So the placement is over. It was possibly one of the most emotional “departures” I’ve had, and I say that as a turn of phrase because I’m not really leaving – just working from long distance and infrequently. Gifts both in giving to the team as a “thanks for babysitting this lanky guy for a whole year”, and quite by surprise in receiving as “come back soon” mementos, all were received very well indeed. I will miss the buzz of the office. The goings-on, the pranks, the free breakfast and vendor lunches. Most of all I will miss the people I have worked with tirelessly over the past year pushing ahead with their wishes for the department and finally greenlighting a support system they had been asking for years. Now, budgeted in for this financial year, and quite the bright developer taking lead on it, this will finally become a reality. Now my role takes on a faster, progressive pace with almost a sense of outreach. Working remotely on more or less the same tasks, but with the included challenge of being 100 miles away, by myself, while pushing for recruitment to the about-to-be post graduates and prospective placement students. I just need to make sure that this final year at university goes smoothly, and without a risk of retakes or delays. Plans are already in the place that could really do without any hitches on the way.
Being back at home was relaxing and quiet – made quieter still by the complete lack of useable Internet. It was akin to being in IT Purgatory. I had an Edge network signal on my phone, allowing for the carrier-pigeon equivalent of sending and receiving emails and messages, but that was it. Online videos involved going to a neighbour’s house and spooling them up to watch at home. After a dozen separate call outs to the Britische Telefonregler Oberkommando (BT Openreach), finally 2 of the 3 suspected faults were located and repaired. 1 remains at large, on a wire that stretches 2 miles across open spaces and hedgerows to the exchange. Even so, in the meantime it was great to help my mother out with the various larger tasks at the family home that she couldn’t manage by herself, all the while unpacking and repacking from a bedsit-work-commute configuration, to a home-from-home university kit out. In short, more IT kit and an extra desk for said IT kit. Moving luggage from point A to point B this time has involved a different turn – it worked out considerably cheaper to return the van I had hired back to point A, then pay for a first class train ticket to return to B, fuel and insurance included. Complementary sandwiches, tea and coffee on top. Something is definitely not quite right from a consumer standpoint there, save for a simple case of convenience.
At dusk last night I landed in the new shared house, lead, if you will, by my closest friend. Three hours later and a time encroaching midnight, I had what resembled a liveable configuration of the room with most boxes unpacked – a decidedly progressive record compared to the last few deployments, but then I haven’t had to drag the contents of a kitchen along this time. Sadly 2 losses were recorded in this run – my vitamin and joint tablets were left tidied away at home and my workstation suffered 1 too many bumps on the road down and failed to boot upon unpacking. The former could be easily resolved, as suggested by my innocently-thinking mother by “transferring the pills into clear some of the clear bags we have in the kitchen, and then I can post them to you in a jiffy-pack”. Only a matter of time, I fear, before a mug shot of a perplexed and frightfully independent old dear appears on TV screens across the nation. The latter involves a dive into that which I miss most in modern computing, the hardware troubleshooting. Patience will take precedence; I need this workstation to outlast my computing degree, after which, and 4 years since its construction, I’d be more than happy to retire it in favour of something with a little more kick. I digress – the point at hand being the shared house. Much to my dissatisfaction, upon entering the house there stood 1 person I simply didn’t wish to see – the now “manager-superior” of the radio. Glances and a nod of her existence were exchanged as I made quick to direct the IT kit straight to my room instead of a warm and happy welcome in the galley kitchen. It turns out, as I found this morning not only is she over rather regularly, she’s staying over until such time as she can find another house to live in. Great. The one person I’m willing to go to the ends of the earth to inflict complaints through oversight committees and management teams within the student union, sleeps soundly in the same house as me. “A deliberate ploy by close friend?” I asked myself. He has been advising strongly against any official routes for complaint or procedure. Is my independent voice strong enough to hold out in this regard? Or, as seen many a time with friends and in myself, I’ll bail out with a shrug of mild apathy. It will cause pain, more than it has already, but honestly, people should know how much pain and stress they inflict on people. It’s a defining sense of accomplishment and justice, in the hope they will admit fault and at the very least apologise.
So here we are, on the raggedy edge about to embark on the 4th, and final year of a computing degree that as thus far, changed me for the better. If any action happens in the next 9 months on a side of social or romance, it won’t be coming from me. Too many things to get done.