Susie raised the idea of providing seminars where we could choose a topic, provisionally book a venue, agree a price, and advertise it. Someone, or more than one of us, could lead the seminar – or we could recruit someone to do it for a fee. She suggested that fifteen to twenty clients at £300 a throw could upwards of £4,500 – more than enough to cover venue, refreshment and tutor costs. Alternatively, she proposed that we could design online seminars and sell them. All that would need would be someone with expertise, a suitable personality and an online channel. This was also a popular choice.
Both of them could see the possibilities in the ideas that had been suggested, but Beverly had noticed that the meeting had taken longer than she’d expected and she’d need to leave soon. We agreed to call it a day, but convened another meeting in the New Year.
As luck would have it, Mrs Wilson, the Printing Company’s General Administration Manager, phoned me the following morning to offer me the position. She asked me for a decision there and then. I pointed out that we hadn’t yet discussed issues such as the terms and conditions relating to the job. She agreed but suggested that we could discuss those when I started. I told her that I felt that would be unusual, and that I felt that I was being pressurised. I asked her to send me a written job offer; to attach the Ts and Cs; and to suggest a starting date, preferably in the New Year. She agreed, but I felt that she had done so reluctantly. I was now definitely getting a bad feeling about the post.
I wasn’t in the mood for any more thinking about my future, so I spent the remainder of the day doing some shopping from a list that Helen had prepared and then did a bit of cleaning around the house until it was time to collect Paul on his last day of term before Christmas. That afternoon, I went with both my parents and Helen’s to the school to watch Paul in the Nativity play. Helen couldn’t manage to get time off work. Paul had been a shepherd, so he hadn’t had any lines to say, but he’d looked as excited as any of the others when he came onstage. His grandparents clapped and shouted every time he appeared. They made a real fuss of him afterwards as we walked to the car park, where they waved is off before they left.
I couldn’t help but think how weird it was that even the children of Muslim parents were taking part in a play that celebrated this Christian fable. I couldn’t remember any corresponding activities that had celebrated Islamic festivals – perhaps they would have been seen as blasphemous. When he got into the car he asked me why his Mum hadn’t been there, then started telling me about the things that they had been making in class – hats, cards and festive decorations. He’d brought those that he’d made home in the bag that he’d given me at the school door. Once we were in the house and he’d changed out of his school uniform, he showed me what he’d done. It brought back lots of memories for me. He wanted to put the decorations up but I persuaded him to wait until his Mum came home.
Helen was late. She said that the Christmas queues had been crazy and her boss had pleaded with her to stay for a bit so that she could keep as many tills open as possible. She said that her Mum had texted her to say how great it had been to see Paul in his school play. After tea, once Paul was in bed, we sat and talked for a while. I told her about the phone call I’d received that morning from the Printing Company. Helen said that, since the three month’s lieu pay and the redundancy pay were guaranteed, it might be worth while taking the risk. She argued that, even if I were only to stay in the job for one month, if nothing else, that month’s extra income would put the cost of the Playstation back in our bank. She went on to point out that, if we went ahead with the cooperative scheme, it would, in any case, be unlikely to bring in any real cash for a few months at best. From that point of view, it would help to fund our scheme if I didn’t need to worry about our mortgage and living costs while we established ourselves. The third point she made was that any other employers would be able to see that I hadn’t just sat on my backside waiting for State benefits.
I saw no reason to argue, so if I did get the letter offering me the post in writing, and if the salary and conditions looked okay, I’d accept the offer.
Today I continue my series of Christmassy shots in black and white. My Featured Photo today was taken while walking from the Royal Albert Docks at Liverpool towards the Liverpool One Shopping Area.
The EXIF Data for the featured photo are as follows: Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera with a 35 mm mm f/2.4 lens at 35 mm and f/3.5. The shutter speed was 1/800 secs and the ISO was 400. The camera was handheld and the post-processing was in Lightroom.