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October 5th 2011 – Ship of fools

11 Oct

Today I really did not have any fun. Had the same officer as last week but as always was with a new gang of people to “work with”. We did three jobs in all today, two basic gardening jobs cutting hedges and the like and one litter picking. In the seven hour day we spent about three hours actually working and the rest of the time drinking tea or sat in the van. The problem today was being stuck with the most moronic, racist, sexist and unproductive humans i have ever encountered in my whole life. Screaming offensive things out of the window at lolly-pop ladies and OAPs that walked past while the probation officer just sat there in silenced and drove. By the end of the day I was so infuriated I wanted to strangle them to death! One interesting thing that did happen was the hours we spent driving around in circles trying to find where some of the jobs were. A satnav or at least a map would have added another hour or so of actual work time on the day and saved some petrol.

One other thing that has being playing on my mind over the past few weeks has been health and safety. The wire brushing of the metal railings we did on the second week was done without dust masks. It occurs to me that the railings were old and may very well have been painted in lead based paint. I wonder how much though into matters like this is done when the jobs are taken up.

Only a short one for this week guys but thanks for reading.

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September 28th 2011 – Hardest but most productive.

28 Sep

By now you get the idea of how the day starts. Interestingly as it was 26°C outside today not many people seemed to have bothered turning up so we were put into groups of four rather that eight. We set off in the van up to a community center in a pretty undesirable part of the city where once again we did the hanging around and drinking tea for an hour before getting stuck in.

The place we were working today was a short drive from the community center and was a small area of grass within a housing estate. Around the outside of this area were thickly overgrown brambles, trees and bushes and also rubbish ranging from bricks to pram wheels. We spent a good hour or so clipping bushes, weeding, fighting with the thickest and sharpest brambles I’ve ever had the misfortune of encountering and clearing up all the dumped waste before heading back to the center for lunch. Our probation officer for the day was a nice guy in his mid to late 50’s and like the fellow from last week got his hands dirty too. After lunch we went back to carry on with the job in hand. The sun was quite high in the sky now and it made for very hard work indeed (the first time I can say hard work since this whole community service thing started for me). Across the road from us some travelers had tied up a couple of horses who seemed most unsettled by our presence but did not interfere with what we were doing. At about 2.30pm we had cleaned up most of the area and left all the debris in a large pile that looked suspiciously like a bonfire. I asked our supervisor what would be done with the huge pile of clippings, branches and rubbish and he assured me that the council would be there to take it away the next day, I hope he’s right as a strong wind would certainly make the area worse than before we had started. For once I didn’t have a bitter feeling about only working a few actual hours on site. Even with half the number of us there we seemed to have gotten twice as much done.

This is the first week I can see exactly where we have been and why it is of benefit to the local community. On the way back we stopped to pick up some other community payback people from the probation trust allotments, which I look forward to working in at some point. I went home this afternoon feeling as if I had actually accomplished something if only from the thorny battle scars and the sweat soaked clothes.

Until next week guys stay out of trouble 🙂