Going Home Time

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When I was with the Coal Board I worked for some right bastards. 

This wasn’t unusual.  The Coal Board’s cultural style was what management gurus euphemistically call “heroic”.  Managers were bastards and, to succeed, staff needed to emulate them if they wanted to become managers.

One particular manager I worked for could have made my life a misery were it not that I were so hard-boiled myself.  After one of our daily 9 o’clock meetings I told him what I thought of him and his job and that he could stick it up his arse.

He must have been reading some management development clap-trap because, in a completely atypical way, he asked me to list all the good things I liked about the job and report back next morning.

“Bugger me!” I thought, “What’s he been drinking?”

Anyway I did as he’d asked and next day he said, “Well, what’s the best bits of your job, then?”

I said, “Going home on a night, holidays, dinner time, sickies, weekends…”

Those days are long past.  I have a job these days I would pay to do.  I’m a part-time verger at Selby Abbey.  I still enjoy going home time but for a different reason.

The Abbey closes to the public at 4 o’clock (unless there are special events or services on) and that’s when I “shut up shop” – turn the lights off, lock and bolt the doors, snuff the candles etc.

That done, I sit down, alone in the Abbey and listen for it breathing.

It’s approaching a thousand years old but at that time of day it’s MY Abbey.

◄ Samantha Louise and Sweet Sarah Jane



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M.C. Newberry

Fri 1st Feb 2013 16:52

I relish the concept that a thousand years of human spirits have somehow seeped into the stones of that venerable place and that they breathe back the past into the present. We are but images on the contact paper of life, our bodies destined to fade at a given moment while the spirits within find a new home - somewhere.

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Yvonne Brunton

Thu 31st Jan 2013 23:32

I didn't realise there were so many good things about working! I'm glad you enjoy your current job John. My dad was a church warden in his day and I know what you mean about a church breathing.

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