This has nothing to do with The Sound Of Music except that it is time to say goodbye (to my contract).
So that’s it! My ‘extended’ contract in the public sector has come to an end. No more will I have to encounter fare dodgers (Conducting A First Class Fare Dodge), one sided mobile phone conversations (I’m On The Train!), commuters on autopilot (Commuters Or Sheep?), exaggerated coffee routines (Coffee, White … With Milk!), red tape (Christmas Decorations In The Office – Bah Humbug!) and snow chaos (Reboot – It’s The End Of The Line).
No more will I have to experience the weekly fire alarm check and being asked whether I heard the bell. Or sorting my recycling and only putting used A4 in this box and other types of paper in that box. And being forced every Wednesday to clear whichever desk I had been allocated that day so that the cleaner could give it a wipe with a damp cloth!
So what now?
Well, with Christmas looming, it seems only right that I take some time off and start my festive preparations. There’s shopping to be done. There are cards to write. There are cards to send, although I have probably missed the last posting date for overseas! The tree needs to go up. The lights need to be checked and hung.
I’ll have to start planning the dinner for the big day – should I go for the traditional turkey and all the trimmings.
And if so, is it a little early to put the sprouts on?
In between all that planning, I’d better start learning some lines for the play I’m in just after Christmas. Normally I would know my part inside out by this stage (no pun intended), but I have to confess I have hardly had time to open the script and am behind the other cast members. And that is not a position I enjoy being in.
But how was my last day?
Was I up against it trying to squeeze everything into the last few hours? Of course not! This is the public sector, and they are on a wind down towards Christmas. In fact, I had to attend an ‘exit’ interview first thing in the morning because the interviewer had the department’s Christmas ‘do’ in the afternoon! So really, my day could have finished by 10am once I had said my piece about working with the organisation, and handed over my laptop.
I could have, perhaps should have gone home there and then, but being the conscientious sort I am, I hung around for the rest of the day answering last minute questions as the people I was leaving behind suddenly realised they weren’t sure about something.
But perhaps the best part about my last day was that final commute in to the office. Not because it was the last time I could toy with the other commuters about when to stand and move towards the door. Not because it was the last time I could watch with amusement at the lady opposite me with her little flask of coffee but because of what I saw through the train window.
Over the last seventeen weeks, I have gazed, when not engrossed in the morning news, at the fabulous scenery flashing past the window. The early morning sunrise over the river; the early morning mist over the fields beside the river; the castle standing prominently on the hill above the river and the snow covered landscape with early morning sun and mist surrounding the river!
Not every wonderful sight was by the river, but that was a particularly lovely stretch of the journey. However, it was when I was a little nearer my destination that I always ensured I put down the paper.
Early on in my time of commuting, I thought I had seen a deer from the window, but because I had been reading, I wasn’t sure. And because I was reading, I hadn’t really noticed where in the journey we were. So every morning I would put the paper down and stare out of the window roughly where I thought I had seen the deer. Eventually I saw it again only this time I made a mental note of the train’s location.
So from that point I would always put the paper away and look out for the deer. And pretty well every morning I would not be disappointed. And that one deer became three. Then four. However, this morning, standing proud and nodding their heads as if to say farewell, were not three, not four or even five, but seven deer.
Seven deer looking towards the train as it trundled by. And so I turned up at the office with perhaps a bigger grin on my face than they were expecting of someone on his last day! 😉