I Love My High Street

This afternoon I took a stroll into my local town centre as I needed to go to the bank. When I got there, I found there were two signs attached to the door. The first read ‘This branch is closed’ the second stated ‘we are recruiting locally’. Well obviously, not that locally…

               We have an unusual assortment of shops on our high street. There is an art shop which opens by appointment only and has a Lowry painting in the window (with a selling price of £3500) next to a chicken takeaway which houses a nightclub in its basement. Perhaps keeping out the chicken fuelled revellers is why the art shop is open by appointment only.

               The ‘friendly neighbourhood chemist’ has a handwritten sign in the window. “We still don’t have any covid tests so don’t ask us anymore”. The word ‘still’ was underlined three times, I suspect it hasn’t stopped people asking.

So many useful items….

               Further down the street we have a betting shop, which rather than showing the horse racing or football seemed to be showing a repeat of Homes Under the Hammer. I wondered if the betting industry has moved on from the probability of a score draw at Crawly Town and onto the chances of planning permission being given for a two-bed town house extension in Walsall. I am so out of touch…

               Our high street still has an independent stationery shop which I never see anyone using as everything is twice the price of WHSmith (which is immediately opposite). The stationery shop is a ‘proud stockist’ of Ordinance Survey Maps, another item which surely doesn’t sell well anymore. If I was more interested, I would go inside and find out if they are also a ‘proud stockist’ of cassette tapes or Rubik’s cubes but I fear my presence would wake the owner from their nap.

               The bakery has started branching out from takeaway sausage rolls and pasties and now offers luxury options. These include sausage roll with rice and a pasty with rice. I am quite happy to live in a place that considers the addition of rice would make a dish luxurious.

The coffee shop also sells bean bags

               Charity shops are always worth a look as genuine bargains are easily found. We have a few on our high street, one of which puts books in the window to entice passers-by to step inside. I noticed their choices for the window display included:

  • An entire book of panoramic shots of the Blackpool Tower
  • A compendium of Royal Dalton figurines
  • A guide to female cricketers from Cheshire (1907-2007)
  • A biography of the last 55 Prime Ministers

There are a number of surprizing things here. Firstly that these are topics that the staff think people are interested in, secondly, that members of the public didn’t want these ‘fascinating’ books and donated them to charity and thirdly that the authors thought there was any demand at all for these niches. I suspect if I go back in a few weeks, the window display will not have been altered.

               Although I managed to resist the lure of the luxury takeaway rice, ordinance survey maps and second-hand Royal Dalton compendiums, that doesn’t mean I had a wasted day gazing through shop windows. I had a lovely time. I love my high street.

January Blues

               Let’s be honest, January is rubbish. Even though the shortest day was weeks ago, it is still so dark, the main light can only be switched off for about 40 mins a day.

To help with this, I bought one of those SAD lamps. It is supposed to help with alertness and positivity (much like the music of ABBA) however like most modern electronics it has no plug and is powered by a USB port. This means that if I don’t use the laptop for more than five minutes, the screensaver comes on and the light turns off (unlike the music of ABBA which is seemingly inescapable). This doesn’t help my positivity.

One of the problems with January is that there is nothing to look forward to. February has Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day and the Oscars. While it is easily possible to ignore these days, they are at least fun. The only two days listed on my calendar for January are Martin Luther King Day and Holocaust Memorial Day, both of which are very important but are definitely lacking in fun.

As if all this isn’t bleak enough, Dry January is becoming more popular. This is where people set themselves a challenge not to drink any alcohol all month and raise money in the process. It seems to me that if there was a month people should drink more, it is January. It is such a long month too. Why don’t people try dry February instead? It is much shorter.

The Christmas aisles of the supermarkets are long gone and seem to be replaced by empty shelves although my interest was peaked by my local co-op which already has its Easter display in prime position (Easter is still three months away). Unfortunately, on further investigation, the only thing on the display were hot cross buns, all marked Happy Easter, with a use by date of tomorrow. Although this didn’t stop me buying some.

Perhaps we should invent something that happens in January that everyone can look forward to. Or maybe not, it is bound to involve yet more ABBA.

Roll on February.

Christmas Day – A Timeline

10am – The Day Begins

I arrive at work at the posh hotel, we all get a piece of Christmas cake which it turns out was from the supermarket as the chef forgot and secret Santa begins.

               I hate secret Santa. It seems to me that nobody gets anything they like, rather everyone gets mid-priced bath sets or socks. One year, I got a 6 pack of Coca-Cola.

               My present arrived and I really tried to sound enthusiastic.

               “Oh wow, a mince pie scented candle, thank-you Santa” I tried to say, while wondering if I should give that to somebody else or just leave it behind.

11:30am – Santa’s Christmas Lunch

               This is one of the annual highlights at the posh hotel. A five-course meal featuring a visit from Father Christmas. The regular Santa was in isolation with Covid so we had a replacement, the brother of a bar tender who turned up with out his trousers so wore jeans instead.

               We had 188 people booked in. Due to a series of ‘unfortunate incidents’ mostly connected to a super spreader event the previous week, when the staff of a luxury car manufacturer refused to wear masks at their party in the hotel, 64 of them caught covid (our fault, of course). This also meant we were down to five waiters (for 188 people). The guests had paid £65 per head.

It didn’t stay like this for long….

Noon – The computer broke

               This meant we were no longer able to access the pre orders. They had been printed out but nobody was quite sure where they were. We now had to take all the orders again. However, the new orders were in no way related to the number of dishes that had been prepared.

12:30pm – A numerical issue

               Having the restaurant split into three sections, each with its own head waiter had meant that nobody knew what the other sections were doing. Two different table 44s went unnoticed until one large bill was produced though only having 158 chairs for the 188 people became apparent much earlier in proceedings.

               I was dispatched to empty hotel bedrooms looking for 30 unoccupied chairs, many of them were on wheels and had arms too high to fit under the table, but still, it was better than standing.

1:30pm – Things were flying

               Still nothing had come out of the kitchen, the orders were completely lost. Santa was on break and the only remaining bar tender (Santa’s brother) had gone home in a bad mood. Tension was building.

               “Please can I ask why this is taking so long”

               “Are you trying to mess this up on purpose”

The five waiters were getting stressed, three entire trays of food were dropped on the floor. To try and distract from this, I turned the music up a little louder, then inevitably somebody shouted

               “This is the worst Christmas ever”

A rare photograph of a child not crying…

2pm – People started to leave

               Santa was now serving behind the bar, having taken his hat off. We had run out of presents and the unfortunate food and beverage manager was giving out gift vouchers to all involved. Housekeepers, gardeners and maintenance people were all now running around with trays…

               “Anyone want the salmon?”

               “Where is table 26?”

               “How do I get the till to work?”

Many of the customers showed themselves to the door.

3:30pm – a meeting was called

               The hotel manager had come in on Christmas Day (a rare occasion) to address the chaos. The 188 people had been refunded their £65 along with the gift vouchers. To try and restore morale, the hotel manager brought in mince pies for the staff.

               “Please try and understand, we didn’t mean for this to happen” he told us, followed by “does anyone know what happened to Santa’s trousers?”

Celebrity Guests

               At the posh hotel we are frequently graced by celebrity. Some of the celebrities we have actually heard of, others we need to look up on the internet but either way, this group of guests present a unique set of challenges…

The Comedian

               The comedian was very keen that everyone should know he was here. The room was booked under his stage name (just so we all knew), his driver came into Reception, waited until it was busy and then announced to everyone the comedian was arriving.

               The comedian went through his clearly pre-prepared set of hotel lobby material for the gathered crowd, posed for photos which included one of him lying on the floor and then wandered into the kitchen to perform more pre-prepared material for the chefs.

               At least we knew who the comedian was.

The Footballer

               The footballer had booked to stay for two nights, Thursday and Friday. His house was being refurbished so wanted a couple of nights away from the builders. He had booked under a false name (although we had a tip off he was staying) but didn’t arrive on the Thursday. As is normal for guests who ‘no show’, we phoned to see if he wanted the room for the second night, which he said he did.

               The footballer dropped his stuff off on Friday afternoon – it was a lot of stuff, in fact it took three staff members to help carry it all. Then he went out a few hours later. He didn’t come back until Tuesday.

               The footballer didn’t tell us that he wanted the room for Saturday, Sunday & Monday evenings. He didn’t answer his phone or reply to his emails. He just left his mountain of stuff in the hotel (including a phone and a laptop) and vanished. The only reason we knew he was ok is that we saw him playing a match on Sky Sports.

               The footballer’s assistant came to collect his stuff on Tuesday morning and paid the bill in cash, including a £10 tip to be split among ‘all the staff’. How lovely.

The Radio Star

               The radio star came with her baby daughter. She was working nearby. The radio star shouted at a waiter for serving her prawns as she is vegetarian. This is something most people would have mentioned to the waiter at the time of ordering but not the radio star.

               The radio star carried a large handbag with her all the time. This meant she couldn’t move her daughter’s pram so we spent a lot of time pushing the little girl round the hotel. The radio star managed to leave the contents of the large handbag everywhere. A child handed in her security pass to the radio station into lost property.

               The radio star also managed to loose her car keys in the car park. When they hadn’t been found a couple of hours later, she simply bought another car. The car she arrived with, remains in car park.

The Influencer

               We don’t often get more than a couple of emails from a guest before they arrive but the influencer sent 27. She wanted to make very sure we knew she was coming. She wanted special dinners that were not on the menu, she wanted new carpet in her room and wanted the swimming pool closed all day for her exclusive use.

               The influencer didn’t tell us she was bringing six friends. She also didn’t tell us she didn’t want to pay. Apparently, the ‘exposure’ we would get on her ‘channel’ would mean we would be sold out for months. Trouble is, nobody had any idea who she was.

               The influencer live streamed her arrival so the whole world could watch her arrive. She didn’t live stream the manager telling her to leave.

The Rock Band

               The rock band stayed one night to break up a long journey on their tour. This was a big deal, there was a full staff meeting to brief us on how they must be treated. No autographs, no photos. We were not to speak to them under any circumstance unless they spoke to us first and anyone found to be giving out their room numbers would be fired immediately. Security were hired to stand outside in case fans tried to mob them, they needed their own entrance (a fire door round the back) and their own dedicated duty manager to take care of their every whim.

               The rock band got their tour manager to phone three times to make sure everything was ok before their arrival. We had to send photographs to prove the car park was clear of people. Then the bus pulled up under the cover of darkness.

               The rock band rushed out with coats over their heads and hurried up the stairs. We then didn’t hear a thing from them. They departed the next day without telling anyone, we simply got a phone call to say they had left. The strange thing about this rock band is that they are not that famous anymore. In fact, many of us didn’t know they were still going. The internet informed us that most of the original members had left since their glory days (they had just one chart topping hit and that was over twenty years ago). I wonder how long it will be before in dawns on the rock band that the days of groupies trying to get into their hotel rooms and paparazzi intrusion are long gone…

Lost Property

               I hate lost property. The rule is that everything that is left behind has to be kept and logged unless it has been placed in a bin. This means that lost property is full of junk – odd socks, almost empty toothpaste tubes, soiled underwear and so many phone chargers – plus it smells terrible. Low value items are kept for a year, high value items are kept for five years. There is so much, it fills the entire attic. I hate lost property.

               Every day, I have to deal with about five enquiries regarding missing items. Very often, the details are vague. The caller can’t remember where the items were, when they were left behind or sometimes what it actually looked like. So, I go and check the log…

               “My husband stayed with you last week and left his trousers behind”. We didn’t have his trousers as upon checking the log I discovered he hadn’t stayed here. Quite where he left his trousers (and where he was last week while his wife thought he was away) remains a mystery…

               “I left some shampoo in the room, please can you post it to me”. The (half used) bottle of shampoo was worth less than the value of the postage. I had to wrap it up and take it to the post office on my way home. The next day, we got a call saying the lady has refused the postage charge and is sending back her (half used) bottle of shampoo to us.

               “I am looking for a t-shirt that got left behind on my last visit”. It turned out that was 16 months ago. I explained we don’t keep things for longer than a year, he wasn’t happy, started shouting and asked for the manager’s name. I never did find out what happened next.

               Then there are the more unusual items. The attic holds a trombone, a judge’s wig, a 6ft teddy bear and two wheelchairs.

               For high value items, we try and contact the owners, but find that they gave us the wrong contact details or they simply never return our messages. Perhaps, this is why we have a safe full of unclaimed jewellery, watches, mobile phones and car keys.

               Three weeks ago, somebody left an entire packed suitcase and flew to Dubai without it. I emailed the couple who left it and they replied with “you keep it”. Nothing else, that was the whole email. So up into the attic it went next to a pile of dusty children’s toys which are too damaged to give to charity.

               I hate lost property.

It Was An Accident

One thing I have carried on with since the lockdown last year is a daily walk, usually to nowhere exciting, just around local housing estates but getting outside does me the world of good. It was on my regular walk that I saw a banner advertising a recruitment fair which was happening the following day. I had finished my previous job the day before and fancied taking some time out to work on my diploma but thought a recruitment fair sounded like a fun activity to fill an hour.

               I trotted along the following day to the venue (a posh spa hotel on the edge of town) expecting to find stands from large companies, the police force and the council all giving away bags of free pens, sweets and maybe a notebook. I had cleared space in my satchel to carry my expected bounty home thinking I would spend about 20 mins there and then have a look at the Christmas display at the garden centre next door.

               The posh hotel was eerily quiet, a lady opened the door for me and the only other person I saw was a receptionist who was muttering to himself. It took me ages to find the fair, I failed to spot any signs and then got lost down a long corridor of expensive looking bedrooms. I tried to find the door I came in through with the aim of asking the lady stationed there but no use, the hotel was huge, and I was lost.

Immaculately clean but completely deserted

I decided to knock on a door marked ‘private’ hoping it was an office containing somebody who could help. I knocked a couple of times but there was no answer. Then a very tall man appeared behind me, dressed in overalls and asked, “why are you trying to get into the boiler room”?

               The upside of this was that he escorted me to the fair which was (annoyingly) located in a large meeting room next to the main entrance by the lady at the door and the muttering receptionist. If I am honest, I would have left at this point and gone straight to the garden centre instead but since the tall man in the overalls was still watching me, I took a deep breath and opened the door ready to collect some mugs and a mouse mat with the logo of a bank or petrochemical corporation emblazoned across.

                The scene on the other side of the door was confusing. There were none of the expected large banners, no display boards, very few obvious leaflets to read through and about eight tables each with a lone person sat behind. They all looked up at me and I realised I was the only person in the room not sat behind a table. A man on the far side of the room waved me over and I was immediately thrust into a role play situation.

               “Tell me about yourself”

               “What do you think customer service means”

               “Can you give me an example of a time you made a difference”

At least they didn’t ask what animal I would be…

               It was about now, I realised I was in a job interview. I didn’t know who this man was, what company he worked for or even what the job role was that he was interviewing me for. I obviously wasn’t dressed for a job interview and didn’t even have a CV with me.

               The day after I got a phone call offering me a job working at the posh hotel. I hadn’t fully realised I had applied for it, yet out of politeness I accepted the offer.

               I only wanted a mouse mat.

A Passport Pass?

               A few weeks ago, I won £30 on the lottery, then the following week I won another £30. According to my internet calculator the odds of this happening are 1 in 9409. The odds of going to hospital with a pogo stick injury are fairly similar. Anyway, I resisted the temptation of more lottery tickets and spent my winnings on replacing my expired passport. Not because I want to go abroad but not having any ID makes life complicated. I couldn’t get my covid pass because of it so I lost my position at the care home. Also, it means I can’t get another job without it so it seems sensible that I should spend my ‘windfall’ on something useful rather than on chocolate buttons or subscriptions to magazines I will never read.

               Like many things in the modern era, people wanting passport renewal services are ‘strongly encouraged’ to do so online. It is cheaper than going to the post office and saves all the trauma with those passport photo booths (one of the most intimidating pieces of machinery ever invented) and trying to remember how to write a cheque.

One day this will be mine…

The first part is very easy, simply enter my name, address, date of birth and the number of my expired passport. So far, so good. Then comes the digital picture section. The rules on the government website for what makes a valid photo are extremely lengthy. Some of them are obvious ‘Your photo must be clear and in focus’ and ‘be in clear contrast to the background’. Others made me smile such as the instructions for the photo to be ‘in colour, unaltered by computer software’, ‘taken in the last 30 days’ and ‘must not contain other people’ thinking of the type of people who are submitting black & white CGI fashion shots. Of course, smiling itself is also forbidden. Others were a complete mystery to me like the specifications to be ‘at least 600 pixels wide and 750 pixels tall and at least 50KB and no more than 10MB’. Anyone who understands that is far smarter than me.

               The photo is uploaded and checked automatically, and of course everything I submitted was rejected due to ‘the direction of the shadow’ or the ‘size of the background’. I tried to crop out the background and then failed again ‘Do not crop your photo – it will be done for you’. On my fifth attempt, I got the note ‘it is possible your picture will be accepted’. Possible?

Even with all this equipment, it would still be a nightmare…

               So now I have to post off the expired passport and wait. I got a message to say my application was accepted on 24th August and by late-September still hadn’t heard a thing. I clicked on the ‘speed up my application’ button and found out that since it was less than ten weeks, there was nothing that could be done. Ten weeks? It would be quicker to make my own passport.

               Incidentally, while researching odds of winning the lottery multiple times, I discovered the odds of winning £30, three weeks in a row are 1 in 88,529,281. This is slightly higher than the odds of being hit by sewage dropped from an airline. A scenario significantly more pleasurable than having to submit photographs to the passport office.

Back To School

I first observed her on the bus,

Then I noticed her on the street,

Later on I spotted her going up some steps,

Finally I saw her in the house.

The zoom call was so dull, watching one of the other participants making her way home was the only thing that held my attention. This call was to meet my tutor and new classmates as I have decided to go back to school.

Just like when I was starting a new school year as a child, I got new pens and a massive new notebook to doodle in. I always insisted on new stationary every year, including set squares (which I don’t think I ever used and were always broken by half term) and a fountain pen even though they leaked on everything I owned.

Video calling fun…

Since my earnings were so poor last year, I was treated to a tax rebate by the good people at HMRC. As interest rates are currently lower than a snake’s belly I decided not to invest it (forgoing the chance to earn an extra 11p in the next three years) but instead get a qualification in something useful.

I have enrolled in an online hotel and hospitality course which (if I pass) will gain me a diploma which is, apparently, the same as the first year of an undergraduate degree but without the terror of shared housing or having to queue up for hours on a rainy pavement for hours just to get discounted drinks on a Tuesday evening.

However, one part of the student experience I still get is an NUS card (which has rebranded as Totum). This is very exciting news – discounts on a load of things I haven’t heard of and 10% off at the Co-op. One of the offers advertised is for an extra 15% off an advent calendar worth £370, I wonder how many students get that?

Perhaps I could hire someone to do this for me?

               The course itself consists of ten modules and it is completely online, there are no exams (only assignments) and I can do it whenever I like. If I paid more attention in my tutorial I would have realised that I could do the modules in any order, rather than the order listed, which would have resulted in me not starting with accounting.

               While I appreciate that accounting is important and understand why it is in the course, I will never find it interesting. Trying to work up an interest in overhead recovery rates or activity based costing has been a considerable challenge. My google algorithms also seem to have altered as a result of ‘what is a debenture?’ and ‘in bookkeeping what does GAAP stand for?’ rather than my previous lines of enquiry such as ‘what four colours are on the twister mat?’ or ‘is a llama just a bigger alpaca?’.

               Fortunately, I have five years to complete this and I have already established that resits are free which is good news. Now all I need to find out is where my nearest Co-op is.

It’s Not Fayre

I have written before that anything with the word ‘fun’ in the title, is generally not fun. For example, a fun sized Mars Bar is tiny, a regular sized Mars Bar is much more fun. There is also nothing enjoyable about a fun run. I typed ‘fun’ into Google and the top match was funeral (certainly not fun) and then fun yoga poses (no idea). So I was dismayed to be given the job of organising the annual summer ‘fun day’.

Apparently last year’s was a disaster as nobody turned up. The reason for this, I discovered, was there was a very large country fayre a couple of miles away at the same time, which was much bigger, more famous and so everyone went there instead. The day after I was given this task, I saw an advert had been placed in the local paper for my fun day, which was due to be held (once again) at the same time as the country fayre. I showed the advert to my manager.

“It says in the paper that our fun day is on the same day as the country fayre”

“Yes, that is right” She replies.

“But you said it didn’t work last year”

“No, but we always do it on that date so we will keep it the same”

Great.

I started sending emails to local groups asking for people who might want to run stalls selling products or advertising their services. Nothing came back. I put adverts on social media. Still nothing came back. So off to the manager’s office I went.

Adverts in newspapers… Maybe a little outdated.

“I am having trouble generating interest for the fun day, I was wondering if there was a budget, we could hire some entertainment”

“No, the fun day only uses volunteers” She unhelpfully informed me.

“But what if nobody is interested?”

The day before I went to the supermarket to get some cakes and sweets (the chef wasn’t in as he was working at the country fayre), we set up all the tables in the car park and crossed our fingers

The big day arrived. A family from down the road came to drop off some unwanted second-hand stuff we could sell which included a Russian language thesaurus and a teddy bear with a missing leg. Also, a ten-year-old girl came to sing two songs. Seeing there was not much else happening, the girls mother asked me if I wanted her to sing the two songs again.

£100 for 20 minutes?

After around an hour of people looking at their watches and telling me what a shame it was, I heard the chimes of an ice cream van down the road. I rushed out. I explained my predicament to the driver who phoned ‘the office’. I was informed that he could stop in for 20 mins for £100.

I had (wrongly) assumed that ice cream vans just keep the money they make from sales but obviously not. No matter how many foreign language thesauruses or supermarket cupcakes I sold, there was no way I had £100 to give him so we parted company, I am sure he sped up as he went by the fun day.

When I got back from pleading with an ice cream driver, the manager came to find me. I had missed the photographer from the local paper…

I don’t think I have ever been more relieved to flick through the local press and find our article had not been published (there was, however, a four page spread on the country fayre). Just in case you were wondering, the teddy bear with the missing leg remained unsold.

Getting A Letter

               The instruction was straightforward “We are now required BY LAW to be able to evidence your COVID vaccine status. You now all have access to COVID passports which is a document from the NHS stipulating your vaccination status. All I ask is that you bring a copy of the letter to put on file as part of your evidence to be vaccinated.”

               The government has put a deadline of 11th of November for all care home workers (such as myself) to provide evidence of double vaccination otherwise they will no longer be allowed to work. Putting aside the ethical arguments, I have two months to get this sorted.

               I started with the NHS website and spent a frustrating 20 mins going round in circles. It seemed like every page contradicted every other one and was impossibly hard to navigate. The only pass I could actually get was a QR code that expired after 48 hours which was not particularly useful.

               The crux of the problem is as follows:

  • A letter can only be sent to the address registered by your GP, however I am not at that address.
  • Temporarily registering with a new GP just to receive a letter seems a waste of everyone’s time and a lot of admin.
  • In order to register with a GP, I need to fill in forms, present myself for a check up and bring a valid passport.
  • My passport has expired and costs £77.50 to renew which I can not afford.

Luckily the government have been kind enough to set up a ‘helpline’ where I can speak to an actual human by ringing 119. Straight away I was plunged into the hell of automated menus and guess what, none of the options applied. It took more than seven mins to get out of this robotic hell and speak to a human being (a lovely Scottish lady named Lucy). I wonder how much aggravation people like Lucy have to put up with by people apoplectic with rage caused by pressing 1 to get something unhelpful, 2 to get cut off or 3 to hear this message again.

               Anyway, Lucy happily told me that the easiest way round all this was through the NHS app where I can get a letter sent without all this fuss. I was suspicious but gave it a try. Since I still can’t work my new phone (which I have had since January) I am back to downloading on to my antique ipod touch, a device so old they no longer provide updates. However against all the odds it worked. The app downloaded and opened without a hitch, well that was until I realised that the app was identical to the website and I was no further along with something that was supposed to be easy.

               So back to 119 I went. I vaguely remember somebody on the radio saying the best way to speak to a human quickly is always press ‘0’ no matter what the options. I gave this a go and heard a whole different set of things from last time but it still took 7 mins before I spoke to a person.

               This time it was a very well-spoken man who listened patiently while I ranted on about the stupidity of registering with a new GP just to get a letter in the post. However, it seems like there really is no alternative to this, letters can only be sent to the address held on a GP’s file. Trying to be constructive he suggested that perhaps I could set up a Royal Mail forwarding service so the letter can get to me (costing £33.99), meaning yet more admin though a lower cost than a new passport.

Then in an unexpected twist, he recognised me as we had crossed paths years ago on a cruise ship. I remembered the name but have no recollection of ever meeting him, then while we were still on the phone, I got a notification from a very old facebook account I no longer have access to (I forgot the password and don’t care enough to sort it out). He had sent me a message.

‘Have you just sent me a message?’ I asked, knowing the answer already. Then straight away another notification arrived saying the message had been unsent. Presumably he realised that sending unauthorised messages to users of the NHS helpline is against GDPR law.

By now I was totally overwhelmed so I did the only thing I could think of make this problem go away. I handed in my notice at work.

To be continued….