Back to my childhood

A rather unexpected and excellent day all in all. My first job was a retail site in Newport. A case of reload a till. Took a little while to work my way through the manual but the staff on site were a great giggle. Merrily chatting away and the conversation got around to childhood TV programs and cartoons. It was really fun to be reminded of cartoons and programs that i haven’t thought about in years. And an odd realisation that for all the education Ishould have been remembering has taken a back seat to remembering the names of the characters from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. Also one of the staff admitted to having a crush on He-Man. that then lead to odd observations of a character that wore pink tights and then went for a furry pair of pants. It certainly made the job of reloading a till a lot more pleasurable.

After a spot of lunch it was off to another retail site down the road, still in Newport. Cash draw not firing. Simply re-seat the data cables and reboot the till. End result, one working till. Happy days. So all in all a very fun working day.

The evening was also nice and relaxed. Just making a mental note to disbalieve anything I see or hear tomorow morning. It’s the first of April, so it’s time for April fools. Expect weirdness.

Continuing the simple theam

Another day that yielded no suppries. I don’t know how much longer this will last. So after exchanging the parts over at the local depot, it was off to Cirencester for my first contestant. A retail site with a faulty chip & pin reader. Unfortunately the replacement part didn’t want to load up properly. So after chatting with the manager on site it sounded like an intermitant problem. I figured the best bet was to give the card slot a good clean. And like a good boy scout, I’ve got a kit for that. A fibrous car and some evaporating solvent cleaner. It’s a bit whiffy, but it gets the job done. A couple of tests and all was good.

The next contestant was a retail site in Gloucester city centre. So a short drive back to Gloucester and the added bonus of having a car park right next to the site. This was another chip & pin problem. The site had seen so much trade that the keypad on the chip & pin was getting worn out. This was also another site that remembered me from my previous visit. So again being greeted as the happy engineer is always a nice thing. So down to business, un-plug the old unit and plug in the new, then test. Everything was working as intended. Six minuets from “Hi, I’m your engineer” through to “That works”. It’s one of those jobs where the admin takes longer than the actual fix.

So not long after eleven and both of my allocated calls were done. So with the various forms filled in and emails sent off I decided to get lunch early so that I could finally get a long over due hair cut. With that done, and feeling a lot more presentable, I went and found something to eat and amused myself for the remainder of my lunch break by walking around the city centre. When lunch ended there was still nothing allocated to me. No worries, I figured the best bet was to drive back to the parts depot and drop off the used kit. So a short drive out of the city centre and the used kit was dropped off. Still nothing pending. So back home, mug of tea and start getting the paper work done in preparation for the coming week. Out of the blue I got a call off my team leader. I had two days holiday that were carried over from last year. I’m supposed to use them by the end of March. And truth be told I had completely forgotten about them. But my team leader had managed to get an extension of the “use by date” so to speak, so some holiday was quickly and unexpectedly booked. RESULT! So April is going to be a very short month. I really need to get organised with my holidays. I’m supposed to use chunks of it by certain times. Basically to ensure that you don’t get staff that get to the end of  the holiday year and have loads of holiday left to take. So I should think about a summer break, where I have a hair brained scheme to travel in to Europe and visit the towns that Gloucester is twinned with. Possibly stopping off to view the Huff village as well. But that kind of things need planning. I suppose I could just drive around and eventually find places to stay and eat. But I think some sort of rough plan may be better. May be taking a train? I’ll have to have a think on that.

Anyway, eventually a third job came in. One that I had vetted earlier in the day. A retail site over near Newport had a problem with the monitor that is used as the customer display. I had hedged my bets and ordered a replacement monitor and a power supply. The parts were being shipped direct to site. No worries. It was quite a quick drive to site. It was also a very quick job. The bad news was that the parts had not arrived. The good news was that I didn’t need them. The power cable had come unplugged from the power supply. Plug back in and it all worked fine. The manager was a little embarrassed. I told him not to worry about it, I like easy calls.

So that was pretty much it for my working day. A simple drive home. Get the various emails sent out for work. Then a relaxed evening playing way too much World Of Warcraft. I wonder if tomorrow will be a simple?

An easy start

Monday. The beginning of the week. So after the usual routine of wake up, Wii fit lecture, breakfast & tea it was out in to the word. The first job was a doddle. A receipt printer on a retail site wasn’t working. However, it was working fine when I got their. Result! That was easy. Then quite literally over to the other side of the road to the next job. This one wasn’t so easy. The good news was that I didn’t need to reload the software on the till. The not so good news was that the replacement part didn’t have a working network card. Bummer. Fail on fit. So after trying a couple of things I still couldn’t gt it to work. So the call has been progressed. Hopefully better luck with the next part. So a spot of lunch and off to another retail site. This one was fun. Mainly because the staff on site were very lively and up beat. It was also a simple job of replace the cash draw. So with the new unit installed and tested it was off home. And a nice relaxed eveing as well. So all in all a good start to the week.

Feeling out of sync

It’s weird trying to have a lie in when you know the clock is wrong. Even though I had set most of the clocks to be an hour forward, my internal clock was still on winter time. So knowing in my bones that it is still 10:00am, I had an unusual resentment for the clock telling me it was 11:00am. I decided the best thing to do was to get up and ease gently into the world.

So a couple of mugs of tea and a bit of breakfast helped me feel a lot more awake. I’d have loved nothing more than to spend the day lounging around doing very little. However I did need to go shopping. So after checking every last cupboard and draw in the kitchen I put together a list of supplies. Now one of things on my list was not pick up a new energy supplier. Every so often Sainsburys lets arseholes from EDF prowl around it’s stores. This does tend to piss me off. I’m trying to choose a loaf of bread, I don’t want to hear the opening question of “Can I ask you who supplies your energy?”. Quite frankly it’s none of your business. I tend to form responses along the lines of “Push off”. But today I was in a good mood, so after glancing at the woman and taking in the ID tag around her neck, the clip board with the EDF logo on it and that hungry commission based look in her eyes. I simply went back to what I was doing and replied with “Not interested”. I’ll be honest, I was expecting her to push it. I knew my second response to being disturbed on my day off wasn’t going to be polite. But there was no further interruptions. The woman took the hint and went hunting for another commission.

So with the shopping and some other domestic chores out of the way, it was time to do what days off are invented for. Relaxing and doing very little. So played a couple of games , watch some TV and read a bit of a book. All kinds of good.

Caravan invasion

They’re everywhere! Caravans. Loads of the buggers. No sooner had Igot on the motorway when I was suddenly surrounded by loads of fiberglass boxes on wheels. Nearly new cars and pretend four by fours towing ageing boxes of slow moving misery. Certainly made my journey a bit more fraught as I battled against the grockles on my way in to Wales. I eventually made it to my first retail site where the staff had already opened the box with the part in it, that had been shipped to site. They waisted no time in telling me that it was the wrong part. And sure enough it was. Undetered I set about stripping and cleaning the touch screen on the faulty till and I was rewarded for my efforts with a working till. Result!

The next contestant was a hospitality site. Now this was a little peculiar. I got to the site and the manageress gave me curt greeting and then ignored me. So I politely waited for a little while and then tried to attract her attention again. I succeed, but only to be told that she didn’t want me messing around with the tills. With out waiting for a response, she turned her back on me. I was a little taken a back, so after a couple of seconds of shock, I picked up my tool box and left. I hadn’t got far down the street when I became aware of some one shouting “YOU! COME BACK HERE!” it was the manageress. There was some brisk arm beckoning on her part. OK, weird. So I turned around and went back to the site. Did she come and talk to me. No. After two minutes she finished doing what ever it was and actually came and had a conversation with me. With forced politeness I put a positive spin to my voice and learned nothing new. She didn’t want me messing around with the tills. Yes, I had got the hint on that one the first time round. But I did get to find out that the part had not been delivered to the site as it was reported on the system. So there was nothing for me to be messing around with in the first place. So with that all explained the manageress request that any work be performed on Monday. Fair enough. Feeling a little off ballence I went back to the car. Sorted out the relevant emails ad set off for the next site.

The third job couldn’t have been simpler. Engineer required to attend site and identify a particular piece of equipment. So I drove out to the retail site. Said hello to the manageress. Went to the back office. And identified the piece of equipment. The area manager reckoned that the site didn’t have one. I found it exactly where it should have been. With that thoroughly sorted out, the paper work was filled in and I returned home.

A nice relaxing evening ensued. Much amazement was had in the form of watching  “Total Wipe-out” and the “ComedyRoad Show”. So with the clocks set to change, I also have a lie in to look forward to tomorrow. RESULT!

Thank Crunchie it’s Friday

An odd Friday, work wise. I got the kit back to the depot for repair and then seemed to spend most of the morning triaging the calls. One part was set aside for an unusual return, in that I took it direct to a courier rather than put it in to the normal repair loop. The guys in tech support wanted a look at it. With that done it was back out to a retail site that I had done a temporary fix on. I was needed to copy over sales data from a disabled till to the working till, so that the customer could have access to the sales information for the site. With that job done it was back home to get the admin for the day finished off and sent out.

Being a Friday it meant one thing. Frag Fest! So off to the server for some gratuitous fun. A dam good giggle. There was a real good feel to the server tonight. I some how managed to fluke my way to the top of the score board. The enormity of this was too much for my PC. Which chose that moment to wet it’s self and crash. Taking the score board and info with it. So that when I got the PC rebooted there was no trace of the miracle of my performance. Bummer. I suppose there was the risk of the evidence tearing reality apart, so it’s probably for the best. No worries, back on the server to continue the fun & games. Special mention has to go to Fade for planting a mental image in the minds of many that will take a lot of therapy to correct.

So only one more day to go and I get a day off. Result! I really should get my act together and book some holiday.

Not what I expected

Today was a little odd. The first job was supposed to be replace a till on a retail site. Despite the box the PC came in looking the worse for ware, the PC itself was in good working order. But due to a change in the gubinz that made it up from the manufacture meant that the software disk I had for it wasn’t going to work. A fact that didn’t come to light until after a couple of hours of following the manual. In a bit of a sideways maneuver I did manage to help the site out by moving the fault from the master till to the slave till. So at least the staff had access to some extra functionality that they had been missing. The staff were very happy, even though there is still a fault that needs fixing. But a small victory is better than none. A lot of time was chewed up from being on site, so I was a little light headed when I finaly managed to take lunch at 3:30pm.

Suitably fed and watered it was on to the next call. Which thankfully went according to plan. Simply replace a power lead that ran between a receipt printer and till base unit. In fact the manageress on site remembered me from another site of hers that I had visited in the past, so it was very uplifting to be remembered as the happy engineer. So with that job suitably sorted out it was time to drive home. Being a little late in the day meant that I didn’t have to struggle with the rush hour traffic, so it was a pleasant enough drive home. So a nice relaxed evening. Just a couple more working days to go and I get to have a day off. YAY!

In good spirits

Today was one of those days where Ifound myself in an inexplicably good mood. Straight from kick off, through most of the day truth be told. And I’ve no idea why. I suppose it may have been due to not waking up with the music from the “Robot Unicorn Attack” flash game from the “Adult Swim” web site playing through my head. So sutably fed and watered I set out in to the world.

Work went well today. The first site went according to plan. Replace the till chassis and it all worked when I turned it back on. The second also went well. There were two jobs to do. the first one was a doddle. Apparently an engineer had been out the previous day and fixed the problem. So with all confirmed that it was working OK, it was on to the second job. Just replace the touch screen. A quick and easy job. So with time marching on I went in search of my third site. But before that I was starving, so it was time to find lunch. This turned out to be very naughty as I opted for a full cooked breakfast from Morrisons. All kinds of good. So fully recharged it was on to the third site. And that was a simple job as well. I was supposed to replace the chip & pin reader, but the staff on site told me it had been fixed last week. No worries, collect the part that had been delivered to site and leave them in peace.

A little earlier in the day I had agreed to do standby at short notice. The engineer that was supposed to be on standby had been taken ill, so I agreed to step in. So out of the head of the valleys and down in to Cardiff to collect a kitchen printer for a hospitality site. I eventually found the site. It was a little off the beaten track, but the sat nav got me there eventually after taking what seemed a very weird route. the replacement unit was OK except for the paper cutter. But after a bit of tinkering I managed to remove the paper cutter off the old printer and fit it to the replacement unit. And it worked. Result! So with the paper work done it was time to go home. So a little extra money and some overtime. Happy days. Just enough time to chill out and have a giggle watching Rod Gilbert trying to be a hair dresser. Definitely time for bed.

Can I take a look at your phone?

So a straight forward day. A retail site near by needed a bar code scanner replace. A very easy fix. Un-plug the old unit. Plug in the new. Show it the program codes and then test. A nice straight forward affair. A little disappointing when the staff act despondent. Can begin to ware you down after a while. But I put it out of my mind and went on to the next site out in the valleys of Wales. Again another straight forward job. This time, just replace a receipt printer. So turn it off, remove two cables and then plug in the new unit and test. And a good positive response from the customer. So all kinds of good. So get home, sort out the E-mails and other admin bits and pieces. Got two calls for tomorrow with the parts coming overnight.

So with the working day done it was time to go and get some food shopping done. I was happily chatting away to my friend on my phone as I was walking out of my home to get to where the car is parked. I’ve got a private car park around the back of the houses. As I was walking along the path I spotted a woman cross the road and head straight over towards me. My spidey sense began to tingle. Without making eye contact I continued to chat away to my friend and turn into my car park. I was being followed. So I asked my friend to hang on and I turned around and confronted my curious follower.

“Yes?” The girl was a bit taken a back, but came out with an odd phrase.

“Can I take a look at your phone?” she asked.


“I need to call my friend.”

“I’m using my phone at the moment to talk to my friend at the moment thanks.”

With that the situation dissipated. She asked for the where abouts of a public phone, so I pointed her in the direction of the local Tesco half a mile down the road. What an odd request. Ask a stranger who is on the phone to use the phone they are currently using. Not going to happen really. I’m too suspicious now. After 3 and a bit decades I’m more paranoid. I mean there is no guarantee that the girl was honest. That she wouldn’t try and run off with the phone. That she wouldn’t ring a premium rate number. Who knows. Go down to Tesco and buy a pre-paid mobile phone.

What happened to my trusting soul?

Confuse them with a smile

A new week and a new start. A very straightforward day, work wise. But I am still astounded by people’s response to someone with a smile on their face. As a nation are we really that surprised to see some one happy? The first retail site I stepped on to, one of the first comments was about the fact that I had a smile on my face. Apparently that sort of thing can get me into trouble with the locals. What am I supposed to make of a statement like that? Makes no sense to me at all.

All in all a relatively good start to the week.