Big Bangs…

Picture 134

Anyone who’s ever met me knows full well I don’t like fireworks, but in an attempt to push my own boundaries I decided to put aside my anxieties over large crowds, big bangs and a morbid fear of being in a close proximity to fire, and attend the annual fireworks display at the university where I work.

I have to admit that the atmosphere on campus was quite exciting and the fact it was after dark simply ramped up the intensity. There were plenty of stalls, all lit up, in one of the main squares, and queues for hot food were growing longer by the minute. Hundreds of staff and students were already on a slope enjoying the DJs and live music on the floodlit stage and before long the university’s own fire display team were hard at work thrilling (and terrifying) the onlookers.

Despite my reservations, it was impossible not to get caught up in all the excitement when the first rocket launched high into the sky, although the racket it made when it exploded shook my insides. Apparently, it’s impossible to put both fingers in your ears when taking photos, so I just had to embrace temporary deafness and enjoy the pretty colours in the sky.

I returned home cold and stinking of smoke, but I’m proud of myself for stepping so far out of my comfort zone and I have to admit that I actually enjoyed it. Time to find out what else I can do when I put my mind to it…

Picture 021

Advertisements

Happy New Year…

karen-waddy

It’s been a busy start to 2017 and I can’t believe that the first half of January is almost behind me. Having bid farewell to self-employment at the end of 2016, my salaried job role is taking up most of my time these days, which is really positive. There’s a massive amount to learn, and at times I feel as if my brain will burst, but along with the challenges there are more than enough rewards to make up for it, and being part of a team is a dream come true.

My shifts are longer than I’m used to, but this became a lot easier once I settled back into my new routine after the Christmas break, and the bonus is that I’m getting fitter. I’m slowly getting used to the sheer volume of business meetings I’m now attending, along with various training days, and although my schedule is filling up with work it’s also being filled with fun stuff such as the monthly team breakfasts, and will soon include an ‘away day’!

Never in a million years did I ever imagine that my life could change so quickly and dramatically, which just goes to show that you never know what’s just around the next corner. If you want to move upwards you have to move forwards…

Team Breakfast…

fullenglish

You know that you’ve landed well and truly on your feet when your manager arranges for everyone to enjoy a leisurely ‘team breakfast’ to thank us for simply doing our jobs. This morning, my colleagues and I were taken down to the canteen and treated to a full English, or whatever else we happened to fancy, and large coffees. I don’t eat meat or eggs so chose veggie sausage, hash brown, mushrooms, baked beans and toast, and I have to say it was very welcome indeed!

Suitably sustained, and finally ready to face the day, we returned to the office to get down to the business of the weekly team meeting; an opportunity for each and every one of us to update our co-workers on what we’ve been doing, what still needs to be completed and any issues or deadlines which need to be discussed. By the time we were all done and dusted it was almost lunchtime, although to be honest I wasn’t particularly hungry (can’t imagine why…)

Sometimes our jobs can be challenging, and we can begin to feel under-valued, but it’s small gestures like this that can make a huge difference to the working environment, and I applaud any bosses out there who show genuine appreciation to their staff.  Sometimes the little things really do mean a lot.

Pharrell’s Not The Only One Who’s Happy…

Untitled-1

I’m really enjoying my new job and apparently I’m doing quite well as I’ve already been asked to cover other staff members shifts on several occasions when they’ve been unable to get to work. This is apparently rare for a newbie so I must be doing something right. I’ve also just been given my first monthly pay packet and I have to say I was so excited I could barely rip the envelope open. It took a while for all the information to sink in – this really is all mine! YIPPEEEEEEEE!

Not only am I getting paid to work alongside a really lovely team of people, I also now have my very own company email address and therefore potentially have access to a vast number of benefits which I was previously unaware of, such as “good local deals, shopping cards and exclusive privileges – available only to staff.

This really is a whole new world to me – and I LOVE it!

First Day at Work…

work

It’s been a few years since I was the ‘new girl’ at work, and today began with last-minute nerves and a touch of OCD as I checked, double-checked and triple-checked that I had everything I needed before leaving the house at stupid o’clock in the morning. I knew I’d completed the required training and that I’d read the work manual so many times I could probably sail through Mastermind with it as my specialist subject, but it’s surprising how easily your brain can empty during a thirty minute walk.

On arrival I nervously introduced myself to my Senior, who immediately put me at my ease by shaking my hand and giving me a very warm welcome to the team. All of my adult life I’ve secretly yearned to be a part of large and important organisation, and when a member of the public approached me, after noticing my brand new ID card hanging from my neck, and asked “Excuse me, do you work here?” I could barely contain my pride at being able to reply “Yes I do, how can I help you?”

Who knew you could earn so much money doing something that makes you THIS excited!?

Musical Bingo…

bingo

No, I’d never heard of it either but nowadays I’m up for most things and as this new experience was part of a Quiz Night in aid of a local wildlife charity I was more than ready for the challenge.

Our venue was one of those quaint village halls; the ones equipped with a stage with red curtains and little wooden steps at the sides; and armed with a vast array of shockingly unhealthy, but delicious, snacks and drinks our team was raring to go. However, despite initial brilliance in Round One, and exceptional observational skills in the Picture Round, we were eventually beaten by several other teams in the quiz section…and then, after the obligatory raffle, came the musical bingo…

Each team were given a sheet full of song titles and artistes and the idea was to listen to snippets of songs being played, crossing off the ones you identify on your own sheet; the winner being the first to get a line, and then a full house. Singing and dancing was enthusiastically encouraged, and there was even a conga line at one point. We’d have been good at Name That Tune, as we instantly recognised the majority of the tracks, but unfortunately were beaten to the finish by another table. However, all was not lost as we managed to come second and were all awarded fabulous choccy Easter eggs – result!

Yabba Dabba Doo!…

milk

Despite the fact I’ve never really been one for ‘joining in’, I really am loving the regular pub quiz nights, which have opened up a whole new world for me. Getting there early is a must in order to secure a decent table (the quiz meal is a vital component of the evening and eating a vegeburger and chips while standing at the bar is simply not an option). Once seated, fed and watered, we’re all ready for the off, so to speak.

I used to think I had a relatively wide knowledge base but since becoming a pub quiz team member I now realise that this requires a level of familiarity of bizarre facts that I’d never encountered before. What kind of person KNOWS how many pints of milk are on the Flintstones doorstep in the opening credits? Thank heavens one of my co-horts knew that Mr Tod was a fox in the Beatrix Potter stories cos I didn’t have a clue. You certainly get an ‘education’ during the course of the evening!

This week we came tantalisingly close to getting the 3rd prize (£18 no less) – just 2 points away from it in fact. Kicking myself for not being able to pick will.i.am out of a line-up during the ‘pictures’ round (ugh – why did I write down Tinie Tempah?) but now I’m 100% focussed on doing much better next time. Who knew I could be quite so competitive?! The new ‘me’ is quite scary, lol.