This morning Paul had his first appointment at Southwick Job Centre. He wasn’t relishing the thought of “signing on” for the first time in his life but it’s a necessity right now. He told me that the lady who helped him was great and had compassion for the situation he finds himself in. He then took himself off to Steel House again. He enjoys the drive down and actually feels a pang of sadness that he won’t be doing it on a regular basis anymore. We often drive through Teesside over the A19 flyover. Paul always (and I near always) proudly points out his place of work to the girls. I usually comment something along the lines of, “you should have mentioned it before”, in a sarcastic tone. For that, I feel bad, because he was a proud steelworker and so he should be. It’s only these last couple of weeks that have made me begin to realise why he is so proud. Next time we journey through Middlesbrough and look out to Redcar it’ll be with sadness and nostalgia when he points out to the girls, “I used to work there”.
Whilst at Steel House Paul completed his redundancy forms and also bumped in to a couple of pals. I wonder what it must be like there, with no workers, just official looking people carrying out paperwork tasks? The sounds and smells must have changed and I imagine it to be some sort of ghost town. I’ve only been on the site once to pick Paul up. It is vast – I couldn’t comprehend how big until I drove on to it. It’s another world, like driving through an industrial city. Paul tells me that there is no smoke emanating from the BOS Plant, in fact pigeons now inhabit the once bustling, noisy building. It shouldn’t be this way, the image is a sad reflection of all that has been lost. The jobs. The industry. The tradition.
This afternoon – some good news! Paul has passed the first stage of the Nissan application process. This is a real positive and at least proves that his CV and application have been good enough to get noticed. It’s a real confidence boost and if he does get a job at Nissan it would be a fabulous thing for him and our family. Paul is being proactive and putting everything in to his job search as well as all his house husband duties that I make sure keep him active! I think he definitely deserves a beer tonight.
So we have reached the end of another incredibly busy week for The Maven’s. It’s been emotional, educational and positive in many ways. I have learnt a bit more about steelmaking, politics and tweeting, though I’m still no expert. I’ve met and spoken to some really understanding, compassionate journalists (yes they do exist!) who are helping to get our story out there. I’ve had some lovely messages from other SSI wives and from people who have gone through similar situations offering their support. Life is as hectic as ever. The girls are sheltered from what’s happening and that’s the way it should be, so for them life goes on normally. Tonight I’m going to go to my friend Gemma’s house and drink wine, laugh and gossip. Tomorrow we’ve got a party and a meal out, that I won on Facebook, to look forward to. We might even fit in a trip to the Sunderland Illuminations and enjoy some quality family time. Maybe this time next week Paul will have had more good news from his applications. Here’s hoping.
(just as I was about to post this Paul shouted through for me to come and see the news. We’ll at least someone found work today. Welcome to Wearside Sam Allerdyce!).


2 thoughts on “Progress

  1. Thanks for tagging me on Twitter. I was so sorry to hear about the Steel Works closing, and so many hard working people losing their jobs. I have been made redundant twice in my life and still remember the worry and feelings of helplessness, but went on to do bigger and better things, so have my fingers and toes firmly crossed that Paul (and former colleagues) will find jobs very soon.

    It’s good that people like you feel able to share your personal stories, because it helps to show the impact of these types of business/commercial decisions. It was a well written piece – thank you. I will keep reading and am happy to share on Twitter etc.

    All the best, Nikki X


    1. Thanks Nikki, it is helping writing it down and I hope it’s reaching out to others going through the same. I’ve never written anythings any importance before and I’m overwhelmed by the response. It’s been a crazy, out of the ordinary sort of week! The support we are receiving will help us through this tough time x


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