Monday, 23 November 2009

Ah yes I remember it well.

Fellow blogger Fat Prophet sent me his book on his early life. I wrote a similar effort many years ago now and entered it in a British Library Life Story competition. Fat Prophet is 14years younger than me so the differences between his early life and mine are quite significant and show me the progress being made to rebuild our country after the war. My thanks to FP for stimulating those memories.
My book was written in the early eighties mostly during my lunch breaks at a particularly bad time when people all around me were being made redundant. Immersing myself in writing helped to block out the horrors of what was going on around me day after day. My close family of course have all read it and have pressured me a little to publish but I’m having none of it. Youngest daughter has requested I leave it to her in my will so that she can publish it. I have also had requests to do a later volume on my career. Perhaps now is a good time to do this and perhaps the blog is a good place to do it.

Chapter ??? Extracts from my probable book “can yer read a drawin it” or something like it.

Back in the early eighties; at this stage my daughters and grandkids usually raise their eyebrows start to yawn and make excuses to leave. As you are still here I guess I should continue.
Back in the early eighties during one of the Tories recessions I was working for a large engineering company. Six months earlier I had been made redundant but saved at the eleventh hour and given a new job. I had found myself another job so it was a bit of a dilemma as to whether I should stay. Although I was enjoying what I was now doing redundancies were still a common occurrence near the end of almost every month as new business was hard to find. I had a couple of very talented daughters at school so I needed to keep my job.
We were a jobbing foundry but we had some other sophisticated services many of our competitors didn’t. Tool design, repair & manufacturing, Lab testing and a top end quality control system coupled with some excellent metal pouring facilities.
Our directors had decided to concentrate on one product which we were very good at manufacturing to see out the recession. I knew the technical & manufacturing aspects of this product very well. Getting towards the end of every month I expected to get the call to the Works Directors (WD) office. My wife was on full alert so that when a call came for me to see him by appointment I feared the worst. I telephone her and told her. At the appointed time I knocked on his door and entered. After the usual niceties I sat facing him at his desk. The conversation went something like:- WD why are you looking so down in the mouth? BBCB well I don’t suppose this is good news is it? WD (smiling) why would you think that Bob in fact your stars are on the ascendency. I thought what the bloody hell he is talking about. He went on to explain. The directors had decided that when we came out of recession we would need to embrace new technologies if we were to stay competitive and ahead of our competitors. I thought what the hell does this have to do with me and I wish he would get on with it so that I could start to look for another job.” We want you over the next year or so to do some research, get out into the wide world, look at new technology and how it can impact on us and make recommendations has to what we should invest in”. I was gob smacked, at first I must have sounded like a blithering idiot before I finally got my head around what he was offering me. We discussed the project at some length but it was pretty open ended and down to me. When I got up to leave as I was approaching the door he said “oh and by the way you will have to run it in with your existing job. I never argued.
Back at my desk I pondered the situation for awhile and then phoned my wife. When do you leave she asked. I don’t I blurted out I’ve got a new project. Did you get a pay raise was her next question. She seemed disappointed in me when I told her no and I still had to do my existing job. Having more or less guaranteed employment for at least a year did not seem to impress her or the potential the project offered us.
Three weeks later I was on a plane with our MD bound for Hamburg to look at some machine tools. I was 42 and this was the first time I had been on a commercial flight. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. Six months later my salary had doubled and I had my first substantial bonus.

The above was a taster on what the book might contain. I wonder if I continued to write extracts like this the stories would be of interest to anyone? No perhaps not!

2 comments:

Methodist Preacher said...

Bob, a few years ago I wrote a short book about the Asbury family up in Great Barr. My most useful research source were the equivalent books of Fat Prophet and the one you are proposing. These personal anecdotes - especially if supported by a usable index - are a goldmine for future researchers.

But not just researchers. During the course of my work on the book I found many people who were so pleased to have something that their grandfather or great-grandfather (actually no grandmothers in this case)had written, even if it had never been published.

So sit down and write it all down. Clearly mark it copyright (that way your family may just benefit in future years - who knows?) and run off enough copies for the grandchildren, a few spares and donate a few to Sandwell and Birmingham libraries local study section and your old school.

One day I will take my own advice and write my story down.

Good to see that you are obviously feeling better.

Fat Prophet said...

I agree with him!! I can give you the name of my publisher and they will print as few or as many books as you wish - obviously the more you buy the less you pay if someone buys one copy of mine direct from the publisher it would cost the £12-23 but if I buy 30 copies it costs less than half that amount.