Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Work Life Changes

Its been a funny old few days, actually its been a funny old month to be true, but the past few days have been trying in a completly different way.

I think I have written before that Himself lives away from home, staying on whatever house building site he is managing and I, when I can stay with him. This has been the norm for 7 years. His Director has sanctioned it, Health and Safety are fine with it, the trades love it because he is always available to open up early or close late, there have never been any break ins while we are on site and less materials have gone 'missing ' too. For us it has meant that Himself could continue to work with the Director and Contracts Managers that he had worked with for years, prior to moving home to the Midlands and he could stay with the same company and obviously keep a continuity of service. It has also meant that we haven't had to constantly find camp sites (most you can only stay on for a maximum of 21 days) and we haven't had to travel back and forth to the Midlands each day (bit tiring if you are commuting from Kent, Hampshire or Surrey each morning or evening - trust me, I used to do it daily !)

Himself is also put on to 'problem' sites, ones which are running behind schedule or have to suddenly produce 'extra' house plots in a short time to make up for sites which are falling behind or aren't selling for various reasons. He has letter after thank you letter from his Director and the main Board of Directors recognising the fact that he works all hours, including weekends and nights to achieve what has been required in the past.

However on Thursday last week, we were driving back down to Surrey where he is currently working after our few days off to go to Chatham (must tell you about that later) when he got a phone call from his Director telling him that the new MD for this region had decided that we could no longer stay on site. The Director had queried why and was told insurance reasons. The Director contacted the Insurance company who stated they had no problems with it, he contacted the Regional Health and Safety Director who also stated that from his perspective there are no problems (he had personally carried out a risk assessment on this matter for us last year, and as there were no cost issues involved i.e. special equipment or changes to insurance required, had sent a report to the previous MD confirming that in his view there were no problems with us being on site.

Himself's Director brought all the above to the new MD to then be told 'oh and by the way, we are cutting all travel expenses, car allowances for all managers' Double wammy in the space of an hour ! Now we were suddenly faced with the situation on no where to park the motorhome and if we did find somewhere the cost would be about 500 per month and the his car and travel allowance was also going and then on top we had to find travel costs from where ever we could park the motorhome AND move the motorhome at the most every 3 weeks assuming we could find a site that is open from November onwards.

We pulled up and made a cup of tea while we tried to take in all the news of the previous hour and I got out the camp site guides and tried to find us a place for a couple of days while we got our heads around this bombshell. The only one that I could find is about 2 hours away from the new site that Himself was going to, so we booked in there for a few days.

Now I can understand the new MD's reasoning if the Insurance company or H & S had issues with us being there, or if there had been a break in or stuff had been stolen and we were suspected, but no, there were certainly no issues with the last two and Himself's Director has confirmed there are no apparent issues with the previous two, so why the sudden changes?

Secondly I cannot see how The Company can suddenly make changes to a persons contract of employment (I am referring to the car allowance and travel expenses part) without telling them in writing how and why they are making the change. It hasn't only been Himself, he knows of at least 3 other managers who have had their car allowance scrapped over night. This company, well this region certainly seem to do things their own way that's for sure. One classic example we found out about yesterday, the previous manager to this new site Himself is on spent the past three weeks having to drive to the local petrol station and buy diesel out of his own pocket in order to have the fork lift truck on site working, oh he had to try and claim it back on expenses as The Company are on stop with the fuel suppliers !

I am not talking about a small company here, but a major player in the house building sector, a major name that is seen in all regions of the UK. This is now how they seem to be treating their managers. Last December on another site I had to pay for 6 large gas bottle (used for the heaters to dry out plaster work) on my credit card, as The Company were on stop with the gas company and Himself wanted to get the job finished on time (There is an interesting story to that site which I will write about on here soon.)

So all in all its been an interesting week. Himself and I have estimated that between losing his car allowance and expenses, having to now pay for a camp site (if we can find one after this weekend) and having to pay petrol to travel a couple of hours each way to and from work, we are over £1000 a month worse off. Not exactly small change......

So a lot of talking, thought throwing and discussion in going on right now. If there were the availablity of jobs in the house trade back in the Midlands, there would be no question of what we would decide to do. But Himself is concerned about his age (56) going against and his heart attack early last year, so what do we do?

It also seems as though some of this enforced change (not being able to park on site) is not necessarily directed at Himself, but at his Director who through Himself has always achieved the pretty much impossible. The new MD wants Himself's Director out, and we believe that one of the thought processes is that if HImself isnt here to achieve, then the Director will fail and he can be gotten rid of. Politics politics politics. How stupid little boys in mens clothes play games eh?

Oh and by the way, the MD and senior Directors have all just had brand new BMW's - funny I thought this region was trying to save money, oh also forgot the 72 inch plasma screen TV installed in the regional office last week. And there is no money for diesel for the forks? Somebodies priorities seem a little bit squiffy to me!

Sorry for such a long post and Sorry if I sound a bit peeved, I am. I know that we are a lot lot better off than many and for that I am very grateful but I am also confused as to what we do next as we cannot continue to pay to go to work and be out of pocket every week. Any suggestions?

He's Home

Charlie is finally home. He's doing OK and is gradually getting used to being bottle fed and not receiving all his feed via a tube which was how it was in hospital. Its early days but my son and daughter in law are chuffed to bits to finally be able to bring their little boy home.

The photo was taken about ten minutes before Charlie was taken to theatre. Poor little soul had no idea of what was to come.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Are You a Farmer?

Just a quickie this morning as I am rushing about.

I had to smile when I read this post http//sharonastyk.com Is it a Farm Yet?

That makes me a farmer. What a lovely smile of self contentment that brought to me today.

I'm a farmer. Large backyard, deep beds, pots, troughs and borders - no acres, but I am still a farmer.

Have a lovely day fellow growers !

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Chatham Historic Dockyard

Hiya, we are off to Chatham Dockyard this weekend for a 40's salute to the Dockyard. Its an event that has been running for a couple of years now and is the highlight of our year to be truthful. We get to see many of the friends we have made over the past few years and we live a 40's lifestyle for the weekend while we are on the dockyard site.

Many of the ways of life from the 40's are normal practice to us in our everyday life. Some of our friends and colleagues either think we are mad or an intrigued, especially when we say that we save money and time, but have equally as comfortable a life as they do. I am going to write a few posts about 40's things which are normal to us, over the next few weeks.

This is one of the shows that my friend Judy puts on, they are always brilliant and do make you stop and think. If you get the chance to go the event it's on Saturday and Sunday and it really is a good day out ! I shall be dressed up (or down, depending on how you look at it) as a Mrs Mop, probably with a mop and bucket, come and say hello if you are there, I'm quite friendly - honest!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Post Op day day 5

The doctors closed Charlie's chest on Tuesday and yesterday they took him off the ventilator and the paralysing drugs which have kept him still since his operation. When he tries to cry he sounds like a raspy Barry White - hopefully we will hear his real voice very soon. His mom and dad had their first real cuddle with him yesterday - hopefully I may get one soon.

The doctors, surgeons and nursing in the Childrens Hospital deserve a medal for the work they carry out, we certainly cannot fault them for their care and dediction. If ever any body deserved pay rises and bonuses its them not the bloody bankers !

Friday, 4 September 2009

Long Day

Today has seemed an eternity. Baby Charlie had his operation - 6 hours long. He came back to intensive care at about 8.00 this evening. He has more tubes and wires in him than before and he is on a ventilator to help him breathe. His chest is open, covered by a dressing, and it will be closed up in a few days when the doctors are sure that this operation has gone OK. His parents are shattered and just want to be able to take their first born home. I just want to be able to give him a cuddle. Hopefully both will come soon.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Charlie - My beautiful Grandson

Charlie finally put in an appearance this afternoon, 1 week late and quite content to sit it out and sleep though a lengthy labour for his poor mom who was getting quite tired (his dad was knackered too apparently). She had been taken into hospital yesterday morning and induced, but as I said Charlie was in no rush to get out here and join the rest of us. Maybe he knows more than we think....

He is 8lb 6oz and looking at him in his intensive care crib, its hard to really see that he is so poorly, he looks quite a little bruiser !

Tonight he was ambulanced to the Childrens Hospital Intensive Care Unit, ready for the first of his major heart operations. It will take about 6 hours during which they will split the right side of his heart in two and make a left side (the left side hasn't grown) So fingers very very tightly crossed that the op goes to plan. We will know more tomorrow when his own consultant has seen him and set the time for op.