Photo: © Al Forbes 2015
This’ll be my last year sweeping the Coningshall streets. I’m not really ready to retire but my body is telling me to slow down. I’m working ’til Christmas to say my goodbyes.
I’ve made some good friends, both on the job and on the streets. Everybody knows me in this town, and I think I’m part of the furniture. I’ve been working here since I left school at fifteen.
I’m not going to change now, just because I won’t be “on the brushes” any more. I’ll still have a pint or three on a Friday night down at the ‘Lucky Horseshoe’. And I will always have a flutter on the Football Pools.
I’ll miss being the Union shop steward. I’ve fought to keep our jobs through all the Council cutbacks and ‘savings efficiencies’ of the last few decades. But the final blow was privatisation. Our service was put out to tender, to be sold to the highest bidder. I couldn’t stop that one, and later resigned my office.
Then I had an idea. I knew what I had to do. Some of the lads wondered why I changed my tune and started supporting the privatisation. A few harsh words were said to me, and I understand why.
There wasn’t a huge demand for the contract to clean the streets of our town. And somebody with inside knowledge of the job could get a good deal. I’m pretty proud of what I achieved there. I quickly got all the lads on board.
We’ve unlocked our Pension contributions and created a new company, where we all have equal shares. I don’t understand the business side of things, but my son is a bit of a hotshot in that area. He knows what he’s doing. Of course there’s a risk, but we’re all in it together. It’s not for the money or the thrill of being in business. There’s just the sense of a job well done.
So, even though I’ll be hanging up my brush, I won’t have to leave it all behind.
This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, October 4th 2015. For more details click the logo.
To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.