Friday, 27 August 2010

Thank God It's Friday (Evening).

Gah. Only one more week of Recess to go, thank God - though a week's going to feel like a year if The Boss keeps me in Coventry for much longer. Metaphorically-speaking, of course. The real Coventry must be a whole lot more fun than Northwick is at the moment.

Greg has to do today's surgery as Andrew makes it quite clear that I'm not welcome, so I am left to the mail and the phones instead. This results in me spending the morning fending off all the usual suspects, including Mr Beales who is still going on about the policeman that he ran over. He is determined that the officer should be disciplined for not wearing a high-visibility jacket before he "jumped out" in front of Mr Beales' speeding car.

It's all I can do not to put the phone down on him when he insists that there would have been no problems with his speeding, if there hadn't been a strategically-placed policeman hiding in bushes for the sole purpose of catching him doing it. If the policeman had known Mr Beales, then a suicidal act such as this might have been understandable - I'd consider jumping in front of a speeding car rather than have to listen to that man. He is so wearing - what on earth must it be like to be married to him?

I suppose it's unlikely that Mr Beales would ever be capable of giving his wife the silent treatment, though - unlike Max, who is still communicating only in monosyllables. It's a good job that David has said that we can't borrow his holiday cottage this weekend, because he and Susie are using it. They'll probably have more fun in it than Max and I would have done, given how things are with us. We've never really been into arguing-and-making-up sex, more's the pity.

After lunch, Greg asks me to cover a meeting with some of the local councillors, as he doesn't feel he's up to managing what is a potentially tricky situation. Andrew glares at me when I tell Greg that I'll do it, but he doesn't actually forbid me to attend. Unfortunately.

Jimmy Barton, Leader of Northwick Council, has requested the meeting to complain that The Boss is poaching cases that local councillors should be dealing with. He brings several councillors with him to back him up.

The meeting starts badly, as Andrew's first response to Jimmy's complaint is that, if councillors did their jobs properly, then constituents wouldn't approach their MP in the first place. This goes down about as well as you'd expect.

Then he makes matters worse by saying that the whole problem is that, since the corruption scandals in local politics some years ago, we can't attract any decent candidates to stand for election anymore. I don't know if The Boss doesn't notice the expression on Jimmy's face, or whether he doesn't care - but he looks set to carry on like this for the rest of the meeting. If I don't do something.

In the end, I can't bear it, and interrupt:

"I'm sure what Andrew means is that perhaps we need to have better communication between this office and local councillors," I say. "And maybe there's a training issue for new councillors?"

"Rubbish," says Andrew, quite loudly.

Jimmy looks at him, then back at me. I think it takes Jimmy a moment to work out that I am the target of The Boss' hostile statement - but then his expression softens and he takes the olive branch.

"Well, Molly, girl," he says. "There might be a grain of truth in that. What d'you suggest?"

I am so relieved to have averted any further conflict that I launch into a series of suggestions as to what Greg and I could offer to new councillors in terms of helping them find ways to manage their caseloads.

The councillors join in, and it's all going really well until the discussion is interrupted by a loud snore. A really loud, stagy snore. All heads turn to look at Andrew, who is sitting slumped in the corner of the sofa - wide-awake, and staring at me.

"I think that's enough, Molly," he says. "We don't want to bore Jimmy and the others to death, now do we?"

I am not going to let him make me cry. I am not. I never have, and I never will. I excuse myself and leave the room. As I pass Greg, he tries to stop me to find out what is wrong, but I just shake my head and keep going. When I get outside, I stand around for a while, smoking and ordering myself to get a grip, so that I don't give Andrew the satisfaction of seeing that he has upset me. On the second cigarette, I finally start to calm down.

But then there are noises in the lobby and someone pushes open the main door, a few feet from where I am standing. Shit. They must all be leaving. And they're going to walk right past me when they do. I move towards the door, but then I hear something.

"Wasn't that awful?" says a vaguely familiar voice.

"God, yes," says another. "That poor girl. He made her look a complete prat. I'm bloody glad I don't have to work for him."

Nothing for it but to face them anyway. I'll have to do it sometime, after all. I take hold of the door and say "Excuse me," to Jimmy, who looks startled, then moves out of my way. The other councillors turn to face me and smile rather too sympathetically - like those hushed-voice counsellor types who always annoy me so much when I encounter them at meetings of the Mental Health Trust.

"Good to see you all," I say, as I walk away. "Look forward to seeing you at Joan's barbecue."

Then I go back to work. It is a very good thing that The Boss is still not speaking to me, as I am not speaking to him either. Not now. I bet this isn't how International Directors of Global Oil Companies treat their staff. And they probably speak to their wives as well. Thursday week can't come soon enough, as far as I'm concerned.


  1. Molly - I can't believe how horrid Andrew is. I really felt like smacking him one when you walked out of the meeting.
    Just know that everyone recognises that he is the sh*t in this.
    Forget him over the weekend and enjoy the Bank holiday. Oh God, now you've got the family..... lol. x

  2. Oh, thanks Liz - so did I! At least a long weekend with Josh and Connie seems a preferable option to being at work after today. Mind you, we have to move Connie to her new house tomorrow - so it'll be back to being at the mercy of the boys at home and at work after that :-S

  3. I agree - but he's made himself look a complete prat in front of the Councillors - not you.

    Only one more week to go then Carlotta will be welcome to Andrew - but then we've got the conference recess to face. Hope mine goes to conference - he hasn't decided yet. Trouble is he always comes back with loads of bright ideas of what we should be doing, which cauases lots more work. For us not him!

  4. Am sure Carlotta can hardly wait ;-) You're right, though - can't believe it'll be conference recess before we know it.

    Andrew will definitely go - he likes nothing better than to attend all the fringe meetings and stir up trouble. Just wish he'd go away for the whole of the three weeks!

    Why is their bright ideas never seem to involve them doing the work?!