Well done Michael!

Just over a week ago Michael got a letter from Warburtons congratulating him on his ten years service with the company For that ten years he now gets £100 to spend on Extra Dough (the money variety, not the sort you make bread out of!)  and he can choose whether to have it added to his wage, spend it on the website or take the equivalent in vouchers. The letter was followed earlier this week by a card personally signed by Brett Warburton, executive director and co-owner of the company.
Now just to avoid any possible confusion, Michael is actually his middle name and he’s always been called that by me, family and close friends, but for some reason at work everyone calls him by his first name, Sean, and that’s who the letter and card were addressed to.
copy of michael's 10 year letter
copy of michael's 10 year letter 001
copy of michael's 10 year letter 002
The Warburtons bakery isn’t far from home and I remember if we ever passed nearby when Michael was quite young he always said that the aroma of baking bread smelt more like toast, so it was always a joke between us through the years that Warburton’s were making toast again. Right from being so young he always said he wanted to work there and when he left school at 16 it was the first place he applied at for a job but unfortunately he didn’t get taken on at the time.
Fast forward through several years and other jobs and he eventually went to work at Warburtons through an agency ; he was with the agency for just over four years before being taken on as an official Warburtons employee and since then has worked his way up to a job which carries a fair amount of responsibility. His shifts are long – usually 12 hours – but the work is varied, he enjoys what he does and he gets a decent amount of days off and holidays. Neither of us knew, all those years ago when he was very young, that he would eventually achieve his goal and work for the largest bakery brand in the UK – as his mum I’m proud of him. And yes, it does still smell like they are making toast!

A watched pot never boils….

Or in my case, a watched dishwasher doesn’t do anything.
To put you in the picture, at my evening job it’s usual for one of the girls on reception to put the dishwasher on late in the afternoon then switch it off again before leaving work at 5pm, so all I have to do later is remove the clean pots and put them away, which up to now has never been a problem. However, when I got to work this evening the boss’s secretary told me that one of the girls was on a day off and the other had gone home early as she wasn’t well, so as the secretary herself had put the dishwasher on late and it was still running I needed to make sure it was switched off before I left for the evening.
I got all my usual work done and left the kitchen till last but when I went in there the light on the dishwasher said it was still in drying mode ; I could hear a faint humming sound so while I was waiting for the machine to finish whatever it was doing I wiped over the work surfaces and draining board, but even after I’d done that the ‘drying’ light was still on. Now there’s a notice on the front of the dishwasher in capital letters, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR WHILE DISHWASHER IS RUNNING, so not knowing how much longer this thing would take I stood there watching it and waiting for the ‘drying’ light to go out and the ‘end’ light to come on – and I watched and waited and watched and waited a bit more but still the light didn’t go out. And then it dawned on me….
The humming noise I could hear was coming from the small extractor fan set high up in the wall near the ceiling – the dishwasher was actually completely silent and when I tentatively opened the door I found that the machine had actually finished its cycle ages before and was just sitting there quietly, waiting to be emptied. I don’t know why the ‘end’ light hadn’t come on but I’d just spent all that time watching something that wasn’t going to do anything because it had already done it! Needless to say, I emptied it quickly, turned the main switch to ‘off’ and made tracks for home – I’d had enough for one evening!

Sometimes I don’t know why I bother going away….

As I often seem to come back to a load of hassle. What is it they say about things going in threes? – well you can almost times that by three with the amount of problems I’ve had in the last 48 hours.
It all started late on Monday afternoon while I was still over in Ireland. Having used my phone several times in the course of the previous few days, all with no problems, I suddenly found that it wouldn’t send any texts and neither could I make a call – all I got was the message ‘no network coverage’ which was odd as Michael is on the same network and he didn’t have any problems. Thinking it may have something to do with having automatically changed to ‘roaming’ while I was in Ireland I thought it would be okay once I got back over here yesterday but unfortunately it was still the same so I’d been unable to let Michael know I’d landed safely back at Manchester airport.
The second problem was more of a minor inconvenience rather than an actual problem. By the time I’d got off the plane, through the airport and done the 10-minute walk to the airport station I’d just missed a train home and had to wait half an hour for the next one, which was a bit of a pain when I’d been travelling since 9am and just wanted to get home. At least when the next train arrived I was able to get a seat which I was glad of as it filled to what I’m sure must have been over its legal capacity as so many people got on at the various stations through Manchester.
The third problem came when I went to collect the van as I was on my way home. I’d left it with the mechanic, Sparky, for him to do a minor job on it while I was away, asking him to leave the key with the people at the corner house near his premises if he closed up before I got back. Having got the bus from the station I arrived back at Sparky’s at 5pm and found the workshop closed with the van locked up and parked outside, but when I went to the corner house to get the key the lady there said it hadn’t been left! So unable to get into the van I walked the mile-and-a-bit home from there dragging my small case and backpack behind me and thinking that if I hadn’t had to wait half an hour at the airport for a train I would probably have been back at Sparky’s before he closed up for the day.
Once at home I managed to solve the phone problem by putting the sim card into an older phone and it worked fine, so I assume that the fault is with my usual phone. Then came problem number four – I turned on the pc to be greeted by several messages from ebay saying my username and password had been changed and welcoming me to a business account, but to contact them if I hadn’t done any of this. All this activity had taken place since I left home at 8.30am last Thursday so it would seem that my account had somehow been hacked – it took me an hour to sort things out through customer services but it wasn’t to my satisfaction. Because I hadn’t contacted them within three days of their last message a block had been put on my account, which is fine as it stops any further unauthorised activity, but it also stops me  from using it and as I can’t prove that I’m actually me the block can’t be lifted. So I’ve had to get myself a new ebay account with new security details and a different email address to use specifically for ebay – and all the 100% feedback which I’ve accumulated since 2004 now counts for nothing as I’m back to square one.
So this morning, with no van, I had to get a taxi to work and another one from work to Sparky’s place. My morning job is down at the bottom of a country lane and not the easiest place to find so when I was leaving I walked up the lane onto the main road for my taxi – it was pouring down with rain, the taxi was stuck in traffic and by the time it finally arrived I was thoroughly wet through in spite of having an umbrella. When I finally got to Sparky’s I was greeted with “What are you  doing here?” – he’d mistakenly thought I wasn’t home until tomorrow and he hadn’t so far done the work on my van, intending to do it today. I couldn’t leave it there any longer though as I now need it for work and a pet sitting job so I just said I’ll drop it off at a time when I can do without it for a few hours and he gave me they key back – and that’s when I discovered the final problem.
While the van has been parked on the street outside Sparky’s workshop some nameless cretin has smashed the nearside front mirror, making it totally useless – luckily I’ve been able to source a new one on ebay so earlier on I made my first purchase using my new account. Hopefully the mirror will arrive by the weekend and I can get it sorted – I hope so as trying to park next to a pavement in the dark without being able to use the mirror just doesn’t work properly!
So aside from all the above problems since I got home I actually did have a nice few days over in Ireland. It’ll take me a while to sort out all my photos – believe it or not I took 380 in those few days! – but once that’s done I’ll be writing an account of my break. That will of course include the tale of the nightmare coach driver last Sunday but then that’s another story!


This time I’ve really lost the plot!

Having already been to my main evening job yesterday I went straight from there to my twice-a-week evening job at the accountant’s. It’s not a big place – a Georgian-style, bay windowed terraced house, one of a row of several which have been turned into offices – and the people who work there aren’t messy so it’s an easy job and only takes an hour. I have three keys on a ring, one for the back door and two for the front (a Yale key and a mortice key) and I always use the front door and leave the keys in the same place while I’m working. When I got there yesterday evening I found that two of the guys were working a bit later than usual but they left about half an hour after I arrived.
So I finished my work, turned out all the lights, set the alarm and went out through the front door, pulling it shut behind me ; with the Yale lock already on I only had to lock the mortice lock but where were the keys? And this is where it gets stupid – convinced I’d left them in the building I let myself back in, turned off the alarm, switched on all the lights and spent almost ten minutes going in and out of every room and up and down the stairs looking for them but couldn’t find them anywhere. I could only think that one of the guys who had been working late had picked them up by mistake, in which case I would have to ring the boss and tell him I couldn’t lock up properly. I was just about to get my phone out of my pocket to ring him when I realised – the keys, which I’d just used to get back into the building, were actually in my hand and had been all the time!!
I honestly don’t know what made me think that I’d left the keys in the building once I’d got outside, and the fact that I’d had to use one of them to get back in there should have told me that they were actually in my possession – this was more than just a ‘blonde moment’, my brain just seemed to have gone completely awol. Needless to say I had a good giggle at my own stupidity and Michael was amused too when I got home and told him what I’d just done. So if you don’t hear from me for a while you know I’ve been carted off by those little men in white coats!

This is what happens when….

You send a text to the wrong person and you have a son with a daft sense of humour.
I usually start work at my morning job at 7.15 but for the last few weeks three of the guys have been going in at 6am to do some extra work, so I’ve been going in early too when I can as the earlier I start the earlier I can finish and get back home for breakfast. So just after midday today I sent Mick, one of the guys, a text – “Is anyone in early tomorrow?” I didn’t get a reply straight away so assumed he was busy and put it out of my mind, then three hours later, out of the blue,  I got a text from Michael – “Yeah, there’s about a hundred of us” Of course I didn’t connect Michael’s text to me with the earlier one I’d sent to Mick so I wondered what on earth he was on about as it didn’t make any sense.
Another three hours later I’d managed to finish my evening job early for once so was in time to pick Michael up when he came out of his own work just after 6pm – and as he got in the van his first words were “What was that daft text you sent me earlier on?” So then it dawned on me – I’d sent my text to him instead of to Mick at work. No wonder Mick hadn’t replied! Of course when Michael got the text he wondered what I was playing at as he knew that I knew he would be starting work at 6am tomorrow – so for a bit of fun he’d sent a silly text back to me. While we were still in his works car park I re-sent the text to the person I should have sent it to in the first place and just a few minutes ago I got a reply.
We’ve both had a good laugh about the confusion – in fact I’m giggling now as I write this – but it’s now got me thinking. The bosses at both my evening jobs are called Michael so it’s a good job I didn’t mistakenly send the text to either of them or one of them would be thinking his cleaner has finally lost the plot!

Back to work!

Finally, ten months and one week since Michael broke his ankle, he is now back at work. He had to go for a meeting last Thursday to discuss his return, during which the bakery manager said they would get him some new and more comfortable work boots as his ankle is now slightly out of shape; ie bigger on one side than on the other, and also he would have some gel insoles. On Monday this week he went in to try the boots and discuss a ‘going forward’ plan, and yesterday he went in for a couple of hours to see what he feels comfortable with and capable of doing. He’s also been told that if his ankle starts giving him grief and he needs to sit down for a while then he doesn’t need to ask, he has full permission to rest as and when he needs to.
Today and tomorrow he’s back on the evening shift but only for three hours from 7pm until 10pm, then next week he’ll work three day shifts but only for four hours each time. From then on he’ll be on alternate shifts with his daily hours increasing over several weeks from five up to the full 12-hour shift. He said he’s a bit apprehensive about going back as he’s been away for so long but on the other hand he’s glad to be going back, and he knows he’ll soon get back into the swing of things once he gets started. In a way I’m glad too that he’s going back as his morale over the last few months has been a bit low at times, but I’ve got so used to him being around for most of the time that I’ll miss him when he’s not here!

Locked in and an ‘alarming’ experience

Although the ‘locked in’ bit didn’t happen to me but I still had to deal with the aftermath.
Being a key holder at my evening job, and the last to leave the premises, means it’s my responsibility to make sure that the building is locked up in the evenings and all security measures are in place. This evening the boss and another guy were both working late in the boss’s upstairs office and five minutes before I was due to leave I went to give them a gentle reminder; they soon packed up and went downstairs and a few minutes later I saw the boss’s car leaving the car park. With his office locked up I went through the building turning off all the lights then set the alarm and locked the front door on my way out – only to see the other guy’s car still in the car park.
At first I thought that for some reason he’d gone with the boss in his  car but then the alarm went off – somehow he was locked in the building. I unlocked the door again and there he was; it seemed he’d gone to the loo on his way out without informing me, was in there longer than he meant to be, and with his own office light out and no noise from anywhere I’d assumed he’d gone out and I’d locked the door accordingly – and his walking through the building had activated the alarm. Unfortunately for me though, it isn’t simply a matter of inputting my code number and stopping the alarm, I have a whole load of rigmarole to go through when it’s been activated.
The premises are monitored by a security company who will alert the police if the alarm goes off – if the police attend and it turns out to be a false alarm the company get charged, so to stop that happening I have to ring the security company, give them a password and tell them what’s happened so they don’t take any further action. Then  I have to ring the firm who installed the alarm system to get an alarm reset, which involves me standing in front of the panel while I’m on the phone and putting in various numbers as instructed. On the odd occasion when the alarm has gone off before it’s been a reasonably straightforward process but this evening it wasn’t.
For some strange reason the guy at the security company said that neither of my passwords were recognised, which was odd as I’d used both of them before with no problem – and without the right password he couldn’t not  take action, though he gave me a few minutes grace to see if I could find an alternative. I ended up phoning the boss’s pa – who was in the middle of a keep fit class! – and getting an old emergency password which fortunately worked when I rang the security company back. With no action taken on the alarm I was able to get a reset from the installation firm and eventually, half an hour later than usual, I finally left the premises and came home. And all that because someone went to the loo without telling me!