Dear Diary – Page 66 (Late 1960’s – Perkins Engines)

Working at Perkins initiated me into office life which included the inevitable Christmas “get together”.

The arrangements were to meet at the Cardinal Bar in the Bull Hotel. The hotel was an extremely old building and to get into the parking area, one had to pass under a stone arch which was probably around 15-20ft wide. I arrived at the appointed time; parked the Norton, and went inside to meet the others.

“What are you drinking?” was immediately followed by a mug of beer being placed in front of me. Somebody was obviously ready for another round of beers and suddenly, another beer was placed in front of me. I probably had 2 or 3 beers, and with 2 more waiting consumption, when the decision was made to move on to the Perkins Social Club and continue there.

“C’mon Colin. Knock them back so we can leave!” We all piled into a couple of cars and at the Perkins Social Club there were a few more rounds of beer, after which we all somehow found our way back to the hotel and said our farewells.

I got onto my Norton and started her up. Engaged first gear and steered her around so that I was facing the entrance/exit stone arch. That stone arch may well have been around 15-20ft wide but, at that point in time, I could not guarantee being able to direct the bike through it. It was a little out of focus and constantly moving! I put the bike into neutral, turned her off and walked home!


Our office area was separated from Shipping & Traffic by a line of low filing cabinets. On one occasion they had a woman representative in there from Perkins Italy who was on the phone and talking really loud. I would guess that she was talking to Italy and was having some difficulties. I decided to call across our office and question why that woman needed the telephone as she could probably be heard in Italy without it! Unfortunately, my comment traveled further than our office and I was duly reprimanded.

On another occasion, I wanted to take the imminent Friday off work. In my mind (and even to this day) I saw no reason why it would not be approved. I then approached my manager with the request which he immediately turned down because he wanted at least two weeks’ notice. I asked why such a routine request dictated two weeks’ notice and the response was “because it did”. He never produced a tangible reason but would not approve it because of insufficient notice.

I do not consider myself difficult to get along with, but I expect tangible reasons when something that I wish to do is blocked. Given the circumstances that I was in, I told him that perhaps I was approaching this wrong. I was going to take this coming Friday off and how would he like me to cover it? I could call in sick, or I could use a vacation day. He told me to be at my desk on Friday, which I wasn’t. I did however have the vacation day request on his desk before Friday. I never heard any more about it and did (surprisingly) ultimately develop a good working relationship with him.


14 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 66 (Late 1960’s – Perkins Engines)

  1. Bosses are PIAs for sure. Most have an inflated ego and like to have the upper hand over “the underlings.” Or peons if you prefer that word. I used to refer to myself as a peon at the hospital where I worked.

    I must say that you knew how to handle the hierarchy. That was surely a plus for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mom is pleased to say that she has never, ever, in her life of Momdom used the terms “because I said so” which is tantamount to what your supervisor said. I read this to Mom and she said she does not miss the politics of the office one bit! Woof!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bank company policy was to have two weeks off together at some time during the year, and the other days of your holiday you could take as you wished, provided it didn’t clash with anyone else, the month end reporting deadlines had been met (first 2 weeks of every month, longer for quarter, or half year reports) and never at Christmas or New Year. Other than that, the company was pretty flexible!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. After doing ‘A’ levels I spent a year as a shipping clerk with the EverReady Battery Company in Whestone, London. It was quite a pressured and busy job but the girls in the typing pool made it all quite pleasant. Lots of laughs.

    Liked by 1 person

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