09 November 2008

A week ago

More than a week ago - how time flies! On 31 October I became "semi-retired" - no longer a salaried employee, I will be working freelance two days a week - inverting the work week, as it were, to get a very long "weekend".

As I wasn't actually leaving completely and forever just yet, my colleagues had a non-leaving event, to my surprise (and delight) presenting me with some very special items:

"this is not a leaving card" looks like an issue of BMJ but instead of dense, printed medical articles and advertisements it contains crowded pages of kind and thoughtful handwritten messages from the current cross-section of dedicated, bright, serious&fun people I've been working with for the past 21 years, 11 months, and 8 days.

The photo is a close-up (very close up!) of one of the pieces from the River exhibition, now owned by a perspicacious colleague who snapped it up at the show's preview.

The straplines on the "cover" say:
We say adieu to Margaret Cooter after 21 years
Wot wil we doo withouut her eagle eyes?
Good luck with all your creative projects
(to compare this to a real BMJ cover, click here)

The other very special item is a leather-bound copy of a little book called "Poems in the Loo". In her introduction, BMJ editor Fi Godlee explains how it came about:

"Like Poems on the Underground, this book is the result of a subversive and generous idea. Earlier this year, a piece of A4 [paper] appeared, sellotaped to the inside doors of the two cubicles in the ladies loos in the BMJ's editorial office. It urged us, in a bossy and inelegant two line doggerel, to check that the loo had flushed properly after we'd finished. Most of us probably raised an eyebrow, shrugged, and then thought nothing further of it. But for one person this was something that could not go unanswered.

"On subsequent visits to the loo, we began to see other pieces of A4 sellotaped over the original one, and rather than always choosing the loo next to the window, I began trying out the other cubicle in the hope that a new poem had been posted there. In the weeks that followed the poems became a subject of conversation and speculation within the BMJ editorial team. It didn't take too long to work out who we had to thank. It was clearly a woman - the men weren't getting the same service in their loo next door. It was someone with a sense of humour and community spirit. It was someone who preferred to make her point quietly, preferably anonymously."

And they decided to compile them into this beautifully laid out booklet, in a limited edition (so that everyone could have a copy and the men could read the poems too). Some of these poems are among my favourites; some are new to me but chosen because they fit on a piece of A4 [letter-sized] paper in a type size I could read at that distance.

Thus do small events have larger results....

And what a relief not to have to proofread the BMJ cover each week!

1 comment:

Julie said...

What a great "not leaving" present! Enjoy your semi-retirement. It sounds ideal.