Monday, 30 July 2012

Securing the Olympics

There was the smallest hint of prophecy in my last post. I have been full on working in the venues taken over for the Olympics

It was two nights  on one day off. I found a lovely place to wild camp and sleep between shifts.

But it wasn't enough really, i fell asleep on the motorway - twice.

I like the money but not that much

So I have taken a few days off.

Back in work later this week

and, she has booked time in Brittany in a few weeks time.


Saturday, 21 July 2012


What a full on week, the wedding went off with smoothness that was quite disappointing.

Of course The morning arrived with a dearth of sleep and a surplus of merriment. The ideal preparation for a long night on shift.    

I am not sure why but I can't say where I was or what I was doing but Olympics, stadium not that far away and discredited private security firm might be a clue. 

Security work is sometimes interesting, sometimes just a matter of being paid to sit there and do nothing.
Personally I prefer nights of entertainment but last night I got a night of nothing.

A long night of tedium, actually looking back it passed quite quickly except that last 25 minutes which was about a week long.

In actuality, despite what is said about the discredited firm we delivered an Ok job, about another 10 people would have made the job better but - you can't have it all.

Out of work and on to a train and meet the student somewhere she had never been so I could pick up a piece of VW that will mean   I can go again tomorrow. Of course this was total confusion and we spent hours driving round finding the parts place

Then it was home and I slept the sleep of the knackered.

I was completely  finished.

Tomorrow, it's going to be 2 days on then omigod i need sleep.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

And so it begins...

Today we were out of here at 4.30 for me to do more training.

That done I popped into the staffing  centre for the Olympics

It's game on, shifts galore.

We could actually be in funds


Monday, 16 July 2012

G4S again

They should make a TV show about this.

Had G$S on the phone today could i work toomorrow.

Fine, but what about uniform.

Didn't i have uniform?

Did her computer say i had been issued with one?

She didn't know.

Well I hadn't.

Then I couldn't work tomorrow.

right, how did i get a uniform.

she didn't know

I hoped it was not London

clickity clickity

There was a base at.......

Ok   I could get there today were they open.

She didn't know.

When are they open, she didn't know but i could call this other number.

Which turned out to be wrong - no i could not call this other number.

So anyway, at least I now knew where the uniforms were. 

Phoned the venue, they were pretty brassed off with people phoning for G4S and no they had no idea what their phone number was either.

This is some organisation!

Then out of the blue an unrelated email, they wanted me on a training course on Thursday - the day of Serenities wedding - oh my beard and whiskers, this could get complex.

The student was harrumphig for Wales, it's OK she said, in that special tone women have when it reallly isn't. I should go and train as we needed the money her driving into town was a bit err erratic, the seat was firmly clenched.

She has now stormed off to find perfecto, her son who will need a suit, for the day.

I hope she has calmed a little, I have managed to get another training slot.



Rain and misery

The rin continues to fall, the misery that is summer continnues.

My VW is refusing to start, everyone is short of money.

Boy this is a happy house.

Of course we have the great event to look forward to, Serenities wedding, the wedding of the century. Maybe there will be a half decent fight.....

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Suits you

Of course, a wedding is supposed to be a time of dressing up, the student spent hours scouring charity shops for something suitably dignified, I think she spent a whole ten pounds. Shoes have been dealt with by borrowing a designer pair from one of her friends daughters. 

I didn't get off so lightly, my original plans were sensible i thought: wear my army surplus combat DPM's.  This is a wedding so there will almost certainly be drunk people and someone is bound to be sick over me. This is a wedding and it cannot possibly be a proper wedding unless there is a full on wild west style fight at some stage in the day. So the DPM's are ideal wear, easy to wash and tend not to show up staind and blood so badly.

But no,this morning the student marched me into the shop and I was forced to buy a new suit. I think it was a wedding that meant  I had to throw out the old one.  What a waste.

Waste to for Taliesin, one of his friends an extremly bright lad, got himself a heavy drink problem then got heavily into Valium. The doctor refused to prescribe him any more so he went online and bought some. No one is too sure exactly what went down but he was found dead last week. Drink and Valium really should not be mixed, he found out the hard way.

They buried him today.



Countdown is on

Serenity my dearest and bestest and only step daughter gets married next week.

This is an event that will put any royal wedding into  pale shalow land

God help us all as she trawls up dramas over the next few days that can only be managed by transfers of money that would cause banks to fail. 

These requests will of course be delivered at  levels of mounting hysteria which will only cease when a parent cracks and reaches for the cheque book.

It could of course all flow seamlessly according to plan - that would be boring but far less expensive...

Watch this space.


Friday, 13 July 2012


Many years ago I used to work on the door in nightclubs and festivals. It was a uncontrolled free for all that could at times be really crazy.  As a door manager I often walked into situations more concerned about what the people behind me might do than what the people in front of me were up to.

Happily someone saw sense and door work was regulated, I didn't bother signing up because I was off doing other things.

Anyway, the Olympics were coming to Britain and I thought it would be a bit of fun and a chance to use skills I had to earn some dosh.

So anyway, I applied to G4S to do some security work, I got called in for an interview which was 120 miles from here. No worries off I went, the interview went well, they said, because I had so much experience i would be called back in for interview for a team leader post -broken promise number one.

Months went by then out of the blue I got a call on a Thursday to spend a week training starting Monday.

As it happened I was working in uni so it was a no go.

Weeks went past and eventually I asked what on earth was going on, got on a course 120 miles away.

The main trainer lives 20 miles away and I could have done the same course with him a couple of miles up the road.

The trainers were really good, the training really good. In fact I wish someone had put me on a course like this when I started fostering.    

So that was me qualified - just the supervisor course to do then - or not.

Everything went quiet.

Then a week or so ago   I got dragged up to London, basically to collect a bit of paper.

So now I have an access all areas pass for the Olympics but G4S have not completed my security accreditation.  

I am about 500 pounds out of pocket on this project, with not a great deal to show for it.

And G4S doubled their fees just before they admitted they cannot do the job.

Lets make a broader political point here, the private sector were tasked to do a job and they could not do it but they still want to be paid,

Now the public have to pay for the job they did not do and fund getting the job done as well.

In the middle of this were loads of unemployed people who were on the training I went to, desperate to get work and struggling to find five pounds a day train fares when G4S did not evenn have the decency to lay on a cup of tea.

They have been used abused and thrown away, G4S will want the cost of the course back when these people are unable to work.  




Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Summertime and the weather is - awful

Yesterday nearly fooled me, the sun didn't quite shine but at least there was no innundation. Mass struggling yesterday afternoon got the tracks changed on the digger, that followed an axeathon that saw the wood pile split nicely.

We have cancelled our proposed trip to Brittany, I'm still waiting to see what the people at the Olympics have on offer for me if anything at all.

This endless stream of continuous wet is begingin to get to us, both of us - I really could do without the constant rain. Where did the sun go? Will it ever come back?

We cannot even go to Brittany to escape, the papers over there are full of talk about the rain. By the time we get out there again our back garden will be a jungle. 


Sunday, 8 July 2012

What Price politics

A little while back the government announced it could not afford all these expensive Border Control Service sorts and so gave them the sack.  Then someone realised that there was likely to be a few people trying to get stuff into the country to do some nasty stuff. The ports all needed to be checked again, so they hired a private firm SERCO to run the same checks civil servants used to do and save a lot of money.

Well a few little facts arrived, the machine checking for radioactivity broke and no one noticed, this could have been something to do with many of staff not knowing how to use it.

This cuts to the heart of the public private debate, the neoliberals loathe the public sector doing anything.

The public sector got paid to do a job, the private sector were cheaper but didn't actually do the job. So paying them was the same as not paying them -the job still didn't get done.

Someone got something for nothing - SERCO.

Doesn't this sound like so much of the private sector.

Oh what they were checking for was the material to make a "dirty bomb" to contaminate olympic venues with radioactive material and possibly kill thousands.

Enjoy the olympics every one.

I'll be the one in the NBC suit. 


Having an adventure

Life is too short to be boring so with the requirement to be at London this morning at 10 AM, the student and i pointed the trusty C4 east at 4 o clock in the morning.

The weather was truly awful with great clouds of spray everywhere, really hairy conditions on the M4 which was anyway partially closed as some bridge was falling down.
We made sterling time and fairly soon we were off the motorway at Heathrow into Hounslow West where parking was free on the weekend.

On to the underground and a day pass was a very reasonable £8.50, it took the best part of an hour to cross the city, with the student on the phone telling Bethan to let the chickens out to the obvious amusement of some of the other passengers.

 About 20 minutes early I was at the authentication venue to collect my Olympic paperwork. This was just as well. People who worked there said that yesterday people had been standing round for two hours in the rain waiting to be seen. The week before it had been heatwave and people dropping like flies. The Ambulance Service were on hand today, just in case.

Being a bit  early I was at the front of the line. Meaning that when things really backed up, as in a couple of hundred metres of people I was comfortably at the front. of the line.

It was all a  bit daft though, I was through there in about 30 minutes flat. It was then heading home time, we    had a lovely relaxed run across London. I know how a sardine must feel...

We popped up out of the system for some breakfast. Yeee gods we have it nice here in the West of Wales, Victoria was a mad scrum of people. People in London seem to be either frenetic or lost and bewildered. I love the stress light West Wales life.

We got out on the M4 and home beckoned, weather had improved so the trip was a lot easier.

Indeed we had time to pop out and see Branwen at work in her new job.

For some reason I felt like an early night. Not before checking what was my likely fate in the Olympics. Lets see I had, based on my previous experience applied to be a security operative in South Wales, it looks as if I am going to be a glorified bus conductor in London.



Thursday, 5 July 2012

For the chop....

Today is another step towards the end of our fostering career. Our eldest fosling turned 18, his care order lapsed and he is no longer in care.  Of course he has no plans to move out anytime soon, he will be here for at least another year..

Chain saw was the big agenda this morning, I parted with a blistering sum of money for an industrial  chains saw, with the amount of wood we need no point going for an entry model. Like every other man once I had a new toy the very next thing to do was to try it out.

Yeeeee gods, this thing takes no prisoners at all. We did our normal 40 minutes cut and processed over twice what we normally do. We were on our knees but seriously impressed. I've spent this afternoon getting the water hot so various people can take a bath to recover.

When you are cutting the pace is largely set by the chainsaw, the faster it cuts the faster you must work to keep it fed. We were flying along and the tank of  fuel it carried got a huge amount cut.

Then it was inside to hide and pretend it does not all need chopping with axes.

In the final twist, i was invited to present myself in London for some accreditation at 10 AM on Saturday - thanks for the the notice guys.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Somtimes it rains...

Today was another being important day, presenting a conference paper in some pretty heavy academic company. This is getting to be a bit of a habit.

The weather seems to have broken, we have sun, but no chainsaw. It's being repaired, but, the news got worse, it is in that technical condition, knackered.

So now the search is on for a new chainsaw, we cut some much wood there's no point going for a cheapie or second hand, that's another 500 pounds to find.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Hip hip Holiday

This is setting out to be quite an odd year

Previously holidays meant a huge minibus and booking something for nine. It was like taking a village on tour. Last Sunday we had a rare family excursion to see Little Rumba play a gig in town, 7 of us was a big part of the audience of about 60!

Life has turned very different very quickly, some days we have a quiet house of 5, next day our children come home, bringing girlfriends and boyfriends and the house is transformed to 11. That's providing Serenity has not decided to invite herself for tea which adds another 6!!

This year the vexatious issue of holidays is being decided, it's a toughie really. None of the kids are in funds and only little D of the  looked after young people has holiday money. That's a bit of tough love as Big D  decided not to bother with applying for jobs, so of course we are applying a bit of "broke" therapy.

The student and I have looked at doing some festivals, there are some really great looking ones in Brittany. With little D off to Scotland with youth club for a week we are looking to see where we could go while he is away



Monday, 2 July 2012

Chiken out

When she said she wanted free range chikens I hadn't really sussed just how free they would range.

From our bottom field they have mounted several expeditions, been to the front of the house, been recovered from half way up the drive and remarcably ended up in our small and growing wood right on the other side of the place.

Eggs are being delivered and she is getting happier by the day.

This is just as well as the chain saw has expired. I suspect it has ingested some fine wood and the carburettor is blocked. This is beyond in house technology and so it has been sent off to be repaired. This might give us as much as a week 0ff   forced downtime.

I am very concerned.