Fifty years on . . .


After a recent online chat with an old school friend, we both realised that he had forgotten a few things from those last days, and so had I. So, I thought it would be a good idea if I made a written record of some of the things I can still remember.

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From early on in my final year, there were rumblings about students going to university. It is interesting to note, that in year five, we were now students as opposed to being school kids. The previous year saw 20% of the students go on to university and the teachers (yes, they were still teachers and not tutors) were hoping to improve on that percentage. The previous year had twenty students, but my year had only 16. That meant that if the same number of students went on to university, the percentage would rise to 25% which had the teaching staff chomping at the bit, so to speak.

We had some informal discussions with our form teacher regarding what we wanted to do, what we could do and what was expected of us at the end of year five. I had this idea that I would have liked to be a Technical Draughtsman. I was excellent at Technical Drawing and coupled with my math skills, meant I had a good chance of realising that ambition.

In January 1971, the formal career discussions began. I outlined my ‘ambitions’ to my form teacher who also happened to be the Careers Officer for the Education Authority. That discussion, which lasted a mere twenty minutes shattered any dreams I had of becoming a draughtsman. It was explained that I would first need to go to university for two years (pushing the university theme again) followed by a three year course at a technical college, with a two year apprenticeship after that. The very thought of another five years of full-time education, and then earning a pittance as an apprentice was not something I wanted even to consider. I was told to go home that night, have a talk with my parents and come up with some other options. He said I should have a think about the things I liked to do, hobbies and such like. I didn’t think I could become a professional Airfix model maker or eastern European stamp collector, which were my only hobbies at the time.

It was a neighbour that came up with the cooking idea. I did like cooking and was, even though I say it myself, quite good at it. But then again after discussing this with my form teacher it became obvious that it would be a two year full time course at catering college.

At the time my maternal grandmother, who had recently retired from a clerical job, was working for her next door neighbour. The family owned a local Italian restaurant, and my grandmother was washing up three nights a week. For some reason, she had been invited to have a meal with some of her close family as a celebration. I have an idea that the place had been open for five years. Whilst we were eating, the owner was told that I was interested in cooking for a living, but that I wasn’t happy doing a full-time catering course. He said that he could only take on trained Italian chefs but would keep his ears open.

It was then that something, which I still find a little bizarre happened. A fellow diner at the next table apologised that he had overheard the conversation but wanted to offer a suggestion. He explained that his younger brother had wanted to be a cook but had had no luck in finding anywhere suitable. He told us that his brother had then seen an article in the local newspaper advertising a training scheme for cooks at one of the local hospitals. He went on to explain that his brother would be in a working kitchen, earning money but at the same time going to college one day a week to learn how to cook professionally. It sounded like a great idea, and it could be just what I was looking for. Training and getting paid. Best of both worlds. We asked at the local career’s office and they investigated it for us.

Schofields of Leeds

At the beginning of September, I had left school and was working as a porter at a large department store in the centre of Leeds. I received a letter one morning asking me to come for an interview at the Leeds General Infirmary. My Dad went with me, but if I remember correctly all the questions were directed at me. It seemed to go well, and I was quite pleased with how I had handled the interview. A week later, I received another letter asking me to go back for another interview. I was convinced that I hadn’t got the job. But everyone told me that you don’t get a second interview if you haven’t got the job. They were correct. I was asked if I was still interested, to which I seem to remember blurting out “Yes please!”

I was asked to start at the beginning of August and had to explain to my manager at the department store that I was leaving. I was told that I should have given a months’ notice, but as I had only been there eight weeks, a months’ notice would not have been very practical.

And that’s how I started my working life in full.

It ain’t going to work …


We have had a 20mph speed limit in the village for about a year now. Maybe a bit longer, but I would say that well over 80% of drivers take no notice at all. The problem is, and this is my opinion, there is no enforcement. None whatsoever. We have the main 20 mph zone signs as you enter the village together with smaller repeater signs, but that’s it basically. There is one of those ‘smiley’ face signs near the school, but that is mainly ignored by the majority.

A great deal of the time, these “speed merchants”, (and again, my opinion) are local people. People who know that they are not going to get caught. I was at the local bottle bank last week, when a van went past. The sign showed that he was travelling at 35mph. The lady who was walking past stated that “… they should not be allowed to enter ...”. I had to explain that the van and driver was from the village and in fact from the same road that I live on.

It was announced in the Parish Magazine, that the Parish Council was putting a bid to purchase a Mobile SID (Speed Indication Device) to raise speed awareness in areas of concern. I don’t think it will have any effect. If drivers already ignore the sign near the school, are they going to take any notice of any signs. Back to my opinion again, but the only thing that will stop this is proper enforcement. Signs at the entrance roads saying that mobile Speed Cameras are in use, together with a Police Office with a Speed Gun would be the better idea. Nothing gets a message home better than a fine.

However, the latest idea is to have a sticker on your refuse bin that tells drivers to slow down. A sticker! On a bin that is only put out one day a week. Really? Is that the best they can come up with?

School days memory …


For some time now, I have been following a blog written by someone who went to the same primary school as I did. Recently it became apparent that we were in the same year group, but not the same academic stream. After completing the 1st year in class ‘1a’, I was moved down into the ‘b’ stream where I stayed for the rest of the time.

The main memory that  this blogger’s post triggered was leaving Primary School and moving to Secondary School. The year is 1965 and I’m thinking it is around September/October time. My father had left his job Coal Mineas a reasonably well paid coal miner because of health problems, and was now working as a bus conductor for what was then the West Yorkshire Road Car company. Times were beginning to get quite tough. Our house was heated by coal fires and as a miner we received, every three months a concessionary supply of coal. What I mean by the word ‘concessionary’ is free. Every three months we would have 1 cwt of coal dropped into the street, which was quickly shovelled into the coal cellar. After leaving the coal industry, this free coal stopped. That and the reduction in dad’s wages were beginning to bite a little.

I seem to remember both my parents and me sitting in the classroom, with my form teacher (may have been a Mr Woods, Roundhay High Schoolbut I cannot remember) discussing my Secondary education. It was quite plausible it was said that I could go to the Grammar School at Roundhay. I had heard through my school friends at the time that this would be an expensive time. I would have to have a full School Uniform. This consisted of a blazer ( least one) two pairs of black trousers,  a number white shirts, a school tie and a pair of black lace-up shoes. There was also a football kit, rugby kit and a PE kit. There was no way my parents could afford that Not meamount of spend. There was a discussion around the fact, that all this uniform was available at a certain store in Leeds, but … it was possible to buy the same clothes as second hand from the school. That was a non-starter, as I had heard on the school grapevine, that everyone would know they were second hand, simply by their condition. This would automatically lead to bullying. I was not going to have that. I began to hope that I would fail my “11 Plus”.

The two subjects that I was apparently good at were Arithmetic and Religious Education. I began to wonder what would happen if I made a mess of those two subjects and I decided to ensure that I would answer some the questions incorrectly. Which is what I did. To this day nobody believes me, but I know I did get some questions wrong on purpose, so who knows. All I know is that I ended up going to the school I preferred and not the Grammar school.

From then to now … the journey begins


So, I’ve bitten the bullet and decided to become a chef. How was I going to achieve this this dream? It Despair-Manlooked like I may have to back the Careers Advice Centre (CAC) and see what they had to offer. My parents put it around their friends that I was wanting to cook for a living and asked them to have a look out for me. I booked an appointment at the CAC but wasn’t really looking forward to it and eventually didn’t go.

I decided to see if any of the teachers could offer some advice. I drew a blank with most of them, but then that certain geography teacher said he would try and find a few things out, if that’s what I wanted to do. After a few days, he came up with a list of options that ranged from a full-time college course to an apprenticeship and even joining one of the armed forces. None of these appealed at all.

It’s now the beginning of May 1971 and we are all 16 years old. The school is now wanting us to leave so they can free up teachers time. The six or seven of us that are still Newspaperleft are simply reading the local papers in search of a job. Then someone, I cannot remember who suggests I might want to have a look at hospital catering as an option. It was the one thing that I had not even thought of. My parents looked into it and somehow managed to get me an interview. I was a bit concerned about having an interview and my father went with me. I think him going with me may have been one of the reasons I got the job. A trainee cook, due to start in August. Their advice was that I should find a temporary job in a kitchen somewhere, doing anything that was needed. To ‘… gain experience of kitchen life …’ they said.

After the interview, we met up with my mum and she thought it would be a nice idea to go and have some tea or coffee to celebrate. Now I thought we would be going to oScholfieldsne of the cafés in Leeds Market, but no mum said we should ‘do it in style’ or words to that effect. The best place in those days was a department store called Schofields. They had an a ’la carte restaurant and a café and we went to the cafe. It was whilst we were there, that someone noticed a small sign advertising a kitchen porter job. We found out who to ask, and I was interviewed the same day. I’ll never know whether it was because I looked the part, or the fact that I was going into the catering industry, but I got that job too.

The actual job title was “Cake Boy” and for the morning entailed me pushing and pulling a huge wooden trolley full of wooden trays (no plastic in those days) of cakes fromCake tray the bakery on the top floor to both restaurant and café. In the afternoon, I worked washing up on a huge dishwasher. It had a conveyer system which was a continual loop. The trays of crockery were loaded as the conveyer belt Conveyormoved along. They went in the machine at one end and came out the other. The image is the closest I could get to the one I used, but you need to imagine the conveyor coming right across the front. The trick was to make sure that you unloaded the clean crockery before the tray got to the place where they would be loaded up again. It didn’t always go to plan and sometimes a double wash would happen.

I was there for ten weeks, before my ‘real’ job started, but I was on the first step of a long catering ladder, and on my way up.

To be continued …

From then to now … the prequel


I have been wanting to write some kind of auto-biography some some time now. But I had largely been put off by reading an old work colleague’s attempt. Believe it or not he started the thing the phrase:

I was born at an early age …

This was a miss-quote of a quite well known Groucho Marx statement. To be honest, I don’t remember much of my early childhood, and there are not too many people left to ask these days. So I decided that the ‘then’ would be my work start and the ‘now’ would be basically be the start of my current part-time job.

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In order to clarify a few points that may or may not crop up in this tale, I need to go back to school. It’s 1966 and I in the 2nd term of my 5th year at Harehills County SchoolSecondary school. It was just after Christmas and we were having our obligatory “Careers Advice” meeting. This took place after school an involved my form teacher, some very old bespectacled gentleman from the Careers office and my parents. Oh, and I was there too. My only role was to say what job I wanted to do when I left at the ripe old age of 16. That’s all I did. I said I wanted to be a draughtsman. It was my best subject and the one I enjoyed Draughtsmanto most. After stating this, I was totally ignored for the rest of the meeting whilst the other three parties discussed why this was not going to happen. To this day, the only clue I have is that I was not expected to get 2 grade 1’s and at least 2 grade 2’s (these were the CSE or Certificate of Secondary Education. If I had gone to a Grammar School, it would have been the GCE or General Certificate of Education which was the old ‘O’ level.) That was the one and only official Careers Advice I was ever had. In those days, kids who only obtained a CSE normally did not go onto University, and after nearly 12 years in a classroom, the idea of more education certainly did not appeal.

What was to become of me? What else interested me?

The inspiration came from a rather unexpected source. We had a geography teacher, whom most of the class detested. He never seemed very good at his subject and was the most arrogant Knittingperson I ever knew. But he had a habit of asking kids if there was anything worrying or bothering them. He asked me and I hadn’t realised that I was worrying about my job/career prospects. His Chefadvice was to look at interests and hobbies outside of school and consider if there was any opportunity there. I told him my three hobbies and he replied that plastic model kit building would get me nowhere and that at the time, there would be very few opportunities for a male knitter. But cooking, if I was good at it could ‘…take me places…’.

So that was it. I was going to be a cook/chef. Now all I had to do was find a way of getting to that status.

To be continued …

Should I, could I? …


Back in 2016, a few months before I retired I heard a rumour that my old school was going to have a reunion. This was to coincide with the ‘celebrations’ marking 50 years since the England football World Cupteam actually won the World Cup. I asked the school friend that I mentioned in my last post if he knew anything but he had not heard anything. I did a bit of Googling, but nothing about a reunion turned up. I did however see a name, linked with the school. The person, I’ll call him “Eric”, was not at the school for very long. He started at the same time, but after about 4 or 5 weeks he left. His father was an English teacher and had got a job in South Africa. As a consequence we did not have much to do with him. I remember him because he was the same size as me and had the same side parting hairstyle. He was on “Linked in” and I ended up sending him a message just out of curiosity. Turned out he is a University lecturer now, but in Australia. We messaged a couple of times, but he was more into Skype and Facetime video messaging which is something I avoid like the plague. As with a lot of these things, the messages dropped off and I only hear from him at Christmas and birthdays.

Then in March this year, out of the blue he emailed me with a pdf document. He had written his autobiography and thought I would like a copy to “…remind me of bygone times…” To be brutally honest, it was dire. I’m no writing guru, but I could have done it better Biowithout trying. Lots of sentences starting with ‘And then…’ or ‘The next day…’ or ‘After that…” For the son of an English teacher, it could not have been worse. But it got me thinking. Should I and could I do my own autobiography? It could not be any worse than “Eric’s” and I would not be publishing it. I wouldn’t want to do a ‘birth to now’ type, but I could concentrate on my work life. It then struck me that I could write it as a series of blog posts, taking say 5 years at a time and writing about the best bits.

So guess what? I’m going to give it a go. I need to work out some kind of time-line and highlight key points and dates before I start, but I think it may just work. So as the saying goes …

Watch

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 …

Career, what career?


This was a post on LinkedIn with the hashtag #what did I want to be when I was 15 and I thought it would be good here too.

The year is 1970 and I’ve just had my 15th birthday, literally and I’m in the deputy head’s office for a cTeacherhat with the careers master. It’s coming up to the end of my 4th year and this is where I’ll find out if I’m going to the 5th year or not. In those days, if you were considered ‘bright enough’ you could go on for a further year and then possibly a 6th year at another school. This did not happen to many kids at my school.

Up to this day, I fancied being an architect, but I’ve just been told that I am not creative enough for that job and should think of something else. The deputy head is the Technical Drawing (TD) teacher and also the class teacher for year 5. He suggests that as I have a knack for TD, then a draughtsman could be a good choice. So that was my choice, a draughtsman. Taking the architects ideas and putting them down in a detailed drawing. Sorted.

Moving on to January 1971 and the results of my CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education) mocks indicate that the 3 grade 2s and 1 grade 1, I needed for Technical College, are not going to be forthcoming. So, there is another meeting with the deputy head where I must make another career choice. Just like that. I did have a second choice, which was catering, and that is where I ended up. I was always disappointed that my first choice was side-lined, as I did get the grades I would have needed.

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Whenever I talk or write about my schooldays it never fails to invoke laughter, especially HFTSamong the younger people. They cannot believe some of the things that happened way back in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. You tell them about the punishments that were handed out and they are amazed. One English teacher used to have small flat bat, which was called “Heat For The Seat”. You can probably imagine what use it was put to.

Puzzling maths puzzles …


On a roll here. Two posts in one day, whatever next?

This one is directly attributable to Facebook. You often get people posting maths puzzles on Facebook. The kind of thingpuzzle where you get some equations and you have to work out how they get the answers. It is basic Algebra. I love reading these posts, working out the correct answer and then trying to explain to people about the ‘mathematical order of operation’. This one follows the usual pattern but is a little different. Initially, it is easy to work out what the Snowflake image is worth, it must have a value of 10 for the first equation to work. From that deduction the cane must have a value of 5 with the wine glasses having a value of 2. Easy. Then you have to work out the last equation and here, the composer has added a twist by putting a multiplication sign in the equation. This is where the order of operation comes in. From my school days, it was always drummed into me that multiplication comes before addition, unless the addition is held within parenthesis.

Without looking carefully people will come up with the answer 70, 17 or 25. However, there is another twist here. In the last equation there is an image of a single wine glass. I did not see this at first and came up with 25 :- 10 x 2 = 20 + 5 = 25. But this puzzle has fooled many people. The answer a large number have come up with is 15. Many people have made the assumption that the image of the single glass has the value of 1. For me, this is an unsafe assumption. There is no way of safely giving the value of 1 to the single glass.  It can have any value except 10, 5 or 2. There is nothing to stop the single glass having the value of 99 for example which would give the last equation the result of 995. It fooled me at first look, but in actual fact, with the information given, a solution cannot be found.

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.

One word inspiration #writing101


When I saw todays topic, I groaned. I find it quite difficult writing to a prompt. I have tried many online creative writing courses that try to inspire ‘creativity’ by the use of prompts. All have failed up to press. I even had an app on my tablet that ‘produced’ a daily prompt. I just don’t get them. I will look at the prompt or prompts and can spend hours trying to build a story around those ideas, with no success. The few short stories that I have posted on here, and those that are buried deep within the hard drive of my laptop, have come from ideas that seem to happen.

I suppose that if there was one word that I could use, it would be ‘regret’. I have always wondered what I would have been, if only I had paid more attention to the English teachers I had at school. I know it’s probably more my fault, but back in the day teachers were different from what they are now. My first English teacher was a rather flamboyant character who I think may have modelled himself on the archetypal public school teacher. He always wore a suit, with a waistcoat, pinstripe trousers and a bow tie. He only needed a monocle and cigarette holder to complete the picture. The second one was more strict and rigid and made everything a chore. Some of us seemed to absorb very little and so now, I find things like punctuation difficult to get right (you may see that this is probably littered with incorrect commas.)

So yes, not taking English more seriously at school is a regret.

There …… did it!

(BTW this will be post 600 …. Yah!)

The prodigal returns


Well, the eldest returned home on Saturday. Me and Mrs H, have been bringing bits and pieces back from his flat since early last week. Saturday was the ‘move’ day. It took three trips to shift everything home and by the end of the day, I was completely shattered !!!! However, it is quite amazing how much ‘stuff’ you can get in the back of a 2005 Ford Ka !!! With the back seats dropped, it turns into a small van, but I did struggle when we come to put in a ‘put-me-up-bed’. I just have to locate the coach screws for his TV wall bracket and he will be sorted.

Mrs K decided that It would be good for him (and me) to go to the pub on Saturday night, so that made the day even longer ! We met up with one of his drama friends, so it was quite a good evening. I can see though, that he will be wanting to go out on more evenings, which as he has no income yet, could prove a bit expensive. I’m only used to going out on Tuesday and Fridays. Still it must be strange coming home after 2 years of living more or less as you please.

Youngest has been a bit up and down since the school holidays started. He frets about things and this leads to him being a bit aggressive at times. At the moment he is fretting about the summer play scheme at school. He will enjoy it, he always does, it is just that he will say he does not want to go, and this will become a theme with him. His latest thing, is having his laptop and TV/video running all night. Problems this morning, when his laptop crashed with an ‘out of memory’ error. It would appear that he had 4 or 5 YouTube videos running on automatic reply, whilst recording the sound with sound recorder. Six hours later I turned the sound recorder off !!

Work is going quite well for the time being. The latest initiative is set to go live next week, so there is plenty to keep me occupied. I’m trying to make some of the reports more accessible to others, which on the one hand keeps me working, but on the other hand somewhat negates the need for me at times. It is a difficult balancing act.

So where are we now


     The Friday meeting went well apparently. Another medication !!!! However, this one appears to be having a desirable effect. What we did not want, is a drug that just ‘zonks’ him out (zonks .. is that a real word?) This one, although it is one of the ‘blahblahpram’ type seems to have a calming reaction. He appears to be happier in himself. A lot of the aggression, whilst still underlying, seems to be being suppressed. School is getting more response and work out of him. So everything is rosy !!!!! But we have been here before. We will wait and see !!!

     Work is exactly the same as usual. We heard a bit of a shock last week, that part of the department, was in negotiations with a private company to run the service. You would have thought, that news like that may have shaken the ‘team’ out of their complacency !! No. We still have a majority of the office that think that second rate is good enough. Will they ever learn ?? The ConDems have got the Public Sector bit between the teeth, and I don’t think they will let go until they finish what Thatcher started !!!

Poor games ….


I am begining to think, that I may be glad when this football World Cup is over !!!!!! There games have ranged from average to poor, with the odd ‘good’ one thrown in. The talk is that it will all improve vastly, when the knockout stage begins. I await to see!

It was the Clifford Beer Festival on Saturday. Some nice beers, and it was good to catch up with some of my old friends from the days when I used to bus to work. I only seem to see them at beer festivals !! How sad is that.

Work is the same as usual. Too many of the people think they are more important than they are. Of course, they all think they work too hard !!! When in actual fact …….

Youngest is away on respite this week, and both K*** and me are attending his annual review on Thursday. That should be interesting. I am also looking into publicising the PTA of the school. At the moment, they issue the occasional letter goes to parents, whenever the PTA have an event, and that is about all. I’m looking into creating a weblog on here, together with a regular newsletter. I’ve not done anything as big as this before, but I have a few ideas. Mind you, I’ll have to talk to them and convince them of the benefits. That could be the biggest challenge. I think I will just set it all up and them present them with it. Wish me luck !!!

Back to work …


   Mrs H was at the dentist yesterday, so that wasn’t good. In the chair for over an hour, putting a previous extraction right. Fingers crossed she won’t get an infection this time.

   Youngest went off on his school adventure week yesterday. It was a difficult morning, because as usual, he said he did not want to go. As usual he was quite adamant about it.  Got a txt from one of the school staff that have gone, to say he was doing fine and having a good time. To be fair, his teacher at school said he was fine when he got to school. Now whether they are just saying that to stop us worrying……

   Work was, as expected a bit of a trial today. It seems to be the case, that I only have to have a single day off, for problems to mount up. Thankfully D*** takes it all in his stride. A good ally and workmate. Finance is upset with me though. For the past 5 years, I have worked on the 1st of April (start of the new financial year). This year, I having the day off. R*** is having his dental treatment, and I need to be there.  So the reports that need to be run, will have to be run by someone else (probably D****).

If that was the weekend, it’s done ….


   Paint, paint and even more paint. The dining room is proving to be a little better than I first thought. A base coat of white and two top coats, should see the majority of the wall covered. Just a few patches that may need a thin third coat. Then, it will be time to move the heavy furniture, and finish up. There are two small pieces of wall that are hidden behind the two units. Hopefully, I can get some the paint done on Thursday and Friday evening, then I can wallpaper on the Saturday. It will then just be the woodwork to do, and I can do that starting on Sunday.

   Youngest is going on a respite trip tomorrow. We have only just told him, and of course, he says he is not going. But that’s what he says to everything, which is why we have delayed telling him. All he wants to do is stay in his room or play on the internet.  His support worker came to take him out today, and he said he did not want to go. The place he is going to looks like fun, a type of outward bound centre for disabled kids. He’ll be going with his teachers and support workers from school, so it should be a good week. Just got to get through the next few hours.

   Mrs H is at the dentist tomorrow. she is not looking forward to that at all. The last treatment she had ended up with an infection and five days of pain. Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again. I don’t think the anti-biotic worked too well last time.

   Eldest manage to ring and say Happy Mothers Day !! It took a lot of prompting, and the fool rang the land line, and not her mobile (free calls 3 to 3). Still, he called, I suppose.

   Car alarm keeps going off. Well ‘van’ alarm. It will probably be going off for a while yet. The guy who owns it lives a couple of streets away, so he won’t hear it. People who live nearby will not be very happy. They will both be on the lookout for the driver in the morning. Poor devil.

It’s only Tuesday …


   Today was one of those strange days. I seemed to be doing a lot of work, but did not seem to have done much. Not a lot to show for the effort, if you know what I mean.

   Mrs H got the wallpaper for the downstairs today. £16.00 a roll !!!! I’m going have to make sure I don’t make any foolish mistakes. I remember once, doing a whole wall upside down. Not entirely my fault as one of the rolls had been rolled the wrong way. If I had not have used it first, I would have noticed.

   I think Leeds Utd may have blown their automatic promotion. Three league defeats in a row, and now Norwich has gone top. It will be difficult to pull back from there, and there are a couple of potential hard games coming up. I’m thinking Carlisle and Huddersfield.

   Youngest is still only on 1/3 of his medication. He was not very happy yesterday, and was still a bit off this morning. Seems happier tonight, but not like he has been over the past week. Must be something at school or on the bus.

Well pleased …..


   The computer task I had scheduled to run as a test, this morning, went without a hitch. The routine started, did what it had to do and finished. A couple of things were different from the usual, but it is nothing untoward. Part two of the testing will happen next week. I have set the routine to run at 1 minute past midnight on Monday morning. If all goes to plan, and I don’t see why it should not, then our notices will be ready for printing when we get in.

   Youngest is not very happy tonight. Mrs H said he was upset when he got home, and that he had been upset on the bus. We are guessing, as he cannot tell us, that someone on the bus is causing him a problem. Of course, the escorts can’t say what upsets him, just reports that he is out of sorts. Mrs H is seeing his teacher tomorrow, so may get more of an idea. Could be the length of time he is on the bus that’s the problem. It is silly really. We only live a mile and a half away, but he has to go by the school transport because there is nowhere to park to drop him off.

   I uploaded a video, to Facebook from the gig on Saturday night. Looks quite good, and already B** tagged his flatmate in it. Well pleased ……

No let up ….


   Mrs H still in pain, although I think we both slept a lot better last night. She said that she only seemed to wake up once. The trouble I’ve found, with dental pain, is that it is so intense, that you don’t really notice that the pain is getting less. Then, you wake up and it’s just a background ache. Mind you, I have never had the trouble or pain that Mrs H has, when she has had invasive dental treatment. Even when I had all my top dentures fitted and eight teeth extracted, the only pain I had lasted a couple of days.

   Youngest seems to be doing well with his medication reduction. He has only been having a third of his daily dosage, and he seems to be quite settled with that. I don’t know how school is coping with it. They have not indicated that there is a real problem, except that he seems to take a long time with his lunch. They should see how long it takes at home sometimes!!

   Now, here is a ball ache, Microsoft Internet Explorer !!! even thought I never use IE, I have to apply the latest patch. This will fix the ‘vulnerability’ that allowed the Chinese to hack Google. The problem is that IE is so deeply embedded into the Windows operating system. I can see the next ‘Patch Tuesday’ will try and get me to install the latest version, IE8.

Hard to describe …


   It has been a difficult day to describe today. On the one hand, my day has not been too bad, not too much to do, but enough to keep me going. On the other hand, Mrs H had to have a tooth out, and it was not an easy ride. She is in a lot of pain, and it took the dentist quite a long time to get the tooth out. From what she says, the tooth just crumbled, and there are still some bits of tooth in there. She is on an anti-biotic and ibuprofen, so not looking forward to a good night.

   If there was a third hand, it would be that school forgot to give the youngest his medication this lunchtime. From all accounts, he was fine, and to some extent his teacher had not realised the he had not had it. This may pave the way to reduce his (our) dependency on it. Especially after the way he was over the Christmas holidays.

   Now, looking for a fourth hand, my line manager (aka Spilligoon) was up to his old tricks again. It is my considered opinion, based on previous knowledge, that he hid D***s keys to cause trouble. He has done it before, and it his way of ‘teaching us a lesson’. What an ar*e !!! He will hide the keys, and then humiliate the key holder, until they turn up. Usually on someone’s desk, or in a place where nobody would put them. It is a form of bullying, and it is something that he is known for. One day, it will backfire……… 

Only four days …..


   Well the ‘run’ did not happen. I did not think it would. I’m going to have to break this in gently, if it is going to have any effect. I shall see how I feel tomorrow when I get in.

   As the title may indicate, I have only four days to work this week. I’m off on Friday and following Monday. Mrs H and me are going to Whitby for the weekend. A belated anniversary break. It should be good, just hope for some reasonable weather.

   Youngest has now gone two days without any medication. We have had no problems to speak of at all. There has been a couple of times when he has got a little upset, but nothing like the scale that it has been. He has eaten and drunk a lot more than usual, and has been quite a happy lad. We now wait to see how he is when he gets home tomorrow night. I’m going to suggest, that if possible we miss out his medication tomorrow, when he gets home from school . I am beginning to suspect, that it may be the medication that could be at least part of the problem.

   Eldest is in Manchester at the Eddie Izzard gig tonight. He went to Hull, of all places, on Friday. Got back around 2pm today. That was a bit of a surprise. He never mentioned anything, when Mrs H rang him yesterday morning. I guess he did not think he needed to. I was a bit surprised at Mrs H’s response when I told her. She more or less accepted it, without any fuss.

   As a part of my Geeky nature, I have installed Google Chrome on my PC. Eldest has been using it for a couple of weeks, and he seems quite happy with it. I have been faithful to Firefox for a couple of years now, as I find the add ins quite useful. I’m not too sure how many Chrome has, but the bare bones browser, is certainly fast at first start up.

TGIF….


   Quite a reasonable day today, except for the start. Today was the day we have our “regular” team meeting. I use the word regular in it’s most broad sense. We are supposed to have one every month, but thankfully, it is a lot less often. The problem is, that it last for 75 minutes, and 90% of the meeting could take 20 minutes only. Someone like the sound of his own voice too much. The agenda is always the same, and for the most times, the content is the same too.

   The rest of the work day went okay. I think I have managed to sort out the problems with the handheld repairs. It would appear that the repair company were unable to create an RMA for 4 cases, so they left them !!! It was only when I contacted them, that someone realised the problem and tried again. I would put money on the fact, that I won’t get a customer satisfaction survey for these cases.

   Youngest has been okay tonight. He got a bit upset when someone was letting fireworks off. They really seem to bother him now. It was strange, because when the first couple went off, he seemed to be quite excited, but that soon changed. To his credit, when I told him to put his head phones on, he did so straight away, and kept them on for a good 2 hours. They are noise cancelling full ear phones, and when they switched on really deaden all external noise.

   He tried the IPod at school today. It looks like they have been showing him what to do, and he seems to have some understanding. I still think that it will not be of much use for him. School thinks it is marvellous !!! Mrs H spoke with the Principal today, who is determined to find the money to buy some IPods and the software to use in school. Maybe they can see more different uses than I can.

Nearly the weekend


   Well, the eldest did not manage to get up at 07:00 this morning. It was never on the cards really, and I don’t now why we thought he would be. He did not get back in until gone midnight, and was posting messages on facebook at 02:00am. We need to be a bit more forceful when he is here, and try and make sure he is up by 09:00 at the latest. The problem is, that because he has not had to get up for Uni, he sleeps late. It then follows that he is not tired enough at what is a ‘normal’ bedtime. And so, his body clock is completely out of synch. He will have to be up early on Saturday and Sunday though, as both him and his flat mate are working those days.

   Another IT disaster today. This time is was the whole council wide network that had problems. It started around 12:00, when people found they were having problems logging into the network. Those that did manage to log in, were having difficulties accessing certain applications. By 2:00pm most of the council was affected, and the IT help desk, was pushing out a message to the effect, that all the servers needed to be restarted,which would be done tonight. And that is how it was left. Of course, many of my colleagues thought they knew better than me and continued to try and log in. It is getting increasingly difficult to explain to some of these people, that when I say ‘the whole network is down…’ that it also applies to them too, and that they are not a special case.

   Youngest goes on respite tomorrow. Sad though it seems, both Mrs H and me are avidly looking forward to the break. He will be back on Monday, after school, so not too long. It is strange, though. Although we are ready for a short rest, we will miss him when he is not there. When he goes for a week, it seems a lot longer, and we start to look forward to him coming home. Then he kicks off, and we start looking at the calendar for his next respite (joking). I just hope that the current bout of good weather holds out for the weekend. We both need to get of the house for a while. R*** always says a firm ‘No’ to any suggestion that we go out. Even if it is something he enjoys, it is always ‘No’. We do get to have a walk round the village sometimes, but it is a struggle, and often can be painful.

   Right, that will do for now. Wish me luck for work tomorrow.