It wasn’t raining, so we went on our bikes to the local Science Museum. There were some great interactive exhibits especially aimed at children and soon Paul was engrossed in those. We called in a fast-food place for lunch – another treat that he was unused to – and he liked the toy that came with the kid’s meal. The downside of this ‘treat’ was that he was ‘wired’ – high as a kite afterwards. I took him to the park so that he could burn off some of this energy. All too soon I had to get him back to ‘my’ house. I couldn’t call it ‘our’ house anymore: it was becoming ‘Daddy’s house’ and ‘Mummy’s house’. During the meal, he was becoming sad again, knowing that his Mummy would be taking him away and that we wouldn’t be together. I tried to ensure that he knew that, even apart, we’d both always love him. We’d fallen out with each other – not with him.
There’s an Annie Lennox song about walking on broken glass. That’s how I’d felt the whole time that he was with me and it had totally wrecked the short time we’d had together. I’d wanted to know more about what his Mum had said about the reasons for the split – what she’d said about blame. I’d wanted to know who this new man was like – his name, their address, how he’d been with my son. I wanted to be sure that my son was not in any kind of danger from him. Helen had made her bed and now she’d have to lie on it, but Paul was my child as well. She couldn’t, mustn’t be allowed to erase me from his life.
So anyway, here I was, dressed and ready for a new day and a new job. The train and Metrolink journeys were as crowded as I’d expected. When I arrived, I was shown up to meet Andrew York and Mrs Wilson. I gathered that York didn’t have an office of his own. He saw his job as visiting other people where they worked to check on them. He did have a trusted typist in the typing pool. No-one, however senior had their own typists or personal assistants. I was told that I would have an office to myself. I was issued with a code to use to enter the building via the staff entrance – and I was told that Mrs Wilson would show me how to clock-in and clock-out each day. That was another shock.
He told me that everyone had been told to co-operate with me and to provide all the information I requested of them. Other than a handshake and being told that I’d be expected to provide a written report of my progress each Friday for the time being, that concluded my welcome. As York had said, Mrs Wilson completed the remainder of my ‘induction’, showing me round the buildings again to introduce me to the other managerial staff, and then leading me to my office. She’d demonstrated the clocking procedures while we were on our rounds. She ended the introduction to my job by showing me to my office.
I suppose that it could have been worse. The carpetless room, which was on the first floor of the administrative building, was about four by three metres and had a large window overlooking the yard and a smaller interior window overlooked from the corridor outside. The door to the office also had a window. It would be like working in a goldfish bowl. No slacking allowed here – too many eyes to keep track of my every action!
By way of furniture, I had a double pedestal desk, a swivel chair, a four-drawer file cabinet, and a modern desktop computer. Mrs Wilson had handed me keys to the desk and the filing cabinet plus a sheaf of papers before taking her leave. Amongst the latter was a password to the computer and instructions about security relating to its use. In the top drawer of the desk, I found a mobile phone, an internal phone directory and notes about restrictions to the use of the phone. No private calls – inwards or outwards. I guessed that there would be some form of call monitoring to ensure that I wasn’t using it to place bets or send private emails.
It was clear that there would be no company car other than a pool car, whose use I would need to book with the Security Manager. I read the papers I had been given and decided that I’d better begin doing what I was being paid for
I made my first call to the Sales Manager of the company that printed the big boxes to arrange to see him. He was free, so I told him that I’d call round as soon as I could find his office and so started my new job.
Today’s photo is one that I took in January 2020 when I enjoyed a weekend of photography in London – my first real photographic location holiday. The scene is near St Katherine’s Wharf close to Tower Bridge, and features the popularly photographed Girl and a Dolphin statue.
The Exif data are as follows: Pentax K-1 36 MP full-frame camera with a 15-30 mm f/2.8 lens at 21 mm and f/13. The shutter speed was 1/30 secs and the ISO 100. The shot was tripod mounted, without filters and post processing in Lightroom Classic.