55 songs in 55 days - one for every year of my life...so far.
In the 48 hours following Mum's passing in December 2010, I received a series of warmly appreciated condolence messages from virtually everyone I worked with, the notable exception being the Area Manager, my immediate boss. I heard nothing from him for 5 days. When he finally called, he offered no words of consolation and merely attempted to get me to commit there and then to a return to work date. He also informed me that I wouldn't be returning to my own store, but was required to take over a new unit that had opened during my sabbatical.
In spite of a general unease about life in the corporate sector after so long in small business, I worked hard and diligently for the company because a) I had debts to pay off and b) If I take something on, I don't believe in giving half measure. I worked very long hours, rarely got my allotted two days off per week and never once in ten years came close to using my full annual holiday entitlement - as a salaried employee, these were 'use it or lose it' elements of my contract, with no overtime payment option. I'm not complaining. For much of the time I enjoyed the challenges of the job - no two days were ever the same, that's for sure. But I was now at my lowest ebb and it was only by the grace of Mrs S's steadying presence that I was able to function at all. I had hoped for at least a little compassion. Business is business though.
A man on the move, 2011.
I took a good look at myself - the distance I'd travelled, the amount I'd stretched my own abilities and the success I'd achieved within the company, culminating in being named brand Manager of the year in 2010. I was nearly 51. Was I really in any state to dive back in and run myself ragged all over again? My sabbatical, Mum's passing and now the conversation with my boss had given me perspective. In January 2011, I handed in my notice.
Mrs S and I had been considering a move before Mum's health issues put all plans on hold. In the Spring of 2011, after we'd finished clearing Mum's house, we tentatively started looking for a new place to live.
Death Cab For Cutie are one of those bands that only turn up once in my collection. The album in question is 'Codes and Keys' from 2011. I like this record a lot, but for some reason I've not yet checked out very much more of their output. The brilliant 'You Are a Tourist' was a favourite in the house all year. This official video for the song is the first ever live, scripted, one-take music video shoot.