I've never been on a roller coaster and I have no desire to either but the last week or so probably feels much the same. It has been an up and down time with some bumpy bits although things are looking up again, which is good.
I had a second interview in Watford last Tuesday, which I think went well. I felt confident, comfortable and I think I came across as articulate and knowledgeable. However, I didn't feel so sure that it was the place I would want to work and the steer I had from the interviewer was that perhaps I should be looking for something better. Not that they were obviously trying to put me off but I got that vibe. Added to that there was a thunderstorm just as I left the office (perhaps an omen?) although I was saved from a thorough drenching by the timely arrival of the bus. At least I have some idea what the journey home would be like from Watford - two buses one either end and the train sandwiched between. If the connections work well, perhaps 1 1/2 hours tops, at worst about 2 hours. Too long a day really coupled with the fact that my working week would increase from 35 to 40 hours. If I lived a bit closer I think it would be reasonable but commuting from Milton Keynes (even if I had a car) would become a drag after a while.
I felt a little deflated afterwards but then thinking about it, the interview was good experience. Its the first I've had for a while and I felt comfortable and confident, which did surprise me as experience of previous interviews is that they are nerve shredding experiences. I still haven't heard the outcome although I 'know' that they will not be offering me the job.
Fortunately I have two other jobs on the go at the moment with another interview next Wednesday and one possibly this week or next. These two jobs are in London - the one next week is Tottenham Court Road, which is not far from where I was working in London last year. The salaries on offer are much better than what I am receiving now, which they need to be to compensate for the travelling expenses. They would be easier to get too than the Watford job - Milton Keynes to London is an okay commute. I am under no illusions that it would be longer days. That doesn't bother me too much if the pay is good and the job is rewarding and stimulating. Will see how they go.
Last Friday was a bad day, almost like Friday 13th had come a week earlier. The bad news was that the whole of the team that I used to work with up until last November are being made redundant. It came as a shock even though I knew that a review was on the cards. It is not nice to know that all my former colleagues are going, especially as they were the ones who I first worked with when I moved to Milton Keynes and made me feel so welcome and happy during those early months in my new job. I also feel some guilt for being the one who is not being made redundant. If I hadn't changed jobs last November, I would be amongst those going now.
I had the unenviable task on Friday afternoon of covering their 'phones as naturally they were all allowed to go home. Friday's are always busy because of course it is a popular day for mortgage completions and on top of all my upset at seeing my colleagues going I had some very difficult cases to look at and resolve quickly to ensure that customers could move home plus answer all the queries that couldn't be dealt with by anyone else. I felt absolutely shattered by the time I left the office on Friday, with a long train journey ahead of me on my way back to Pompey for the weekend. In some ways the journey was good because it gave me an opportunity to collect my thoughts, switch off from work and relax.
The weekend was fantastic although I won't go into huge detail here as it will turn off anyone who is not interested in railways and particularly steam engines. Briefly, yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the end of steam on what was then the BR Southern Region. To commemorate this historic event, various rail tours were run over the weekend along with galas at heritage railways. On Saturday I went to the Mid Hants Railway and had a wonderful day experiencing their gala, travelling behind as many steam locos as I could between Alton and Alresford. It was the closest I am ever likely to come to those poignant last days of steam in 1967. Later in the day I rushed back to Fareham to photograph 34067 Tangmere as she thundered through with the 'Southern Phoenix' rail tour en route back to London Waterloo. That was quite a breathtaking experience, I was grinning from ear to ear! On Sunday I headed out to Salisbury to see and photograph two more rail tours - this time 850 Lord Nelson, which was heading to Exeter and just a few minutes later 35028 Clan Line with 'The Waterloo Sunset' heading for Poole. It was a marvellous experience and exhilarating to see these powerful and magnificent locos, where they should be, out on the mainline.
I am looking forward to another fantastic weekend this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday as it is Star Wars Celebration Europe in London. My ticket, after many weeks anxious waiting, has finally arrived and the programme for the weekend looks impressive. I am much looking forward to this.