“Hmm!” I whispered , “Mummy and I will have to ask Father Christmas to shake his money tree to see if he can find enough pennies to buy one like Kyle’s for Christmas. What do you think about that my little pumpkin?”
He pulled his head back from where it lay on my shoulder and looked at me to decide whether I was joking.
“Will you, Daddy?” he asked, a serious look on his little face.
“Well,” I said, we’ll certainly do our level best to persuade him. If there aren’t enough pennies in his magic money tree, we’ll ask him to find something that’s just as good, won’t we?”
The sobbing had stopped and he climbed down off me and went to Helen to tell her what I’d said, and begged her to ask Father Christmas nicely. He skipped happily into the hall then ran up to his room. Helen thanked me for pacifying him, but then asked why I was home so early. I asked her to come and sit down because we had something that we needed to discuss.
I’d already told her when I’d first received the email that I’d thought that it was likely I was being made redundant. Now I was at least able to confirm that and to tell her what I knew so far.
I’d read the stuff that was in my briefcase on the train, but even the two and a half hours travel time, hadn’t been enough both to read it and to answer all the questions that it brought to mind. I just told her the bits that I knew for certain.
As she listened, she looked more and more worried. She stopped me every now and then to ask questions.
“Shit!” she said at last, “What are we going to do?”
“Well,” I replied, “The way you asked is a promising start. If you’d said, ‘What are YOU going to do about it?’ I’d have been worried. I’m choosing to hear your, ‘WE’, as a sign that we’ll be working as a team on the problem.” I looked at her for a reaction – she nodded but looked worried.
“My action plan, for the moment, is to get online to check some things out – for example, when do I register with the Benefits people? What type and amounts are likely to be available – and so on. I’ll also need to start trawling online websites looking for jobs, registering CVs and so on. I’ve already checked – but there are sod-all vacancies advertised in the local paper. It might be a good idea for me to let the bank and building society know too – I’ll see what the online advice sites recommend. Other than that, I need to start brushing up my old CV.
“How optimistic are you about finding another job?” she asked.
“At my present salary? In a similar role?” I posed it as a question but, merely by stating it in that way, I was implying an answer. “I really doubt it. My qualifications are good – degree, etc., and my experience is of a reasonably high level. Against that there are loads of younger guys with more recent degrees of that quality – they’ll be hungry enough to accept a much lower salary as a starter. On top of that, my experience is just with one company in a narrow field. Firms willing to take on people of my age will be looking for someone with wider, up-to-date experience.”
“Jesus, Dave, that sounds bad. Are you upset?” she asked. She came and put her arms around me.
“I’m not in tears; not that bad, love,” I said, “There are some positives in the situation. Do you see now though why I didn’t outright commit to getting Paul a new PlayStation? That was my way of buying some time with him.”
“You deffo did right there,” she said, “You’ll need that kind of money for buying me a new winter coat.”
I looked at her.
“I’m joking,” she said, “It’s pull our belts in time. You get upstairs on your desktop and start your searching. I’ll finish making your tea.”
That night in bed we talked further and she insisted that we let our parents know – in case we got desperate later on. They’d be more likely to help out if we’d kept them in the loop from the outset.
Todays’ image is a view down Lovat Lane, off Lower Thames Street near The Monument in London towards the Shard across the River Thames at night. I took the shot in January 2020 during a rare weekend of photography there.
The EXIF Data for the featured photo are as follows: Pentax K-1, 36 MP full-frame camera with a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 30 mm and f/9. The shutter speed was 4 secs and the ISO was 800. The camera was tripod mounted and the post-processing in Lightroom.