I worked in an Oxford University College for twenty years as an engineer, and until my last 6 months I really enjoyed the job,
I guess that after I had pnuemonia things changed, and we got a new boss
But I confess that I was not fully thinking clearly at times, and i should have retired a lot earlier than I did,
However I have just heard that my old Boss who did my original interview, has now got the mid to later stages of dementia
We called into her house and saw her two years ago when we were going to farnborough to see the family, and she seemed different then, and seemed to be talking about a different college to the one I knew.
I wondered if there was something wrong then, and it looks as if we were right, because that must have been the start of the dementia
She was a formidable lady, who never took prisoners, but would stand by you if you got into a sticky situation
When my wife had a serious road accident, she had a direct line to the hospital, so that she knew what was happening. This carried on for nearly three years until my wife's treatment finished
Through her the College also hired a solicitor, to look into the road accident, and then hired a barrister to look after us
She also put me on flexible hours so that I could look after the children, and also go into the hospital as and when needed.
No other boss would have done that for us, but I could be wrong
She also worked hard to hang onto staff she really wanted to keep on board
Being on call 24 hours a day, it was not unheard of to see her waiting to meet me in the College, in the middle of the night, when things went wrong
Once she was happy that you had everything in hand, she would disappear back to her flat and leave you to get on with the job
I guess she kept her finger on the pulse, and ran a tight ship.
If I was not satisfied with something I had done in the College, I was told off for having very high standards. But at the same time she admired those who were not always satisfied with what they had completed, because they were in her eyes perfectionists.
It was not unheard of, to be invited into her large office to discuss a project or a problem.
But I always felt out of my depth sitting there in her armchairs.
I was always sure that she could read people's minds, because she always seemed to know what was going on before I did, and that was weird.
Because I was on call 24 hours a day, and had young children, she gave me her pager, so that I could get on with life at weekends, and not get tied down to the telephone all of the time.
This was a few years before mobile phones really came out, so this meant that we could go down to our allotment garden etc, and relax while being on call.
While I know that she was a lot older than we were, we admired the way she ran things.
However it seems so sad that someone who was so formidable and knowledgable has been reduced to this.
She did so much for the family that she will always be remembered and respected