I know I moan a lot about our motorways, but I do like the fact that I can just hop in a car and get anywhere in GB reasonably quickly. It never fails to strike me how much smaller our island feels than when I was a kid. So it is that today I made a quick 450-mile round trip to Portsmouth for the purposes of a 45-minute interview, which was undoubtedly a very poor indicator of my ability to do a job. Curiously, I still don't know exactly what that job would entail, which made it all the more bizarre an experience.
Only the civil service would require that I took along my academic certificates and passport! The degree certificate had to be removed from its £4.99 Supasnaps frame, the GCSE ones located from deep within the bowels of my mother's house. Oh, and of course I had to sign a form stating that I had never been involved in terrorism, espionage, or tried to overthrow parliament. Apparently voting Labour at the last election doesn't fall under that latter category, so I scrawled my name accordingly.
It was the sort of interview I would have relished a couple of years ago, as it concentrated heavily on my degree and current affairs, both of which I seem to have become quite rusty on since leaving uni. My answers to techy questions were less than ideal, I had to turn them on their head to enable me to sound vaguely intelligent. Oh, and Game Theory came up, of course, as did that bloody undergraduate project I did on the National Lottery back in winter 96. To say that I was less than hot on the topics covered would be an understatement. By contrast, my last year's work was discussed in just a few brief minutes. But Nelson, isn't that how you wanted it to be?
Oh, and as expected, they warned me that the remuneration would not be at the levels I have become accustomed to.
I don't know what I'd do if I was offered a position (unlikely to happen, anyway). Stay doing a job I detest, or do something interesting which wouldn't pay my debts?
I stopped at Cherwell Valley services to get some food. No burger store, so I was forced to buying a pack of hideous sandwiches. I thought I'd be safe with 'Egg mayonnaise and Lincolnshire Sausage', but it turned out to contain tomato, so I had to throw them away. What a waste of £1.99. I wish manufacturers would accommodate those of us who detest vegetables by highlighting the contents more clearly - tomato was right down at the bottom of the small print, next to the Monosodium Glutamate. We need little symbols, akin to the ones to show that something is vegetarian. So I ate nothing all day but a Snickers, a Twirl, and a bowl of Alpen. Not good.