First of all the featured photo. I said yesterday that, for the next thirty something days, I’ll be posting black and white images, many of which will be seasonal. I’ll list the EXIF data at the end of each post as usual. This image is of the view along the pier at Southport, Sefton, UK.
Now back to today’s title. Again, as I said yesterday, I’ve started on a new book, but I have no idea how long it will be or how it will end. There are other new features both to the style of the book/story and to how I’ll be posting. In the first place, my three previous books have been love stories written in the third person. I suspect that my new story will be quite different and will certainly be written in the first person. Also, however, my previous posts about my books (and those of my wife) have been written as chapter summaries. For this book, I intend to post each day actual chapters – or self standing parts of chapters. I don’t have a title for the book yet but I’ll use ‘Going Forward’ as a holding title.
Are you sitting comfortably. Here we go with the first part of Chapter One.
Day One -Goodbye to the past
As I walked along the corridor to the lift that would take me down, I paused to take in the amazing views across neighbouring skyscrapers. I could see through the windows that it was pissing down with rain outside. The reflections on the Gherkin were amazing. I took a photo with my phone but doubted that it would be any good with the raindrops on the windows I was looking through. The weather matched my mood: I was pissed off too. Only really old farts are pleased to be told that they’re being made redundant. It must be great to have donkeys years of pension supplemented by a generous redundancy lump sum based on thirty plus years of service. All that spare time to spend doing whatever you wanted. I collected my overnight bag from Reception and headed for the exit.
This wasn’t my normal office – my base was in Codmanton in Northern England – I’d been instructed by an email to come here, to London for an interview with the headquarters Human Relations section of the company that was taking over my employer. I’d guessed what the interview would be about when I read the email.
I work – should that be worked? – in one of the marketing departments of a nationally famous group of companies. The holding company owns several types of companies, including travel, chemicals, engineering, newspapers and broadcasting. I work for one of the engineering companies.
A large international group recently bought the holding company that owns the firm I work for. There have been a lot of reports in the press over the past few weeks about what they describe as ‘rationalisation’. That seems to be a euphemism for the new owners selling off the bits of our group that don’t fit with their plans; selling off selected regional offices of the bits that they’re keeping; and getting rid of people like me who are in posts that duplicate what they already have.
The lift whisked me down to street level. I walked out towards Leadenhall Street and, despite the rain, I paused to look up at the jaw-dropping views of the skyscrapers. I’m an amateur photographer and, everywhere I looked there were sights that I’d loved to have captured if I’d had my camera with me. Looking up, the high-rise buildings formed crazy angles. The red buses, taxis and pedestrians with their umbrellas were reflected wonderfully in the wet pavements and roads. I took some shots with my phone anyway, but I’m not holding out any great expectations. I suppose that I could have used an Uber to get me to my station but, the rain seemed to be easing and the sky was clearing, so I decided to walk to the underground station at Bank.
Everywhere, people were hurrying – in this area they’d be going somewhere on business rather than shopping. I found a place to buy a coffee and something to eat. There wouldn’t be much to buy on the train home that wouldn’t require an extension to my mortgage. Even the prices in the little place I bought my snack at were eye-wateringly high compared to my Yorkshire home shops. Looking through the window at passers-by, I wondered how many of them were worrying how long they’d keep their jobs; how many were going to job interviews; and how many, like me, were now looking for work. I never really gave a second thought to the people who were complacently thinking that they were safe – as I had thought until a month previously.
As a thirty-five years old, married with a wife, a six-years old child and fifteen years of mortgage left to support I was wondering how to break the news; what I should do about a new job; and how I’d manage financially in the meantime. Too young to retire, I was getting too old to compete with recent graduates who’d gladly accept much less by way of salary than I was used to. While I was eating I kept glancing at my briefcase, in which I’d put the paperwork I’d been handed at the interview for reading, as preparation for a seminar at the beginning of the following week.
The EXIF Data for the featured photo are as follows: Pentax K-1, 36 MP full-frame camera with a 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens at 50 mm and f/9. The shutter speed was 1/160 secs and the ISO was 100. The camera was tripod mounted and the post-processing in Lightroom.