A bitter-sweet day today as I was invited to the official close-down of one of my ex-clients’ Training Centres.
Volvo had been one of my oldest clients – stretching back to 1990/91 – and I continued doing work for them on-and-off right up until 2010. Over the years, they had been one of those rare clients that made you really feel part of the organisation – and I enjoyed all my time with them.
So today was about some big changes. The current building is being completely demolished, and in its place, a purpose-built state-of-the-art new Training Centre will be built on the same site, opening next year. A celebratory/reflective event had been organised in the current ‘showroom’ with nibbles and champagne for many of the people where ‘Dav’ had been their home over the years.
The event started at 12 noon and although the demolishers had already moved-in resulting in some parts of the building ‘off-limits’ and deserted, it didn’t stop the event being very upbeat and enjoyable. There must have been around 100 people there and I still recognised most of the faces (although the names did occasionally, and temporarily, escape me!). There were a few speeches by top-brass and top man John Pitts – and it was good to reflect back on the number of Apprentices, Staff, Trainees and Managers who had passed through the Training Centre’s doors over the years.
After the official part, I took the opportunity to take a look round. In a way, I wish I hadn’t, as many areas were a shadow of their former selves. The area where I used to sit (above) and do my admin, now looked very sad, now that everyone had moved out into a temporary area in another part of the building.
…and Room 3, one of my favourite training rooms (above) was well past its prime!
Other areas looked in better shape, but all-in-all, it was the end of an era, and although the new place will be better in every sense, you can’t replace memories can you?
We drove down to Worthing to spend the day with Ian and Sharon. On the way there, we took a slight detour via Brighton to locate the premises of a new client, where I’m doing some work in a few weeks’ time.
We got to theirs just after 10 and after a quick coffee or two and a chat made our way to Lansing College where there was a craft fair.
There was quite a range of stalls, varying from table lamps at 300 quid each (eeek!) to pick-n-mix fudge at 2.50 (Guess where I stopped and shopped!!). Afterwards, we stopped for a cream-tea and discussed where to eat tonight. That was an easy decision for us to take – we’re going back to ‘The World’s End’ Pub/Restaurant where we’ve eaten before – famous for its ice-creams.
We then headed off to Shoreham Airport for a quick snack. The place was busy and it looked warm enough to sit outside. A BIG mistake!!! as we slowly froze to death waiting for our club-sandwiches to turn-up. On the plus-side, it was good to be so close to the aircraft taking-off and landing.
After thawing-out a bit, we jumped back in Ian’s car and headed back to theirs. After taking the smart route of using the back-streets around Worthing to miss out the heavy coast traffic, we were soon back at Ian and Sharon’s. We jumped in the Fiesta and headed back to the B and B, Edwardian Dreams. Time to put our feet-up until 7pm, when we’ll be heading out again with Ian and Sharon for the evening meal.
As expected, The World’s End was busy, even though we got there quite early. The food was great and the service was too! Our waitress seemed to have a pretty good memory – she never wrote anything down, but remembered all of our individual orders correctly (apart from the ‘two shandys’ that arrived as ‘two lagers’). After desserts and coffee, Sharon was looking tired so, we paid the bill and they dropped us off around 9.45 at the B and B – dirty stop-outs!
It’s been great seeing them both again – we’re back again in October for a longer stay. We’re leaving straight after breakfast tomorrow.
8.30 local time. For those of you who were disappointed to learn that Michael Schumacher is not returning to the race-scene, I have good news!
I can confirm that after extensive facial plastic surgery and an enforced two-stone weight gain, he is now driving a taxi from Feldkirchen to Munich Airport.
Overtaking on hairpin bends, straightening out any curve in the road network and regularly exceeding the speed limit (120kph in a 70 zone was a regular thing) ensured that I got to the airport in record time experiencing a mix of exhilaration and fright throughout. The only time I thought he wasn’t Schumacher was when he stopped to point out a beautiful castle along the route!
If he’s the pilot, then I will be nervous!!! – can’t wait to get home.
I’m pretty impressed with this hotel. After a luke-warm reception when I checked in last night, service levels have exploded into 100% total customer focus! Our allocated staff member – Angela – for my two day event here has been a whirlwind of efficiency and she’s been consistently one step two steps ahead of me all day – perfect!
The food has been excellent both in quality and and quantity, from breakfast right through to our evening meal.
I didn’t get to bed until nearly 11pm, but it was worth chatting with the delegates ‘out-of-uniform’ and more especially my client, who has confirmed another 4 days of work plus a future introduction to her ‘opposite number’ in another part of the client’s empire.
I travelled up to Manchester today for work with a client tomorrow.
I met up with Dave B who was on his way to a friend in Leicester. We had a good lunch in Pizza Express and then sat outside Café Nero in Piccadilly Gardens and put the world-to-rights! What a great time. Weather was nice too!
I was back to the hotel by 3.30 to do some prep for tomorrow.