Saturday, 7 September 2013

Of Dragon Boats and Victory

I am waiting for a Schnitzel to cook in the oven. It should be ready soon, but due to the temperamental nature of our oven it may not be ready for another twenty minutes. Time enough to write a blog post. Much and more has happened this week. As previously mentioned, I successfully gave my presentation, thus fulfilling the requirements for continued employment here. Every CV I sent to my senior consultant actually got passed on to the client, which hasn't happened before. I had a couple of those moments where something suddenly makes sense, or a sudden realisation happens enabling me to be a more effective and productive employee. I need more of those. Work wise, while the week started off pretty badly, I managed to mostly turn it around and rewarded myself with a nice relaxing Saturday.

Part of my relaxation was the wonderful feeling of being able to convert my Ukulele from decorative item, to useful instrument. 

Learning Ukulele chords and attempting to make headway with my Czech was how I have ended up whiling away my day. I am not sure how I feel about the results. While I am still struggling to count to ten, and introduce myself, I can now play the F.U.N. song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and am making headway on House of the Rising Sun. I suspect this will come in handy should the cashier at Tesco allow me to serenade her instead of paying for my tomatoes.

...But what does this have to do with Dragon Boats or victory I hear you asking! I don't actually hear you asking that, as you aren't here with me and are likely reading this blog on the other side of the channel. But the point still stands...

We had an advert writing competition on Friday afternoon. It was a clever way to get some adverts out for a job that I think we have had trouble recruiting for, and also for our team leaders to see how our advert writing is coming along. The prize for the top three adverts was the chance to take something from the English box. Somehow I came second. In fact, the three winners were all surprising. Myself and Sam (who is in my group of trainees) who both work in a different industry than the job in the advert, and another more experienced trainee, Josh, who also works in a different industry. It was the last thing that I was expecting, but pushed that out of my mind as I reached into the repurposed  Wotsits box, saw a brown cylinder and immediately made a grab for it. Victorious indeed. You are all cordially invited to the roast dinner we will be making tomorrow by way of celebration that we have Bisto gravy.

I haven't finished though. There were more victories to be had. Because the company had a very good month in July we decided to knock off of work two hours early and celebrate with a Dragon Boat race. For some context here is a video of people doing it in Pardubice. We were on a different stretch of the river though.

We split into four teams. There were only two boats, and in the end they seemed to judge us mainly on times rather than who won the races. But it didn't actually end up mattering because my boat won all three races and won overall anyway. It was a good afternoon. Special mention goes to Captain Pete Byrne for memorising King Leonidas' speech from The 300, Mahdi for falling out of the boat while on drumming duty, Kate for somehow managing to not fall out of the boat, and my entire team for being winners. There is something special about the feeling one gets rowing down a river singing Flight of the Valkyries while stretching ones' lead. Mention also needs to be made of the losers' race where a few people just jumped out of the boat. This made the drummer, who wasn't one of us, fall out, and also made the boat crash into the jetty, damaging the dragon's head. I would say that our managers weren't pleased about this, but one of the culprits was, in fact, our managing director and founder of the business. It is all fun and games here.

We then retired to a boat house for a bbq, which was better than I expected. For some reason the Czechs haven't discovered that burgers are a staple bbq food. Hopefully one day they will.

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