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the lockdown log 10

The black dog of last week did leave me. I know that it is still lurking nearby, but choose ignore it. I have said often that I have never really grown up and I still have childlike delight in small things that usually works to lift my spirits.

My cure for depression this time came with one of the various projects I have on my list and this time it was the finding of some tools that I knew were somewhere, but hadn’t yet rediscovered them. I found a love for tools as a boy when I realised that you could make things to play with that there was not money in the family budget to buy.

Tools now are my big boy’s toys and finding what I did cheered me up a lot as they brought back memories of where and why I bought them. Most of what I found at the back of the shed were used on a previous lockdown project, one where I was working from home for about four months back in 2002.

It was one of those jobs where we would, as a business, pull in a good revenue at a decent profit for that type of work, but whereby there would be considerable grief from the client and, to some degree, from with our own people around the country.

My role was to co-ordinate reporting on progress and was frustrating for me because I had no leadership or executive role. I had no authority to bang heads or thump the table and had to work with what I got rather than what I needed. I only got roped in because I knew the client’s upper echelons better than anyone else and had a better understanding of how the client’s local offices worked.

Trying to get information was like drawing teeth and I would normally start to get numbers come through late in the afternoon with the final emails arriving around 5.30 to 6pm. I had to have my reports with the client first thing the next morning and so I ended up time shifting my day so that I worked after dinner until around 11pm, sometimes until 1am the next morning. This did little for home life as the Berkshire Belle was working full time on normal office hours back then, but it did mean that I had almost nothing work related to do through the day.

What I did do was DIY around the house and garden all day. On the rare occasion that my mobile ‘phone rang I would take the call and deal with it, but I had been withdrawn from other work to handle this one project and, as long as the client was kept quiet and happy my boss was quiet and happy too. For sixteen weeks I stayed at home aside from two trips out, both to resolve accusations of work not having been done. On both runs I photographed the completed work and went back home. After that there were no more problems.

After seventeen weeks of isolation it was agreed that I was no longer needed in a full time role, I would just be thrown back in if a wheel came off, and I was able to rejoin the team that I worked in. I was still based from home, but was back into the round of meetings here there and everywhere.

With the discovery of that box of tools the memories have all come flooding back of that time. It was not a happy time especially although it had its moments. I came to terms with the concept of time shift working, my employer earned something north of £15m quid from the project and my darling and I enjoyed the benefits of my labours through the daylight hours even if our evenings were ruined. Such is life.

Stay safe and sane out there.

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