The fourth week into my new job at GMAC-RFC. Looking back, the week could best be described as Around the M25 in Five Days and the team started to refer to me as Jeremy Clarkson.
Monday finds me at our offices in Berkshire, welcoming a new recruit, George Gee. Despite his name, he does not turn out to be a rapper but impresses the team with his break dancing. Feeling generous, I offer to take the team out to lunch. As Bracknell is not known for its culinary delights, we pop over to the pub on the roundabout and eat like kings for a mere £2.85 per head.
Tuesday is “luvvie” day in London with Christine, my PR manager, and our PR agency, Lansons. How things have changed. There is no name-dropping, no how wonderful darling and no sign of any champagne. In fact, we work like Trojans on a PR plan that will take us through the rest of the year.
Bedfordshire is my next stop. On Wednesday, I pick up a loan vehicle while awaiting delivery of my new company car. All is fine with the car but I had not quite noticed that the wing mirrors are wider than I have been used to.
Later that day, I get my test results from an external consultant, who had been employed by GMAC-RFC to evaluate the strengths and development needs of senior managers. He takes me into his consulting room and tells me that the results are good and there is no need for further counselling. However, I am diagnosed as being “strategic” and promptly given a course of tablets.
I keep my diagnosis in mind for my Wednesday night football session, where myself and 11 other has-beens run around a very large five-a-side pitch in Hertfordshire. After two fine goals that are miskicks, I use some strategic thinking in pursuit of my hat-trick – in other words, I become a goal hanger. But as I ran on to a great through ball I am fouled and fall to the ground with a thump and several rolls. I will stick to the tactical stuff in future and avoid astro turf.
Thursday brings me back to another section of the M25 for a visit to an advertising agency in Surrey. As I reverse slowly out of the car park, Anna, my marketing executive, warns me that the car next to me belongs to the executive chairman. After careful manoeuvring, the passenger mirror is slowly removed from its fixed position. Damage to a company vehicle within 28 hours must be a record.
The agency is housed in a magnificent converted church. We discuss current and future campaigns and receive some insightful feedback on research recently carried out among IFAs. The meeting generates some creative thoughts, you could say there was divine intervention.
It was a productive day on Friday. I clear all my emails, well most of them, and have a good meeting with our events guru Helen. I also remind the team of my great exam results while talk of my wing mirror experience was not to be repeated.
Due to a call from my wife just before I left work, I had an M25-free journey home. By travelling the back roads, I manage to escape gridlock. As I drive through the countryside, reflecting on my travels through Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey and Bedford-shire to name but a few counties.
As my head hits the pillow, I began to plot the route to the Robbie Williams' concert the next day at Knebworth.
I manage to avoid all traffic queues, park nearby and get to the concert in good time. Things are great until Robbie sang “Angels”. It was then that I start thinking about wings and wing mirrors, and the drive home.