Thursday, September 01, 2005


In order to establish the length of any DIY task one should think of a reasonable time, double it and inflate it to the next unit of measurement. So a job that looks as if it will take five minutes will take 10 hours, a half day job will take one week and a two week job shouldn't be attempted as you don't get enough annual leave.

So to the electricians at Cargo Didcot. This has become my favourite soap of the moment. Liz returned to tell me about it over supper, resplendent in her black Cargo polo shirt (small although they build small people big in wherever it was made) and wondering what to do with all her business suits now this is the company uniform.

They (the electricians, do keep up) said on Monday night that they needed 45 minutes the next day. They took all day and said they needed a couple of hours the next day (Wednesday). Yesterday I told you they were still on site at 7pm. They left at 11pm promising to return at 8.30am today (opening day) in case of emergencies (which they guaranteed there wouldn't be). They showed up at 11am, the shop having opened with only half the lights working.

Later in the day the goods lift failed. Liz: 'It seemed fair as it was the only thing that hadn't broken down yet.' No news as to whether this was an electrical fault or not. 'There are only two of us in this whole project who have done our jobs properly.' In order to do her job properly Liz has done 66 hours so far this week with a seven hour day (a half-day) to go.

Now to our Holiday Club. It is being run by John, a semi-retired project manager in the construction business. It is the only Holiday Club I have ever been to where we are required to synchonise our watches at the start of the day. John had a £140 million business target per year and did a lot of work for the Millennium Dome. You will recall that the Dome came in on time even though there were budget problems and was a fantastic feat of architecture and construction. Hail John. A Holiday Club run to the same precision (but £2.50 a head) is a joy to be part of. An absolute joy. It doesn't matter what sort of a project it is, people love being well led by a hard-working leader. We work hard in response. I'll even forgive him for the theme song Amarillo thing. With five minutes to go before the children were due to go home John walked across the back of the church holding a cardboard sign saying '5 minutes'. He did the same with a 1 minute sign precisely 4 minutes later.

In Kenya, Bob arrived two hours late to preach at a wedding but still arrived two hours before the bride and groom. Our church is expecting a Kenyan Careforce volunteer this month. Maybe he'll be here in two years.

Time is not a thing I care for very much. I intend to try and ignore it more and more without becoming rude.


Chris said...

My youth group make me feel old and I'm only 27! I'm trying not to worry about the fact there is a lot of time that goes by. Emma and I took a group of 8 teenagers to Uganda in August and experienced "Ugandan Time" which sounds not too dissimilar to Kenyan time!

We were teaching in a primary school for a couple of days - turned up late on the first day (15/20 minutes or so late), but it was far more important to them that we were there at all than the fact we were late. If only my boss felt the same way when I turn up to work a little late! Had a similar experience later in the week we were there when we were visiting the Bishop. He phoned to find out where we were, but wasn't bothered about us being late, just that we were safe and still coming!

Find out more about our exploits on our blog:

Thanks Steve for a blog that makes me smile! Oh I should mention the blatant plagiarism of the idea of Big Blogger that we used on our blog when in Uganda... Thanks, the kids loved it.

Chris Pettifer

St said...

Chris, can't access your blog. Did you get the URL right?


Chris said...

Doh! Missing an e. Try