Thoughts for Friday – 22nd May 2015

You may have noticed that I was conspicuous by my absence last week when my usual Thoughts for Friday post failed to appear. It was a rather Thought-less Friday, so to speak.

The past couple of weeks have been my most hectic yet this year. At the beginning of the month I embarked on my first solo sessions in Oxford and the realisation hit me like a ton of bricks that I had no one sitting in the corner of the room ready to jump in if my sessions turned into a crisis.

EGG-McMUFFIN-MEALOxford is a fair distance from where I live and so I decided to travel up the night before (the A34 has never been my friend at the best of times). I made it to my hotel in good time but was rather dismayed to find that they had no restaurant to speak of (this was a Holiday Inn) and was told that I could order in a takeaway if I wanted. I then began to worry that they would point me in the direction of the local McDonalds if I asked about their breakfast provisions, imagining an Egg McMuffin as my first meal of the day…

How I imagined the fireman would look...

How I imagined the fireman would look like…

On my first night in Oxford I managed to find a Frankie and Benny’s restaurant only a short walk from my hotel (which was situated next door to a football stadium, coincidently). Imagine my excitement when I saw a fire engine screaming toward the stadium with lights and sirens blaring!

Alas, my fervour dampened when I realised that it was only a bin on fire and required the attention of one ageing and rather unfit fireman. Shelving my disappointment, I spent that night (and another two besides) making my way through the rather limited food choices on the F&B menu.

The sessions in Oxford went quite well and I was relieved when my first group contained only seven people. The first day didn’t start that well when I drove to the course venue and entered a steep driveway expecting to find a car park but finding nothing. I couldn’t drive straight through and so I had to reverse back down a narrow driveway with brick walls either side and onto a busy main road.

Computer-ArgI’d made it to the venue in good time and managed to set up well before any of my delegates arrived. I had assumed that the day would be a good one. It wasn’t to be though, due to my laptop and speakers seemingly unwilling to speak to each other (it turns out that it was my fault for not plugging something in, but I didn’t tell my delegates that). I sorted the sound issue during the lunch break  only to find that I’d then lost my computer’s feed to the projector!

It seems as if these things were sent to try me and I think I made the most of what could have been quite a disastrous situation. It only occurred to me later that it could have been a higher power conspiring against me…

haunted-cemetaryThe course venue was actually a church that rented out particular areas of their property and I had been given the main church area itself in which to conduct my sessions. Strange things seemed to happen throughout the three days I was there; doors opened of their own accord, signs that I’d stuck onto the walls fell down and the lights flickered on and off. I then began to wrack my mind to think of any times that I might have taken the good Lord’s name in vain but came up with none. Perhaps it was a training colleague of mine trying to send a message that I was being watched…

After my sessions were over for the week I had just enough time to fit in my college course and then I made my way up to Birmingham for what was due to be a six-day stay. I’ve always taken the train any time I’ve needed to go to Birmingham and so driving up there was something new to me. I imagined driving in the city centre would be much like trying to drive in inner-city London.

Turns out that I wasn’t wrong on that front.

I had booked a hotel on the outskirts of Birmingham city centre and assumed that the ten mile journey to my course venue would only take me 20-30 minutes. What I hadn’t factored in was that I would have to drive straight through the city centre itself. I’ve driven some confusing and complicated routes at times, but Birmingham is in a league of its own when it comes to disappearing and reappearing lanes coming out of nowhere. It took between 60-90 minutes each way to get from one side to the other and by the time I’d made it to my destination each day I was just about ready to have kittens (I also would have taken vodka, gin, brandy etc.)

Luckily, I only needed to make the hairy cross-city journey for two days as the rest of my time in Birmingham was due to be spent attending my own First Aid training with two of my colleagues. I hadn’t even met one of my colleagues before our meeting in Birmingham and I was delighted to find out that the colleague in question was from Barnsley and had a deep Yorkshire accent.

tha-can-allus-tell-a-yorkshireman-but-thar-cant-tellim-muchI am a proud Southerner and my colleague a proud Northerner, so you can imagine the good-natured ribbing we gave each other about our accents and outlooks on life. I think I spent more time mimicking his accent than he did mine though and I’m not sure if he was impressed or just amused at my attempts to ape his accent.

So there we all were, sitting in a hotel primed and ready to be taught everything we needed to know in order to deliver our own First Aid courses. Surely nothing could go wrong?

TO BE CONTINUED…

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18 Comments

Filed under Thoughts for Friday

18 responses to “Thoughts for Friday – 22nd May 2015

  1. Very entertaining Heather. Birmingham may be dire, but, believe me, and a lorry driver friend, nothing beats Southampton.

    • Ohhhh, I delivered some sessions in Southampton last week and got caught in a traffic snarl on the M27 just by Hedge End that closed two lanes.

      You should have seen the panic on my face as the clock ticked down to the beginning of my session while I was still at leas 10 miles away!

      I have nothing against Southampton per se, I just hate driving through it! 🙂

  2. Do I understand this correctly? Ten miles to city center in 60 – 90 minutes? I’d be a basket case. The tension is revved up. How taunt will it get. What else hovers in store in the continuation. Whew. Can’t wait. 😀 😀 😀

  3. I’ve always wanted to try McDonalds over there. I’m led to believe that the ingredients in the menu items are fewer than over here. My sin is that I love the Sausage Egg McMuffin, but patently despise pretty much everything else there except the pies and the greasy hash browns. I need to eat less crap…

    • I have to admit that I am partial to a McDonalds every now and then and I can attest that the quality of their food has improved over the years.

      We’re told in the adverts that all ingredients are British and freshly sourced, but I’m not sure if the same is true in the States.

      Saying that, there was a horse meat scandal that hit the UK a few years so I could well have eaten a few McPony burgers over the years! 🙂

  4. I continue to think you should temporarily title your blog Trials of a Traveling Trainer! 😀 You do a superb job in accounting the frustrations and bizarre things that occur as you travel from training session to training session. I really enjoy these weekly updates. They are amusing and well written, and always a good read. Particularly amusing to me was the idea that a higher power was having his (her?) vengeance on you for past infractions! Bad girl, Heather, bad girl! No more church venues for you! 😀 😀 ❤

    • LOL, I’ve avoided church venues over the last couple of weeks and have stuck to hotel conference suites instead 🙂

      I am seriously considering temporarily renaming the blog as ‘Trials of a Traveling Trainer’ but have yet to make a final decision on it.

      I always seem to find something to write about during my eventful weeks delivering training sessions and I have a (depending on how squeamish you are) delightful little story about resuscitation dolls to share in a few weeks time….

      Thanks my bestest friend! ❤ ❤

      • I’m almost afraid to consider what the tale about the resuscitation dolls could be. Oh, what the heck: you’ve intrigued me! I hope to see that tale show up in the next installment of the Trials of the Traveling Trainer! 😀 ❤

      • You may have to wait a week or two, but hopefully my tales of my resuscitation dolls will raise a titter or two…. 🙂 ❤

  5. Wow, you’re sure getting around lately, aren’t ya Heather? Great experiences, but a little tiring too, I bet.
    I hate being stuck in traffic. I’m not the most patient person in the world, so I probably would have had a hissy fit. Eek!
    🙂

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