A Change of Direction

Ramblings from October blog entries in 2002 and 2003!

IMG_1099On the weekend that the clocks went back, the late autumnal weather arrived with a vengeance. 80mph gales battered everything around me and like many others I was the victim of minor structural damage. Boundary fences failed to withstand the force of the wind and the resulting devastation was becoming a minefield for local tradesmen eager to capitalise on the situation, either in the supply of replacement materials or in labour costs. C’est la vie!

My website was also in the process of undergoing a major update and redesign as I struggled to come to terms with the technological advances of HTML. For weeks it was a project in the making, and eventually surfaced at the beginning of 2003.

Back in 2002 I was still working for a major Plc. The company had decided to forge ahead with a programme of cultural change and, at times, it was difficult to keep up with developments, let alone understand exactly what they really meant.

To illustrate the futility of this change programme, the company issued a statement to the effect that recruitment policy would consider an applicant’s ability to ‘live the culture’ as far more important than the ability to do the job. All this so-called wisdom emanated from the United States, and I still have total sympathy for people in the USA who constantly have to endure this theoretical nonsense.

As part of the change in culture, more redundancies were announced, which went against one of the company values of respecting and encouraging one another. At the time, my own position remained unaffected, although major changes in reporting line structure were imminent. The result was that my role within the company was redefined to meet new objectives. To be totally honest, even then, I’d had more than enough of all the change and uncertainty, and simply wanted to do what I did best…namely, fulfil the role for which I had been employed twelve years previously!

Twelve months later and I had been unemployed for nearly six months after falling victim to savage staff cuts. The stress of seeking new employment opportunities and trying to pay bills led to a long period of feeling well below par. A kind benefactor invited me to spend a few days in Brittany and this was just what the doctor ordered. The change of scenery and fresh air helped to relieve me of most of a virus infection, and I also enjoyed some excellent cuisine during my short stay. People in the United Kingdom often criticise the French for their abruptness and aloofness, but on this visit, I only encountered warm hospitality and courtesy. On one occasion, we were enjoying a drink in a small bar, and when local people entered, they made a special point of greeting us. Can anyone possibly imagine that happening in many of our drinking establishments?

Upon returning home, I was once again reminded of just how crowded our roads and streets are compared with much of France. I had only been driving for about twenty minutes on my return journey from the ferry port when traffic ground to a complete halt and I found myself in a queue of over a mile long. Whilst there were the inevitable traffic delays in the large towns, main roads in France were of the usual high standard found throughout the country and free of obstruction. It’s little wonder, therefore, that so many British people seek solace across the channel.

Of particular beauty were some of the many unspoilt beaches with their golden sands and clear blue water, in contrast to many of our southern coast beaches with their shale and murky waters. To find similar landscapes in Britain, one has to travel to the north coast of Scotland and whilst some of the beaches are totally unspoilt and secluded, the climate is almost always less amenable.

The object of the visit was because my friend was looking for a property in France. Whilst he remained undecided as to exactly what he wanted, the trip only further endorsed my long term desire to eventually move to France on a permanent basis.

Oh, and as for the company for which I worked, it finally ceased to exist in its former image in 2005. Obviously they were unable to manage without my expertise!


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