On 16th October 2000, thirty people of varying ages and
backgrounds were recruited into the newly formed TD Training Academy in
train as IT developers - application software programmers - for 6
months. 2/3 of these were completely raw recruits to the department
- the 'Externals'. The rest of us were 'Internals' - all experienced in
the ways of the dept for many years. We were the first. We were
the groundbreakers. We were the guinea pigs. Most have gone on to teams in search of success, fame and
fortune - some have not. Far too long and distressing to tell
in full, this is 'The Tale of the Internals' as we pose the question -
Where are they now?
And so it begins.....A photo call for
the official Academy intranet web page. Don't blame me for the
picture quality, it's not my fault. If I'd known about
this I would have worn a tie like I did the first day - honest. It's
only day 2 and Phil already looks bored out of his mind - a sure
sign of things to come....!
||It's nearly Christmas - parties,
meals, drinking - hurrah! Everyone else stayed in washing their hair but Eleanor, Karin, Richard &
I went out and had a jolly good laugh at the HQ Party. Don't know what perfume she had on
but Karin's neck tasted really nice & Richard just giggled
inanely the whole night! Karin & Richard now keep everyone
in their EDCS project team amused with their old married couple routine - or
is it Abbott & Costello.
Jim & Phil at the Academy Christmas meal
discuss weighty matters like how does a Visual Basic 'For Next' loop
work & what on Earth has Bola got on her head? At least it
seems to be keeping her warm, she's not shivering all over for
a change. Bola has since emigrated to RMIS in the warmer
climes of smog laden London and the last I heard Jim was
supplementing his meager civil service wage as a Robert Plant impersonator (non-singing
||Helen ducks to avoid a low flying mince pie
thrown by someone who either wanted her to stop discussing her
offspring's bowel movements in graphic detail or stop talking to
herself. Or it could all just have been in her imagination -
you never could tell with Helen. She is now impressing BATS
team members with her impressive solo conversation techniques.
Amita & Jo look suitably
impressed with Phil's 'Secret Santa' present. If he could just
master VB like he had mastered his drinking hat then he could give
Bill Gates a run for his money. Phil has now worked briefly in
just about every team not previously mentioned, plus some others
I've never heard of. One more move
and he'll qualify for his very own mobile desk with integral recycling
Richard did such a good impression
of a very likeable person with little or no brain that he managed to
keep the whole Academy fooled for the entire six months. In
actual fact he is a computer genius now working for Microsoft and is the mastermind behind their
revolutionary future operating system based on a pair of micro
semi-conducting unwashed thermal socks.
Lana, or Lola, or Barbie, or whatever name she is
going by now was the first to call it a day and bail out. It
was a gutsy move and we were all impressed as well as very sad to
see her go. Leaving do attendees had to comply with a strict
dress code and here Lana & Anna demonstrate 'Pretty in Pink' as
the order of the day. Lana is now in the LSDM team in charge
of yellow sticky labels and Anna is keeping Eleanor under control in
Yet another example of how alcohol can loosen your
tongue. I guess Karin must have lent Eleanor some of her
Christmas Party perfume which Phil found as irresistible as I
did. Richard is still keeping up his 'Tim Nice but Dim'
routine like the true professional he is. Luckily, Eleanor did finally
escape their clutches and made it safely to the CRTI team. In
her spare time she enjoys wing-walking and glider dog fighting.
A rare picture of Ang sees her on prefect duty with
Richard & Anna at the 'Externals' half term tea party. A
rowdy lot, they couldn't be trusted in public without proper
supervision. Being a responsible adult, Ang usually had much
more important matters to attend to than hanging around with us but
she was drafted in especially to take charge of this high profile
event. With her background in security Ang is now in BATS as
Helen's personal bodyguard.
Ever camera shy, Karin tries to avoid being in the
picture but with me behind the camera she's got no chance. A
rare view of the Training Academy office shows it's most popular
feature - large windows. Despite a poor view, gazing out
of them for hours was a regular pastime for those of us who would
much rather have been elsewhere. It's a good job they didn't open
very wide as I'm sure I wasn't alone in entertaining thoughts of
diving out and letting the concrete below put us out of our misery!
Would you look at the state of this. Being the
obvious centre of the universe, Southend HQ staff naturally tend to
view the 'Outfield' as the back of beyond and those that work in it
to be country bumpkins. At my leaving do I ably demonstrate
that it's all completely true and that us yokels are much happier
digging up turnips in a ploughed field than sitting behind a desk in
a smart office. I have now been issued with my very own
tractor & wellies at FASD. "This week I 'ave been
mostly searching lorries."
As far as I am concerned, Blondeness is next to
Goddessliness and what better way to experience it than with 3 of
my favourite Blonde Essex Babes - Eleanor, Anna & Lana.
I'd like to think they got this close to me because they actually
liked me but more likely they were bribed by Phil to make me feel
better about having to go home to Dover and leave them all behind.
My last night in Southend was a depraved, drunken, lawless
affair culminating in us all getting thrown out of the
local Help the Aged Whist drive for inciting a riot. Before
that however we enjoyed a meal out and I was awarded with a
complimentary Training Academy survivors medal and a 'Goodbye
& good riddance' plaque. Everyone looked
very happy, probably because they were relieved to finally see the
back of me! Honorary extra attendees were Naughty Nick Vic &
Arsenal Alex - Go on The Gunners.