I’ve been too long out of touch to comment on working hours of most of the trades, in my day it was eight o’clock in the morning to six at night, for the trades, nine to five for civil servants, posh offices like solicitors, accountants, and the rest had their own rules. Shops varied considerably, from a corner shop that opened at seven to sell newspapers to the men going to the yards, to 11 o’clock at night to catch the men leaving the pubs and wanting to buy cigarette. I often used to have to work nine to five, only the other way around, nine o’clock at night to five in the morning, when the roads were empty, and we could open up manholes, repair pipelines, and other work when the traffic was virtually nonexistent.
I expect you wonder what started this latest tirade, I’ll tell you. I visit Sophie in the Care Home at the same time on all days but Thursdays and Sundays. On Thursdays she has music and dancing, which she finds tiring, and Sundays others like to visit her. So that she knows when to expect me, I arrive every day before two o’clock, and leave about three fifteen. The roads are empty and I have an easy run in both directions. Today however I didn’t leave until three thirty, and the roads of the dual carriageway, in both directions, were head to tail as far as I could see. When I worked as a civil servant, just before I took retirement, the government introduced flexible working, which was intended that within certain bounds a man or a woman could adjust their working hours so they fulfilled their statutory hours, but in a different pattern. The limit in the evening was that you could not leave before four o’clock. I just wonder where all these cars came from, none that I saw contained children, so it wasn’t the mummy-run. I find it fascinating. At a time when we are in such financial difficulties I would’ve expected people to have their noses to the grindstone well after five o’clock.