I am very lucky to have the working life I now have. But they say there is no such thing as “Luck” and that in fact, we make our own luck. After all you can’t be lucky enough to win the lottery unless you buy a ticket. And my very good friend wouldn’t have been “lucky” enough to buy out the company he did his apprenticeship with unless he had worked bloody hard to make his own business the best in the area. So with me, I guess I can say all those years working on the tools and other roles within the electrical trade coupled with technical training and teacher training have made me “lucky” enough to be where I now am. The downside is that I am now nearing retirement. However, I do plan to keep on going for as long as I can and past what would be normal retirement age. I suppose I should add that I am a bit of an Obsessive/Compulsive and to go above and beyond the realms of normal effort is not at all unusual for me.
So, what a couple of weeks I have just had: three days in Ashby-de-la-Zouch (my son said I was making that name up) running a Machine Maintenance course, three days in an Oxford College delivering a Minor Works course, a couple of days training in a food processing plant in Dagenham and two days at a bonded warehouse (Site Maintenance course) in Surrey where I technically left the UK. In between that I have probably done several laps of the M25 delivering 1-day events.
If I am travelling over about 50 miles from Oxford I will normally stay overnight to ensure that I can get straight to the training venue without delay and that I am fresh and ready to deliver. Therefore I do tend to spend a few days each week away from home.
So it came about that I was in Erith (London) a week or so back when I realised that I hadn’t got all the components required to complete the two training boards that needed to be finished that weekend. This revelation came to me at five o’clock in the morning at Belvedere Travelodge. Now as an aside, I am a big supporter of McDonalds (there I’ve said it and can’t un-say it) but I am. I will say straight off that you are not gonna get fat eating McDonalds – there just ain’t enough to get fat on! You would have to eat an awful lot! I think that people who knock McDonalds have probably never had one (they are probably the same lot who made up stupid jokes about the Millennium Dome – but look who’s laughing now!) Also where can a working guy go to get something to eat at six o’clock in the morning? And god bless them – don’t want a hash brown? – have a fruit bag instead. Internet access? – no problem. I can’t even get internet access in f@#ing Travelodge without paying extra for it.
But I digress, I need to get the missing components for my training boards to be completed at the weekend and I’m on a very tight schedule. I’m due to kick off training at the venue at 08:30 so its breakfast at McDonalds and a search of the (FREE) internet for a local electrical wholesaler who opens early. I found one by the name of Thames Electrical who opens at 07:30 and motored round to their warehouse. I was a bit wary being away from my home patch but the guy there was brilliant, they had everything I needed and the prices weren’t silly so I was very well pleased (and feeling a bit more optimistic for the weekend).
I can also update this tale by saying that I later realised I had forgot one part and bought two 32A MCBs when I should have bought 1 x 32A and 1 x 20A, Bugger! So it came to pass that the next day (2 days training in Dagenham) I am back round to the wholesaler at 07:30 updating my order and the guy happily exchanging parts for me. So hats off to Thames Electrical for sensible opening hours, fair prices and helpful staff – well done guys!
In two weeks’ time I am off on holiday (Cruise to NY and back) and as usual, I subscribe to the opinion that going on holiday is hard work. We need to complete various projects, ensure arrangements are in place for work/meetings. Finish decorating, cancel the milk, cats in cattery, turn off the fridge, cancel the cats, put the milk in the lottery. I shall be glad to get away!
In closing this report, I can reveal that all training mentioned was completed without mishap, the boards were completed (and used with great success) and that no animals were harmed in the process. Oh, and also – don’t try this at home.