Perfect Storm

2.jpgIn February, with tensions high in the sales office (heightened by a distinct lack of sales calls, the removal of temps, a visible drop in sales attributed to Brexit, the falling pound and poor high street sales), I was called to a meeting to be told that my and five other employee’s role was at risk of redundancy.
Now, I’ve been made redundant four times previously so, as you get more experienced, you start to notice the signs; Whispered meetings, lack of work, telling glances between senior managers whenever future plans are discussed. So it was no surprise that Az (my manager) laid out the company’s situation and plans in front of me. A month later, after playing all the silly redundancy games where they offer you a role clearly not suitable for you, meetings to discuss what you do and the passing over of duties to others, I was put on garden leave with a fairly nice redundancy package.
This was fine until a few days into my break from work, it became frighteningly clear that globally, something more worrying was brewing. Covid 19.
I’m now on the fourth week of my non-work period. I’m bored, feeling isolated and unwanted while still trying to stay positive, focussed and constructive. Sadly, with the whole virus thing going down, it seems that the jobs market is already starting to show signs of trouble.
woman wearing face mask
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

The business man in me says “Why would a company hire an employee now when the likelihood is that that employee could be forced to self-isolate and stay at home?”. Furthermore, why would an employer put themselves and their employees at risk by conducting interviews with complete strangers? (Which, if you think about it, is perfectly reasonable: An office full of people already immune to each other’s coughs and sneezes probably doesn’t want an unknown token carrying untold maladies being added to the mix).

I console myself in the fact that those people I left at my former place of work will no doubt face further challenges themselves: further drops in sales, lack of product being shipped from China, inter-office infections and associated absences and had I not been released when I was, I would be undergoing the same concerns I had then now.
But now the big smelly kipper. As long term readers will know, I have suffered from coronary heart disease for nearly 20 years now. I say suffer, that’s the medical term, I feel fitter than a whole Irish pub of fiddles. But by “suffering”, this allows me the grace of a free NHS provided annual flu jab. This, in turn, means that I fall into the “at risk” category which means that I need to engage with “social distancing” and potentially self-isolation.
pair of white dice on top of mirror
Photo by Skitterphoto on

Practically, I have been in self-isolation for nearly 4 weeks now. Apart from my Monday night Dungeons and Dragons session, the occasional trip to the shops, library and interview, and a trip to Liverpool to see the family, my social contact has been virtually non-existent. Then Mr Johnson says “Don’t go seeing people unnecessarily” which has put the kibosh on Dungeons and Dragons and with fewer interviews coming through I’m already doing a damn fine job of keeping away from the hordes of infected zombies out there. However, next week, it seems Mrs Gnomepants v2.0 is on leave so I will have someone else other than myself to drive up the wall at least.

Dreams, Train & Stupid Students


I’ve been having a lot of dream re-runs recently. Last night it was the one about trying to get on the London Underground, more specifically at Mudchute (which in my dreams is underground rather than overground or wombling free). To get on the platform I have to go through an old hospital or school, go down old stair wells (often near or in disused warehouses, sometimes containing old steam locomotives). I then have to climb out of a tunnel and onto the platform. Trying to get to street level sometimes proves to be difficult as the stairs are all wrong an’ ting.

Dunno what it is about trains, they feature in my dreams frequently . Yeah I know the train/tunnel imagery, but its not trains going into tunnels and most certainly not a sexual dream. Locomotophilia is not my pot of tea (for one with jam & cream scone) thank you very much. A quick glance at internet and it reveals

TrainsTo see a train in your dream, represents conformity and go along with what everyone else is doing. You have the need to do things in an orderly and sequential manner. In particular, if you see a freight train, then it refers to the burdens and problems that you are hauling around.

To dream that you are on a train, is symbolic of your life’s journey and suggests that you are on the right track in life and headed for the right direction. Alternatively, you have a tendency to worry needlessly over a situation that will prove to work out in the end.

To see or dream that you are in a train wreck, suggests chaos. The path to goals are not going according to the way you planned it out. Or you may be lacking self-confidence and having doubt in your ability to reach your goals.

To dream that you are the engineer, signifies that you are in complete control of a particular situation in your waking life.

To dream that you miss a train, denotes missed opportunities or nearly escaping your death.

Yeah right.

Stupid Students

The university runs some long distance/correspond by email courses. The more observant of you may have noticed their adverts popping up around the internet. Well anyway, most of these courses are postgraduate based courses and I would say that at least 80% of the students of this scheme ring or email back within 10 days of registration to say that they have forgotten their username and password. Which….they would have chosen themselves. Now, yeah ok, I can understand in today’s IT based world where we have umpteen gazillion passwords and usernames, but we get thousands of noobs every September who register for the IT system in exactly the same way. Then we never hear from them again! So why is it that the ones that register at home cannot remember? I dunno.

Which reminds me. Yesterday (or it might have been the day before) a student approached me with a problem.

stegzyYes I can see the problem. Ok now what you need to do is click the right mouse button.
User: **clicks left mouse button**
stegzy No the right mouse button
User: That’s what I did.
stegzy No you didn’t
User: Oh yeah…tee hee….I always get confused
stegzy What are you studying may I ask?
User: Nursing
stegzy Remind me not to get ill when you’re on duty yeah?

And that my friends….is what they call in the trade….a TRUE story. Word for word!