On the 25th September Wrightbus finally went into administration. As usual the media were well in front any info coming from the company. I found out the night before from one of my contacts inside the factory, that the company would be going into administration in the morning. I was told to gather my staff and expect a call in the morning to receive the news officially. Sadly my staff came to Orpington and we all hung around waiting for the call, we watched a covert feed from the factory as production staff were all told it was over. We waited till 14:00 and still hadn’t heard anything official so I sent the lads home and told them to not drive their vans tomorrow until we had heard something. We received the official notice at 16:50 after a hastily organised conference call, it was as if they had forgotten they had staff on the mainland.
I was devastated by the news, I had worked for Wrights for nine and a half years and had built the team myself, it was like a bereavement. After 42 years of continuous employment I was now looking at the prospect of signing on, I was advised to do this straight away by the administrator. I wasn’t really up to doing this and quickly found myself a new job. I am still connected with the bus industry.
The plot is now more or less finished for the year and I am in the process of covering it up. I left it too late to cover last year and really regretted it. The plot really ran away from me, in part, due to not covering it up. So I am not going to make the same mistake again. I am going to leave a little part of the plot open so that I can plant my garlic and some winter onions. I haven’t produced as much as I like to this year, but everything grown got eaten.
I was having a rummage around through my old photographs and came across this one. It was from one of two holidays I had with my parents and was taken in the south of France. We went away in an old 1961 Vauxhall Victor Estate, my dads sister and her family came with us in a different car. We went as far as Lourdes, my fathers family were big Catholics. The little girl next to me is my cousin Margret, I am still in touch with her today. I was about five years old when this was taken.
We had a call on Friday updating us on the current situation, which hasn’t told us much more than we already know. We are expecting it to reach a conclusion in the next week or so. I’m not sure what Wrights will look like after this is over, I have my own views. I’ll share them when its all settled.
I have more or less got my plot cleared! It has been really hard work, a big lump of the plot has really gotten away from me this year. I think the effort needed to clear the plot has really taken my mind off of the shenanigans in Ballymena. I have some big plans next year and in the four years I have had the plot I don’t think I’ve ever got all of it back to dirt. Over the next few weeks I will be rotavating and covering most of the plot in order to get a good start next spring. Lesley has already started covering her plot as most of her veg is up and stored now. Lesley has had a good year, with a bumper crop of spuds, carrots and butternut squashes. I did really well with onions and shallots, and I have three strings of onions hanging in the shed, I reckon they will see us through to December/January. I had a ropey year for Apples, Tomatoes and Beetroots. I had plenty of gooseberries, redcurrants and plums. So I still have much to do but should be fully closed up by November, the only thing will grow over the winter will be garlic.
Although I haven’t done much radio lately and have no intentions of attending the club, I did find out that that one of the guys I liked up there has died. Steve M6SBQ was a fair bit older than me but came from the same part of London as me. We instantly had a connection that many of the other members of the club didn’t get. Even though Harlow is only about 20 miles from where I grew up, if you weren’t from there you couldn’t understand. I don’t know where you ended up Steve, but all the best mate until we talk further down the log.
Wrights is still rumbling on and is a very sad place to work in London. There are still a few interested parties but no one is coming to the front. I understand the need to keep this under wraps until it is all signed and sealed, but the buyer/investor will probably influence my decision to stay or go. So for me, there is quite a bit riding on this and the uncertainty is driving me potty.
Quite a few birthday’s this month the most important (for me) is my Daughter’s 30th. She and her boyfriend have taken themselves off to Florence for the weekend, a bit of a nostalgic trip for her as she used to work there. My dear Father in-law is 80 next week so my Son and wife are travelling up on Monday to be with him. They have quite a week planned, I am disappointed that I can’t be there, because despite the popular jokes, I actually love my in-laws. My goddaughter/niece also turns 41 this week, time really does fly.
I have been working really hard this week on the plot. I have made quite a bit of progress on the top half of my plot which has got ahead of my this year. It is clearing quite well and I will be covering it again with builders membrane to keep the weeds down next year. The plan for the bottom half next year is to put a nature pond in and some wild flowers around it. We have quite a bit of wildlife around the allotment and it will be nice to give it a hand. My wife has a small pond on her plot and every year it is filled with frogspawn. I would like to see hedgehogs on the site but the rescue people won’t allow us any (rightly so) because of the use of slug pellets. The good thing is that the use of metaldehydes in slug pellets will be banned in 2020, which will mean that once the old supplies of pellets dry up we should be ok. I don’t use pellets and don’t really have any problems, the guy with the plot next to me must go through five tubs per season, ridiculous!
I haven’t been feeling myself lately, I have been having some really dark moods. This is unusual for me because I normally shake these things off quite easily, but I think with all that’s going on in work, it is starting to effect me. I don’t believe in depression, I have seen a family member manipulate other members of the family to get an easy ride so don’t believe one bit of it in most cases. My mother carried a baby full term and due to medical negligence, lost the baby during birth, she suffered badly and did have a hard time getting over it. I fully get depression in cases like this, but I have nothing to be depressed over, unlike many of the people (self) diagnosed with depression today. Unless you have had some traumatic experience (war, child loss, abuse etc) I just don’t get it.
I have worked for Wrights for over nine years now and the company is now battling for survival. In a well documented “leak” to Sky News, the company have now appointed Deloitte to find them an investor who is willing to put 30 million pound into the business to allow it to continue trading. Things are going to get very interesting over the next month and certainly a local DUP politician claims that there are only two weeks left to save the company. I have read some of the stuff on social media, which from what I can see are unsubstantiated, and it all looks like it’s going to get very messy. So I sit here contemplating my next adventure, at almost 59 I am probably well past my sell by date. I am going to have to look at my options. I would love to share more about the situation at Wrights but they are currently my employer so I would be foolish to publish anything, but I think it may be cathartic once this chapter comes to a conclusion. Watch this space!
After an extended absence from Norfolk, this month I made my return. I was disappointed to see Martha in such bad shape but to be honest I had neglected her. So I have spent most of the month cleaning her up and bringing her back up to standard
I have now got her more or less ready for the boat safety certificate, which is like a MOT test, except that it lasts three years and is nowhere near as stringent. The BSC is to be carried out in a fortnights time and I apart for a little bit of fettling it should be about ready after one more visit next week. I am looking forward to spending more time on the broads again.
Our season tickets have arrived and our first game on the 3rd of August, roll on!
Here’s hoping that my next blog isn’t a view of the demise of Wrightbus from a London perspective