There is an often used cliché about not having time to go to work and today certainly felt that way. It is now 21.30 and I have only just finished the stuff I needed to do.

Yesterday I had no idea how I would feel about going to work for the first time in 6 months and even on the drive over I had no feelings either way. The car park wouldn’t let me in and I thought for a moment that HR had been a little hasty in terminating my services but it was just a faulty card, oh how I laughed at my inappropriate concerns.

As I approached the door, automatic pilot took over and the nerves disappeared. I was met with the usual faces, stiflingly poor air conditioning and the constant babble of many people on many phones dealing with many problems. Nothing changes but it did feel different. Having spent so long away from a control environment it all seemed a bit louder and bit stuffier and quite depressing.

When you anticipate something, you play out the scenarios in your head, short listing the ones that appeal most depending on mood. I could have gone in there and cracked a joke. I could have gone in there and called them a bunch of insensitive gits. I could have gone in there and felt a thousand stares upon me before crumbling into a heap surrounded by a moat of tears. I particularly liked the one where I entered thrusting my trusty Halbeard  aloft before separating  the pitiful craniums from their torso’s as I exacted a revenge for an unspoken wrongdoing. However I doubt I could lift a staff and create a vision of carnage at the moment. In the end I was presented with the one option I hadn’t considered “How are you?”

How do you reply to that? It is the double six of opening gambits and more so, on what level of how am I was in question? I considered an answer, trying to sum up the pain, the frustration, the loss, the sadness, the anger and a thousand other emotions that have come and gone over the last few months. Then you have to consider the depth of answer required to satisfy the question. In the end I came up with the only answer that was wanted.

“All Right”

I knew it was the right answer and the audience seemed satisfied.

All right!  What a pathetic wreck I am. All Right is a description of mediocre coffee, or yet another cloned song passed off as a new one by Muse. All right is the weather in England when it isn’t raining. All right is not dying in a life changing accident.  Perhaps a Hallbeard would have been a much better response.

The three hours were uneventful. Getting new passwords, trying to get access to programmes that I have been audited out of and deleting hundreds of unread emails. Out of all the drivel, one enlightening mail advised of the reopening of the cycle to work scheme. This scheme is no longer tied to Halfrauds and one of the retailers on the list is a recumbent specialist. I was fortunate my work trousers are still a little baggy around the groin area.

Straight from work I had an appointment with Natalie, the pain inflicter. There is little more to be gained from physio sessions, I have had marginal improvement in my tricep, my rotor cuff and girdle have also shown improvement, which is always nice but that is it until the specialist has been consulted over the tricep problems.

After a light lunch I completed tidying the shed and surrounding areas before depositing tons of crap at the local recycling point. I can now get some more work done in the shop without feeling guilty. I suppose spending time near to Blaenau Ffestiniog tweaked my conscience a little.

Most would have drawn a line under the proceedings at this point but not me. Oh no, I had to knock up a poster for next week’s foraging event at Park Lime Pits in the hope that it will be well attended. Foraging is something I have long considered and to be fair I suspect we use nature’s larder more than most but there is so much more out there and this is a great opportunity to discover new bounty. Let’s face it, the end of the world is but three months away, the people of Walsall owe it to the continued existence to learn a bit about foraging.


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