Category: Work (page 1 of 2)

A perfect weekend

Yesterday morning found me back at Bletchley Park.

This time – having looked around the Cyber Security exhibit first and finding myself feeling pretty non-plussed about it all – I wandered over to Hut 12, which housed a James Bond exhibition.

Being a big Bond fan, I had high hopes for this, but they were ultimately dashed once I stepped inside. The exhibition was  – in the main – a load of paintings hung on the walls, each with a Bond connection. For some, that connection was vague, to say the least.

Far more interesting (to me, at least) was a couple of glass cases, that housed original letters typed and signed by Ian Fleming to the high-ups at Bletchley Park.

As Personal Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, Fleming had a high security clearance, giving him access to many high level reports in his role to find ways of intercepting enemy coding materials.

He even contrived a scheme to get hold of Enigma paperwork, by disguising a British aircrew as Germans and then crashing them into the Atlantic in a captured German bomber, to lure a German rescue ship. The crew would then overpower and kill their rescuers and capture the papers and/or an Enigma machine.

Operation Ruthless – as it came to be called – never happened, due to a lack of suitable targets, but with that sort of cunning and imagination, it’s easy to see where the James Bond stories came from.

After all that, I headed to Oxford, where I met up with some friends from work and we saw the sights did a pub crawl.

I got back to my hotel in the early hours and slept like a log – well, I probably would have, if I didn’t have the bladder of a small child and the need to get up several times in the night!   My head was thumping this morning, but a hearty breakfast and several mugs of tea later and I am as right as rain.

Which is exactly what it’s been doing all day, so that means I can’t cut the grass, as planned.

Shame. 🙂

Monkeying about

Last week, I went ape.

We did a sort of team-build event at work, where about sixty of us descended on the Go Ape tree-top adventure park in Slough (other sites are available).

Wearing our safety harnesses, we spent an enjoyable couple of hours clambering about a 30ft-high obstacle course, up in the trees.

Many parts of the course had multiple routes that you could take: Easy, Difficult or Extreme, each ending with a long zip-wire finish.

Of course, I always opted for the Extreme routes.  However, I do sometimes forget that I’m not as fit and strong as once I was and several of the routes were quite… challenging.  Still, not to be outdone by my younger colleagues, I tackled each one with gusto.

One route in particular was really hard. Marked as “Extreme”, I suggested to staff afterwards that it should be re-classified as “Ridiculous”.
Metal rings – only just big enough for me to get my size 12 plates into – hung from ropes, and the idea was to “walk” across, using the rings as stepping stones. Of course, they swung about wildly as you tried to do so.

With a captive audience up in the trees with me – I played it for laughs: allowing the rings to swing apart causing me to do the splits; getting my feet stuck in the rings; spinning uncontrollably; whilst all the time shouting about it -“Ooohh; Help! Yikes!” etc.

I kept it restrained just enough from going into the full Norman Wisdom, but that extra monkeying around really takes it out of you!

The day was enormous fun and if you get a chance to have a go, I highly recommend that you do.

And if you are anything like me, you’ll sleep like a log afterwards.

Breakfast like a king

I get up at 5am most days.

Breakfast tends to be around 5.10 and usually consists of Sainsbury’s Fruit & Fibre or Muesli.

That sees me through to mid-morning.

By 10am I am getting peckish again and so I have a box of porage sitting on my desk, just for that time.

As seen previously, we have plenty of milk.

And a microwave.

I’ll also slice a banana into it… just for fun. And some blueberries, if there are any kicking about.

Delicious.

 

Yuk.

Today, I have been to our head office in Reading.

For meetings, of course.

They don’t have teabags and a well stocked milk fridge there though.

Instead they have these tea & coffee machines.

Vended tea is the work of Satan and I avoid it at all costs.

Vended coffee isn’t much better… because they use powdered milk.

And so, black coffee becomes my alternate hot beverage.

To be fair, the coffee out of this machine is much better than others I’ve tasted.

But it’s still bloody horrible.

You get what you pay for

This is the calculator that I use at work.  I took it out of my desk drawer specifically for this photo. And I wrote SHELLOIL on it, because it would have been infantile to have written BOOBS… and – contrary to popular opinion – I am a grown up.

I bought this calculator… actually, I didn’t – my parents bought me this calculator to do my college exams with.  I remember going into Dixon’s with my mum, and I remember her wincing at the price when I picked out the one that I wanted.

But, I’ve always been one to look after things and so this calculator – though it’s somewhere around 38 years old – still works perfectly. And it even still has the original instruction manual, tucked into its imitation leather, plastic wallet.

It got me through my electronics exams.

It got me through my Radio Amateur’s exam.

It even got me through the mathematical questions they suddenly threw at me, at my job interview for the GPO/British Telecom.

OK, yes, I’ve had to change the batteries and clean up the PCB, but on the whole, mum, I think I got your money’s worth.

Milky milky

I mentioned at the top of the month that I drink quite a lot of tea, at work.

I’m not the only one (although I have to mention that other hot beverages are available).

Of course, no-one in their right mind takes their tea black.

As such we have a fridge at work, in which to keep the milk.

… a drink with jam and bread

Pinch punch an’ all that.

I am working from home today (OK, I’m on a break right now).

I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home most Fridays.

“Work”, for me, in the main, involves having my head stuck in my laptop for much of the day. At work, this is punctuated with meetings.

Many, many meetings.

Obviously, when I am at home, I can’t attend any meetings, so the day is peppered with phone calls, instead.

But, whether I am working at work or working from home, one thing remains a constant.

Tea.

White. No sugar. I will easily drink six to eight cups, during a working day.

And then I wonder why I have to get up twice in the night for a wee.

The cup of tea you see in the picture above, was taken about five minutes ago, so I’d better go drink it before it gets cold.  I have some lovely shortbread biscuits to dunk in it somewhere, too.

Oh, and this post comes to you courtesy of young Mr Jones’ Banal Blogathon challenge, which I stupidly agreed to do, so be prepared for some pretty mundane stuff heading your way.

I am blue

I recently did a personality test at work: the – apparently, very well-known and respected –four colour test.

Although everyone was doing it, I resisted it for a long time… because I’m a Taurus and, of course, we don’t believe in such mumbo jumbo.

But, the boss wanted the whole team to do it, and so I fell in line and completed the questionnaire.

The results put me firmly into the blue square, meaning broadly, that I am a Thinker and an Introvert. I’m task driven.

Fair enough. Sums me up fairly well, I think.

But then we dug into it a bit deeper and I hate to admit it, but I would say it got most of my character traits and key drivers correct – although I won’t go into them here.

Interestingly, most of the rest of the team were in the yellow square: Feeling and Extrovert. People driven.

Apparently, being diametrically opposite the blue square, the Yellows are my nemesis! Nemisi? Nemissesesses.

So, that should make for an interesting team dynamic!

Tell me why…

… I don’t like Thursdays.

“I can never get the hang of Thursdays”, said Arthur Dent.  Well, I can sympathise with him on that.

It’s not that I don’t like them. In fact, I rather do.

Thursdays at work, always tend to be a bit manic. For some reason Thursdays seem to have become Meetings Day. We tend to have a lot of meetings throughout the week, but on a Thursday, I can often be in back-to-back meetings for much of the day.

In one respect, I quite enjoy it – it’s good to be busy and it stops me spending money on ebay, buying stuff I don’t really need.

But, whilst you are in a meeting, you are not getting on with other stuff and, consequently, I find myself falling behind and then having to play catch-up on the Friday.

And no-one wants to be doubling their workload on a Friday, do they?

POETS day, we used to call Fridays: Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday.

I remember when I worked at BT, we had a contractor, Norman, working with us for a while. A very mild mannered gentleman. Very well spoken. Very genteel.  And despite the foul language that often rent the air, we never heard even the slightest of cuss words leave his lips. Even when we tried to make him swear… which we often did.

And then, one Friday lunchtime, he packed his toolbox and said, “Right, I’m off… it’s POETS day.”

“POETS day?”, said Jim, feigning ignorance, “What’s POETS day?” and we all leaned in, waiting to hear Norm utter a rude word for the very first time.

“Have you not heard that one before?” asked Norman, slightly amazed. 

“No, tell us”, we all cried.

“Pop Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday”

Arses!

Just Checkin’

Yesterday, I did a Health & Safety audit on one of our gangs out at High Wycombe.

The Water Board take Health & Safety very seriously. I have worked at many places where they say that H&S is their number one priority, but I’ve never worked anywhere where they take it quite so seriously as the Water Board do.

Which is a good thing.

Of course, accidents can and do still happen, that is inevitable, but, considering the type of work and the amount done each day, the number is quite small. And very, very few are life-threatening.

As an engineer,I always used to see H&S as a pain in the arse. That’s quite possibly the view of many engineers. I mean, it’s just common sense, isn’t it? All this paperwork we have to do for each job: method statements and risk assessments; it all just slows the job down.

But, my views have changed somewhat, since I started working somewhere with such a focus on H&S.

Doing the paperwork reminds you of how to approach each job safely – we can all get lackadaisical with repetitive tasks.

And yes, a lot of it is just common sense, but I’ve come to realise that sense isn’t as common as I first thought. Not everyone has it. Or some just need to be reminded of it, from time to time.

An interesting statistic is that when the Olympic stadium was built in London, there were up to 13,000 workers working on it at one point and yet there was not a single fatality. Not one. Rare for the construction industry with a project on that scale.

And yet in Rio – where, as you might imagine, Health & Safety doesn’t have quite the same level of focus – eleven people died from accidents whilst working on the Olympic stadium there.

So yes, Health & Safety in the workplace can be a pain in the arse but, rather like having a camera shoved up your bum,  it can save your life.

 

Older posts

© 2018

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑