…Or International Man of Mystery Part II

If you’re still here, it’s not all gloom
As you’ll find out very soon…

Soon, I started my working life. First on a youth training scheme which brought all of the school days straight back to me, so I left after a few weeks, I was able to make my own choices and I wasn’t going to have that. The scheme was meant to be art, design and printing – the reality? Cleaning toilets. Not what I signed up for.

After a few months of not working, and claiming £25.00 a fortnight, I started my first proper job. I have mentioned all of this briefly in earlier posts, but I’ll quickly go through the details again. I worked on Directory Enquiries, sitting there hour after hour, day after day, reading telephone numbers out. Dull as it sounds, it did have its fun days.

There was a slight down side to sitting there and eating the rather large portioned meals they provided in the canteen – my weight ballooned. Up until this point, I’d always been stick thin and gangly. Now, I had trouble squeezing into the chairs – and they were rather large chairs.

One of my colleagues suggested I go on a sponsored diet, and rather than being taken aback and affronted by the suggestion, I readily accepted. Ten weeks followed of rigorous exercise, healthy eating and weekly weigh ins. The colleague who suggested the diet was there for most weeks to weigh me and encourage me. One week she was on holiday, so another colleague stepped in, and rather than taking the reading from the scales as the first colleague had, she said the scales were always slightly out, so corrected the weight reading by adding on the pounds they were ‘out’ by, meaning that week I hadn’t lost any weight. I chose to ignore this week, and carried on regardless. The last two weeks of the ten I took as a holiday, and used the time to buy new clothes in bold colours which really made me stand out. It was the Eighties at this point, so bold colours were all the rage.

I returned to work in my new garb to gasps of amazement from all of the other ‘call girls’ as we were called… some thinking I was a new employee. I liked that reaction… up until my two weeks off, I’d been wearing my normal ‘fat’ clothes, so my weight loss was disguised.

Even through all this, I was still shy – that has followed me throughout my life and I can’t see it changing now.

One job led to another, and it was during this third job I began to experience the magic of the world. Or was reintroduced to it.

For part one, please click here.


  1. There’s that one eye belonging to the Man of Mystery peering at me from the corner of the page 🙂 Your colourful garb sounds delightful. I used to wear a long flowery frilly caftan in the days of flower power – a decade before you !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Phew … it’s a long ride over from my blog, and that bus didn’t have any opening windows!
    I’m glad I had my raspberry Tip Top to cool me down, but I’d have preferred a Jubbly (Do you know what those are? Orange frozen, tetrahedron shaped, ‘drinks’ which you put in the freezer for hot days … mainly for little ones, but I would still love one now!).
    Link to see an original Jubbly: https://www.doyouremember.co.uk/memory/jubbly-frozen-drinks

    Hmm… gone a little off topic there. Focus Cobs, focus! ….

    I read this post … and clicked through to your ‘original post’ about Directory Enquiries … and read that post … and laughed like a drain. Ohhh Tom, we have even more in common than you would ever guess. LOL

    I am SO enjoying these posts.
    I’m loving getting to know you in a different way. It’s kind of giving me an insight to that thing which makes you, YOU.

    I see your humour shining through. I see glimpses into the beautiful soul that you are. And I’m beginning to feel a kind of warm “here is my friend Tom. Have you met him yet?” feeling.
    You aren’t just a name on a blog page. You’re a fabulous chap who’s charmingly funny and I want to introduce you to everyone so that they get to know you too.

    I can’t wait for the next instalment.

    Right … unless you’re willing to get your tandem out and bike ride me home, I’m off to catch that hot bus again for the return journey home.
    Got any Tip Tops in the freezer? 😀
    Squidges ~ Cobs. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry I couldn’t help with the lift back, Cobs… the tandem (well, it’s more of a trike really) has a flat front tyre and I think the inner tube may have perished as well.
      But, that aside, thank you for a really nice comment. I’m pleased that you are along for this ride! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aaah! The battle with the weight!!! 🙂

    You did better than me Tom – I’ve reached 15 and a half stone and seem to have ‘Stuck’! 🙂

    My original weight before the diet was 20 stone, but I’ve decided my weight limit will be 13 stone. 🙂

    Hope you kept the weight down!!! 🙂

    God Bless!


    Liked by 1 person

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