitchen tended to head to their nearest pub which was The Town Hall Tavern. Both were Tetley houses which was the only local brewery in those days. It tended to only be weekends and birthdays that staff enjoyed a pint or two in either of these two pubs.

We normally only got a half hour lunchbreak, but often people started early and turned the half hour into a full hour. It wasn’t officially allowed, but we seemed to get away with it and I was a regular partaker. It was on one of these lunchtime forays, that I got to know the ‘new girl’ a bit better. She was called K***, and someone invited her to the pub one Sunday lunch. That ‘someHouseone’ then said they could not go, and totally out of character I said I would like to take her for a drink. We got on quite well, although I thought she was a little posh at the time. Her father was the senior Pharmacist which was a position that was Consultant level. One lunchtime led to another and before long, I plucked up the courage to ask her out in the evening. More evenings out ensued complimented by full days out. I was on a different planet. She was my first proper girlfriend and it was always going to end a certain way. Early November 1978 we were married. We bought a house in Bramley, just off Raynville Road. Life and work was really good.

However, by the middle of 1979 it became obvious that we could not work together in that kitchen. We were always on different shifts. An example would be K*** starting at 6:00am and me starting at 11:45am or the other way around. Days off together seemed impossible as the then manager could not afford to have his two ‘star cooks’ (his words!) off together. We decided to talk the the Catering Happy CooksManager about the issue. As luck would have it, one of the trainees that started with me had left his job in the Staff Kitchen, so there was a vacancy there. The so called interview went my way, possibly because I was the only applicant and I was soon installed in a different job. Days off were beginning to happen and I could often swap shifts so we started and finished around the same time. Everything was back on track.

From then to now … back to the start


I was informed by a phone call from the Catering Manager, that I was to return to the LGI the following Monday. It was as simple as that. I was half expecting it to be honest as the the person I was covering had come back to work. It wasn’t expected as everybody thought that the pressures of the job was too much for him. That was the main reason he had been on long term sickness and the reason I was covering his job. But he had returned and as such I was  surplus to requirement. The worrying thing was that the follow up letter from the Catering Manager, talked about the post I was to take up as being a ‘temporary position at the moment’. That did not sound so good.

At the time, I was not a big fan of the hospitals Trades Unions. The primary two were the National UnionUnion of Public Employees (NUPE) and the Confederation Of Health Service Employees (COSHE). The issue I had was that neither of these would have anything to do with employees under the age of 18. This I thought was unfair as the people most likely to have issues were the youngest of the workforce. However, one of my colleagues, K**** was a good friend of the shop steward. ContractHe mentioned to the steward (called D***) the problems I was facing . He looked closely into my initial contract and found a clause that stated that at the end of my training, I would be found a permanent position within the catering teams. The kicker to this clause was that it never been changed in subsequent contracts and still stood. They had to provide me with a permanent position. I was a bit worried that I would need to join the union, but this never materialised.

This delayed my return by a couple of weeks until I received a letter explaining that there had been “… some confusion … the job was a permanent job, but not necessarily in the same kitchen …” The letter finished with “…please report to the Main Kitchen for 9am on Monday …”

<><><>

The kitchen was divided into three sections: the vegetable section; the meat and fish section and my Vegparticular favourite; the pastry section. I was hoping that I would get pastry as it was what I felt was my best area. But there was some new girl in that section. More about her later. No, I got the section I was dreading, the vegetable section. I was not a veggie person, in fact apart from  baked beans and processed peas, I did not eat vegetables. Simply did not like them, and to be given the job of cooking the stuff felt like a little bit of ‘pay-back’ for my unintentional union help.

Hospital vegetables were not cooked the way vegetables are cooked these days. Before the late 1960’s vegetables were always cooked to death and whilst the 1970’s saw new thoughts on cooking, hospital vegetables were still being over cooked. The premise was that poorly people needed soft food. Thankfully, to a greater extent that has changed for the better.

There was a set order for the rotation of vegetables on the main meal. I cannot remember the order, but the list consisted of: carrots, green beans, swede, peas (always on Swede n CarrotFriday with the fish) and cabbage. Occasionally, there were broad beans and very occasionally mashed carrot and swede. The broad beans were always served in a white sauce, but the swede/carrot mash-up only occurred if there was a shortage of one or both of the two vegetables. I love it now but back then I thought it smelled awful, and fully thought it would taste disgusting.

<><><><><><><>

That first week was terrible and I did consider looking for another job. Staff treated The Goonsme very indifferently at first, but as the weeks went by, I found myself enjoying my role more. The person I worked with shared the same interests as me both in hobbies and music and had a very similar taste in comedy. We were both huge fans of The Goon Show and often talk to each other using a couple of The Goons voices.

I was also getting to know the ‘new girl’ a little better and things were starting to get to a similar stage as they were before I was forced to leave the Maternity hospital. And the ‘new girl’ was beginning to play a very important part in my life.

Clueless !!


So, I was going to take up this challenge that a fellow blogger Mel Cusick-Jones had devised on her blog. It is called “The Sunday Write-up”. Mel provides five words, and you (ie me) have write a blog post and include those five words. It’s a monthly challenge and it seemed simple enough and it would encourage people (ie me) to write something regularly. Just the type of thing that I needed to give me that little push. Well guess what? I forgot! I did joke about forgetting in the vain hope that the joking would serve as a reminder. It didn’t!

But, in the end, it has given me a bit of a push to write. Hence this post.

———————————————

Last time, I was a little concerned about going back to work, and any little surprises that may be lying in wait after my “Big Day.” I had planned to go in, thank everyone for the birthday wishes, get embarrassed and then nip out at lunchtime and buy a supply of cakes! I didn’t want any fuss, as I mentioned before, and I did not get any. In fact nobody mentioned it at all! Now I know they knew, or at least my previous line-manager knew, but nobody said a thing. I thought at first, that they were waiting until most of the team were in, but no. Nothing!

“But it’s what you wanted!” I hear you say, and it was, but I have to admit to feeling a little disappointed. So the cakes went by the wayside.

———————————————

What else? Not a lot really. I went to the doctors today. K*** has been going on about me going to basically find out if my medication has caused me to put on over 2 ½ stone in weight over the past ten months. That and should I have had a follow-up from the hospital.

Well I knew the answer to the first issue, and the Dr just confirmed it. At the end of the day (and during the day also) I’m just eating too much of the wrong type of food. He did put a different slant on the reason though. He thought, that the increase could be partly due to the fact that my body was functioning better after my operation, and that I was processing and absorbing foods more. You know what? I almost believed that. It wasn’t until a lot later that I realised that he was trying to take the “blame” away. To try and stop me from feeling guilty. As I say, I’m just eating too much, and it has to stop. Instead of reaching for that Kit-Kat, have a banana! Instead of having a banana sandwich for supper, just have the banana. He also mentioned, that often people mistake thirst for hunger. Sometimes when you feel like you want to eat something, you really need to drink something. Well that one was new one on me, but it kind of makes sense.

With regard to the second query, it seems that I should have had a follow-up appointment in February! He was partly surprised that it had been missed, but I suppose these things just happen sometime. A bit philosophical I know, but the way the NHS is at the moment, nothing surprises me.

———————————————

What else? I was going to have a rant about “other drivers”, but I think I’ve exhausted that previously. Cyclists were going to come in for a bit of stick again, but they all seem to be behaving themselves at the moment.

So that’s it for this time. We are going away for a couple of nights when R*** goes on respite. Two nights in Cartmell, Cumbria. Should be nice. I think I may have mentioned some time ago, that R*** no longer wants to go away with us. In fact, apart from his fortnightly respite, he does not want to go away with anyone. So every so often, when he goes on respite, K*** and me have a couple of nights away. It’s not ideal as holidays go, but it’s what we have to do at the moment. Who knows what will happen in the future?

———————————————

One last thing. I do wish that those who visit this blog, would actually make some comments. I would be disappointed if the comments were all negative, but I get visitors, but no comments. Makes me think, at times, if it is worth the effort.

[Enter post title here…]


As you can see, I’m still struggling to title my blog posts. The problem, I think is that I don’t post about anything specific and I think this also reflects on the number of visits I get. I really must do some research into improving my blog.

Anyway, to business. You may remember a couple of weeks ago, that I had to have an interview with my manager about the length of time I had been off work. Something had flagged on a computer system in HR that meant someone had to ‘check me out’. Well last week, I got a letter from said HR department ‘inviting’ me for an interview about getting back to work. Well that interview was on Thursday. I tried to remain calm about the whole thing, but went ready to let rip if my fears were proved correct.

The meeting could not have been any more different from what I imagined. There was me thinking that they were going to insist on my coming back to work and overriding my GP, but I was wrong. At the end of the meeting, it was explained that felt I could go back to the work I was doing, as soon as my GP said it was okay. They even told me that it would be a phased return and they were going to suggest that I go back on 50% of my normal hours for four weeks. I have worked out a pattern, and my manager is happy with it, so it looks like I will be back at work, in some form from the 1st October.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I suppose I could have called this post ‘Blind Panic’ after what just happened about 1 hour ago. I will explain. Mrs H likes to have a glass of water by her bedside. I had filled her a glass and had left it on my desk, by the side of my laptop whilst I went to pick up her mobile phone. Her phone sits at the side of my printer. As I reached up to pick the phone up, my sleeve caught the edge of the glass of water and tipped the glass over. That’s when the aforementioned ‘Blind Panic’ set in. There I was with a desk swimming in ½ pint of iced water. As luck would have it, my laptop is raised off the desk on a plastic frame that allows air to flow under the laptop to help with cooling. This frame, which was bought from the £1 Shop also allowed the spilled water to flow under the laptop and not into it. Phew. Never has a £1 been better spent. The USB hard drive seems to be okay, and the only casualty was my multi-port USB adapter which appears to have taken the brunt of the spillage. This is now sitting in the airing cupboard and will remain there for a few days.

I think that about wraps it up for now. Any suggestions on how to improve this blog will be gratefully received.

Life changing day .. plus 1


    Firstly, let me get one thing straight here. This is not going to be a day by day diary of the build up to my operation. It is going to more a recording of events that have a connection to my op.

    This morning I talked to my manager about what happened at the hospital yesterday. I was going to speak to our service leader, but did not get chance, and anyway, I am seeing her on Friday for a one-to-one. So back to my manager. She knew I was at the hospital and the reason. I had explained that I go every six months for an ultrasound and a consultation with the doctor. So the first thing she asked when I walked into the building, was “Is everything ok.” I replied, something like “…well I’m still alive….. I’ll come and have a chat when I get settled in.”

    Got the computer up and running and went through to her office for a talk. I explained what had happened, and she was extremely supportive, wanting to know all the details. After about an hour, I went back to my desk. Five minutes later, she called me through to her office and explained that she had spoken to our service manager about it and she was just as supportive. About an hour later the service manager called by my desk, sat on the corner and asked me if I was okay. I told her I was and she replied that if I was getting too stressed, I could work from home. I said I was fine and she tapped my upper arm and said we would talk later, which was very moving I thought.

    My manager had also mentioned it to the girl, I am supposed to work side by side and she had been very supportive too. I’ve not mentioned it to the two that I “supervise” as one was not here today and I want to tell them both together, so I’ll do that on Thursday. Tomorrow, I have to explain to my old colleague from my former job. I still do certain bit of work for them. Partly because I enjoy it and it keeps me in touch, but the main reason is, that they don’t really have anyone trained in the work. This has to change, and tomorrow is the day it changes. They have no choice now.

Less than a week has passed …..


    So it has only been six days since post ‘500‘ and quite a bit has happened. One of my colleagues worked out the extra cost, for changing offices to £720.00 per year. In his email to the manager, he stated that this was the extra cost ‘….for each of us…‘ which is not quite accurate. For me, even if I worked at the City office every day my driving would be shortened by 70 miles a week. Working from home one day, would reduce it by another 30 miles per week. Taking it all into consideration, including a £15.00 per week parking cost, by extra cost would be £132.00 pa or £3.30 pw. I think I can manage that.

    What annoys me a lot, is the assumption that we all ‘have a problem’ with this new working practice. There are at least two of us that just seem to want to get on with it. It’s not as if we have any choice! We just have to make the best of it. Change affects people differently. At the end of the day, we will still have a job. We may be put out a little, but in the current economic climate in Britain, having a paid job is something to be thankful for. Of course, the Trades Union is involved at a high level, but we also have a local convenor in our office and his views (right or wrong) seem to be getting some attention. I tend not to take any notice of this person, as I think that his attitude sometimes shows that he is still living in the 1970’s.

==============================

    Another problem cropped up with R*** on Friday. We live on the outskirts of Leeds. Our doctors, however is in Tadcaster. This means we receive our health care from North Yorkshire, and although it calls itself the National Health Service, effectively it is a localised service. So the problem is that R*** needs specialist dental care, because of his condition. Many dentists are very wary of treating people with special needs and Autism can be very scary if you are not fully aware of the issues autistic people face. He had to visit the Community Dental Practice on Friday. They examined him, and found his teeth to be doing okay, but then they dropped the bombshell. They told us, that because of recent changes by Government, they were no longer ‘allowed’ to treat him in Leeds as it was out of the catchment area. We would have to find another specialised dentist in North Yorkshire. It seems that there is one in Selby or York. This will have a serious effect with transport on his days at college and will mean whenever he has a dental appointment he would have to miss a day. We are not happy to say the least.

==============================

    On a lighter note, the mini keyboard for tablet came. It is a lot smaller than I anticipated, and I’m yet to get it to actually work. The accompanying manual seems to have been converted/translated from the original Japanese and some of the words and phrases do not make much sense. Still I suppose you get what you pay for, as I found out with the cheap 32gb SD memory card, I bought. That does not work at all with the tablet. So ‘cheap and cheerful’ does not always pay off in the long run.

Getting back to normal (or as normal as it gets)


     After surviving Christmas, the next task was to get through New Years Eve. We did!! R*** was on respite, as he struggles with the NYE fireworks. It’s not the fireworks themselves that are the problem, it’s the randomness of the explosions coupled with the unexpectedness, if that’s the word I’m looking for. So he was away for two nights and came back on Thursday evening. Sounds like he had a successful time, there were no reported issues. S**** and his girlfriend A**** and another friend from his university days, went to a party. They were all staying over, so that left me and K*** ‘home alone’ as they say. So what did we do… go to the pub? go to a party? go into town??? Nope, we watched the television. Well that sounds a bit simplistic, but it was a nice evening. We had a nice meal, some nice wine and spent the evening relaxing.

     Then it was back to work on the 2nd. That was a more stressful day than the whole of Christmas and New Year together. It appears now, that the work review that we are going through is changing somewhat. We were originally told, that our service would be “picked up and dropped into the new service” and that “new opportunities would present themselves.” We are now told that we will be “slotted in” but will have to push ourselves forward and sort of make a case for our existence. So that sounds interesting! We have also been told, that we need to make a brief ‘pitch’ to promote each one of us. My direct manager, S**** was pushing the idea, that this was going to be some sort of ‘presentation’ and that I should use Microsoft PowerPoint to do it. Ten minutes each was the suggested time frame for each one of us. The fact that this meeting was only booked for an hour with eight people to speak did not seem to matter. It is now down to a two minute talk about who we are, what we do, where we come from and where do we want to go. I am not looking forward to it at all. I’m not one of those people that enjoys self promotion. I’m a background person that just want to get on with the job in hand. I’ve been told that I should always be looking for better opportunities. Sorry, that’s not for me. So we will see what happens at this meeting on Friday.

     I now have a Tesco ‘hudl’. th I mentioned it to K*** just after Christmas, that I was going to see if they were reduced in the sales. I’m not a fan of Apple products, so the Ipad or Ipad Mini were not something I could ever see me using, but thought it might be useful to have some form of tablet computer.She got a bit annoyed with me as she did not know that I wanted one. We looked on the Tesco website, and she bought me a red one. We shall see how useful it proves to be. With it being an Android device, I am quite used to the operating system, which is the same as my smartphone. I just need to be careful that it does not turn into a smartphone without the telephone part.

     My attempt at writing a story based on letters from the main character is coming along, albeit slowly. I have a good idea where I am taking it, but I’m just not sure whether it is moving along to fast or even too slow. I decided to write this back in October 2013 and had the idea that each of the letters is a chapter of the story. I’m now up to chapter six, and this is where my doubts seem to be creeping in. I will finish it though, but not sure when.

A little bit more ranting …


     I’ve just spent the past half hour posting replies to comments on our local online newspaper. I use the term ‘newspaper’ lightly in this case. I have stopped buying and even reading, physical editions of the press. To me it seems a little one way. With a hard copy, or paper copy if you prefer, the only way to have your voice heard is to write to the editor. He or she, then may or may not publish your letter/email when ever they see fit. With the online version, I can post or reply to a comment and it appears almost instantaneously. That is providing it complies within the terms and conditions. This to me, seems to be a far more interactive way of expressing ones feelings. I have to admit though, it can lead to my comments being ridiculed and attacked by some of the other people that contribute to the site. Like many online newspapers, there are a large number of people with right-wing tendencies, that seem to take delight in posting negative political and almost racist comments. I occasionally try and redress the balance.

     Work took an interesting turn on Friday. Our service manager called in at the end of the day, and asked to have a private word with me. The way things are going in the Council at the moment, it made me a little apprehensive. However, and I’m not supposed to say anything yet, she explained that that there might be an opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks and that she wanted me to consider it carefully. Without going into any detail, it is an area that I did not think I have any experience in. I downloaded lots of information, and I may be doing myself down too much. I may just have enough limited knowledge to pass this off. If I get my head down and start reading all this information, who knows what may happen. Just hope I don’t tread on anybody’s toes!!

     The new car is living up to expectations. Now I’ve had it a couple of months, it’s getting more and more difficult to remember the old one. The mileage is better, although I’m not getting the 60mpg that i was led to believe. It’s more 48mpg, which is better than the 42mpg I was getting with the Ford, so it is an improvement, and with the low tax band, I will be saving. It still looks strange to see my car and S****’s car side by side in the car park. Especially as they have consecutive number plates!

     On a completely different track, I’m starting an online course on Monday 25th. I saw an article in the Guardian online, that explained a little about these ‘free’ courses. It is an organisation called Futurelearn and the quote from it’s website says:

“At FutureLearn, we want to inspire learning for life. We offer a diverse selection of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.”

     I’ve signed up for a course about King Richard III. It is not something I know much about, but the discovery of his remains and the recent television drama about The White Queen, stirred my interest somewhat. It is free, so I have nothing to lose, and it may just benefit me should I attempt to go on Mastermind !!!! I’ve also signed up for a course in programming apps for smart phones, but that does not start until February 2014.

     A couple of post’s back, I mentioned a story idea that I had been planning. Well it is now into it’s fourth chapter, and the story will start to take a different direction. I will not say any more, but I may put an excerpt on here sometime. In fact, I have considered posting the whole story as weekly chapters, but I’ve not decided yet.

Letter to my head


If you are wondering about the title of this post, I shall explain all at the end.

———————————–

        You know K*** had those problems last year with those Melanomas, well we thought everything was now okay. However, a couple of weeks ago, she felt something under her arm, where she had had the biopsy, that did not feel quite right. She spoke to the consultant at the hospital, who told to see her GP, who would refer her. This was done, and at the end of this week, she had both a consultation at the clinic on Thursday and a scan on Friday. You have to congratulate to hospital on the speed their action. But, after the scan, she was told that there was nothing to see, and that it may just be a rib!! I think she is now waiting for the consultant to get back to her officially. she is still very worried though.

        Work!!!! Someone who I knew a few years ago,in my previous job, asked me if I’m happy in this new job, and my immediate replay was along the lines ‘…same old story, back stabbing and bitching with a smaller team…’ It made me reflect a little on where I am now. Do I actually like what I am doing? Do I like the people I work with? The ‘team’ as they like to call us. Things are beginning to come to a head I think. It has a lot to do with this new restructure that we are going through, and everyone is quite worried. In my opinion, the problem is exasperated because for two members of the ‘team’, there is no position at their current grade. Now our Manager, M*** was told us that this represents a huge opportunity to get those jobs that we deserve. This is a nod to one of the ‘team’ members, E***** who missed out on a promotion in the last restructure. I’m convinced, that this is why I still don’t feel like I’m accepted as a full member of the ‘team’. She missed out last time and I think she believes that she may miss out this time. This is probably fuelled by her partner B****, who conveniently works in the same ‘team’, in the same office. I feel that it is never a good idea for people in a relationship to work together, unless it is their own business. It just does not work in a large organisation such as ours.

        Just to change the subject ….. I have had a cold virus this week. Not such a big deal you say. Well usually that is the case. I get three to four colds a year, and they are typical colds that last three days. Occasionally, and it happened in July last year, I get a cold that completely floors me, so to speak. I started late Saturday, with the usual symptoms: the slight headache; the tingle at the top of my nose etc. By Sunday, the cold had started to kick in properly. I had a fitful nights sleep, tossing and turning, not able to get comfy and with the now ever present ‘nasal attack’. I spent the next two and a half days in bed, with the usual handkerchiefs, paracetamol, buckets of water and a pained look on my face. I went back to work on Thursday, but at a push, could have held out to the end of the week. It is still there, and of course, I now have to live with the aftermath of all those handkerchiefs, the sore nose!!

        Now, the reason for the unusual post title. I intended to start writing posts as if I was actually writing a letter to myself …. to my head in fact. After the first paragraph, I thought, this is not going to work on this blog, and i would have to start a new one. But it also gave me an idea for a story. A story built along the lines of letters from someone to friend, and what happens when those letters and everything else changes. The story is only in it’s planning stage at the moment, but I thought I would keep the post title as a reminder.

Stress Factor – Not X Factor


This of course relates to work. Not exclusively, but in the main, it’s all work related. The latest restructure is beginning to have it’s effect on the team (and I use the term loosely.) Tempers are getting a little frayed and certain people are beginning to jockey for position. For me, it seems that I’m being, shall we say ‘realigned’  workwise. When I was interviewed for the job, there was no mention of it being a supervisory role. However, about four months ago, my line manager advised me that our service manager wanted me to supervise, the two staff below me. It was a bit of a shock, and to be honest, it’s not what I wanted from the job.

Last week, in our so called ‘one-to-one’ meeting I explained to my line manager about my understanding of the job, and not knowing that I was expected to be a supervisor. I was then told that I was being manoeuvred for a higher position in the the new structure. Now considering that the new structure seems to be very fluid, I have no idea what that position could be.

I don’t like supervising people. I’ve done allsorts of training and I still don’t like it. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I appear to have two supervisory methods. My catering method and my office method. The catering method, and it is used extensively in the trade, is to shout and swear very loudly until the job is done. My office method is more of a sweet talking method. The ‘can you do me a favour’ method. Unfortunately, these are not interchangeable.

It is the thought of being a supervisor, that is causing some of the stress. That and having some people having a higher expectation of me than I think I can deliver.

——————————————————————-

     You’ve heard of the famous ‘mid life crisis’? Well I always understood that to be around the 45 to 55  years of age. If that’s correct, then I am just beyond the tail end of of that condition. But here is the worrying thing. I have started listening to Radio 1 on the way to work. In the old car, I always listened to Radio Leeds, mainly for the traffic news. In the new car, the radio is completely different, and I’ve not worked out why local radio stations don’t pick up so well. So after a couple of mornings, I pressed the button for the said Radio 1, and I quite enjoyed the music and the banter of the current breakfast show.

     Now you may not think of this as such an issue, and neither did I, until I started purchasing some of the music I heard. This car plays MP3 tracks and has a USB port. All this leads to me buying a 32gb memory stick and copying lots of this newly discovered music. I know listen to Radio 1 in the morning, and the rest of the time, I am belting out tracks from the likes of ‘Example’, ‘Professor Green’, ‘Labyrinth’ and even ‘Jessie J’, When I mention this to people, they just raise their eyes, shake their heads and laugh to themselves. It is a new beginning. I am saved from from the perpetual boredom of local radio. God bless Tinie Tempah. Now,  if you will excuse me, I’m going to listen to a couple of tracks from Wretch32 before bed.

One week later (or maybe a bit longer……..)


Well I’ve had the new car for just over a week, and it seems to be fine. Acceleration is not as good as the Ford, and handling at 70 mph needs full attention, but I’m quickly getting used to that. What will take a time is what I’ve been told is my ‘heavy clutch foot’. Occasionally, I will come off the clutch too quickly and stall. It has been a small problem, since I learned drive. I even managed to do it on my driving test. I thought i had failed, but I “…responded to the problem, quickly and correctly, so it’s just a minor fault…” or so the tester explained. The comments I have got from people range from “dinky” and “nippy” to “smart” and “economical” and I prefer the latter two. The audio/entertainment system is great. Great as in 500% better that the radio cassette player I had in the other car. It has a USB port, and can play MP3 tracks. So haring along the country lanes, with the window down and Bruno Mars belting out, is quite a new experience.

Long, hard day yesterday. I was decorating the bathroom. Now when I say ‘decorating’ I really mean refreshing the current decoration, as we’ve kept it the same colour scheme. I bought, what I thought was a decent paint-pad tray, but it turned out to be so bad, that I binned it rather than try and clean it (note to self … the stuff from the £ shop works just as well.) Ended up using an old pad for the ceiling, and a largish brush for the walls, so it took a bit longer than expected, but it’s all done now. Saying that, I need to do the ceiling and door frame in the en-suite, when the lighting has been sorted out. Deep joy!

Work continues as only work can continue! The bitching, the back-biting and the internal politics are as ripe as ever. I try not to get embroiled in it all, as I’m not sure who’s side I need to be on yet! And of course, there has to be sides so people have someone to blame when things don’t go right for them! I thought the last review was tough, but this one has yet to get going properly and it ready shows signs of it being a bad experience. At the last team meeting, the Service Manager could give us no “ ……new information on where things stand at the moment…… ” and promised to tell us as soon as she know anything. I took that to mean, tells us “ .. what we need to know, when they think we need to know it …… “. Politics !!!

Just another Sunday …


     Yesterday was different. It was an ‘open day’ at R***’s college and we had been invited, and of course Mrs H said we would. The problem we believed would present itself, would be that R*** would not want to go, and we would have major problems with him. In fact, I was quite prepared to say, if needed, that Mrs H should go, and I would stay behind with R***. Just to prove us both wrong, when Mrs H told him that we were going out, he of course said ‘No out!!’, which we have come to expect, but after that, nothing. He got into the car without any fuss, and only mentioned it again, when we got near the college and he recognised the area.

     One of the things he does at this college, is woodwork, and he has made a couple of bird houses and a bird feeder. I was determined to try and talk to the person he works with, and find out how he is doing. All the reports that have come back, tell us that he has found something that he is good at and enjoys, other than the computer. The trainer/tutor/carer (not really sure as to what we call them) explained that R*** seemed to have a talent for woodwork, and they are able to work together very well. He then called R*** over and got him to show us what he can do. It was quite amazing to watch him sawing away, without any prompting or any fuss or upset at all.

     We were there about two and a half hours (two hours more than I expected) and the only disappointment was that the staff that work with him every day were not there. We have met them before, but we both thought that they would have been there.

———-~~~~~———-

On the work front, there is no more news on the forthcoming review. My line manager is pushing me to do thing that I’m not sure about, with the idea that, I’ll get the next available grade up from the one I’m at now. And it is that which I’m not too sure about! All I want is to ensure that I don’t lose out financially. If another grade comes with a huge amount of extra responsibility, then I have worries. My manager tells me it is a confidence rather than a skills issue and I do agree with her on that. I suppose the extra money would be useful, and so I will just have to wait and see what happens.