Happy Halloween everyone! Whilst I am away in London, thought you might like to see our decorations from the weekend. G x
So I have made it through another week in London. This was week 2 of 4 and in case you haven’t already seen it, go and have a look at last week’s post!
This week was really full on, just like last week with us trying our best to learn the complicated new system that we have to show staff how to use. I have to be honest, my brain was a little fried by the end of the week and I was SHATTERED when I got home.
However, the highlight of my week was a personal victory of mine in that I managed to walk to London Bridge from my hotel (over a mile) without getting lost!! Now this might not seem like a massive deal to you, but I have got NO sense of direction and was just THRILLED to make it there and back without too much bother!
I have to say though, it’s not exactly relaxing walking through central London as the sheer amount of people walking at you in all directions is an assault on the senses. The route I took walked past many cafes, restaurants and pubs and I had to weave in and out of crowds of smokers blocking pavements, all the while trying not to breathe in the smoke. Yuk.
I have been thinking that I might try to find a pub to walk round, but as the clocks go back this weekend, the evenings will get dark very quickly and I am not sure a park at night is ideal. Someone I am working with suggested that I go to something called SkyGarden, apparently it’s free and gives a panoramic view of London. So come back next week to see if I manage to go.
Also this week, my evenings where pretty low-key as everyone kind of did their own thing, with most people feeling tired and just wanting to chill out in the evening. I did have fun one night when my youngest niece face timed me as it was her birthday 🙂 Let me tell you though, having a video call with an 8-year-old is hilarious as she whizzed the phone left and right, I almost got motion sickness! She was just too giddy to show me everything she had got for her birthday, it was very cute.
It is also very funny how quickly I have settled into a routine, getting up for breakfast at around 7:20am and being back in my room for 8:00am. Putting my stuff in more or less the same place in the room. All these things make me feel a little more grounded and “at home”. I’ve got 2 more weeks in London and then we start showing PT staff how to use the new system. It’s a huge task, which is quite pressurised, but it will be worth it in the end.
Bring on Week 3 I say!
<< See Week 1
Before I start, let’s catch you up.
- I work for The Prince’s Trust
- Until last week, I worked on the Team Programme in the North West of England.
- Last week I started a 4 month secondment working as a Training Manager (still at PT).
Got it? then I will continue.
My new role involves being part of a small specialist team that is going to train 900 staff on a brand new multi-million pound system that is going to change the way we work. NO pressure at all then.
My week started last Monday (16th) when I caught the Virgin Pendolino from Warrington Bank Quay Station down to London Euston. I am quite lucky as even though this journey is approximately 260km as the crow flies, it only takes 2 hours on the superfast train. Result.
A little underground later and before I knew it was arriving at Moorfield Tube Station, a few minutes walk from Prince’s Trust House. Within the Trust this is our head office and is known as PTH – so on we go.
We spent our first morning, getting to know the new Training Team and actually delivered a 5 minute training session we had all been asking to prepare in advance. Mine was a session on how to create a chart in Excel and I thought it went quite well – Happy days. I did of course make a complete faux pas the minute I arrived, as I lost my security pass within MINUTES and subsequently has to pay a £10 fine. Good start Gill, good start.
Our team is made up of other Prince’s Trust secondees from around the UK, so it was great to meet them and fab to hear Welsh, Northern Irish, Scottish and English voices all in one room. We actually bonded quite quickly and it seems that we are all feeders and each day we were together, someone brought something in to nibble on and my Weight Watchers resolve was tested most days (although I didn’t cave)
I was booked to stay in a Travelodge which was a short 7 minute walk from PTH and honestly the JOY of being able to walk to work every day was something else. My usual commute to the office is horrific as I live 21 miles away from work, which can take anything from 35 to 90 minutes on a bad day. The Travelodge itself was everything you would expect as a basic hotel but it was clean, my room was a decent size and the staff were friendly and helpful. Not sure what more I could ask for really.
One tip though, if you ever stay in the Travelodge on City Road in London, ask for a room NOT on City Road as they are much quieter! 🙂
As I was working in London Monday to Friday this week, I knew I would have to sort something out for our evening meal every night. Half of us were staying in the Travelodge and the other half of us were staying at Premier Inn about 15 minutes away. It was funny actually, as I recognised that this whole process is a marathon, not a sprint and so I knew I would have to pace myself. Also most of the other people are much younger than me and so up for much more each night. But as it transpired the following happened:
Monday Night: We all went to Pizza Express
Tuesday Night: I went to the pub with 3 of the other peeps after work whilst most of the others went for a Curry on Brick Lane.
Wednesday Night: I went for a Chinese with 2 of the other peeps. Most people had a chill night.
Thursday: Almost everyone, except me and one other person went to “Ping Pong” social. I got some food from Tesco and had a room picnic!
We have got another 3 weeks training the trainer with everyone though, I am sure there will be lots of opportunities to do stuff. I actually was really nervous the night before I left for London but by the time I got there, I was fine.
I have been to London loads of times before, but only for the day or on holiday, I have never stayed for work, so this whole thing is an adventure. In a way, I wish I could film my short commute in a morning to show M just HOW many people I pass. Everyone walks at “Race Pace” in London, yet no-one looks where they are going! Everyone is on their phone so you hear almost every language possible within every 5 minute walk. It’s a world away from Newton-le-Willows.
My week finished with a mad dash across London as Moorfield Tube Station was closed and I had to literally run with a colleague to Liverpool Street in order to find another way back to Euston. We did make it on time thankfully and I have never been more pleased that I got a sneaky 1st class ticket. And relaxxx.
Week 1 done and another 3 to go. Can’t wait.
You may have seen the YouTube video I filmed a couple of weeks ago about some of the Inappropriate friends that I have had? But I just thought I would write another post about something that happened to me a few years ago with possibly the most inappropriate friend ever!!
So when I worked for a charity in Manchester I had a “work friend” that I used to have quite a laugh with, she worked on reception and we always used to have a chat on my way to and from meetings and things. Over a period of time she had become increasingly unhappy in her marriage and had started to sail pretty close to the wind on nights out. This resulted in her sleeping with her husband’s best friend which was awful of course, but her life, her decision.
Her behaviour however, escalated and she signed up for one of these dodgy sites where people can meet each other for all manner of extra curricular activities. I advised her again it many times, but she was hellbent on doing whatever (and whoever) she fancied. But still, her life, her choice.
One day at work, as I walked past reception, she sort of grabbed me and dragged me into the toilet. I thought she was upset and was therefore dumbstruck when she locked the cubicle door and whipped off her top and bra. “Take a photo of my t*ts?” she asked. Apparently, had been chatting to one of her new “friends” and he had requested proof of boobage. Despite my shock, I took the photo, if only to get the hell out of there.
Later that day, she shouted me as I walked past her desk, to show me the new boots she had bought and more crucially was wearing. They were thigh high leather boots with cut outs in them to reveal an abundance of thigh – think Julia Roberts at the start of Pretty Woman. You also have to bear in mind that she worked ON RECEPTION in a busy organisation and training venue. I was mortified and just smiled and told her they were nice. She really wasn’t in a place mentally to even try to read the look of horror on my face.
I did try to talk to her a few times to see if I could at least get her to calm down a bit, but she was sort of on a roll and loving it. Also, at the end of one of these chats, she just turned on her work computer and showed me the penis of a complete stranger that she was coveting. 🙁 But it gets worse.
A few weeks later, as I was signing in at work when she grinned at me and said:
Her: Guess what I was doing at 6:30 this morning?
Her: Having sex in Room 1!
It seems that she had been chatting to bloke from the dodgy dating site (she was still very much married) and he was in Manchester for the night, so she had invited him to our office to hook up. It’s worth pointing out that at the time of this conversation, training delegates were having tea & coffee IN ROOM 1 before their training started. Gross squared.
As I really didn’t know what to do or say, I just laughed and retreated to my desk upstairs. I spent the whole day in a bit of a fog and the second I walked through the door at home, I told M everything. But now the question was to Tell or Not to Tell?
She had been unfaithful to her husband several times before and whilst I 100% disagreed with that, it was her choice. But having sex at work with a total stranger was crossing a massive line. She had put herself and potentially colleagues and even the entire building at risk by letting this man in at 6am. But should I tell? I was so torn. The next day I grabbed my friend Karen, who worked in the same building and told her everything. Being a step removed, Karen could see things more clearly than I could and offered to tell my work friend’s manager what had happened. What a pal – she actually became my best friend, even to this day.
The following day, I spent the morning at my desk and just before lunch, I was coming down the stairs to go out to a meeting when I saw the guilty work friend leaving the building in flood of tears. I froze half way down the stairs so she didn’t see me, but there was nothing for it, I had an appointment and HAD to go out. I crept towards my car, but just as I thought I was safe, through snot and tears, she shouted me over.
It seems they had sacked her because they had “found out she had left the building insecure” and that by letting the stranger in, she had put the building and it’s contents as risk. They had checked the CCTV and seen him arriving just after 6am and leaving a little before 8am and when she was asked who he was, she tried to say he was a financial advisor. Of course no-one believed her and even though there was no proof of what had happened in Room 1, it seems they already had a portfolio of other things that had slowly been going awry.
I felt so guilty for all of this and I sometimes still agonise over it today and I felt like my decision to tell made her lose her job. But people who were around at the time have reassured me that it was her own actions that caused her downfall. After all, this was the one time she told me about, but she could have done this lots of other times in secret. She put me at risk by telling me and being alone with this stranger at 6am was dangerous on so many levels. One friend even had a theory that she told me as she knew I would have to intervene and the outrageousness would have to stop. Not sure about that, but you never know.
I never saw the work friend again after that fateful day, well except for just once a few weeks later. I was walking from the station to work about 8:15am and I spotted her walking towards me. She tried to tell me she was going to her new job, but I don’t know many company dress codes that include sunglasses, a backless silver top, a beret and 4″ stilettos.
We have lived in Newton-le-Willows now for 3 and a half years and last night, we have never felt more part of a community. My lovely friend Fiona is the chair of Newton Family & Community Centre and she invited M and I to a Gala Dinner last night, which was the finale to their 30th year celebrations.
This community centre is a special place and in case you didn’t know, just over 2 years ago, it was under threat of closure due to lack of funding. The committee shouted out to the community for help to raise £10,000 to keep their doors open and the community responded in spades or actually in pounds sterling.
The money was raised and the best thing about it, was that since then, the centre has been award £250,000 from Big Lottery which is simply AMAZING and they really are going from strength to strength. So you can imagine, when Fiona asked if I would bring my camera, I jumped at the chance to capture what was a really special night!
I danced the night away and even had a catch up with an old school friend. Really a top top night. Thanks and massive congratulations to all involved, we were thrilled to be invited.