So how can I describe the last few weeks dear reader? It’s certainly been one of the more “interesting” months. When I last contributed to the blogosphere, I believe I was in Lanzerote suffering the oppressive heat, well on the way home a row with the elder daughter blew up out of nowhere & as I had to be up early the very next day to travel to Chester, the resulting “atmosphere” could still be cut with an axe (just – if it was a big axe) the following weekend – nice. However, relations slowly returned to normal (that’s from non-existent to merely “strained”), not helped in the least by my time in Chester being “less than successful”.
My employer’s plan was that I would do a spot of production trouble-shooting at the customer’s factory, but these things rarely work to plan & by the end of week one I had a log-on, but little else.
There were other factors, the B&B was best described as “the land the ‘70s forgot” with something of a flowery theme going on, a great many mirror tiles (not on the ceiling – not that kind of establishment) & “eternal beau” crockery like what my Mum had. WiFi was clearly not going to be an option when the standard of the wiring was set in the ’30s (round Bakelite switches & an open junction box in the shower room). But all that was OK, the irritating thing was my employers travel dep’t repeatedly asking my travelling companion & I if we were SURE we wouldn’t be happy to share a room. For a question like that, one “absolutely not” really ought to get the message across.
On to week two & straight in with the problems, no hire car. A brief investigation by my boss showed that the travel dep’t had forgotten to order one. By the time that was sorted & I’d picked up my compatriot, we were late – very late, it was just gone 16:00 when we arrived at the plant to find that no-one had booked us in with security & everyone who could get us on site had gone home. But with relations at home thawing, a much better B&B & the IT sorted at the plant things would be better yes? – well, sort of. We had health & safety presentations for all the appropriate parts of the factory, we checked our access to the various systems we’d need & then we sat waiting for something to happen – which it failed to do. Added to this the “much better” B&B only had two rooms for one night, so we had to get another B&B sorted. On the up-side, Chester is a fantastic place & I urge you to visit should you get the chance. A little like Winchester, a little like York, a higgledy piggledy mish-mash of architectural styles from Roman to modern post-brutalism, with any one stretch of buildings having most of them cheek-by-jowl.
Week three has started every bit as well, with us arriving to be told that we wouldn’t be allowed on site as security paperwork hadn’t come through. So we went to find the B&B. Actually I should say we went to find the guest house, as this week’s establishment was named after one of the royal palaces & had an attitude to match. The front door was locked & prominently bore a sign which read “our carpets are clean & pale, please remove your outdoor shoes in the porch, slippers will be provided”. We rang the bell & the lady of the hose allowed us as far as the porch, managed to remind us to take our shoes off three times while introducing us to the town we’d been in for two weeks & barred the door to the house proper all at the same time (she was clearly a professional). Having removed footwear & gained access one couldn’t fail to be struck by the very large photo of our hostess meeting the Duke of Edinburgh (about twenty years ago by the look of it). We enquired about breakfast – there was obviously to be no budging her from “breakfast is served from 8:30”, but we were offered instead cereal & milk left out the night before.
As it turned out a later breakfast would’ve been OK as the gates to our employer’s premises were still locked when we arrived at 07:15. Later that day we did get into the customer site at about 11:00, but over the weekend the PC I’d been using had become the subject of a custardy battle between my employer & my customer, it seemed I was to be denied access. This restricted what I was able to do down to just about nothing & it looks like I won’t see a PC until Week four at the earliest.
So not the best start to a contract then, but on Wednesday of week three, passes arrived, which meant our e-mail addresses got sorted, computers arrived – but were apparently the wrong type –so were taken away again. Little by little we’re getting there. Next week we’re back in the “much better” B&B where they are more used to the lower classes & so have WiFi & serve breakfast from 07:00. Maybe we’ll be able to get started on the job we were sent here to do three weeks ago. Fingers crossed.