Around sometime late morning today , another chapter of my Book of Life will end and a new one will open. Just over 16 years ago, I joined that fine institution of Ordnance Survey (a.k.a. the Mad House). the UK's national mapping agency. Today, I'm retiring, bringing to an end of 52 years of being a wage slave. As Philine calls it, it will be my #MHexit.
Originally, I had plans of just staying three years and then retire. I cannot recall why I did not leave after those three years. Perhaps I saw it was my mission to try single-handedly to put the "Great" back into Great Britain again. Actually, more likely was the fact that found a steady supply of our wonderful 1:25K maps of the UK that seemed to come my way after I formed a good friendship with the Quality Manager in our cartography department. I slowly started to build up a collection of maps which now take up six large crates in my spare bedroom and give me coverage of all the areas that I'm likely to visit. Oh.. and I was enjoying what I was doing, I was having fun with the people around me and had a manager who appreciated my "special needs".
I've enjoyed my time there, I've made some great friendships (a group of five us still get away a weekend a year for our Boys' Bike Weekend and we meet up for a monthly walk) and it's a rare day when I've not had a good laugh at something - or someone! Sometimes it may be hysteria rather than humour, though. There's been some sadness, though; I've lost three fairly close colleagues in my time there, two quite young and with young families.
I have some great memories; one that will stick in my mind for long time is when I and a girl that I shared a desk with were taken to one side by our manager and were told that he's had a complaint from another manager that we were laughing too much and disturbing others. Naturally this made us laugh even more! Ah... happy days!
I'm expecting some tears - especially from my adoring fans there - but also my own. Many people have told me that the office will be much quieter and more lifeless when I've gone.
Importantly, I'm allowed to stay a member of the OS Cycling Club and I'm looking forward to trying to get somewhere near the top of the weekly leader on occasions. I'm also hoping that I can conitinue to use the shower facilities (there are in a separate buiding and don't require swipe card access) so expect to catch up with others ocasionally for some changing room gossip.
Short term, I'm looking forward to be able to watch every live stage on TV of the Tour du France from the comfort of my sofa; it starts tomorrow.
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