Regular readers may have noticed, it’s been very quiet around here recently and for that I must apologise, however, that’s about to change and I should be getting back into the swing of updating the blog more regularly, with some (hopefully) interesting posts.
The last post covered, the final, traumatic day of my Southern Upland Way walk – ending in pain, discomfort and huge disappointment, just outside Moffat – about half way across the Scottish Coast to Coast path. That ‘defeat’ left me feeling quite depressed, even though I knew it was the right course of action at the time and that even with hindsight I can’t fault the decision I made.
I injured my shin on a rock, making a deep cut, down to the bone, that bled profusely until I bandaged it with supplies from my first aid kit – the first time I’ve ever needed to use it to that extent. The next day I kicked a bed leg in my bare feet and thought I’d actually broken my toe! The nail came away and it was incredibly painful – combined, these two injuries forced the halt.
You can have a closer look at the damage if you really want to – I won’t make them full size though, for the squeamish amongst you – but click the images for bigger versions if you feel the need 🙂
That was a small disappointment compared to what came next though. On my return to work a couple of days later I got a call from my boss (I’m home-based, so it’s not like he rang me from the other side of the office) – he said he had bad news for me and would I like to come down to head office (200 miles there and 200 miles back) tomorrow to discuss it, or would I rather do it over the phone. I felt my stomach lurch and rather than wait on tenter-hooks for 24 hours I asked for the phone option. He rang back 15 minutes later with a lady from HR on a conference line. I was then told I was being made redundant – after 8 years with the company, another round of cost-cutting and head count reduction saw me without a job.
I’ve never been made redundant before and this was a bit of a shock. I was told I was being put on garden leave for the remainder of my notice period (12 weeks), so at least I didn’t need to make-believe in customer meetings or around the office, I could switch off immediately and concentrate on looking for another job. This was actually more difficult than (a) I expected it to be and (b) I actually let on to the wife it was.
I’ve come to realise that I hate working – despite being very good at my job and actually enjoying huge parts of it, I actually hate working and not having to work for 12 weeks (while still being paid my full salary), made that feeling all the more intense. I realised that if I didn’t find another job quickly, I could well become used to not working, let my distaste for work come through in interviews and end up being unemployable. As it was I spent the next three months (all through the wonderful summer weather we had), either out walking and interviewing.
I have found another job – still in IT – and it’s renewed my interest in work, thank goodness! I’ve moved into a much younger, more dynamic and exciting technology and although I have a huge learning curve to negotiate, there is nothing I like more than climbing huge hills!
The biggest disaster in losing my job is that my planned LEJOG walk next year is now off. Having worked for a company for 8 years I felt reasonably comfortable asking for three months off work to accomplish the task. That’s just not possible with a new employer of course – there is no way I can ask for that sort of time off, without being handed my P45 again. So LEJOG is now a distant memory again and probably something that will only be done when I retire, if I manage to do it at all.
There is a silver lining to the clouds that fill my sky at the moment though. I have been asked by Trailblazer Guides, if I would like to update their Pennine Way guide book. I regard this as a singular honour and I’ve readily accepted the project. The update involves checking all the information in the book, adding new service providers, walking the whole route, checking the maps are correct and making additions and changes where required. So I’m currently planning on breaking the route down into manageable chunks, ideally using public transport to create a series of 3 or 4 day linear walks. I also need to walk these as soon as possible, while we still have a decent amount of daylight and before the winter weather comes in properly. I have a series of busy weekends ahead of me.
I’ll be blogging about my progress as I work my way through the project and walk the various sections, so keep an eye out for them. The prospect of walking the Pennine Way again is really exciting – I had been considering it instead of the Southern Upland Way this year, but decided to expand my horizons somewhat and walk somewhere new.
If anyone would like to share their experiences of walking the Pennine Way, I’d love to hear them – I’m looking to include some short sections in the book that describe the walk from different perspectives. If you loved it or hated it, cried or laughed while walking it, I’d like to know. I can’t promise you’ll get in the book, but I’ll certainly include some of them.