I know that my output has fallen off lately but it’s NOT down to “Writers Block”, you’ll be pleased to know!
Actually it’s more a kind of self-inflicted “Writers hosepipe ban” which is my way of saying I’ve temporarily dried up.
It definitely isn’t a lack of ideas – I’m halfway through two more holiday related tales as well as another of the “Treasure” series and I’m still regularly writing down ideas for more.
It’s more that I don’t (with the exception of this which I’m writing late at night while trying to breathe through a thick summer cold) have the WILL to continue them at present.
This is NOT the end of Alfie.
I know exactly what the cause is and precisely when I’ll get over it.
If you look back in my archives to early June 2010 (just before the awful “Football Shorts” series) and the post entitled “Let’s get together” you will find a reference therein to a former friend and work colleague who was seriously ill.
His name was Roger and you will know from the tense I just used that he has now passed away (on 11th July to be precise)!
While he was actually in his mid 40s when he died he is recorded indelibly in my memory as “Young Roger” from the day in 1983 when he started in Barclays Bank Trust Company’s Chelmsford Taxation Office as an 18 year old School Leaver.
At that time he astounded the rest of us rough, tough-talking Tax Advisers with an incredible display of old-fashioned politeness!
He called everyone in that office “Mr”, “Mrs.” or “Miss” followed by our surname, even the Typists and I don’t think the rest of us knew they HAD surnames!
In fact, the first few times that Roger addressed ME in that formal fashion I looked around to see if my father (who worked in an old-style Solicitors’ office) had come in to the office!
Roger soon got over THAT degree of formality and soon joined in all the traditional office pranks such as hiding telephone directories in my “in basket” to scare the crap out of me when I returned from holidays! Even then though, he never EVER failed to be good-humoured, honest and, above all, POLITE to colleagues, clients and friends.
After the closure of the Chelmsford office in early 1988 I next saw Roger again when we all met up in the ghastly centralisation project here in Peterborough in 1993/94. Roger was put in the group run by one of the less technically gifted but more thuggish Managers of the type I classify as “Corporate blunt instruments” who mistook Roger’s shyness and politeness for weakness and attempted to bully him quite openly.
This stopped after an anonymous note was sent to the Manager in question suggesting that certain of Roger’s friends would be having a little “Face to Boot” meeting with him on the subject some dark night after work if it didn’t stop!
No! Of course I don’t know anything about WHO might have done such a thing! How COULD you think that of me?
(Mind you, as the person in question wound up as my Group Manager later on I can honestly say that I think it would have been a damned good idea and needed doing just on general principles!)
Weakness was NOT a word that should ever be applied to anything to do with Roger. About 5 years ago he suddenly developed various body-based cancers but with the aid of the latest therapies managed to fight them all off!
When the tumours returned in his brain, however, no amount of fighting was going to alter the inevitable outcome and when these were diagnosed as inoperable his days were numbered!
And unlike the situation with my former colleague Su who I wrote about in May 2009 I was, this time, able (via his Mother) to communicate by email with Roger to let him know I was thinking of him as he entered the final phase.
Then I got the email from his mother, announcing his passing and resolved that I would appoint myself a representative of all of Roger’s former Barclays colleagues and attend the funeral. And, by the time I post this and you get to read it I will have done exactly that.
R.I.P. – Roger John Peter Moore 16th March 1965 to 11th July 2010
I attended the memorial service in Chelmsford today along with about one hundred others, only five of whom were family. The rest were half a dozen or so from his Barclays days, past and present colleagues from Roger’s later similar career with NatWest Bank and many friends and acquaintances.
I passed on to the family, as requested, the good wishes of those of my own friends who knew him but were unable to attend and was very pleased to learn that when he joined Nat West he acquired a Manager who came to know, like and respect him and what he stood for in the same way that I and my friends did.
And now, I think, my “literary” output can get back to normal.