Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Guardian Angel II

So I survived being fired due to a lack of large walk-in freezer store and carried on in the usual manner to which I'd become accustomed, that is measuring things, pricing things up, and pretending to be a technical sort of person when attending site meetings with people who actually knew what they were talking about and not bluffing their way through life.

And then the Guardian Angel stepped in again.

New contracts were thin on the ground in the first part of 1977, a recession on the way and all sorts of things happeneing to the Government in the big bad world outside my estimating department door meant that, well, the Leeds office didn't have much work on - not that it had anything to do with me, oh no, I was just the one who was supposed to bring the work in, nothing to do with me whatsoever.

A May morning, on a Thursday if I recall, and my boss appears at the door of my estimating department to inform me that if I'd like a trip up to Newcastle to help out in our office up there for two weeks then he was quite happy to let me go for a while.

With hindsight I accepted too quickly.

With hindsight it was either the fact that I wanted to leave home and spread my wings in the big bad world, or, just possibly, that my boss knew something that he couldn't tell me and his tone was slightly more on the "insistant" side of "advisory", either way, four days later I took a company van out of the yard and off up the A1 I ventured.

I'd spent two weeks working for the Newcastle office in the April of that year which had turned out to be a complete disaster, my job for that fortnight was to travel to an oil refinery near Edinburgh and measure up the total lengths and different sizes of high voltage cable that we'd installed on a contract there as no-one had been paying attention to it during the 18 months that they'd been on site.

I spent ten days on the refinery walking backwards and forwards under pipes and oil refinery gubbins, tracing the routes of all the cables that our electricians had laid, I measured each and every one meticulously and was 100% positive that I'd got every yard of cable noted down in my book - went back to Newcastle. costed it all up and left.

Two days later the manager at the Newcastle office was on the phone giving me a bollacking for missing nearly 200 yards of extremely expensive, extremely thick, high voltage cable, then my Leeds manager gave me a bollacking for doing the same - it later transpired that the 200 yards of missing cable had never actually made it to site but actually existed as two large colour tv's in the site foreman and Newcastle managers homes - they'd worked a fiddle with the wholesalers - but more of that later.

So my return to the scene of my mis-measuring was a bit of a mystery to me, if I had done so crap at the last job why would they ask for me back ?

Even more amazing was the fact that the Newcastle manager didn't seem to want to discuss the matter, he'd covered up well and didn't want to go back to dig up the site, as I found out later.

One week into my two week sojourn the Guardian Angel paid a visit.

I was called into the Newcastle managers office where he explained that that very morning a team of directors from our head office in Bristol had flown up to Leeds, walked in and closed the office down, making everyone redundant in the process.

"So do I leave now then" I asked my sneaky Newcastle office manager.
"They don't know you're here" he advised, "and we need someone to do your job here"
He appeared to be offering me the job in his office.

"As long as they keep paying your hotel bills you keep coming back up here" he further advised with that sneaky look on his face again, "D'ya hear ?" (his favourite expression), I didn't know at the time but my wages bill was never transferred to his office overheads.

"I've got one of their vans" I recalled
"They don't know about that either" his sneaky-ness knew no bounds

I stayed for seven years - a two week contract turned into a seven year engagement and along the way I married the person who is in her 24th year as the current Mrs Jerrychicken.

I'm always grateful to the Guardian Angel for intervening on my behalf ...


... but sometimes, at these life changing moments, I wish he'd consult with me first.

6 comments:

Ms Jones said...

Next, you'll be telling us about the Villa you have in the 'Cayman Isles' :)

Gary said...

Ahh, the Cayman Isles.

Not quite, but Barbados - thats another story for another day :)

Ms Jones said...

“My name is NOT Jerry Chcken”

Was that a deliberate spelling mistake ?
on your uk thingy!

Gary said...

Did I really do that ?

Damn, all that palaver for one letter, I'll edit it somewhere down the line :)

Ms Jones said...

Your such a great story teller, yet people rarely leave comments!

Gary said...

I know - they're exhausted by the time they reach the end.