Tuesday 29 May 2012


(Nearly) every Thursday I have to go to site for meetings which take up the entire day. It's not a good site to get to being over in the City which is a long way from Mayfair; although travelling from one place to the other can be very scenic.

The shell of what used to be offices is now a great open space like a warehouse, freezing cold in winter (most people took to wearing thermals) but quite temperate now the weather has got warmer.

The amount of people required at the meetings (regularly over a dozen) and the size of the site outwith the small meeting room leads to interesting problems trying to assemble the various parties.

This is a timetable of how my last Thursday went down:

08:00I optimistically arrive at site hoping to catch people before the meeting. Meeting room empty. The site manager offers me coffee, which I happily accept. I am trying to work out columns of numbers with my very tiny pocket calculator.
08:30Chap wanders into the meeting room (empty apart from me) and asks "Is this where the meeting happens" to which I reply "Eventually, in about an hour and a half - yes".
08:45I give up sitting in the meeting room (and trying to make the numbers add up) in favour of a wander around the site. End up chatting with a couple of the M&E guys about nothing relevant to the job.
09:20M&E guys leave in search of colleagues they need to 'catch up with'. I go back to sit in the meeting room.
09:30Several people arrive, leave their jackets and bags and wander off. It is like herding cats.
09:50Even less people ready for the meeting start (in 10 minutes) than usual, just me.
10:15Meeting leader arrives, wishes me 'Good Morning' and wanders off again.
10:25New low. Meeting still not started. The one person who had been persuaded not to leave has now left to 'measure something'. Just me again.
10:35Meeting finally begins over half an hour late.
11:15Meeting descends in (relative) chaos as coffee, tea and biscuits arrive
11:40During a (fairly heated) discussion the observation "talk is cheap" is heard. There are less people than usual present which seems to be leading to more distraction.
12:40Have passed the two hour mark at which point the meeting usually loses its thread and breaks into smaller meetings. Still going.
13:25Meeting finally ends.
13:30Everyone who I was hoping to catch for five minutes has vanished, presumably because I need to speak to them.
13:502nd meeting due to start in 10 minutes. The room is empty apart from me (again).
14:051st new attendee arrives and apologises for late arrival. I point out (not for the last time) that the meeting will start late as its predecessor started late and everybody has wandered off.
14:152nd new attendee arrives and apologises for late arrival. I re-state opinion that meeting will be late starting (now evidenced by the fact it should have been in progress for 15 minutes).
14:203rd new attendee arrives and apologises for late arrival. This one I meet on my way to the Ladies as I have given up waiting.
14:40All parties (escaped from morning meeting around the site) are eventually rounded up and herded into meeting room for 2nd meeting.
16:452nd meeting finally finishes.  I've still a couple of people to catch up with before I can finally leave. It's been a long day.