I have been told, by a very helpful* man from Gecko Programmes that at the end of each week I should make a note of all the new things I have achieved at work and all the shiny new skills I have developed, so that I can remember it all when it comes to updating my CV. Because the richest of my experiences here at Gloucester Academy of Music shall sadly never make it on to my CV, I will share them here with you now. Over the past six months I have gained a number of life-skills, many anecdotes, and had a lot of fun. In no particular order, the highlights have been:
1. The day I painted the car park. What shall be termed “car park issues” provide a source of drama a lot of the time here: people parking here who shouldn’t, not enough spaces for staff, people being blocked in, not knowing who the cars blocking you in belong to. This was made worse when our original car park was condemned by the Regional Development Agency and moved to a smaller space around the corner. A week or so after the move, after numerous incidents caused by badly parked vehicles, the Director announces that we need parking spaces. “Come on Kate, there’s some paint and brushes in that cupboard.”** “Use one of those old violin bows to stir it with.” We rent three parking spaces out to the staff of Barclays Bank. On this day we painted around their cars, hoping that it would dry by the time they left work, and I (“You’ve got neat handwriting”) wrote RESERVED PARKING across the front. I am very proud of this, it is my legacy to Gloucester city centre. Glyn then worked out the rest of the car park layout by moving his car around. I followed with a paintbrush. It was a good day.
2. Measuring the outside of the building with an umbrella. This happened fairly early on in my employment, and helped to give me a fairly good idea how things are done here. I needed to get some quotes for a couple of signs, one for each entrance to the building/car park. Struggling to estimate what size they needed to be, I asked if there was a long ruler or tape measure that I could use to go outside and measure the spaces with. “No, but you could use this umbrella.” Using a 30cm ruler we worked out that the umbrella was about 90cm long. Then we marched outside and measured the spaces in umbrella lengths, which I later converted back into centimetres. Needless to say, we were given a lot of weird looks by shoppers.
3. Watching somebody try to fix a Cello part with a hammer. This, perhaps predictably, did not end well.
4. The saga of the hole in the floor. The hole appeared one day near the end of the summer term. Nobody knows what happened, but presumably somebody just put their foot through it. I think I might of heard if a small child had ended up in the cellar. This was immediately addressed by a sign:
A week or so later the RDA sent round some structural engineers who concluded, after one of them pushed his pocket knife into some wood, that the floorboards and supporting joust was damp and likely to collapse. However, half of the room was still usable since there was a wall underneath and all the wood to one side of that was not damp (or something). The temporary solution has been to move everything to one side of the room, creating a “wall” in front of the hole using a piano, piece of board and some chairs. The creation of this wall sparked a well-liked facebook status: “Kate struggled to keep a straight face while being asked about Health & Safety in her workplace by the Gecko Programmes representative, when she was watching her boss pushing a piano around in an attempt to hide a hole in the floor.”
5. The door bell thieves. We have a battery-powered doorbell because the speaker needs to be in the office which is a long way from the door. A battery-powered doorbell is very easily removable from the wall so that you can change the batteries. This makes it very easy to steal. Fair enough, some bored teenagers hanging around in the alleyway decide to remove the doorbell and chuck it somewhere. I suppose that could have been predicted. Except, a good few weeks later the removed doorbell is posted back through the door. What is this, a crisis of conscience? A sudden attack of guilt? Why would you have kept hold of the bell? Is it all an elaborate game? Apparently this has now happened a number of times. Maybe it’s a (really tame, Gloucester based) gang initiation ritual.
*This might be sarcasm
** Obvious really, this being a music school.