Written by Inchcock
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Monday, 5 March 2012

image for A True Diary of Woe - Part Fifty - The Team Building Weekend! The equipment used in some events had to be replaced exactly as it was found - Guess who got that job?

A diary of one man's (Using the term lossely) utter failure, depression, frustration, cock-ups, and impecuniousness, starting in August 1947

Chapter 93 - Off on the Company Team Building Weekend

I was working at a factory in Kegworth, in the engineering stores at the time.

We were getting ready to set off in the mini-buses for a relaxing ride out into the Derbyshire hills for a week-end of Team-Building exercises - the first sign that all was not going to go well for me arrived - the mini-buses had been left in the company car-park overnight, and the drivers had ensconced themselves in a local hostelry, being as one of them found himself a guest of the local constabulary - guess who had to drive the other mini-bus?

I had to follow the other one, which was rather fraught on occasions up in the hills and narrow winding lanes.

While listening to the rest of the gang laughing, bottles opening... Still we got there.

We were greeted by a blonde female copy of Arnold Schwarzenegger bouncing out into the car park, saying something like: "Velkum, velkum, vile de drifers are taking the autos to be parked in Chesterfield, ve vill take a tour of the facilities to vamiliarise urselves for de course, ja?"

So, being one of the 'drifers', I missed the induction, while parking the bus in Chesterfield. (That's another embarrassing story in itself)

When I got back, I found I was billeted in a three bunk room, with Pete, the maintenance supervisor, the snorer, and the factory manager!

No one seemed keen on telling me about the induction that I had missed.

That was to be a sleepless night for all 3 of us - between Pete's snoring, me thumping the bunk above where he was performing his melodies, nodding off for a while, only to be thumped back by Pete, it appears I was suffering from rather noisy and loud escaping wind.

This went on all night, and in the morning the manager informed us both of his sleepless night, and that he would be moving rooms.

So after all that driving, no sleep, and a rollicking, I was not really up to the first test.

A Cliff Richard look-a-like feller took us out into a field, where there was five telegraph poles, and a mass of rope piled up.

Cliff spoke: "OK gang.. you have to use only what's here, and build a support so that all of you are on it off the floor at the same time, for 30 seconds." Adding: "And hey guys, you only have 15 minutes to do it, and the equipment must be left just as you found it. Scooby-doo guys - Let's go boys!"

The engineering lads made easy meat of it, the poles were put in a tepee position, and ropes tied around near the bottom, that we all should have balances on - no one seemed to notice that I didn't actually get on the erection with the others at all.

Then they all shot off with 'Cliff' to the next challenge, leaving me to put all the stuff in the same position as it was found in.

It must have took me 10-12 minutes, then I chased after the lads around the corner up to the next test, which was just being completed, and they were rushing off to the next test apparently at the top of the canoe shoot, and I was to put the equipment back where it was found, and they all ran up the hill to the canoe shoot.

I had no idea where the medicine balls, traffic cones, strips of painted wood, and the school bell were in the first place, but my shouted plea to inform them of this was ignored as they sped off into the distance. (Never did find out what that challenge was!)

While heaping the tackle used in the mystery to me event into a corner near a barn door, it dawned on me what they had said - Canoe Shoot!

Now me being somewhat... no very scared of going into water, just might account for the why it took me 30 minutes to stow the equipment!

I saw them belting past me in a giant canoe down the stream tunnel as I was doing this, so I joined them at the bottom of the hill - guess what, someone had to heave the canoe along a specially designed trough back up to the top!

Guess who!

By now, I had missed the next test involving tree stumps, then one involving massive wooden building blocks - but they did not need replacing in their original positions, so no one seemed to miss me... again!

I caught up with them as they were going into lunch!

As they all chatted about the challenges they'd undertaken, no one seemed to be aware that I had not taken part in any of the events.

So I consumed the vegetarian slosh they were serving, and then followed the others into a large room with chairs and Nobo boards, and we sat waiting.

Shortly we were joined by 'Cliff', 'Arnold' and another trainer, who spoke like John Inman in 'Are you being served'.

No one else seemed to notice this.

I sat silently as they discussed the mornings activities.

Then we were given some puzzles to solve, and I was suddenly popular.

We all made a mess of them. No more tests today, 'John' said: "You can all do your own thing until 1800hrs dears."

I made a bee line for my bunk - to get some much needed sleep - No one woke me for the evening training session, so I missed that one as well.

Pete got in about 2350hrs well and truly pissed, and muttered something about 'argument dissection' in the morning in the hall at 0600hrs, belched, farted, and fell on his bunk kicking me in the left eye as he climbed over me.

I woke him up at 0500hrs, and by 0540hrs I'd got him out of his bunk, and on his way to the ablutions.

We all managed to get to the hall on time - and I was in my element with 'argument dissection'.

The trainers were very impressed even if they didn't know who I was, when I answered the question asked by Mr Humphrey's: "What two words would you use to describe what you have learnt so far?", with "Functioning futility!" adding, "All I've learnt is how to avoid people... team building hah!"

After the session, the factory manager collared me, and said I had to take the bus back to Kegworth, and he'd try and get me on another course later.

He didn't.

More Episodes of Woe to follow

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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