Day in the life part 4 - Final
Trip Start Jul 04, 2006
63Trip End Jan 16, 2007
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It is 6.40pm on Thursday 5th October, so over there in Aussie it should be approaching 4.00am Friday morning. Therefore I don't expect anyone to see this entry for awhile, so I am just going to waffle on for a bit. We have been gone from Australia for three months now, and have been having a great time.
We miss our family back in Aussie so much, so love to Jacki, Sam, Cara and Rainee, and also to Cathy and Grant. We also miss all our family and friends back in Aussie and wish you would all write now and then to let us know how you are. You should all have our email adress, or just reply to one of our blogs. Don't know how this is done, but we have rec'd messages so it shouldn't be too hard. Don't want to sound pushy, but three months is a fair while, and we get a bit lonely at times. We even spoke of coming home, but want to make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity. We miss our family, and so sorry we missed Arlene's 50th, Carl's 30th and Teagan & Renae's birthdays amongst others.
Anyway, wanted to finish off my little story of my day in the UK, as I have now changed jobs and work where Gail is working here in Belper. Still early starts (6.00am) but really good company and interesting work. I'll tell you more about it another day.
We have booked a hire car to be delivered tomorrow at noon, so we are off for two nights to the north to visit my friends "the Perils" in Halifax and hope to have something interesting to tell. But for the moment, bye for now!
ps re "one day in the life ...." constructive criticism is welcome, all others can please themselves.
Back from lunch, and back upstairs, the first task is the assembly and gluing of more displays that will hold books, magazines and annuals bound for the countries retailers in time for the Christmas 2006 market. These displays are quite large so it is a two person task, and I am assigned to work with Tracey who has worked here for three years and is one of the companies' longest serving employees. Tracey is the older sister of Robert the comedian, who has now just broke his own world record for the number of times "G'day Mate" has been uttered to the one person (me) in a single day, and there is still four hours to go! Tracey is the mother of two girls, who are not yet teenagers, and she comments that her daughters would love some of the annuals featured on the display we are assembling, ie Barbie, Pokemon and My Little Pony amongst others. I tell her that I also have two daughters, and the youngest would also love the My Little Pony annual and she turned 25 this year! (If I see it on sale I'll get it for you Doll.)
Tracey continues to proudly talk about her girls (and I talk of mine when I can get a word in) while we set a cracking pace with the displays, and with her being more experienced than everyone else, it is all I can do to keep up with her. After an hour our stack of completed displays towers over those of the other three pairs of workers who are also doing the same task.
One of the things that took me a while to understand was her use of the word "pudding" to describe anything sweet or dessert like. Tracey kept referring to her girl's love of pudding, and it took till she said how they each had a big bowl of ice-cream last night for pudding that I caught on. Well that's one thing I already knew, ie the English love of ice-cream. Not the ones like Peters or Streets that you buy on a stick, but the scoop of ice-cream in a cone variety. If three out of four workers here smoke, and even more love their packets of crisps, then almost one hundred percent eat an ice-cream every day. I have walked with Gail down the main street of Derby and counted fifty, sixty, seventy and more people of all ages scoffing down an ice-cream, and it definitely is the business I would be in to make a quick million.
On that subject there is a business you would not start if you were in England and that is of a letter box manufacturer. I have yet to see one. Every house has a slot in the door covered over with a flap that the postie delivers the mail into. When we first arrived in Derby it took us ages to get use to this noise in the front hallway each morning when we knew no one else was home. It was just the mail hitting the wooden floor after being delivered by the postie. I can understand this for those homes with no front yard and built directly up onto the street, but it is the same for homes with front yards. The poor postie has to walk his "beat" so he can open up the gates and go up everyone's driveway to deliver their mail. Lucky we have seen few dogs out front as most houses do not have gates across their driveways. Incidentally, the mail service is brilliant here with mail deliveries occurring every weekday almost to the minute and it is also delivered on Saturday.
After what feels like an eternity, but in fact was only two hours, it is time for the afternoon break. Ten minutes, not a minute more. This break is taken in almost complete silence and all too soon we are back on the job for the last two hour stretch. By now we are all done in, and only Robert has the energy to keep up the banter, although even he is starting to glaze over. Our final task for the day is to fold and glue small printed boxes that will hold a printed beer glass promoting the English cricket team for the upcoming ashes series. If I could change any one thing in the history of the world, it would be to reverse the result of the last ashes series where England defeated Australia for the first time in three hundred and twenty seven years. The endless banter and stirring that I get whenever anyone finds out I'm from Australia (never mind I was born Warrington, Cheshire, because in cricket I'm as proud an Aussie as anyone) and hearing about how great the Pomes are and how crap the Aussies are! If there is a god, and he or she (must be politically correct mustn't we) is listening, please, please, please, do not let the pomes win this coming ashes series! If Shane can take another 40 plus wickets and Ricky can hit a lazy triple century a couple of times or three (damn it, in every test, no in every innings of every test) we should be ok.
With the last of six thousand boxes completed, we have a few minutes to clean up and get the hell out of there before 5.00pm. It has started to rain outside. This is an understatement as it is pouring the proverbial cats and dogs and the roads are awash. The pot holes back along the entrance to the industrial estate I walked down eleven hours ago are full of water. Of course as I walk along in my thin red rain coat my fellow workers show no pity as splashes from their cars wash over me as they race by, hell bent on starting the weekend as soon as possible.
When I originally arrived in the Derby, Alan warned me that they have not heard of placing shelters and seating at their bus stops, so I stand in the pouring rain for ten minutes until the bus to Belper arrives. Of course once safely seated on board the rain stops and by the time the bus gets close to where we are living the sun is streaming down once again. I doubly check the passing street signs to make sure this is Belper, Derbyshire and not Melbourne, Victoria.
Once home I expect to find the house empty with Gail having left for her afternoon work a couple of hours ago, however I am surprised to see Sue through the kitchen window practicing her Tae Kwon Doe techniques for a belt exam in the morning. Sue really surprises me as she appears and acts so quiet and reserved, yet here she is kicking and chopping away against a make believe army of thousands. This is only a week after we watched her at the Belper Garden Festival performing in Anton Chekhov's "The Bear", which included giving a big on stage pash towards the end of her performance to a fellow cast member in front of an audience of family, friends and complete strangers.
After a shower and shave (there is no time for this in the mornings) and something to eat, I grab a book and a beer and head out the back yard into the now bright sunshine. The beers here are interesting, as you cannot buy them from the pubs. They do not have bottle shops and there must be a law against them selling takeaway beer as I have yet to see where any of them sell package beer. There is the occasional liquor outlet in the main streets of town, but by and large alcohol is bought through the supermarkets, milk bars, petrol stations and even newsagents, in fact almost anywhere other than pubs. Today I have a 500ml can of Stella Artois which I bought yesterday from the milk bar down the road. There is one size available that is smaller than this, 440ml, but this "midget" size cannot be bought everywhere, with 500ml the most popular size, and the pint sized can is 568ml, and as they are all the same diameter it makes for a very tall can of beer. When I get back to Aussie, the standard sized beer cans will look absolutely dwarf like. I can imagine some will say this will suit me, but this wouldn't be very nice would it?
The view from the rear of the yard looks down the hill towards the centre of Belper, and I have an uninterrupted view of the Belper Township, churches, woolen mills, Derwent Soccer Club grounds and the parkland and farms along the Derwent River. I am reading a book by Ben Elton called "Dead Famous" and it is proving to be a damn fine read. It is a murder mystery set in a English Big Brother household where a murder (the victim was stabbed in the head) was committed in front of thirty cameras, forty microphones and a live internet audience of 47,000, yet no-one saw who the killer was!
Before long Gail wanders out to join me after walking home from her work and we have a chat about our respective days, before heading back inside to prepare for dinner. We rarely eat out or get takeaway unless we are traveling, and do our best to have a cooked meal with some form of vegetables every night. This will be of no surprise to our kids.
By the time the meal is finished and the cleaning up done, it is nearly 8.00pm and it is now dark outside. The tele goes on, but it is not always easy to find something worth watching. Most channels are dominated by English soap operas like Emmerdale, East Enders and Coronation Street, or reality shows about anything and everything. One that has just concluded was where a group of young hopefuls were attempting to be picked to star in Andrew Lloyd Webbers next musical (he was part of the judging panel) and the show was called "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" base on The Sound of Music!
I kid you not, so check out http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/5353940.stm if you dare!
Anyway, it is a fairly uneventful evening and before long the effort of the past five mornings getting up at 5.00am overtakes me and I wander off to bed. I snuggle in and start reading my book, but before long the words begin to blur and I seem to re-read the same paragraph a dozen times, so its lights out with a plan to get out and about over the weekend to enjoy more of our English Adventure.