Tuesday 6 March 2012

A Tuesday Tale - remembering Maurice

Mulling over what to write today, I recalled one of the most terrific men I ever had the privilege to work for - his name was Maurice. This is string below - you'll understand why later :)
Years ago I had the very dubious honour of working on a huge Government IT programme. They were among the most miserable working years of my life - except for Maurice and his successor, the mad and zany Sylvia. I might write about Sylvia someday - your hair might just stand on end though:)

What to say about Maurice then, he was bright, funny but also a worrier deep down. Trying to control a team of us four female IT systems analysts can't have been fun - but he managed it it with aplomb and we loved him so dearly. His wry smiles in meetings helped us to know that he was on our side, whatever!

Let's get the negatives over first, one day whilst I was out of the office for the day, Maurice complained of a headache at work and then collapsed. I'll never forget the following morning, being met by our quite stern security guard at the office and being wrapped in his arms, whilst my colleagues ran across the grass (forbidden!!) to break the news that Maurice had died from a cerebral haemorrhage, aged just 46 if that, during the night. We were all heartbroken and his passing left a huge void. His funeral was amazing - we spilled out of the chapel onto the lawns - he was truly loved and left a huge void.

Not long after - by then we'd had two suicides as well - so it wasn't a good project to be on - I got the job of 'librarian' to pull together all the documentation and 'put it on ice' - for that read 'close the project down' as it wasn't considered viable after over 200 man years of both our and tax payers work and money! What a waste - and how I wept whenever I filed away documentation with Maurice's signature on.

But, remembering this today did bring back some sweet memories:

1. Maurice did like a pint at the pub after work (not surprising given the pressures) and he also had to walk the family dog each evening - a 'poncy', in his words poodle, no less. He professed to hate that poodle with a vengeance (he secretly loved it to bits!) but did his duty and one morning he came into the office with very muddy trousers. Not at all like Maurice. Apparently he'd (Maurice not the poodle!) had a pint too many and whilst walking said pooch it had trotted along the upward sloping path above him along the road as he tottered deeper into the village stream :)

2. His next adventure was when he came into the office with strange muddy sort of ripple marks over his waterproof jacket and a lot of bruising - claiming that he was sure he'd been run over on the way home from the pub, unsure really - but the poodle was fine:)

3. On a previous project a really oily manager had flounced into Maurice's office and screamed about the lack of organisation - err, Maurice didn't really DO organised I must admit!. This horrid man was called Roy and I'll never forget his very unpleasant, slimy face. He screamed that he wanted a full alphabetic filing system 'Immediately!!' and in true Civil Service fashion he wanted something filed under each letter of the alphabet. Maurice quietly got his staff to sort out the system and then he set to and then did the sorting and filing himself, sleeves rolled up in true Maurice fashion. A week later, 'Slimy Roy' flounced back in for an inspection. 'Brilliant' he muttered as he flicked through the cabinet and pristine folders.....until he came to the letter 'S' and pulled out a piece of string. 'What's THIS' he roared - to which, that dear man, Maurice calmly replied 'There were no documents to file under S but you said you wanted something filed under each letter of the alphabet' :))

So, he was a man you could never forget - and I hope you don't mind me sharing a bitter sweet memory or two with you today. RIP Maurice, I bet you're creating havoc up there! I hope there are no pogo sticks or duck ponds :)



  1. I just knew it was coming but I still laughed out loud! Maurice sounds absolutely lovely. So sad he passed on so young. So look forward to your tales.

  2. Love your tales Di. They really come to life as your write. Such a sad early departure.
    A x

  3. Still such brilliant writing, and STILL no book?? tut tut, poor Maurice, going so young, puts all our own worries into perspective don't ya think?? Hugs Shazza.xxx

  4. A sad but funny tale. It's folk like that who made our working life bearable.
    Well done on the St Luke's win. It's always nice to get some recognition, and it was a beautiful card.
    I don't seem to be in the mood for much creating right now. Every time I come down here to do something I get distracted by cutting files and photos, but I am trying to get back on track. I never realised retired life would be so busy!
    Kate x

  5. Lovely but very poignant, Di, like a lot of life really. Shaz in oz.x

  6. What a lovely and sad story at the same time. He sounds like a real character! Love your stories Di. x

  7. Well . . . it sounds like he'll be IN the duck pond having bounced erratically around on the pogo stick if they ARE up there! xxx

  8. Oh what a lovely chap Maurice sounded never a dull moment .....lol:)

  9. What a great story, Di. Maurice sounds lovely and how sad that he passed so young. You should write a book with all your adventures and the characters you've met along the way. I love the "something" being filed, priceless!!
    Hugs Lisax

  10. Hi Di,
    Maurice sounds like he was a very interesting man! The job sounds like it was very stressful!


  11. Maurice sounds like a really nice man and Roy sounds like an awful lot of people I've worked with/for. I should be shocked by the waste of time and money (taxpayer's money of course)wasted but I'm not ... it's an all too common tale in the public/civil services. Anyhoo, when's the book being launched! :)) Elizabeth x

  12. Great tale, only the good die young, bet Roy is still around annoying people.

    Kath x

  13. Aw what a sad but sweet tale, characters like Maurice make going to work a pleasure, glad he got one up on the villan of the piece. Take care, Lyn x

  14. Hi Di

    You have certainly met some characters in your life .. .. and of course we are all now waiting to hear more about the "Zany Sylvia"!!

    Love the sound of Maurice and his sense of humour. He sounds like he was a wonderful boss to have.

    Love Jules xx


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