There is a room at the place I work called The Quiet Area.
It’s on the fifth floor and is full of ridiculously coloured settees that must be specially manufactured for big businesses, for no sane person would ever buy them. Well, not unless one was going to a bad taste party and wanted to take their own furniture with them.
One day last week I was on the early shift, which means a 6am start. Given that I work in Salford these days, that meant my alarm went off at 4.30am, an experience about as pleasant as being made to listen to an Ollie Murs album. Twice.
For the previous decade of my working life I had a job which allowed me to wake around 9-ish, then head downstairs for a bowl of Rice Krispies and a small beaker of fresh orange, while watching the closing stages of Homes Under The Hammer. Then – after having a slice of toast and picking the fleas out of the cat’s hind legs – I finally set off for work.
So the new working hours have come as a shock. Indeed, prior to this job, the only other time I had woken up at 4.30am was to catch a long-haul flight to Vancouver.
So what I like to do on these early shifts is to head to the quiet room at dinner and lie down on one of the many brightly-coloured couches and nod off for an hour.
I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to have a nap in the middle of the working day, though it can be embarrassing, as I found out on Monday when I awoke with a big strand of saliva hanging from my mouth and a woman sat opposite examining me as one might do a cockroach on your kitchen surface.
Anyway, what happened the other day was this. I got up at half-four after having barely slept during the night (Mrs Canavan was in a very fidgety mood; it always happens when she has broccoli before bed) and so, at dinnertime, headed to the work quiet room to have a nap.
Someone was on my usual tangerine sofa, so I headed past that to the vomit- coloured one. I lay my head down, stretched, and was in that wondrous state, a moment or two before dropping off into a deep and satisfying slumber, when I sensed a figure approach. I heard the settee sag – someone had clearly sat down – and, blow me, the next thing I hear is the sound of some very crinkly tin foil being unwrapped.
This annoyed me, for, as everyone knows at my workplace, there is settee etiquette – namely that you don’t sit on the same settee as someone else, especially if they are clearly knackered and trying to get some shut-eye. And if you do, have the decency to at least try and be quiet. I opened one eye to see who this – I hesitate to use the word idiot but in this case I think it is justified – idiot was.
It was a man, about 40, hunched over his tin foil packet which contained what I think were corned beef sandwiches, interesting in itself as I thought corned beef had been extinct since the late 1970s.
I shut my eyes again, determined this chap would not defeat me. He did. He ate noisily, chomping his sandwich like a cow attacking a fresh patch of grass, then sneezed three times, then – and by this point I was having to inwardly count to 10 to stay calm – poured himself a drink and began slurping it.
After five minutes of this, I could take no more and stood up, angrily glaring in his direction. Annoyingly, he was so busy stuffing his face with corned beef and drinking coffee that he didn’t even notice. During the afternoon I nearly nodded off four times at my computer and had to drive home with both windows wide open and my S Club 7 CD on full volume just to stay awake.
On the flipside, I bought a can of corned beef from the shop that night and right enjoyed it, so it wasn’t all bad news.
Good luck Lee, you’ll certainly need it!
Good luck to new Blackpool manager Lee Clark and, by God, he needs it.
The Seasiders, for the non-footie folk among you, are bottom of the league by a mile and, as it stands, have as much chance of surviving as a man dangled headfirst into a pool of crocodiles.
Just why the club has been such an unhappy place over the last couple of years is a moot point. The vast majority blame chairman Karl Oyston for a lack of investment that has resulted in Blackpool tumbling from Premier League to foot of the Championship.
And they are right. The chairman does have to cop the blame because he runs the place.
But the last manager, though hero-worshipped for standing up to Oyston, has questions to answer, too.
It’s all very well making a stand against your seniors (and I applaud Jose Riga for doing it) but you still have to do your job well at the same time. Riga didn’t. His stubbornness cost Blackpool a pre-season and a chance of building a half-decent squad, and it has played a huge part in the club being where they are – up the creek and with the paddle a considerable distance away.
Lee Clark now has to pick up the pieces, and boy are they big pieces to pick up.