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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

Ding Ding

Once upon a time, about 30 years ago, there was a small enterprise jointly owned by the Co-operative Retail Services (CRS) and the South West Regional Productivity Association (SWRPA). The small enterprise was called Cornwall Co-operative Training (CCT). I was asked to join SWRPA as Operations Manager for CCT. The enterprise was involved in the training of the long term unemployed at a time when unemployment was particularly high.

I was introduced to the staff at the annual Christmas Lunch. I won’t say my reception was hostile but some of the team, who were waiting for the opportunity to apply, were clearly miffed. To add insult to injury, for them, I was the youngest person in the room.

The new year came and I officially started my role. I expected a fairly frosty reception, they didn’t disappoint. I had an appraisal with each staff member which somewhat cleared the air but as a result I made 2 or 3 positions redundant. Back to frosty. Time passed and relationships improved. There were a few more unpleasant tasks and quite a few awkward moments but generally we rubbed along OK.

Now these posts may be of no literary merit but I try to use the correct words where necessary. I also have a thing about good pronunciation (which most people seem not to be able to pronounce) and muddling up simple words. I’m not going to be pacific here but you know what I mean. Anyway the point is one of the staff members couldn't pronounce the word certificate. She, like many others, said “cestificate”. Not really a problem but she trained people in business administration! We needed to raise our game. I spoke to a staff member I got on with well. Let’s call him Gary. His actual name was Gary. There was some resistance to any change until I demonstrated how slack our systems were by gaining an NVQ II in Business Administration simply by adding my name to the occasional list. I know ‘twas probably some kind of fraud I didn’t care too much then and I couldn’t care less now.

I remembered this episode because I recently came across the very first certificate with my name on. It was my cradle roll certificate dated 1957! (Actually the very first certificate with my name on was my birth certificate) The first of so many certificates and qualifications I’ve forgotten more than I remember. I've still got lots of certificates one or two are even framed.

Some of the more important documents are kept in a box somewhere. Tricia knows where the box is, and probably, the documents within the box are in some semblance of order. An example may be; marriage certificate, decree nisi, decree absolute, marriage certificate, decree nisi, decree absolute, marriage certificate. Sometime, in the not too distant future, another certificate may be popped on top of all the others.

I’m writing this on a medical intervention day. Wendy, my palliative nurse, has visited for the last time. In the short time I’ve been on her caseload we’ve become friends. Wendy is moving on to greener grass and I wish her all the luck. While she was here we identified a new and developing problem. I seem to be herniating. (My tummy muscles are parting, no more weight lifting for me). I have a pretty gruesome photo showing just where it seems to be. Probably a bit too bloody to share on here. Just in case you’re interested, when you have an abdominal incision it’s good to get out of bed into a chair and even walk about a bit.

After my operation in March 2020 a nurse came along to help me get out of bed. As it happened she turned out to be about as useful as a crocheted condom. Probably unaware that my incision was about 8 inches long. Ignoring my protestations, my excruciatingly painful efforts to unsuccessfully get out of bed resulted in the top 4 inches of my incision to begin to part. Finally I lay back in my bed and watched my gown turn red. I wasn’t happy then and I’m not happy now.

Now if I lie in bed there’s nothing to see but as I sit up I begin to look like John Hurt in the film Alien. Well perhaps not actually that bad but bad enough. A conversation with the intervention nurse, a photo emailed in, a short conversation with a doctor and it seems to be something I’ll have to live with unless it gets painful or causes pooing problems. Oh no not again!

Then Charlotte the community nurse popped in to flush my port. Meanwhile we had a visit from 3 month old Freddie, his mum, and another friend of ours. Where C' sections, breast feeding and other birthing and baby mysteries were discussed. At the first opportunity I slunk off to do some important Netflixing.

So where’s the good news? Well there is some and that came in the shape of a phone call from Paul. Not quite medical intervention but the next best thing. Paul isn’t a surgeon, he’s motoring medicine man who’s breathed life back into the roof of Tricia’s Fiat 500. The car isn’t quite ready to be released into the community, it needs a day or two of intensive care. Then it’s welcome home Fifi. ..... Look, it’s not me that humanises inanimate objects by giving them names.

I’m not sure yet but I’m thinking next Thursday I may get out for coffee. I’m contemplating where and when but I’ll let you know in good time. If you can’t find me look out for my car and I’ll be nearby. You may recognise my car; Pierre the Pugilist Citroën. He’s had a punch on the nose, poor thing. I’d better get out my insurance certificate.

Ding ding; End of round one.

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Ros Hodges
Ros Hodges
Sep 13, 2021

Theres nothing wrong with humanising your cars.... once youve named them it makes them much harder to get rid of. A definate green strategy to my mind, the largest part of a cars carbon footprint being in the manufacture. Anybody got any suggestions as to how I go about retrofitting a Hydrogen conversion to my beautiful Multi the Multipla otherwise I shall have to contempate ending out 19 year relationship at some point soon. Neil ... next project?

Sep 13, 2021
Replying to

After 19 years it's already on the Electoral roll. You've got Multi the Multipla forever now. And I agree, old cars are greenest cars.

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