In late 2013, the business of slowly dismantling our office continued and there was more than a little drama over some marketing boxes. For once I wasn’t the on carting them about but it wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of the new Marketing Manager. Through it all I kept dreaming about houses and desperately trying to find things to make me smile.
21 November 2013
This time the house in my dream was cave like. An arched opening surrounded by white painted brickwork filling one whole wall of the room. Water was streaming down in front of the cave mouth, a cold wind catching it and dashing it into the room. Inside everything was wet and shabby and there seemed to be lots of shadowy people milling about. I stood in the middle of it all trying to tidy up. Why all these dreams about houses, what do they mean? Maybe they’re a reflection of the chaos verging on disaster thats going on all around me at the moment?
When Gigi was marketing manager she started a project to collect historic artefacts for an exhibition to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of Silver Helm. The word went out to past passengers and items came flooding in, boxes of them, programmes, brochures, photograph albums and all manner of keepsakes. When Gigi left the whole thing slipped under the radar of the new marketing manger. To be honest I’m not sure she ever had her radar switched on in the first place. Her forte appears to be delegation and doing as little as possible. As the closure of our office is now just weeks away it seemed to suddenly occur to her that she might have to do something about all this accumulated history. ‘Something’ mainly revolved around delegating responsibility to Arabella to work out exactly what. Arabella, sharp and efficient as ever, devised a plan and made arrangements for things to be displayed on board but there was still the small problem of transporting the boxes to the Frozen North.
You would think this would be fairly simple, pack them up and get a courier to deliver them. In my experience one of the major qualifications for a marketing job is the the ability to pack and heft boxes. The new marketing manager doesn’t seem to agree. She tried her best to get one of us to do it for her but no one was playing ball. This week she was supposed to be coming down to the office for two days to go through it all, pack it up and make the arrangements. The two days turned into one afternoon which ended up being about half an hour by the time she finally got down to doing something, late yesterday afternoon. Even then she tried to get me to help. I didn’t. She blustered about with some flat pack storage boxes and duct tape and eventually a pile of boxes sat on the mezzanine awaiting collection. The duct tape looked a bit sparse to me but what do I know, I was only a marketing assistant for five years after all. We were assured that the courier understood he would have to come up and get them but, from past experience of couriers, I had a feeling that was a little more hope than fact.
Today the morning was shrouded by mist. When I crossed the railway bridge down to the river I stood on tip toe to look along the line. The rising sun illuminated the gold of the leaves further up the track and emphasised the mist. Today the swans and ducks all seemed to be huddled up by the viewing platform, probably because of the biting cold, but at least it wasn’t raining for once and the river was still and calm.
Around the corner on the path behind the flats I stopped for a moment to look back at the sun, climbing now above the masts of all the little ships. It was encircled by a halo or gloriole created by the mist and the diamond dust of ice crystals in the sky. I took a few shots, not hoping for much as the camera never seems to capture the sun and the sky in quite the way I see it. Before the advent of fancy meteorological do-dads things like these were used to predict the weather, often meaning rain is going to fall in the next day. I’m pretty sure I didn’t need a halo round the sun to tell me that, even if my little black cloud was having a morning off.
Crossing the Big Bridge the frozen air nipped at my fingers despite my gloves so I put my phone in my pocket and pulled my hands up into the sleeves of my padded jacket. That is exactly where they stayed until the colourful leaves and berries on the rowan tree just past the stadium made me stop and take another photo. At least it was more sheltered along this stretch. The cotoneaster close to the railway line a little further on was wearing clothes borrowed from the maple above it. Its own green leaves and berries hidden from view by a thousand maple leaves and the cobbles below sprinkled with fallen keys.
For the last couple of weeks there has been very little progress on the demolition site. We’ve all been speculating as to why work should have stopped so suddenly. The theories range from buried bodies being found or some kind of poisonous compund in the cement to the structure of the tall office block behind being compromoised. We even wondered if the men might have gone on strike. Today there was suddenly activity again, this time we heard it before we saw it. Some kind of drilling has commenced, they seem to be intent on turning the concrete floor into some kind of sieve and theyre making a lot of noise about it. Even from our office high on the fourteenth floor the constant banging of the machine got on our nerves, goodness knows what it must have been like for the people in the houses right noxt to it. I was trying to put the new contracts together and it made concentration a touch difficult. In the end I put my ipod on to try to drown it out.
The courier arrived for the marketing boxes this afternoon. We had a call from Dave in reception to say he was downstairs waiting for us to bring the boxes down. Anika, who took the call, explained that the courier was supposed to come upstairs and collect them. There was a slight altercation. Apparently the courier is not allowed to come up to the fourteenth floor and certainly not to collect boxes that aren’t even on a pallet. It seems nothing can go in his van unless it’s on a pallet. “It’s ‘more than my job’s worth, mate” were his exact words. The courier left again, sans boxes, just as we always knew he would. Apparently the new marketing manager is arranging a new courier, this time one with a pallet who will come upstairs to pack and collect all eight boxes. Hmm, I’ll believe it when I see it.
As the sun began to go down there were some rather wonderful swirly clouds. My phone rang as I was snapping a photo and I stopped to answer it. The call was a response to one of my many job applications, a housing association who need an administrator. They want to interview me on Monday and the job does sound very interesting. The association takes great pride in helping the people they house, with getting jobs, sorting out their problems and supporting them. It sounds like my kind of place, although it is a bit further than I really want to travel and only part time. Still an interview is an interview and a job is a job so we shall see.
By the time I got off the phone the sun was all but gone, leaving just an orange glow.
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