Hi mum how was Reading? It was today you went to Reading wasn’t it?
Yes it was ……fine thanks.
Did you drive your car?
But your car was still here
No I drove my car what other car would I have driven?
But you have a small tiger in the window and your reg no is *******
Yes….and I drove it today
But it was outside when I went out
It couldn’t have been unless you went out before 6.45
Don’t you mean before 5.45 ?
No I didn’t go until 6.45 …………what were you doing going out at that time?
I swear your car was out by the garages when I went out
Not unless you were up very early…..I assumed you were still in bed when I went. What time did you go ?
Just after 4.30
Oh what time did you get home ?
Just before 4.30
Are you saying you were in when I got home? The front door was locked!
I went out the back way……….you must have been walking up the front path when I was going out the back.
I had known from the start that I could do this but still I was a little nervous but I knew once I got the ball rolling I would be fine. It was just a nuisance that I had woken up on Monday morning with a very sore throat. As the week progressed so did my head cold. Why now? why this week did I have to go and get a stupid head cold, this wasn’t going to help my cause one bit. This time I kept myself dosed up with pain relief, had early nights and allowed myself to nap in the evenings. I did go to the gym but did less work than I would normally put in.
Thursday night I went to bed early but was woken up coughing at 2am, 2am!! This was not good but numerous tissues later I was able to return to my slumbers until the coughing restarted. Getting up thinking it was 6am and time to prepare for my big day. Once my eyes had focussed properly I realised it was only 5am !! arggg that’s a whole hour of much needed slumber gone never to be regained. I just hoped that the lack of sleep wouldn’t give my eyes that deep red look that occurs after too little sleep. That wouldn’t help to make a great first impression.
I made the most of the extra hour awake by google mapping to see exactly where I was going and what to look out for. Why had I not thought of that before? It was an obvious thing to do once I thought of it. Having showered and eaten my breakfast I dressed carefully. Starting with matching lingerie and black hold up stockings ……yes I know that only I would know but it gives me an added confidence. I believe that if I feel good about what I am wearing underneath then I feel good on the outside too. (I guess its the secret smile of knowing that others don’t know about the sexy underwear) anyway it works for me. Topping this off with soft swingy faux wrap around style black skirt, plain plum coloured top and long length black jacket and patent black heels. A touch of make up to make my face feel more human, purple heart shaped earings and a simple tear drop pendant and I was ready for this adventure.
As I began my drive there were patches of lingering mist over the fields beside the motorway but the sun was burning through, thank goodness the rain of the previous days had stopped. Turning onto the A272 a road I had been very familiar with in my youth (the many journeys between our family home in Kent and my grandparents in Dorset) it’s amazing how 30+ years just disappear down memory lane. I have only been on that road a few times in the 24 yrs I have lived down here.
My first stop was in Midhurst, where Cowdray Park is, changed from my flat driving shoes to the heels I walked into the shop feeling a little tense. The first person I saw was the lady my appointment was with. She was very friendly and explained the changes that the new owners of the group of shops had brought about. She was already organised with a purchase order written out but while we talked she added a few extra lines to her order. She asked me to pass on her regards to my manager and if I speak to him the Area Rep who had retired in June. I walked out of there feeling that it hadn’t been a bad experience at all even if I had been a little tense.
Continuing along A272 I got stuck behind a large tractor for miles then when I finally got away from him I found myself stuck behind a tanker! on a hill !! Mind you he made up for it on the down side of the hill, my little car couldn’t keep up with him …..not that I was trying. Next stop the person I was due to see was off sick (had been all week) but I saw the owner instead. This time I showed him the samples of new products I had with me right away (I hadn’t shown them at all at the first customer). He was very keen and immediately ordered several of the new lines. This gave me a new confidence in what I was doing, it is so much easier to demonstrate a new product than trying to explain it on the phone. Together we made up quite a big order, he was quite impressed with my product knowledge.
Leaving there my confidence was growing but so was my need to find a convenience. I had reached the A23 before I found a likely looking service station. Pulling up as close as I could to the entrance of the shop I rushed in found the toilets and found it most disconcerting to find myself looking directly into a mirror whilst I was sitting there. It must have been a very strange person who decided to put that there.
It was a slow drive into a grey drizzly Brighton (no more sun for me today). My sat nav took me to a road that overlooked my destination from above roof level. The steep incline had been closed off with bollards. But I managed to find my way there using my homing pigeon instinct. This time it was a very different type of business that I was visiting and an order was not forth coming as they had only recently received stock from us. But I was able to go through the new products and talk to the buyer about the quote my colleague had recently done for him. I was also able to give the office feed back about what he does stock from other companies.
Going to my next stop I managed to take a wrong turn which confused the sat nav just as much as it did me but eventually I found where I was heading for. Again I found myself in a crowded shop, you could probably buy almost anything (apart from food, clothes or furniture) in this small store. Again I managed to get a decent purchase order and give advice on a range of goods to replace a range he already did. Another fruitful visit under my belt.
One more visit in Hove then onwards to my last stop in Worthing. I was very impressed with the huge store (part of a complex of several outlets that were all part of the same company). Again the customer had only recently had a purchase order but did take my samples off me …lucky for him he was my last stop of the day. I also noticed two branches of other companies we supply were in close proximity. Perhaps I shall arrange to visit them also next time I am here.
Leaving there I phoned the office just as they were about to go home, to report that I had finished and got 3 orders from 6 visits. A better ratio than most of our full time Area Reps and Agents 🙂
Apparently next Friday I am going to North Kent ……..I wonder where else this novice sales rep will be going.
I only wore the heels for the very first visit after that I kept my driving flats on. I don’t think the customers noticed even if it did make me feel a tad flat.
My head cold had the decency to behave itself during the day although my sinuses were giving me a headache I did manage to forget about during each visit. My self medication seems to have helped shorten the life of this head cold however I did pay for it during Friday night.
I found this image on face book earlier today and couldn’t resist saving it to my computer.
My boy is home for one night only. He hasn’t said he has come home to see his mum, no he said he was coming home to see his brothers and the cat……I doubt she is bothered whether he is here or not. All she cares about is being fed and having attention when she wants it. Unfortunately she is out of luck when I am the only one around…..I couldn’t make a fuss of her even if I wanted to as I became allergic to her about 8 years ago …..she is 14.5 now.
Anyway back to my boy. Statto was out celebrating with his new friends in Sheffield on Thursday night, then with his University friends in Guildford on Friday night, before coming home for a quiet night in with us tonight (Saturday 22nd October 2011). Why the celebrations? today he turned 21.
When he was a little boy he collected football stickers. Everyday we would count them, how many he had collected and how many he needed to complete each team. By the time he started school he could count to 500. When he was 6 his teacher had him statemented as a gifted child. At junior school his teachers were dumbfounded at his ability to work out complicated maths sums in his head quicker than they could write them down.
At senior school he soon had a reputation within the maths department. Again he was identified as a gifted child and put forward for the Naturally gifted child program which he declined to take up. During his GCSE course he never dropped a single point in any of his exams. Obviously he gained A* for his maths GCSE with maximum points.
He then went on to college where he studied both Maths and Pure Maths at A Level, along with Law and IT. He of course earned himself 4 Grade A’s in his A levels. I can’t remember at what age he decided he was going to go to University to study Maths, I am pretty sure he was still at junior school at the time.
He was going to apply for Oxford but decided that it wasn’t for him. He is good at maths ….very good at it even but it is not everything to him. He loves sport especially football and cricket and knows all the stats about all the premier clubs in both sports. Hence his nickname. He felt that it was enough to know that he could have gone to Oxford if he had wanted to. Eventually he chose to go to University of Surrey. Partly because they have a good scholarship program but also because he would have the opportunity to do a year of work experience.
Now he has completed his first two years of University and begun his year of work experience. He is working for NHS in Sheffield (for those of you who don’t know that is a city in the north east of England). He has been there since the start of August so a little under 3 months, yet he has already made his mark there. He was asked to help out with the creation of an automated excel spreadsheet to make graphs of cancer data simpler and easier to access. He ended up taking over the whole project and is now going to Loughborough to do a presentation on it to chiefs from NHS NE region. If they approve of what he has created it could become nationwide throughout the NHS.
I think he has every right to be proud of himself. Just as I am a very proud mother. I would be very suprised if at the end of his degree he doesn’t get a job offer from NHS. Which in the current climate of job losses can only be a good thing.
We have been discussing the disappoint of discovering that many of our peers are uninterested in anything that goes on outside their own lives. We both feel a need to have people in our lives who we can discuss wider topics with. Whether it is the fall of Gadaffi, the state of the English Education system or the lack of resources in poorer countries. The latest football scores or the previous night’s tv are of course well covered topics of conversation but come on people there is more to life. I am pleased that all of my sons are interested to know more even if they don’t understand certain situations in the world they are interested in learning about it.
I didn’t pay much attention to the news earlier this week from the HM Revenue and Customs. Yet again 1.2 million people had been found to have under paid their taxes. But approx 6 million would be receiving refunds of around £400. This is the second consecutive year that our HMRC has made these announcements. Last year Prodigal was a recipient of a refund having left full time work to go to University mid way through the 2009 tax year.
Having heard that this year there was to be a repeat my only thought was that knowing my luck I would be one of those who would receive the demand for more tax. I didn’t give it any further thought as I was still exhausted after my busy last few weeks.
The previous week had been extremely mentally tiring for me. My senior colleague was on a week ‘s annual leave which meant that I would be covering for him which is always very tiring for me. I find myself doing tasks that I only really perform in his absence. They are not difficult tasks however because I only do them a few times a year it takes me a while to get my bearings. Most of this extra work involves dealing with an external agency who think we have nothing else to do but pander to their demands……. as if!!
But this time things were going to be harder still as our line manager (I think that is the usual term these days) would only be in the office on and off as her husband had become seriously ill. She managed to come into the office for a few hours on Monday and Tuesday mornings but then the awful news came, her husband who she absolutely dotes on has lung cancer. Of course I am terribly sorry that he has this and I can only wish that it wasn’t so. He is still a relatively young man (mid 50s) never smoked and hardly drinks, lives for his daily sessions at the gym yet here he is seriously ill, without the promise of a future he deserves.
This meant that now I was having to cover for our boss too. I was having to take decisions that I would not normally have to make without having anyone more senior to turn to for confirmation. I was given a big quote to put together at very short notice which has the potential to bring in a lot of business……..no pressure there then.(Apparently the customer liked my quote but only time will tell how much. Added to this the two of us who were left holding the fort suddenly found that our volume of work increased unexpectedly. We worked through our lunch breaks all week in an effort to keep up with the workload.
So by the time I drove to Eastbourne on Friday evening I was glad to get away. But that wasn’t the end for me. Mid afternoon a customer had called wanting a Rep to visit (his area Rep had retired in June with as yet no replacement). The temporary solution being that my boss would call on the customers who needed to see someone. But for the foreseeable future she is not going to be able to do this. As the customer in question was only a short drive from where I was staying I agreed to visit him. This was a first for me. I have visited customers in a semi formal situation before but this would be to take a purchase order. I arrived at 10am and left at 12.20 with a 4 page order which I was very pleased with. (my boss was very grateful to me for doing this for her.)
I enjoyed the challenges of last week even though it was tiring. I have now volunteered to go out once a week for the next few weeks visiting customers. It will be a good experience for me and good to meet some of the people who I already deal with on the phone. I am not making life any easier for myself but I don’t see this as a negative.
I am one of those lucky …..ok so it isn’t really luck……people to receive a tax refund. Apparently I over paid my tax in year 2005 -2006 and again in 2006 – 2007 and yet again in 2007 – 2008. Very silly of me really as I could have done with that money during those difficult early years after I divorced the other parent. Talk about timing, just when I really needed it the money came even if it will be next Friday before I can access it. It seems to me that whenever I am in desperate need of help it comes along at just the right time even without me asking for it.
I can only say that no matter how bad things get for me there is always a silver lining or a light at the end of the tunnel which ever you prefer.
It has and is hard going but in the end it will all be worth it.
The hours of driving will be worth it when my son graduates from whichever University he chooses. It is currently looking like his first choice will be University of East Anglia with University of Hertfordshire as his second choice.
There was a definite buzz about the place when we visited UAE, of course that might have had something to do with the exceptionally hot weather on 1st October. Pug almost instantly felt at home there, a stark contrast to our visit to University of Kent a week later. A cold and windy morning, in a campus which appeared to be populated by open day visitors and a smattering of student guides. The information we got from there was helpful but Pug didn’t feel any warmth towards the University at all.
The following day we visited University of Hertfordshire, again a cloudy windy day but warmer, there was a better atmosphere but still not the buzz of UAE. Pug feels that Herts could be his fall back Uni if he doesn’t get the results he needs to get into UAE then the lower entry requirements at Herts would be useful. Until a few weeks ago the idea of Pug going to University was a possibility for the future, now it feels more of a reality. Experience tells me that the next year until he moves to whichever University he goes to will fly past with all the preparations that will be required.
All my hard work at the gym will be worth it in the end. I have been going at least twice a week since I joined in August but for the last 3 weeks I have only managed to go once a week due to being very busy and tired. But I have done a lot of walking each weekend. Hopefully enough to go some way to compensate for not going to the gym. A few weeks ago I was feeling good about myself and the hard work I had been putting in but during these weeks I have felt fat and bloated. However other people are starting to comment in the changes in my body shape. Changes that I have not noticed but other people say they can see.
If I can keep up with my hard work it will be worth it in the end.
I am beginning to get paranoid now.
Yet again I hear my friend telling someone
‘no that was just my colleague………..no she doesn’t smoke’
It seems that nearly every time one of my colleagues are on the phone the customer comments on the cough in the background.
I seem to have developed a dry tickle cough. It isn’t just now and again it is fairly frequent through out the day. A large part of my work involves speaking on the phone which just aggravates the cough. In my work I find that my voice is one of my best assets so it wouldn’t help me work wise to avoid the phone.
I am beginning to get paranoid about all the comments about smokers cough. I wouldn’t mind that so much if I was a smoker. Ok so I was a smoker, not a heavy smoker (less than 15 per day at the most). But I have not smoked since September 1988 (23yrs).
No this cough has nothing to do with smoking or dust or asthma. This cough was given to me by one of the doctors at the surgery I am registered with. He didn’t just wrap up a cough and present it to me. No he gave me a green slip of paper with my name age and address that I then presented to our local pharmacist who passed to me a green paper bag containing two small boxes (small meaning fit into the palm of my hand). Inside these boxes were two (4 in total) blister packs of small red and white capsules.
It had been decided that following repeated tests that although not normally a concern my slightly high blood pressure needed treatment due to my diabetes which was diagnosed in 2009. When prescribing this medication the doctor had warned me that there was a possibility that I might develop a dry cough. He wasn’t wrong there was he!! I just didn’t realise quite how much this would affect me.
So if you happen to be talking on the phone and hear a dry cough in the background ……….think of me .