Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Doing a runner from a job

I've done this loads of times It's a real problem for me, I've had counselling about it.

The stupidest time was when I took a permanent civil service job, but couldn't face telling them I was returning to Australia in two months because they were so nice.

So I pretended to be mad!

I wrote the following letter:


Dear Mr *****,

I am sorry for my continued absence from work over the last week or so, but I feel that you should know he full circumstances. I believe that a vendetta is being carried out against me by certain persons within the branch, namely ******* and ******. Despite admitting that my work is nearly faultless, they seem to have decided that they do not want me working with them and have taken to attacking me on a personal level. They often have whispered conferences at the far end of the office, which I can tell are about me as they keep glancing in my direction. After these conferences are finished I am usually warned about some aspect of my behaviour. Last week it was for using the telephone too much at work, before that it was arriving five minutes late from lunch.

I could live with these minor irritants, but I have a much more serious problem to contend with. I believe that *** and ******* are trying to interfere with my work by destroying my powers of concentration. I believe that when either of them presses a certain combination of keys on their computer keyboard, some sort of white noise is emitted and interferes with my brain patterns. It seems that only I am affected by it. It is like having a swarm of invisible bees buzzing around in my head. They both create this effect several times a day. While they are doing it they nod and wink at each other. When they have finished they ask if I am ok or if I need any help, when they know fine rightly what sort of ordeal they have been putting me through. Then they go outside the office and laugh at me.

As you can understand, this behaviour is making me very unhappy at work, so I have decided to take some time off. I trust that you will investigate these matters fully and report back to me. I anticipate that I will be able to return to work without fear of harassment some time in the near future.

Yours sincerely,


The ****** folks were my boss and his boss. Nice people generally, although they had issued me an official warning for my 30 minute phone calls to my wife in Australia (She phoned me BTW.)

Two minutes later I regretted my decision, but it was done. About a week later they sent an occupational counsellor out to my house to interview me. I wasn't really sure how lunatics are supposed to behave, so I just answered him very slowly and stared at the fire. He was a bit frightened of me, I think, and was only too happy to get away after a few nondescript remarks.

And that was that, pretty much. I flew out to Australia and tried to forget about the whole thing. Well, actually, that's a lie. I got a referral to a psychiatrist and convinced him I was mad. Then I got him to write a letter which I forwared to the Civil Service in an effort to get them to keep paying me my wages. But they havn't replied.

I might be still officially employed there. I got a letter a while back advising me of a wage increase. But they said they couldn't give it to me because I wasn't employed there long enough. I never got a letter saying I was dismissed or fired. This was 8 years ago. Should I ask for my wages?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The lead mines

I cycled over to Helen's Bay and met up with old mate RJG to climb up to the disused lead mines above Ards today.

Lady Dufferin kindly gave us permission to pass through her estate after some manual persuasion. I reminded her that she stole the land from the Earl O'Neill.

We ascended through the forest up to Helen's Tower. This was where our brave boys trained in 1915 before they hurled themselves sacrificially against the guns of the huns in WW1.

Some repairs were being carried out.

"What's going on here boss" I asked the worker men.

"Just carrying out some repairs here, big fella" they replied.

"Good good, carry on" and away we went.

Next we came to an entrance to hell, inside an old brick kiln.

Wildlife spotted on the journey:

- a squirrel, grey

- several rabbits

- a pair of fetching jays, courtin'

- probably a raven. Even RJG said it was too big for a crow and he knows feck all about birds.

On and on and the crack was good.

Eventually we came out of the forest into clear blue air and hit the lead mines. The actual shafts and whathaveyou were all closed off but you could still see the workings of the mines above ground. There was a windmill and several tall smelting chimneys. The views were spectacular, with the Galloway Coast of Scotland on one side, the Isle of Man sweeping over Strangford Lough in the middle, and Scrabo with Slieve Donard behind it on the right. My camera doesn't take good scenery photos so you'll have to imagine it or use google.

Then we descended into Ards itself, where after some hunting around and the aid of a friendly traffic warden (who RJG recognized as a part-time actor) we found famed local drinking establishment Wetherspoons. They had an ale festival on. £1.39 a pint. ONE POUND THIRTY NINE PENCE A PINT! Gotta love those numbers. Why can't Bangor have a 'spoons?

I had a coconut-flavoured stout from Hawaii and then a Cornish fizzy ale. Both good.

RJG only had two pints but managed to do something most dramatic. After leaving the first floor toilets he slipped on the landing and went THUMP-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP arse over tit all the way down the stairs. I thought he was dead but after he came to the bottom he leapt to his feet like a stuntman. People rushed to his aid while I pissed myself laughing. It was great.

We got the bus and train home because we're not mentals.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The first leadership debate

Reflecting on the tone of last night's debate between Cameron, Clegg and Brown, I characterize:

Brown - An overworked, world-weary, tetchy GP. The sort who's bored with dealing a succession of minor complaints, and can trot off advice in his sleep. Exasperated with the overweight, the alcoholics and the smokers who clog up his surgery and refuse to accept his advice. He's unaware that if he wasn't so bloody prissy about it, more people might listen to him. No-one has the nerve to tell him this.

Cameron - A public school housemaster, torn between familiarity with the boys or aloofness. Wanting to be liked, even loved, but afraid that if he tries too hard to be cool he'll end up a laughing stock. The sort who's so used to people treating him with respect, he wouldn't know what to do if they didn't. He would fall apart if he moved to an inner-city comprehensive.

Clegg - A youthful instructor on an outwards bounds programme for disadvantaged kids. The sort who knows plenty of icebreakers which involve writing your name on a piece of toilet roll. Convinced that no problem can't be fixed by everyone working together and forgetting their differences. A believer in the healing power of abseiling.