How can one start off about 30 plus at Evode? Well I supposed it started 5th November 1962, when after my Saturday morning interview with Ken Shardlow I got the job and commenced a week later to work with a family. I suppose now this is a strange thing to say about work colleagues but then that is how it was.
Switching on my PC at home, I remember the first time I met a computer, when progress hit the transport Dept, and after years of writing labels by hand and issuing delivery tickets to drivers all hand written, we then went computerised. Unfortunately there was only one, and off we went everyday to the Computer Room to use the one and only. When we came back with the run off we used to check manually to see if the computer was right. Oh happy days!
Working with drivers and men in the warehouse brought some trials and tribulations but some really good laughs. I suppose the hugs and kisses you got then were part and parcel of life but not offensive, just a family. I suppose now it would be seen as sexual harassment but one soon learned how to dodge some kisses, especially at Christmas. How Mr. Barrie Liss came around to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and remember everyone’s name just amazed me.
I remember Ken Shardlow being a Triumph TR Sports car fanatic, if you played your cards right you could go round the factory on your errands in the car, WOW!!
There were always lots of volunteers on wet days to get a drive!
We were (ladies included) even let loose on the lorries then, when you cracked how to use the gears you were allowed to go to Goods Inwards. I bet Health & Safety would a heart attack now.
The Chemical Factory, I never did crack the Polish language, except how to spell Wojtulewicz, nor did I ever get invited for tea in the canteen.
I suppose everyone remembers the day we had a Visitor, Mr. Tarling (Hong Kong springs to mind) arriving by helicopter, on the football pitch on the white cross laid out with such precision by Jack Butler. Unfortunately, the pilot missed, everyone laughed but Jack.
The football teams, John Ferneyhough in a pair of shorts and black and white striped shirt. Ken Shardlow being stuck in goal, the pageant carts, all the rosette done in tea breaks and lunch hours and stuck on of course with Glue.
As in all families there were tragedies. Ken’s death and what followed was a period of total disbelief, then came along another Manager with a lilting accent, which turned out to be not one of the better ideas.
I could go on and on, about the people along the way, Mrs. Irene Hill in the Morris traveller car. The reasons why the drivers bought back the goods - “I was not passing the door” - with the onset of the motorway “Sorry turned right at the junction headed North instead of South” or vice versa - “Sorry but I was arrested and frog marched at gunpoint and made to go on the ferry to the Isle of Wight” - and of course one couldn’t argue with that.
Being in the Portakabin and a lorry backing out of the decks opposite hitting us and shunted us a few inches - then a railing being put round us to protect us from further mishaps. Everyone just carried on working wondering what the noise was not realising that we had actually moved till we opened the door and the steps were no longer aligned to the door anymore.
It sounds as though we went to work to play, but we worked hard and long hours even volunteering to stay late and work Saturday mornings when there were important orders to be delivered and not being paid because we did it for EVODE.
Suddenly it was 20 years, a bottle champagne and two glasses presented.
A blink of the eye then I had completed 25 years and joined the ‘club’ and so on, and so on.
The firm grew and the onset of Unions came, some memorable shop stewards, the threats of strikes and work to rule, the friendly discussions between Workers and Management. John Brown was not one to mess with at pay negotiations time; I think one or two of the Management heaved a sigh of relief when sadly the decision was made to disband our own fleet.
Laporte PLC came, the working climate changed, the structure of the company altered and then it was our turn to go, February 1992.
Looking back I think the people made it a good that it is still in reasonable shape. I can truthfully say I used to love going to work.
7 May 2000