When I came back down to Kent in July last year I immediately signed up with some agencies so I could do a bit of temporary work with a view to saving up so I could move back to Crewe. Within a few days I was working for a very pleasant local company doing some quite mundane stuff about their yard. Cleaning and fixing stuff basically and I found it enjoyable. No responsibilities and that lasted for about nine weeks. A few days after that one finished and I was back in harness, working in a warehouse that supplied some of the country's biggest fast food chains. I was booking goods in and making sure it ended up on the racking. That was the end of September. It was meant to last a few weeks while a permanent replacement was found but 21 weeks later and I was still there. It's been nothing if not illuminating; it is not your average company.
Last week I decided I'd had enough and told them that this would be my last week. I could have stayed, they need me and goodness knows I need the money but there was a tremendous culture of distrust building and an astounding level of incompetence from top to bottom. Amazing for a company that's been running for around a century. Only a handful of people seemed to know what they were doing and I was fed up with being called "babe" one minute and made to feel I was incapable of breathing instinctively the next. For instance, on my last day there I was asked to look for something for the pickers, something I'd personally booked in and put on the shelf two days previously. When I looked for it, it was there, exactly where I'd left it. My boss was asked a further four times about the same thing and in the end and extremely frustrated, he summoned the whole warehouse and showed them where it was. Despite that, I still felt we were being blamed for other people's sheer inadequacy. It's been like that ever since I began there. Believe it or not, every single worker, bar one, in that place is English so I don't want to hear any more excuses about Eastern European workers being hopeless. I no longer wanted to be part of that culture; it was, as they say, doing my head in. Besides, call it a resolution if you want but I vowed to myself at the start of the year that I wasn't to go back on any decisions made throughout the year and a couple of weeks ago I'd decided one afternoon after I'd left early through feeling ill, that it was time to go.
So, out of work again. I've got plenty of stuff to be getting on with, a couple of new directions to walk along and for the next few days, an empty house as my parents have decided to take a few days away on the Isle of Wight. It's been a few years since they last went there on holiday, although I do remember a day trip on a hovercraft across the Solent to Cowes in 1966. I did have a holiday there with some friends from school in 1978. Some gurls went too, one of which was meant to be my yet un-encountered future ex-wife, but she cried off meaning our eventual first meeting would have to wait another 6 months. I didn't fancy any of the others and anyway, Dave's Mum also went as chaperone. I remember we walked to Ventnor a lot, I did most of the cooking, Bob slept most of the time and we all clubbed together to buy Jamie a pint of Stella on his 17th birthday. 48p that was. Or was it 49p? I seem to recall there being some bickering about who would have to stump up the extra penny, my memory's not what it used to be. I also remember Jamie and I having a huge bust-up after his dad drove to collect him from the station, a distance of about 600 yards. It remains to this day, the only time I've ever fallen out with a friend. We made up.
Dad thought he had a map of the island somewhere and indeed he did. I found it in grandma's old bureau in my room, an old cloth Bartholemew dated 1935 or thereabouts (VS, that's the map, not my room). Dad was happy though, he went on Google Earth and reckoned it hadn't changed much, save for a bridge across the Medina somewhere. And that Sandown was appreciably bigger now than it was on the map. Neither of them good enough reasons to necessitate splashing out his hard-earned on a new map.
Elsewhere, I have been honoured with some respected visitors. One was seeking "Scunthorpe Travelodge Cleaner" and out of 93 matches I appear to offer most satisfaction. I would dearly love to know why. The other two, and this is a huge mystery to me, featured a lot of cyrillic lettering and a picture of Frederick Sewards Trueman, backlinked to cricinfo.com. Fearing this to be Cricinfo employing hordes of cheap Russians to investigate who's stealing their bandwidth, I'm off to remove said link and replace it with a stolen image of t' greatest. Ah'll sithee.