Monday 27 July 2015

My working life - part 1

United Biscuits - Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire (1976-1979)

It was less than 5 minutes on my Honda C70 from our home to the factory - 5/5

The senior staff were either distant (as in totally disinterested in the "workers") or were fanatical empire builders, or both - 1/5

My colleagues were a strange bunch. Most were totally dominated by the larger-than-life Linda R who was the most committed man-hater I have ever met - 1/5

The projects that were under the control of the department were based in Grimsby (Lincolnshire), Fakenham (Norfolk) and Carlisle (Cumbria) so a logistical nightmare. It is fair to say that I didn't learn a single new skill in my three years working for United Biscuits - 2/5

Nothing was arranged probably because I was glad to be going and they were glad to be getting rid of me - 0/5


The frequent trips to Grimsby

The final week when some bizarre plan to send me miles away to work (essentially for ever) was cancelled when the senior staff suddenly realised I was leaving - nobody had told them.

Cannington College - Somerset (1979-1990)

It was less than 5 minutes on my Honda C70 from our home to the college - 5/5

In the early days the Principal was rather like an old fashioned Head Master - a true gentleman in word and deed. It was only towards the end of my time in Somerset that more business orientated senior staff were appointed. - 4/5

I made some quite good friends during my 10 years although I am only still in touch with one of them. With hindsight it was disappointing that there was a certain friction between the two halves of the department and I think this impacted on all of us in a rather negative way - 3/5

I enjoyed teaching and in Further Education in the 1980s there was a lots less government interference in the daily life of a lecturer than was to become the case later on in my career - 5/5

Very badly mishandled by my line manager who basically spoiled what should have been an important rite of passage. 1/5


Management by favouritism as practiced by NAD

Gaining the experience and the qualifications that set me up for the rest of my working life.

Friday 17 July 2015

My Mother's diaries 1998-2000

I have just spend a happy hour reading Mum's diaries for 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The deterioration in her memory and in her general health as evidenced in these three collections is really quite marked. In 1998 and early 1999 what she wrote about and the way she wrote about it was almost indistinguishable from her regular output from the 1960s onwards. In May 1999 she started missing a few entries and by 2000 her writing is far more "spidery", many days have no entry and her assorted health problems were her main topic of concern.

But what is far more interesting is that to all intents and purposes her grandchildren have vanished from her thoughts after May 1999. If you were a stranger reading what Mum had written you would find few clues that she had two married children and four grandchildren! As an example my daughter Sally doesn't get a single mention in the last eight months of 1999 and Hazel is mentioned exactly once.

Yet every week without fail I spoke to Mum on the phone at 11:00AM on Sunday. Nothing whatsoever that was said about what the 4 of us had been doing in these, fairly lengthy, calls is reported in her diaries.

Saturday 4 July 2015

A possible scam avoided?

This week we were due to have our oil tank filled up. Unfortunately the tanker driver "found" a crack in the tank exactly where he had rested his ladder when he climbed up. He told us that he could give us the name of a firm that would replace the tank for us, and we received a telephone call from that firm within the hour.  We arranged for them to call round in order to give us a quote for a new tank. 

We took the precaution of also getting a quote from from another firm and that proved to be a wise move because the firm we found quoted £1670 for the work and the referred firm quoted over £2300 - which was 38% more!

We do wonder what relationship there was between the oil delivery firm and the referred tank firm - are they owned by the same group, or did one pay a referral fee to the other? We suspect that any such relationship is not in the best interests of customers like ourselves.