Wednesday 26 April 2017

Edinburgh: Returning after two decades

Of memories, past
As new adventures go, my arrival in Scotland was not necessarily auspicious, but interesting all the same. The last time I was in Edinburgh was 20 years ago when I met up with a Brummie just like myself who lived in Scotland and was literally the antithesis of the company that people who saw us together ever thought I would keep.
He was in full skinhead attire at a time when many antisocial activities attributed to skinheads involved street violence and racial abuse. He was a SHARP skinhead, friendly, lovely and amazingly good company.
We kept in touch for a few years after my visit, at which time, he left Scotland for the West Midlands and with the passage of time, we have both completely lost contact with each other.
A yearning for the new
I stayed at the Ibis Hotel which had only opened a few weeks earlier and going online required a modem connection over a phone line, I was able to cross-charge the rate through my BT phonecard, now a collectible, how times have changed.
I was in Leeds on a Microsoft training course when I received a phone call from an agency about a role in Edinburgh, for some reason, the moment I heard of the role, my heart seemed to be set on the possibility that I would get the job.
It was another 8 days before I heard of their interest in interviewing me, it was to be a telephone interview in the morning, the Thursday before Easter. I attended with my mobile phone hooked up to a headphone because I was not sure taking the interview over a speakerphone would work so well.
Whilst I cannot say I was the most articulate in my answers to the many questions posed about my skills and what I would be expected to do, the interview appeared to go well. I had not interviewed for a role for over 3 years, so there was no practice in the kitty to ensure I would exude any confidence that a person of my experience would be expected to have.
Plans, proposals, and prospects
I was not to hear anything until after the Easter holidays when on Wednesday I was contacted that they would want a face-to-face interview in Edinburgh on Friday. In the meanwhile, some terms of the contract changed unfavorably, but I was still willing to put my lot with this prospect.
I considered spending the weekend in Edinburgh but some deeper premonition suggested I go up for the day and return home for the weekend. In the process, that meant I found time to attend my goddaughter’s birthday in Dorset.
At the interview, we started off on a very friendly note, some comment made about my dressing and the reference to my father whose thoughts to me at one time were, ‘Appearances matter always.’ That I have found in some places of work that I have the best dressed is not one of extraneous effort, just that inclination to be well presented.
And so, we agreed
In that sitting, after I was asked if I was up for the challenge and a challenge it would be, I dedicated myself to the cause and I was offered the role without recourse to the agency first. We agreed I would start on Tuesday and Monday was spent sorting out the contractual details and other finery.
Sunday had me out to Dorset and then Monday, a 5:40-hour journey up to Edinburgh where the first 4 nights are being spent at a University of Edinburgh apartment accommodation. I did more on Friday discovering Edinburgh than I have had the time to do since I arrived on Monday. The statue of Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet, author of Ivanhoe and Rob Roy amongst others.
My office faces onto the craggy steep rocks that form the foundations of the Edinburgh Castle, I will probably spend a weekend here soon to explore the city. However, without any doubt, I am enjoying this new adventure north of Hadrian’s Wall. On reflection, I have now worked in the three nations of Great Britain and just one left of the United Kingdom.

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