Today was CJ’s birthday. It was also a beautiful, blue sky, late autumn day so what better way to celebrate than with a little walk and a nice lunch? As CJ is fond of both history and graffiti, I thought I had just the walk for him. As for the lunch, neither of us had a clue where to eat but, as our walk would end up in town, we’d be fairly spoilt for choice. Continue reading A birthday walk, graffiti, a legend some lunch
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. Continue reading Bad dreams, good news and boxes – first published 21 november 2013
Mostly I don’t feel old. Well, not until I look in the mirror anyway. In my head I guess I’m twenty, maybe twenty five. On 3 October 2013 though, I felt ancient. This was down to Ashleigh. This was the day she turned twelve. How did that happen? How could I have a twelve year old granddaughter? It just wasn’t possible, not when I was only twenty, or maybe twenty five. Where did all those years go to? Continue reading Storms on the horizon – first published 3 October 2013
September 2013 was crawling slowly to an end, at least that’s how it seemed. The last week had been stumbled through in a dream like haze, or maybe that should be a nightmare. The last September journey to work was a morose affair, walking towards a job where most of what I should be doing had been rendered pointless and the empty day stretched ahead gloomily with way too much thinking time for my liking.
30 September 2013
Half way to the lift I heard, “You grass!” it was Dave, the cheeky, chirpy security guard on reception. Puzzled I turned back and walked up to his desk.
“What have I done?” I asked racking my, admittedly rather addled, brain for anything that might possibly have warranted me being called a grass.
“Taking photos of that car in the car park,” he said with a wink.
Even then it took me a moment to work out what he was talking about, after all I’m always taking photos of things even if cars don’t usually feature high on my list.
Then it came back to me. Yesterday afternoon Howard had come back from lunch and asked, “Whose black BMW is that in the car park?” No one knew. We have a limited number of parking spaces for our little office. There are only fifteen of us when every single one of us is in, and that’s a rare day, but there are nowhere near enough to go round. Most of us don’t come by car so, quite often, our spaces aren’t used but they are reserved for our office. Obviously none of this matters one jot to me. What does matter is that some random stranger has parked in one of our spaces. We haven’t gone yet! So Noel and I went down to the car park to have a look and I took a photo as evidence.
Dave was actually quite gleeful about the whole thing. “Fancy getting that poor man in trouble for parking in the wrong space,” he chuckled. Turns out the driver, a member of staff on another floor, keeps sneakily parking in other peoples spaces. He’s been warned about it before but, as our spaces are round the corner out of view of Dave’s security camera, he thought he was safe.
“I’m not a grass, I’m a detective,” I said.
“Banged to rights,” said Dave.
Now there’s a thought, maybe that would be a new career direction for me. Have phone, will take incriminating photos.
The empty shopping mall opposite the office is in the process of being demolished. The builders (or should that be demolition men?) who have been milling about putting up barriers and drinking lots of tea for the last few weeks started work on the actual business of pulling down this morning. Between looking at all four emails that had landed in my inbox and having a long war meeting where those who still harboured some hopes of changing the office closure decision cooked up plans and proposals, I looked out of the window. The speed with which the buidling is disappearing is quite phenomenal. Much like the speed with which my job is disappearing really.
Arabella came in at about eleven so at least I had something to do. She wanted some projected costing spreadsheets created. For someone who doesn’t really like numbers I’m actually quite good with spreadsheets and it did keep me occupied for the rest of the day.
Lunch time was even gloomier than the walk to work. Alice was off at an interview with the agency I went to on Friday so it was just me trying to fill an hour somehow on a damp, slightly drizzly afternoon. In the spirit of finding something interesting to occupy my mind I decided I’d walk past the demolition site and have a nose at the work up close. This turned out to be a pointless exercise because I’d forgotten that, although we have a great view from our penthouse suite, the barriers the builders have been errecting mean nothing at all can be seen at street level. Doh! Apart from the crashing and clanging of bulldozer against concrete you’d never have known anything was going on behind the big blue barrier.
Feeling a little disappointed, I wandered past, wondering what else I could do to fill an hour. Then I spotted the cobwebs. The humble cobweb can be a thing of beauty, especially when glistening with sparkling drops of dew but who knew a coating of concrete dust could have the same effect? Ok so there was none of the sparkling, but the dust highlighted every strand of the lovely webs and I used up some of the available time taking photos.
Around the corner different builders, ones actually building something rather than knocking it down, were playing a Kevin Little song that I quite like very loudly on a radio. The song made me smile and the workmen, seeing me smile, smiled back. A little more aimless, lonely walking took me to the parks where I sat for a while watching the lads in the skate park whizzing up and down the ramps and flipping their boards three hundred and sixty degrees like experts. I guess they are experts. Two lads who’d obviously had enough of showing off their skills for the day picked up their boards, then surprised me by linking arms and skipping along the path towards me singing, ‘we’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz.’ It really isn’t what you’d expect from grungy looking teenaged boys dressed mainly in black but it was one more thing to make me smile.
Dawdling back to the office I could hardly believe it when I was joined at the pedestrain crossing by none other than Alice Cooper. Really, you don’t expect to be standing next to 70’s rock stars of that magnitude on a gloomy Monday lunch time in Southampton. Goodness knows what he was doing there but I have to say he was far shorter than I expected. Come to think of it, he was also quite feminine and there were no snakes, top hats, bats or swords in sight. Still he was dressed completely in tight black leather and had the raven black mullet hair, that rather distinctive nose and lots of black eyeliner that have been his trademark since I watched him perform School’s Out on Top of the Pops in 1972. Then again, I could have been mistaken, maybe it wasn’t him. Still, it made me smile and I need all the smiles I can get right now.
When I went out at lunchtime I noticed a missed call on my phone from the agency I interviewed with last week. The cruise company they sent my CV to are interested in me. They aren’t interviewing yet but they aren’t saying no either so I’m taking that as good news. It’s a much bigger company with more room for development but there will be less fun, more spreadsheets and probably a more dour atmosphere. Still any job’s a good job right now so fingers crossed.
To counterbalance the good news there was some bad news. It came in the form of an email and, when I say bad news, I mean news that made me angry. This was an email from the new Head Office to everyone and I’m not going into what it said but suffice to say staff who have shown unconditional loyalty are being very badly treated and what is being proposed contravenes employment laws. How nice of them to put it in writing then.
As I walked along the river path on my way home tonight there was one last thing to lift my glum mood. For some reason the sky was teaming with seagulls. Despite their bad press, I love seagulls. Usually this many means one of two things, flying ant day or storms. On the last day of September flying ant day is long past and, although there was a slight drizzle in the air, no more than soft sea spray, there has been no sign of a storm so far. Maybe they knew Alice Cooper was in town and were gathering to get a glimpse of him.