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 …”

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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.

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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.

A Rant, A Query and a bit of a Moan


I’m going to start with a bit of a rant. I know I have mentioned this before, but I can knit. Not huge amounts of clothes but usually small crafty items, such as daffodils and hearts and the like. DaffsI’ve done it on and off since I as about 8 years old, and when I’m in the mood, I really enjoy it. Now the issue I have, is that nearly all the magazines and websites dedicated to knitting do not seems to tailor any  of their content to the male knitter. Men have always knitted, and while todays society is a little less ‘macho’ enforced it is still rare to see a man knitting in public. I’ve done it, and you do feel very self conscious. It is not until your public realise that it can be quite intricate and that you are quite good at it, that some semblance of normality creeps in.

It annoys me when you see articles about knitting STheSin magazines or on the internet, that they almost always show pictures of women with their needles (never call them pins!) in their hands. It is the same with sewing and embroidery … never men. I recently signed up to an online knitting forum, with the intention expressing my concerns in the area on male knitting. I was more than disappointed when my registration confirmation email, which was addressed to Anthony Huby, started with “Dear Ms …” I’m still awaiting comments on that first post!

Here endeth today’s rant.

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I’m pondering at the moment, as to what software to use to write. I have Microsoft Word, which I tend to use mostly. However, there are a lot of suggestions that I need to write with software that has a cleaner interface. By that I mean not as many ‘whistles and bells’. Something a little plainer. More than a simple text editor such as Wordpad though, and possibly software that is dedicated for writers.

The two top mentioned software applications seems to be Scrivener and yWriter. I found both very confusing to use. Scrivener was a trial version, and had a number of features that were not available, but even so, I found it difficult to understand. yWriter is freeware, but was even more confusing as it tries to concentrate your mind on breaking chapters down into what it calls ‘scenes’.

I have tried both but think I am going to go back to Word. It’s an application that I know quite well and have used for a long (long) time. I’m loathe to pay for more software (don’t like paying for anything if the truth were known) if what I have got does the job.

What do all you writers out there in WordPress land use, and just as importantly, is it free?

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Back to work tomorrow! Not looking forward to it at all. I still feel a little under the weather, but not ill enough to warrant any more time off. Of course, the question I always get asked (we have a ‘return to work interview’) will be “Are you back to 100%?” I’ve not been 100% for many years, I tend to hover around a normal level of around 92%, so the question always winds me up a little.

I’ll get the usual raised eyebrows when I mention I’ve been off with a ‘cold’. These are the same people that would complain if they caught a cold, that “…they got it from ‘so and so’ who has been sneezing all over the place …” Can’t win with a simple cold!See what I mean

We are also starting with a new telephone system tomorrow. It uses Skype for Business as its exchange and means that laptop users, which most of us are, will have to wear a headset, when making or receiving a phone call. I’m expecting to look like an overpaid telephonist (no offence). It is supposed to save the Council. The theory, as I understand it is that as we already use Skype for Business for instant messaging, using it as a phone does not coast any more. Training on the new system seems to be a bit sporadic, but as ‘The Team’ are classed as IT people, I think we are supposed to just get on with it. That part of tomorrow could be quite intriguing.

Funny old week …


I’m not going to mention Britain leaving the European Union (well maybe a little) as I think it has all been said. All I will say is that I’m very disappointed with the result. I fully expected it to go the other way but as many people keep saying “Democracy has spoken” or words to that effect. So we have to live with it. Get on and make it work. It will take a long time to convince me that the country ‘did the right thing’ but there is no going back now.

Then to cap it all England was unceremoniously dumped out of the Euro 2016 football tournament last night. Beaten by a team that, on paper should have lost. But that is what we have come to expect for a team that just does not seem to have any spark at all. Of course it is all the fault of the manager. It’s not the fault of the bunch of second rate no-hopers that were out there playing the game. No it’s the managers fault. No other industry would it happen.

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Breaking news … I have just spotted a Police Community Support Officer walking down our road

Now that is something that does not happen very often!

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Now, back to the job in hand. I have a cold. A full on, streaming, head aching cold. It started yesterday afternoon really and just got gradually worse. I can’t stop sneezing! I’ve gone through about 12 handkerchiefs today alone. One of my colleagues had the same thing last week, and I was hoping that I would not get it … but of course I did. I’ve not been to work today, and I’m staying at home tomorrow. Hopefully, I will be okay for Thursday but time will tell.

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K*** is out tonight. She is going with her sister to see Cats at the Leeds Grand Theatre. It’s not the kind of thing I would want to see, so I’m home alone. Well home alone with R*** to keep me company. Should be fun. He only came back from respite yesterday and it is all change for him. Up until yesterday, his daily routines would start from what was called ‘Day Opps’. This was an area that he and the only other ‘daily’ resident used as their base for the day. R*** also has a flat where he stays when he is on respite. The change has come about due to the other resident moving on. This means that they need to area for some other activities.

R*** is now going to be based out of his flat. We were expecting to have a bit of a rough ride with the change, but he appears to have accepted the change without any issue. I say ‘appears’, we never really know what is going on in his autistic mind when these major changes happen. The next few days will be the telling time.

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I think I have given in with Blogger. You may recall that I wanted to use Blogger as another blogging platform. It was going to be used as an outlet for a project I was working and I did not want it to get mixed up with my main WordPress blog. I think I have mentioned that I use a piece of software called “Open Live Writer (OLW)” for composing my posts. This software boasts that it connect to WordPress (which it does quite effectively) and also to Google Blogger. It is Blogger that I’m having an issue with. In OLW there is a tab, that lets you preview how your post will look, before you upload it. With WordPress, this works without a problem. However with Blogger, I cannot get it to show a preview. I know others have had the same issue, but it is a community project and so the support is a bit limited. So, after much deliberation, my Blogger blog is going.

Tired and working too hard …… (my excuse)


   Quiz-nite on Tuesday went very well. That ‘spare part’ feeling had dissipated somewhat. The two people, in the group that don’t usually acknowledge my presence, did this week. That made it a very pleasant evening. However …… getting home at 23:45, and then deciding to have a brandy (or two) is not a good idea. Wednesday morning, one was very delicate to say the least. I should know better, but …… then along comes drama group night, with the eldest at home, and the same happens again !! Whiskey this time, but not as much to drink though, so the old head was in a better condition!

   Strange character in the pub though. He was the only one in when I got there, and gave me a very slight nod of the head when I said ‘good evening’ (am I getting paranoid about this …) He just sat there drinking his beer, looking straight ahead. This carried on even after the drama group turned up. It is such a friendly pub, that we tried to include him, but to no avail. Just sat there. Each to their own I suppose.

   Work was interesting yesterday. A number of us got presented with an award for excellent sickness record over that past year. A tiepin of all things. even the women got a tiepin !!! No imagination at all. It is a bit of a joke really, as it is supposed to demonstrate our “commitment, dedication and professional attitude” to the job. In fact, it was a celebration of good luck really. Good luck in the fact, that the days when I felt ill, I was not at work anyway. It is hard on people that have to have time off work for life enhancing surgical operations. They get no reward! So to me it seems a little unfair.

   My work PC is still out of action. I have decided that when (if) it gets fixed, that I’ll just stick to the lap-top. Makes my desk a lot cleaner. I’ve an interesting job to do tomorrow. It is not really our area of work, but the boss has decided that we can do the work. In the current climate, I’m happy to keep my hand in at anything.