Last post

It doesn’t seem possible that it is six-and-a-half years since I was writing about moving job and wondering what was going to happen, but here we are again.  My work is done and Scotland is, I hope, a safer place for it.

And so tomorrow morning I will get up, put on a new shirt and a brave smile, and head off to a new posting once again. Having saved the people I have been head-hunted (kind of) to save the fish.

What, you may ask, do I know about saving fish? Well, not much to be honest, but then I didn’t know much about guns, football hooliganism or pirates a few years back. I learned there and I will learn here too.

That is a good thing but it doesn’t stop the feeling of apprehension/inadequacy/panic which is currently attending my waking moments. Even at the ripe old age of 49 and some, one can get that “first day at a new school” feeling. Will I have a clue? Will the people be nice? Will I like the work?

The answers to those questions are, of course, no-then-yes; no-and-yes; and probably.

And with luck, this is the last time I have to go through this because, barring incidents or accidents (or hints or allegations), this is probably going to be my last job before I retire.

Now THAT is a scary thought.

 

 

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Can you dig it?

You will be wondering whatever happened to the tale of our phone connection and whether the repeat visits of BT OpenReach engineers ever achieved anything. Well, yes and no.

Having left you on a cliff-hanger of engineers last July you will be pleased to know that a digging crew did eventually turn up. Three times. 

The first time they failed to let us know in advance (ah, deja vu). Mrs WeeKeef got a call from them as she arrived at work and promptly sent them homeward to think again. Luckily, for them, home was only Dundee and not Latvia which was their original answer when questioned. 

A couple of days later they returned, assured us they would not need access to the house and got on with the job. Pavement and garden were promptly dug up, a cable laid and off they popped. Ok, the phone etc worked, but they had left an open pipe sticking six inches out of the drive with the cable trailing out of it in desultory fashion. 

A couple of complaints later and a man with a hacksaw turned up. He hacksawed the pipe to almost ground level – though a beaver with toothache would have made a neater job – and off he went too. 

By this time we were losing the will to live and so gave up trying to get any sort of neat job done, but planned our arguments for when it all goes wrong again and BT try to say the fault is on our land. 

Months pass ….. 

Then, yesterday morning, a couple of trucks turn up and two men start wandering up and down our environs. When challenged one gentleman – a Geordie with an apparent surfeit of saliva, judging by the number of times he saw fit to expectorate during our brief chat – assured me that the council had condemned our pavement as the most recent channel was not up to regulations. They would be digging it up and laying it again. He seemed uninterested in the identity of the  culprits and was keen to get started on some noisy, dust-laden tarmac surgery at 7.40am. 

I left him to it and, admittedly, the new channel seems much nicer – well, bigger, at least. All we have to do now is clean up after him. 

It makes you spit!
 

 

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Reasons to be cheerful 1-2-3

It’s been a bit of an odd week boy-wise.

Last Saturday Mrs WeeKeef and I were invited to a wedding.  Just the evening “do” but it’s a while since we were at anything similar and the fabulous Mrs WK does enjoy a bit of a dance.  The Groom was actually a member of her team at work so several of her crowd were there, including Boy 1 (of 3) who shares the same employer.  It was, it struck me half-way through the evening, probably the first time I have been the “incomer” to his group at such an occasion and it was interesting, and nice, to see him in his natural habitat. Blimey, I thought, he is really grown up!

Then, on Sunday afternoon, we get an unannounced visit from Boy 2 (of 3) who is generally the coolest of the bunch, but is somewhat discombobulated on this occasion.  He is taking his first steps into the housing market and has spent the last few weeks perusing and viewing a number of city-centre flats, without much success.  This weekend, however, he has gone off-piste and has been to see a suburban detached house. Small, at the top of his price range and entirely not what he was looking for.  And yet here he is, smitten and talking about putting in an offer.  Blimey, I thought, he is really grown up.

And then yesterday Boy 3 (of 3) reached his 18th birthday.  Eighteen, for crying out loud! Admittedly, it being a Tuesday, the celebrations were understated, with the “highlight” being a final outing for me, the Ex and him at Parent-Teacher night, discussing his exams and the options for University after the summer. Blimey, I thought, he really is growing up.

And that’s the thing. They are not boys any more.  They are young men, and very fine ones at that. They are making their own ways in the world and seem to be reasonably well adjusted, generally happy, and all round nice people. You would like them.

It was once said of me (maybe more than once) that I am not very ambitious. Well, to be honest, all I have ever really wanted to be is a good husband and a good dad. I hope I am both.

And all you Presidents and Prime Ministers and CEOs and medal winners and consultants and workers and movers and shakers and strivers and climbers and worriers: I am filled with admiration for many of you (not all!).

But here is my thing: I have already achieved my greatest ambition.  I have Boys 1-2-3 and I couldn’t ask for more than that.

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Flight of fancy

To Edinburgh Airport earlier this week to meet WeeSis who is visiting for a couple of weeks. She’s here primarily to see the Mater in her new home and (though she thinks I’m kidding) I have a huge “to do” list for her, mainly around persuading said maternal ancestor to chuck some stuff out.

Anyway, having just about negotiated the airport’s ever-changing traffic and parking management conundrum I eventually made it to International Arrivals just in time to watch Expected change to On Approach, and then to Landed, then Arrived and Arrived and Arrived and Arrived … You get the gist. It took a while to clear customs, apparently.

No matter, airports though soulless, infuriating and (occasionally) exciting are at least fine places to do a bit of people-watching if you are a non-traveller. Mid-morning on a Tuesday is not exactly the busiest point of the week but there was the usual collection of ill-tempered business travellers, a few families taking advantage of the half-term holiday, and several small and slightly refreshed groups of ladies-of-a-certain-age clearly heading for a bit of late-season tanning and sangria.

My favourite, however, was a young man, perhaps in his late-twenties / early-thirties, smart-casual and there, like me, to meet somebody coming to the capital. Unlike me, he was carrying a large and quite expensive looking bunch of flowers. “Well done, that man”, I thought. It’s nice to know that the younger generation still make an effort to say to their loved ones that they are pleased to see them. (I did wonder briefly if he was in trouble, and was making a peace-offering, but he looked too happy for that).

It was only then I noticed that he was also carrying, in his other hand, a banana. A slightly strange combination of gifts, but I assumed he had some time to wait and was going to consume one of his five-a-day and thus use the time fruitfully. Not so. He simply plonks himself down in one of the few available chairs and, like me, starts doing a bit of people-watching of his own. And now I’m intrigued because I really want to see who’s going to come through those double doors and what their reaction will be.

Sadly, readers, we will never know because WeeSis suddenly makes her own entrance and life becomes all about hugs and enquiries about the flight and assurances that the other is looking well, and all that stuff.

Still … Who on earth greets a loved one at the airport with flowers and a banana? Is it a code? Might they be spies?

Was it Michael Jackson?

 

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Don’t call us

I’m heading in to work an hour late after BT Openreach engineer #3 turned up promptly for our 8am appointment. Which BT had failed to tell us about. After 90 minutes, however, said engineer concluded that we have a fault and they will have to dig up Mrs WeeKeef’s lovely front garden to trace it and fix the problem.

This would be shocking news if, in fact, it was news at all. It is, however, exactly what BT Openreach engineer #1 told us 22 days ago, not long after we first notified them of the problem. In fact, the only person surprised by any of this is the aforesaid engineer #3 as it would appear there is no paperwork from the earlier visit.

Quite what handsome but ultimately pointless BT Openreach engineer #2 achieved last week is a moot point.

Anyway, it seems that the fault lies somewhere between the junction box on the pavement and the junction box attached to the outside of our house. BT engineers #4, #5, …. #n will now have to arrange a time to come with a digger to find the exact location of the problem.  This would be easier if the (apparent) change of cables underground had been recorded. But there is no paperwork.

“So,” says I, “when might this be?”  “No idea” says #3. He’ll log the call but it is a different group that will come to find the fault. In the meantime, and I’m quoting here, the problem will only get worse as time goes on.  Gee, thanks.

And all of this on the day the telecoms watchdog Ofcom issues a report criticising BT Openreach for “woeful levels of service”.

Once again I am failing to be shocked.

 

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