Back to School

As schools across the country return back after their impossibly-long break, I’ve been back to school today too on a work-related course.

The course title is the "Client-facing Workshop": basically education for how people like myself should be when talking to customers – what to say, what not to say etc. We’re at the rather swanky New Place education centre, which features such delights as edible food and free tea/coffee. That’s a significant change from the facilities at my usual haunt of Hursley. 

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Talking of tea, you would think that making a cup of tea would be a reasonably simple task for a person like myself who wrestles on a daily basis with some of the world’s most complex software and hardware systems, but on today’s showing apparently not. Basic setup: empty cardboard cup, one Twinings teabag, one electronic hot water dispenser, one milk urn. Sufficiently-well briefed monkeys could form a suitable workflow for the end result without too many problems. That it, unless you add me into the equation.

The first cup was going well: water had been dispensed, teabag had been successfully swilled around and disposed-of and I was adding milk. Unfortunately, someone tried to duck underneath me while pouring the milk and I instinctively lifted my arm out of the way. This meant that the milk was now flowing towards the top edge of the cup, rather than the bottom. Add to this weight of a metal spoon still in the cup and the whole (full) cup toppled over, with tea everywhere. Bugger.

After one of the very helpful and polite catering staff had helped me clean up the mess, I had a second go. Another teabag went in the cup and I put the cup under the water dispenser. Press once for hot water and wait for it to fill… just about done… and push to shut off.. push to shut off.. PUSH TO SHUT OFF!!… OFF!!! Nope: too late.

By now I had an overflowing cup of hot water that was impossible to pick up and the very nice lady (the one who didn’t mock me for creating a mess where dozens of others had succeeded just moments earlier) returned from wringing out her cloth to find me pitifully trying to spoon hot water from a cup into the overflow tray of the vending machine.