Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Oh and she put the light on too.
'Huh, what, eh?' was our response as we looked out from our warm bed.
'Santa!' as though stating the obvious, 'He's been' OK then, he'd been. I think I'd got that even in the befuddled half asleep state I was in.
We got up and stumbled downstairs to our lounge. It was only then that our brains started to work and the thought of time came to us.
It was fucking 3.10 am; too late to back track. The little sod had got us up at not just silly o'clock but fucking stupid o'clock.
We had been wondering if Granddaughter still believed in Santa. Well, it seemed she did.
Was it genuine belief or through a deliberate choice; a decision made somewhere in her mind to suspend reason and believe in something that made her happy; gave her comfort?
We don't talk about Santa in the sense of questioning his existence so we don't really know whether she really believes that it is Santa who gets the presents or us. She does nosey around looking for them and we have to hide them..........so she must know we get them?
But on Christmas Eve she chose to ignore all the evidence and believe.
Do you do that?
Do you have some little fantasies floating in your mind that you allow yourself to believe in just a little?
In order to stay sane do we have to suspend disbelief sometimes and believe in our fantasies?
Granddaughter was a happy little girl on Christmas day. I reckon she was happier for believing in her fantasy.
Sometimes I think it is the fantasies in our lives that point us to find a different way of looking at reality, and then to turn the reality into something more manageable.
Fantasies, dreams, call them what you will. Without them we would be so dull.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
I think I have this year. I could say it started with a kiss. Actually I think it did; a sweet peck that you can only appreciate after many years of a comfortable marriage.........Christmas Eve at 5.30 am. We'd decided to get the Turkey and sprouts last minute this year; seemed Christmassy. So we went to my place of work for 6 am; opening time. Unfortunately I had not accounted for the surprise White Christmas. Yes, it was a White Christmas; absolutely beautiful but driving was a killer.
And when we got there they had almost run out of Turkeys. Bugger; bastard; shit.............OK I swear.
We managed to get a smaller than wanted bird so added a piece of pork to vary the meal; it worked out well.
Got back, answered some nice e-mails and later that morning had one of those sublime occasions that last in the memory. Luckily I had the camera.
The view outside our front door that morning. A proper White Christmas.
'I have you at my mercy'....or so I thought. She got her own back.
A beautiful morning.
The rest of Christmas Eve was spent preparing for 'The Day'; home made stuffing amongst other things. Wrapping presents too.
Had I got something she would like? So anxious.
Son came around along with Daughter and Granddaughter to enjoy a Christmas Eve family time; wonderful.
They all stayed the night.
Any parent will testify to the joy of the return of the entire family to sleep with you in the same building. I think Mrs AWB regarded it as a Christmas present in itself; I did.
Christmas Day; the presents - including mine - worked well. Thank God.
The dinner perfect; The Turkey moist; the pork full of flavour and the roasties and the rest simply gorgeous.
It was team work - well Mrs AWB and me; her gravy; my stuffing; my roasts; her timings.
It summarised our marriage in a way and we both recognised it.
Son stayed 'til late and announced his wish to spend more time with the extended family on our visit 'Oop North' on Sunday; today.
So today carried on the Christmas thing; I'm drinking some more whisky from that visit as I type and mellowing in a lovely family afterglow from the last four days or so.
My post has been a little 'bullet pointy' in a way. I make no apologies for that. I have tried to capture the moments, the ambiance, without dwelling on any one particular scene.
I think that is what Christmas is about; that moment - maybe several - that stay in our minds without any reason other than they give us some warmth.
For me, for my family, those moments were more than just moments this year..........they accounted for the whole four days.
I'll never forget it.
Hence this post.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
I am happy.
A good time to extend warm wishes to all who read me; whether you be regular readers or intermittent browsers. It matters not for you have come to see what I have wrote.
That is so gratifying.
So all the very best to you all.
Jobless; only the second time in my life have I been in that state and then, as now, I had a job to go to. My heart goes out to those who, having finished one job, do not have another to go to.
Especially at this time of year.
I had my last full run of deliveries last night. Huge loads too.
And my very last one was to a future colleague at my new place of work. He'd just finished his shift and had come in still wearing his uniform.
How weird is that?
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
My lady manager is my normal manager. She has risen through the ranks so to speak. She is good. She treats her staff as people.
The man manager belongs to that officer class of manager. Many businesses fast track people through the system to groom them for the role of store manager and beyond. They spend time in all the departments learning the job hands on.
In theory it is a good idea. By the time they get to the more senior positions they do have a fairly clear idea as to how the nuts an bolts of a store work.
But in getting there I think they lose something; if they ever had it.
Whilst in a particular section they have no commitment to that section. They are detached. Their goal is not the long term success of the section but in learning how it works and making sure nothing goes wrong on their watch.
I wonder if that is a good way to learn how to manage people.
I wonder if that is important in the retail trade. I don't think it is but that begs the question; should it be?
How much more would they get out of their staff if they treated them as people?
Take the behaviour of the two managers towards my resignation.
Lady Manager congratulated me and left it at that.
Man Manager tried to inveigle me into working my full notice.
He tried it again yesterday;
'About the rota after Christmas' he started.
'I've got my letter from Head office. I go on the 26th. I won't be here'
'But we agreed....................' he said, but I stopped him
'No, YOU agreed. I told you well in advance what I wanted, you did not contradict that until AFTER I had handed my formal notice in' I said firmly. This was in front of others.
He stopped and backed off.
What he hadn't known was that my letter of resignation clearly stated what I wanted. HQ went along with that. I had handed it to the human resources manager, bypassing him but telling him what my intentions were.
I wasn't even on the rota. He wanted me around to fill in for a poor colleague who has gone sick with back trouble.
The Lady Manager? Never mentioned it. I will work my final shift tomorrow morning. There will be just me and her and it will be fun. She will let me go early too.
The irony is this.
If she had handled the resignation and negotiated with me about some extra time between Christmas and New Year I would have done it.
One of them is a manager whilst the other isn't.
It is the latter who will get to 'manage' a store.
I have to admit I was getting a little....cough.....bored. I'd plough through some blogs and not feel any great sense of having read anything worthwhile.
An awful admission to make on my own blog. I'd even commented to a friend that I was getting a little bored at times.
This morning I yawned and decided to have a look at some.
Oh how wrong I'd been. What wonderful posts I found. Some uplifting stories. Some amusing. They made me smile, they made me think.
So why the change of view?
Well, I think it is because I have been wrapped up in my own concerns recently; the new job and so on.
You get out of what you read what you are able to put into it sometimes.
And sometimes your own self-absorption can blind you to the beauty that is there for all to see.
That applies to life in general.
Thank you fellow bloggers.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
When we work we work in order to get paid. Our employer promises to pay us. In the case of paying up front we then rely on the promise of the service or product provider to deliver.
When we buy large items such as houses or cars we borrow. That is done on the basis of us promising to repay the loan.
Business lives on the promise.
And dies by it too when promise is unfulfilled.
I wonder. Much of the recent credit crunch came about because a large enough proportion of those promising to pay were unable to fulfil their promise to pay.
For a society to live by the promise it has to be based on integrity; the intention of those who make those promises that they will fulfill them.
Are we seeing the beginnings of the degeneration of our society in our increasingly cavalier attitude to the promise.
I wonder if we have substituted hope for promise in the sense that we will borrow in the hope that we will pay it off rather than the promise.
Hope is a little more tenuous than promise but it does seem to be a trend in attitude I see in people.
It's potentially quite dangerous I think.
Can you imagine going to work in the hope that you get paid rather than the promise?
I think it's a poor do. He seems to have got it on a promise. A promise of what he might do based on the aims he has spoken about.
He hasn't achieved anything yet. A lot could happen during his remaining term of office.
If we got all rewarded on our promises rather than our achievements we would all be smothered with awards.
He got it because he is black. He got it because he wasn't George Bush. He got it because he was photogenic and could talk the talk......you know, those big portentous sounding speeches that sound great until you listen to the words and realise that they are full of the platitudes that all politicians use; especially the dishonest ones.
When he was elected I was shocked by the attitude of many of his supporters. It came over to me as racist at times. If he'd been white and white people had behaved in such a way it would have been seen as shocking.
Or if he'd been a Muslim?
He represents what politics has become. Image with no substance. Even if the man has substance that is not important any more. He got the Nobel not for substance but for image.
The substance of our lives is no longer governed by those with a political vision. There are no Churchills. There are no Hitlers either.
The people who influence our lives are in the boardrooms now. That is where the power lies. In the media too.
We have seen how they can affect our lives in a way that politicians can only dream of.
Snuggled up in the warmth.
Wrapping presents and hiding them.
Playing with the Christmas tree lights; we have one of those with various settings.
A glass of wine.
Scrooge on the telly.
But a curry? Hmmmm.....................
Well, we'll just have to follow it with port and mince pies with clotted cream.
Ooh, it's just started snowing.
This weekend we are having a quiet 'just the two of us' thing so we decided to make it one of our curry weekends. I'm the curry cook in our house.
Yesterday was creation day. And I used something I had saved earlier. My wife had made some soup using one of those 'Soak the night before' pulse based soup packs along with loads of veggies. The pulses hadn't been soaked or boiled long enough and were a bit firm.
She would have thrown it out. Me? I zuzzed it up into a puree and announced it would make a good sauce base if cooked again. Thank god for freezers.
So a curry it became; curry paste, chillis, ginger and chickpeas and a few hours in the slow cooker transformed it.
Along with my home-made onion bhajis, butter chicken, lamb massala and ginger cauliflower.
Oh, and a hot prawn starter; heavy on chillis and lime juice.
My wife is now trying her hand at some bhajis to go with the rest which we will enjoy whilst watching Scrooge.
Curry and Scrooge!
Friday, 18 December 2009
Whilst standing there as you do....well as us men do....examining the wall in front of you I became aware of voices from the next room; the main training come meeting room,
And the loudest voice was familiar. It became clear that I was listening to a grievance meeting; one between one of my fellow drivers and one of the team leaders refereed by our boss.
I was embarrassed as some of the content became quite personal. Although, by nature I am nosey, I didn't want to hear this and zipped up...........luckily avoiding the terror of the 'foreskin caught in the zipper' and went out on my deliveries.
Later I was able to collar the boss alone and mentioned that the conversation could be overheard and that maybe such a confidential meeting should be held in one of the more private offices re sound.
Oh, but he knew of the sound issues. He laughed it off. I was gobsmacked.
The driver concerned has been off with stress owing to this; OK he may be swinging it.
But an employer should be sensitive to such things.
To hold such a meeting where it can be overhead is just plain wrong.
And if that guy got wind of it he could no doubt make hay too.....if he wished.
That meeting was held just to tick a box so that they could get the guy back to work.
I certainly realise the benefits of that now after a year in the retail business. Managers in the retail business do not manage people. They manage goods; whatever it is they sell. And I think they view the people who they employ in the same light as the products they sell.
So I probably had the same level of interest and importance to the managers as a bunch of bananas.
I have found retail management in general, clinical, impersonal and a little cold. There are exceptions of course. They don't understand people because they are not interested in people.
That sounds like a downside. It isn't. I'm a 'people person' and know how to get the best out of whoever I am dealing with. Another 'people person' would recognise that and not allow me to take advantage. Not so with these retail managers.
An example. I told my current boss I was leaving and made it clear I wanted to go at Christmas as I had a lot of accrued holiday that could take up much of my notice period. I gave plenty of warning and asked him, once I'd told him, if it would be OK to spread the news. OK, he said.
So I did.
And I made it clear that I would be gone when I wanted to go; at Christmas. I outlined this in my formal resignation letter too. I personally handed this to the HR manager telling her what I wanted. I broadcast to everyone what I intended to do and what I had told my boss.
Later, my boss told me that I would have to work my full formal notice. The holidays would be added to my final wage. They are short staffed. Not what I had been talking about. He was trying to 'manage' me.
So what did I do? I could have rowed with him; he should have enlightened me about that when I told I would resign.
No. Never row with the boss. If you do he/she may decide you need to be made an example of. Just do what needs to be done. I made it clear to the guy who does the rota that whether or not he bothered to include me post-Christmas would be a waste of his time. Everyone knew.
My letter from HQ arrived today.
The date is the date I wanted. Not the boss.
Most management will take the easy way out. If you, as the managed one, give them an easy route and a hard route they will take the easy route.
Make what you want to happen easy and it is more likely to happen. Make the alternative hard and it will likely be avoided.
The essence is never to challenge directly. Never be personal.
That way they can accede to your wishes without seeming to give in.
It's all bollocks really.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
I almost had my moment tonight. That, 'Put 'em up' moment.
Out on the road in the snow it was pretty if a little treacherous. Snow is like fog in the way it isolates you inside a little bubble of weather by muffling all sound and vision from anything further than a few feet.
I had a delivery in the Northern area of Leeds. A nice area full of Edwardian and Victorian Semis. Avenues lined with mature trees and devoid of pedestrians. These streets, although not very far from the city centre are very quiet.
And when it snows they get even quieter.
I had been rummaging around in the back of my van and was climbing out when something caught my eye. It made me jump and at the precise moment I did so did the 'something'.
Wow, my jump became a swift turn to face my would be assailant. The slippery snow turned the swift movement into a swivel and before I knew it I had hit the deck. Damn. Adrenalin brought about a speedy recovery. Clumsiness brought about another fall.
I was convinced by now that my assailant was about to kick my head in. But no; nothing happened.
I eventually got up and scanned my surroundings whilst positioning myself in what I imagined to be the best stance to face an assault from any direction. I was covered in snow and must have looked a right twat.
And I was a twat. It soon dawned on me that my would be assailant had, in fact, been my own shadow.
A few minutes later I arrived at my customer's door with his groceries, covered in snow and breathing heavily. I hoped he hadn't seen it.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Some people act on those desires. Most will not admit it for to admit it would take away that furtive frisson that can only stay exciting as long as it's secret as well as causing the obvious problems.
So have I acted on those lusts?
Well, I'll admit to one dalliance. A wayward desire that I could not resist when I was younger and the fires within me burned with an intensity that I can only imagine now.
I was young, in my late twenties, a husband and father and in a job that gave a me a lot of spare time that I could use to hide all sorts of activities.
A warm summer's day and I was feeling as randy as a stag in rutting season. My thoughts.....well, let's not describe them as thoughts. To use the word 'thought' for such lustful desires is misleading. Best to use instincts.
They led me to a sexual experience......................but not with my young wife.
I'll use the name 'Melanie'. In effect she was just a vessel for me to sate my lust. I saw her in a supermarket, picked her up and took her in my car to my house. She didn't resist. I knew she wouldn't.
I trembled with the anticipation of what I wanted to do. She was quiet, just lolled in the car seat. That silence enhanced the mood of impending gratification.
I carried her into my home. Yes, carried her! I was shaking by now. I knew what I was doing was incredibly naughty and made sure no-one was around when I took her inside.
Inside I laid her on the kitchen top and cast my eyes over her naked smooth skin. I drooled, and not just from my mouth.
I then cut her end off and took the seeds out.
Yeah, 'she' was a melon and I had this weird desire to be naughty with it. I didn't want to be unfaithful but I wanted furtive. Naughty.
So 'Melony' was the answer.
I readied the fruit, squirted some moisturising cream inside and proceeded to...................well you can imagine..............or maybe best not to.
I didn't last long and the post-coital experience was the strangest I have ever had.
There was the melon stuck between the mattress and base of our bed and there was me knelt in front.
Afterwards I felt a total twat. I took the melon to the local tip and walked the walk of shame to throw the bagged melon into a tip. I dreaded seeing it fall out...............with the end cut off and dribbling the obvious.
So, dear reader, I can feel shame even when I am only committing an infidelity with a fruit!
Amongst all the stuff you'd expect there was guidance on where to park and timings to walk from a couple of car parks to my place of work.
And they all cost money.
I've had the luxury over the years of never having to spend money to park my car for work. When employed I had my own paid for place. When self employed the office car park was free and when out visiting clients there was never an issue. Even with my delivery job it is free. I just park in the customers' car park.
I must have saved thousands over the years.
Now I am about to join the ranks of those who pay to park for work. Or am I?
I could look at alternative transport. No train station nearby. Buses? Hmmmm. I've never trusted them.
So I went on a recce to see what free parking was available within a reasonable distance.
I think I've found one or two; business parks with hotels and eateries. My car can be lost amongst the general melee and there are no signs telling me I can't park there.
There is a price though. A good walk which I estimate at two miles or so.
...............so I will get exercise too and after being stuck indoors for hours I will very likely enjoy that. I'll do a trial and see how long it takes me.
How many will do a little research to save some money and get a little exercise?
When I go and park in a supermarket car park I am amazed at how lazy people are when faced with a walk from their car to the supermarket doors. I've seen people driving around near the doors looking for a space when there are dozens at the far end of the car park; a walk of a hundred yards maybe.
Same with beauty spots and tourist destinations. Cars cram the central parking areas with many waiting for someone to vacate a place. If they were prepared to walk a mile or so they would generally get parked more quickly.
And usually more cheaply too.
And have you noticed the pattern out in the country. People out on a country walk don't walk very far too. You can bet your bottom dollar that a popular walk will shed its walkers like Napoleon's army retreating from Moscow within a mile or two of where the cars are parked.
I wonder how many do what I am doing?
But there are times when I completely misread something and that has puzzled me.
I think it's partly linked with my previous post. We men can get so obsessed about something that we miss all the signs. The focus thing
However, there is also the fact we men are not so adept at the way women, in particular, send those messages.
Our message sending tends to be non-verbal. That man thing of reading each other without words.
That's fine when you are with someone who is on that kind of wavelength; another man more likely, but when we have to rely on words; phone, emails and the like, then we can get into dangerous territory.
Even when with someone we can get it wrong too.
My wife will say something intended to convey a message. I don't hear that. I hear the words but not the meaning. If it was non-verbal I'd get it but women are more reliant, because they are generally better at it, on words.
So they use them whilst we flounder around wondering what we've missed sometimes.
Their subtlety flies over our heads like a firework for a blind man.
Take Christmas. My wife gives me all sorts of verbal messages about what Christmas presents she would like.
Well, my dears, it is fucking pot luck if those messages get anywhere near their intended target.
This is a very dangerous time of year for me.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
I often seem to commit a faux pas whereas my wife rarely does.
I'll plough ahead with an idea and before you know it lead balloons are falling with a heavy thud and it is only then that it dawns on me that I've maybe jumped in when I would have been best served hanging back.
I think it is partly down to that male thing of 'focus'. Men are, at least they are supposed to be, able to focus whereas women can spread themseves more; the multi-tasking thing.
I'm not really a focus kinda man...........at least that is what I thought.
But, today, I got fixated on something and suggested it to a friend. Well, the lead ballooon landed with a great thud at my feet and, luckily for me, my blushes were hidden from my friend although my discomfort still scratches like an annoyed rodent.
I had been so fixed on my own part within this suggestion that I had failed to think of anyone else.
Tunnel vision eh.
As a man I have learned to grovel very effectively. Mrs AWB knows all my moves.
Women generally don't do that very well....................maybe because they don't have to.................or think they don't have to he he.
I will say this; apologies come quite easily to me. My wife has to build up to hers.
If any of us had known how the year would have unfolded would we have acted differently?
Do we really want to know how the next year will pan out?
I'm glad I didn't know what would happen. I would have been in despair I think. For me, the last year has been the most consistently difficult I have ever had. On occasion I have stared into a black pit of despair and wondered if I had acted rashly in selling up.
Not like me at all; usually I don't see the negatives and bounce along quite happily. My wife often describes as one of those people who, no matter what happens, always lands on his feet.
She misinterprets. What I do is this. No matter how I land I find my balance and get on with it.
In that sense I've always seen life as fairly easy. It always has been too. I can adapt to pretty well anything and can never understand people who continually get phased and moan about their lot.
But this last year I took a different tack. I deliberately made a hard choice and struck out for something totally different.
This last year I took action rather than allow things to happen to me.
And it was exhilarating.
But if I'd known how dark it could get at times I would have been distracted by fear.
So I'll continue to enjoy my ignorance of the future. To aim in the hope of getting to my target but enjoying the frisson that I just don't know for certain where my journey will take me.
I had my interview for my new job on my birthday and got the job; they even informed me on the same day!
I didn't mention that I sat my assessments on my daughter's birthday 9 days previously; 10 years from the day I got made redundant the one and only time in my life.
Yeah, I was made redundant on my daughter's 21st.
Some people would think that such coincidences were not coincidence but a sign of what is meant to be.
Me? No, not really. I think it is mere coincidence. Yes, it is symbolic but symbolism is only what we choose to see.
Monday, 14 December 2009
I told the boss as soon as I got the provisional job offer on my birthday. He's not my normal boss; she's standing in for someone at another store. He thanked me and I told him I would work the rota 'til Christmas and then no more as I had plenty of holiday hours that could be set against my notice period. That's how most places operate, or so I'm told.
He didn't put me any the wiser so I carried on for another couple of weeks before handing my official notice in; when I'd got official confirmation that all my checks were OK for the new job. He then changed his tune, 'You'll have to work your full 4 weeks and then they'll add on the holidays you have earned'
Thanks for letting me know. He's either trying it on - they are short staffed - or inefficient.
So my response?
I'm not going to argue the toss. If he's a fool it's a waste of time. If he's trying it on it is too. Instead I had a word with the Team Leader who does the rota and warned him it was pointless including me in the next one. His response, 'Why don't you walk now, most do?' He knows that if he does include me I may get a recurrence of my knee problem or flu and ring in sick.
To me the above is an example of pathetic management. The manager is not in control. He is adhering to a rule to cover his back whilst those under him get on with the day to day running of the place.
My proper boss is back today. I'll suss her out and see how the ground lies; whether to be honest or not.
It contrasts with the last time I informed my boss I was leaving. I was a manager of an insurance office in Bradford. My boss was based in Manchester.
I rang him to let him know. The following day he was there to pick up my letter of resignation, hand me a cheque with my notice pay and unused holiday pay and then basically told me to get out of the office. They didn't want me recruiting staff for the new company.
It was clinical and efficient - but fair. I had a cheque for a large amount of money and got what amounted to a month's holiday with a bonus before starting my new job.
It was the strangest feeling; after twenty plus years with the same outfit walking back to my car with all links severed.
The management there were in control.
What a contrast.
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Mostly I have watched it over the last two or three years and cringed at some of the bum notes that the finalists come out with.
That doesn't make them any worse than the so-called professionals. Many of them are not very good live. Some, like Robbie Williams, are positively mediocre. But they get where they are on personality, charisma.....oh, OK then, that indefinable X-Factor.
But the winner had a voice. He sang with George Michael, who can sing, and held his own.
Joe McElderry is proof that some of these populist shows that so many pretend to despise do work.
I've thoroughly enjoyed it and will look to see what Joe does.
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Whilst you are in 'that day' you appreciate it but, before you know it, it is but a memory that has slipped from the here and now to the then.
Today has been such a day. The afterglow of getting 'that job' I suppose. However, getting 'that job' has allowed me to reflect and look anew at what I have.
I have been inside one; the other two have a little of me inside them.
The former a moment; the latter two a lifetime.
I wasn't sure what to make of my expression here; so I've posted it.
I don't look happy but believe me I am.
There is a question in my face I suppose.
There always is. When that goes I will.
And the dog on wheels? We went to Cannon Hall; a favourite haunt. A couple were there with two dogs. One had a harness with wheels to allow it to run around. Its back legs were buggered. Most people would have such an animal destroyed. It didn't look old. It was happy and ran....and rolled....with its back end supported by what amounted to a trolley. You can see it beyond my family if you look carefully.
The rabbit in a tree? We came across a rabbit carcass high up in the hedge you see my family walking next to. Never seen that before. Probably dropped by a Crow or some such.
A walk in the country opens up little vignettes on life as well as the wide open vistas we look for.
It also allows us to wander into our own minds to enjoy the views within too.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Tonight has been quite cold. Or so I've been told. I was not aware of it whilst dashing around making my deliveries.
I drove with my window wide open and left my hand out to take in the cool night air. Except it was a bit more than cool.
It's quite funny delivering at this time of year in the evenings. I park my van, get out and go knock on the customer's door. It's partly to ensure they are in but also to give them the invoice so they can check any alterations without me having to stand around like a prick. While they do this I go and unload their groceries.
And they close the door to keep the heat in.
I can see them lurking behind the curtains waiting for me to approach with my trolley. Then, as I get to within a few feet of their door they open it.
It's all very considerate in the main.
Tonight I got within the 'opening' distance and then realised I had forgotten something and turned back to get it.
So the door closed again. It reminded me of that daft door at work.
At my last call, quite late, I blurted out the following gem; 'By, it's mild tonight!' There was frost on the ground. I realised as soon as I had said it that it must have sounded like a load of bollocks and shite liberally mixed in amongst the drivel.
I was warm you see; very warm. I had been rushing around to keep to my deadlines - tight tonight - and achieved them. I hadn't been lounging in a warm house - maybe dozing a little. I had been up and at it. I was hyper.
The customer looked at me as though I were some kind of alien. He couldn't think of a sensible thing to say.
It's relative. I would have walked into his house and been stifled. Even now I'm sitting without the heat on and only wearing - don't worry - shorts and a T-Shirt. I'm positively overheated.
At least to Granddaughter I will.
'Will Granda be able to arrest me?' she asked, a little concerned.
Before an amused Grandma could answer she gathered herself and replied, 'He won't you know............I'm just a kid'
I'll still have go he he.
At my place of work their are two doors which tend to get used quite a lot.
There is the one that leads from the shop floor to the main depot at the back of the store with all the offices and my on-line department. It is automatic in the sense that if you approach it will open without any action on your part. It is designed to facilitate those pulling great loads of groceries passing into the main shop floor.
The other oft-used door is that leading from the store rooms and the on-line area into the restaurant and back office area.
It is not automatic.
Today I wandered in and out onto the shop floor a couple of times. The doors opened without me having to lift a finger.
I'm adaptable. I form habits very quickly. I had got used to that door tonight. And without thinking I had a new habit.
It consisted of walking towards a door and expecting it to open. I did it without thinking; that's how we form habits.
Trouble was when I walked towards - and into - the other door.
I have red nose now.
Friday, 4 December 2009
Tonight we dined in our kitchen which has those spotlights. They highlight in a way that ordinary lighting doesn't.
Granddaughter has what I would describe as colourful hair. The bulk is light brown/dull blond but there are highlights of varying colours that shine out depending on the light.
Honey, wheat, gold, even a hint of bronze and copper on occasion.
I was feeling romantic tonight. Quite often do really. The light caught a streak of gold running through her hair. It glinted like a vein of treasure in some rock formation.
'I can see gold in your hair tonight Tia' I said, almost sighed, my mind wandering over the fluffy fields of romance and sentimentality.
She looked at me directly and said firmly, 'Granda, it might be just muck'
Oh well, where there's muck there's gold........
.....................and maybe just a bit of brass too.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Lately I've had that challenged. The assessment for my new job entailed levels of concentration on one thing - focusing - that I find difficult. I did it though.
Yesterday I had to focus again. It was during the 'Sight and Hearing' tests I have to have for the job.
The sight test was normal run of the mill stuff. Reading things at a distance and close up, with and without glasses, with both eyes and then each eye. I realised that it wasn't too crucial as long as I could see reasonably well, which I can.........with my glasses on.
Not so the hearing test. This was a tightly controlled exercise that I found quite nerve wracking.
I had to sit inside a little cubicle with a window with some very tight fitting headphones clamped to my ears. The test consisted of listening for pulsating noises and pressing a button for the duration of the time I could hear the noise.
And boy were they faint. So faint that I had ended up holding my breath. I could hear my own heart beat above this and then became aware of the general noise from my body and allowed that to take my mind elsewhere. I wondered if I was imagining some of the faintest noises and the whole thing took on a dream-like quality which fired up my imagination and..............oh shit.
I was getting distracted and had to force myself back to the task in hand.
Then, I just had to breath and because I'd held my breath for a while it came in a whoosh that hid the noises and that made my mind wander.................bugger.
It seemed to go on forever and I was a bag of nerves when it finished. We had to wait for the computer to process and then print out the result.
And the result?
Well, the nurse who supervised it was gobsmacked. My hearing is near perfect; unusually so for my age.
'I bet you can hear a pin drop' she said in awe. She showed me the graph - way up it was - and told me where hers would be - quite low down.....normal for our age.
I'd passed, and with flying colours it seems.
When I thought about it I realised that it did make sense to place the most emphasis on hearing.
Whether or not I hear things being told to me by someone possibly in a state of panic, in a noisy place, could dictate whether someone lives or dies in an extreme case.
How I record it on the computer using my eyes can be adjusted. It is not so immediate.
It lifted me. I'm probably going into that job with better hearing than many a fair bit younger than me.
But, oh boy, the concentration was the real test. I'm sure I missed some noises owing to my ever curious wandering mind.
Heavens, maybe I could have performed even better.
Mrs AWB laughed though. We both know that I can never use the excuse of not hearing what she said.
My, ' What was that you said?' will fall on deaf ears in future.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Do you hesitate before thinking it through? Do you panic and freeze? Do you act instinctively and quickly?
I belong to the last category in the main. I act and then panic. Or I act and then sweat with embarassment.
I'm sure I have mentioned my road traffic accident which illustrates the former. I'll now give you an example of the latter which happened during our early courtship.
It was during our first holiday together before we were married; the one in the caravan.
This was the first time we had ever been able to do 'it' without fearing interruption. Needless to say we took full advantage.....at all times of the day.
One balmy afternoon we were having fun and ended up doing 'Doggy'. Being young and daft we'd not thought of closing the curtains and lo and behold a family wandered past whilst I was in full thrust.
The man looked in..................and smiled.
All he saw was me.........waist up and moving in an obvious way doing it to someone or something hidden from his view.
I'll pause to let you giggle at the image.
If I'd hesitated and thought things through I may have come up with something like picking up a book or a paper or even a cup, if there'd been one nearby, and pretended to be doing something else.
Oh yeah!....and what would my wife have made of that........or the bloke.
I could have waved back...........brazen, but I wish I had.
If I'd panicked I would had lost the .......er....urge.........and again, my wife would have noticed.
So what did I do?
I threw my wife on the floor and carried on out of sight. I didn't lose my ardour because I wasn't thinking; just acting. I didn't miss.....cough....a stroke. She thought it was some mad passionate impulse.
I never told her the real reason.
Little Old Lady did that tonight. She was my last 'drop' out of a full load of 10 that I had.
I got there early, I'm just so...cough...efficient. I phoned to see if it was OK to deliver. I'd been before and it had been the middle aged son who took the delivery; hence the late hour. It was engaged. Tried a couple more times; the same so I went to the door of the old people's home and pressed the buzzer.
Whoosh.....the doors immediately swung open without anyone answering to see who it was....strange!
I blocked the door with a chair, unloaded the boxes onto my trolley and then negotiated the corridors and lift to get to the flat. At the door I could hear a TV and pressed the buzzer. I thought I heard a child so I pressed again.
'Come in' it was the 'child' who, in fact, was Little Old Lady. Far from having a thin reedy voice she had what sounded very like a five-year old's. I wheeled my trolley in, something we only do if we are allotted extra time to customers who are infirm, for instance.
And there she was in her lounge. Little Old Lady. She looked like an ancient Pixie. A sort of benign mischief and exuberance shone from her face. In front of her she had her Zimmer Frame and around her what seemed like a small pharmacy. Her body was like a crumpled old rag doll. Her face seemed incongruous amongst everything else.
Normally, when we deliver to old, infirm people we are given extra time so we can deposit the stuff in the kitchen. At all other times we stay at the door.
'It's just around the corner' answering my question as to where the light switch was.
I pulled a cord.....oops....it was the alarm for the nurse..........I pressed a switch. A strange whirring sound sprang up; some kind of air conditioning for people with lung problems I think....................serious oops now. Third time lucky I found the light switch.
Meanwhile, Little Old Lady had picked her crumpled body out of her chair and motored with eery speed over to the intercom to head off the nurse.
'They just sit around downstairs at this time of night so it'll give them something to do' she giggled.
I unloaded everything while she chattered happily and explained that her son would be back shortly to put it all away.
I asked about her husband. I knew he was in hospital from my last visit.
'Oh. he's dying' came her matter of fact answer. It wasn't said with that pause that people normally use when saying something they know will garner sympathy. She said it as though he were in the toilet...........with just a hint of emotion in her manner. Enough to let me know her concern. Not enough to force me into a reaction.
'I'll put the chilled and frozen things in the fridge and freezer', I said.
'Oh, you don't have to'
'I know I don't, but I want to'
And I did. I had the time and here was a decrepit old woman, kept alive by modern medicine and separated from her husband. Who knows, maybe she'd never see him again. Or of she did only for short visits in the hospital.
Yet her face was alive with life. She smiled and made every effort to make me welcome. She apologised for the gaff with the cord and was very appreciative of my tiny bit extra customer service.
In short, she was a pleasure to be around.
Yes. I'll remember Little Old lady.