Saturday, February 07, 2004  


Poetic license.

It was 1984, February the 8th to be precise. Thatch was doing her best to make sure Orwell's vision came true. Nena was singing about red balloons and I took my driving test for the second time.

The only thing I knew about Withington was that the Princes Park Way ran through it. I knew it was going to be my day about five minutes into the test, a dog ran out into the road from between two parked cars and I executed a perfect emergency stop. I could see the examiner was impressed, although the dog looked less so. From the start I felt better than the first time, the bloke was chatty, asking me about my job and generally putting me at ease. We came to the junction with the Princess Park Way, a very busy road, and I hesitated a little. The examiner said, "Just get out among them and get your foot down". That was it; from there on I aced it. I even did well on the Highway Code. We got back to the test centre and he told me I had passed, he didn't make a meal of either, just "Well done lad, you've passed". It's difficult to explain the sense of achievement; it's probably one of the most nerve-wracking tests you can take. The pink slip just didn't do it justice. Back in work I was brought back down to earth, the conversation with the garage manager, if memory serves was:

Me: I passed.
Gm: Good.
Me: (grin).
Gm: Take the yellow Escort to ATS for a front tyre.
Gm: Pick up that paint from Brown Brothers at the bottom of Liverpool Street.
Gm: Then take the Granada to Quicks at Cheadle.
Gm: Oh, and I need the old Cortina fetching from Harry Jackson's.
Me: (!)
Gm: Well, go on then.

I did, and I'm still loving it.

More recently I had the pleasure of taking a forklift truck driving course. This took place on a windswept car park in Stalybridge, in the depths of winter. There were six of us and one lifter, if you weren't on it you were stood freezing you bollocks off watching someone else on it. Backwards and forwards through a chicane made of old pallets. About half way through the week-long course one of the managers came out to see what was going on, when he found out, he took it upon himself to quiz us on general health and safety information. The question "What steps would you take if you discovered a fire in the warehouse ?" Was posed to one particularly disinterested process worker, the answer "Fuckin' big ones" was met with howls of laughter from the five of us stood there. The manager, however was less than impressed and sacked the bloke on the spot. One down five to go eh ? Someone muttered. The manager glowered at us and stalked off back to his office. The sacked bloke was reinstated and all six of us passed. Those were the days, when you take the piss out of a manager and get away with it. Some things never change though; today's managers have no sense of humour either. If a manager smiles at you, check your back for knives, then check your wallet.

On the subject of passing tests, I may well regale you with my first aid course memories. Cutting edge blogging eh ?

| posted by Simon | 12:49 am | 0 comments
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