of the reasons why I could not afford to stay
on Hants & Dorset had been that I wanted
to save the deposit for a home of my own.
For more than five years I had lived in a
bedsit in Shirley. House prices were rising
and I needed a guaranteed income and some
overtime in order to save and get a mortgage.
| Even on SCT
saving was not easy. Overtime
was patchy, as inflation and unemployment
began to rise staffing levels
remained high. Eventually I had
enough to buy a flat rather than
the house I had originally wanted.
I found a place near Portswood,
within easy walking distance of
the bus depot.
| With this
out of the way I was now able
to start taking long weekends
off. I had travelled on the continent
as usual during my holidays but
I had needed to work every day
possible between. Unfortunately,
although we had a five day week
the rota was over six. The only
way to take a long weekend off
was to hand back the Friday and
Saturday duties of the weeks where
this was allowed. This gave Friday,
Saturday and Sunday off.
| But for travelling
there was a problem. The Friday
and Saturday were on the late
week and the Sunday was on the
early week. This meant I worked
late on the Thursday and started
early on the Monday. I could not
travel until during the day on
Friday and needed to travel back
during the day on Sunday.
| The result
was that I now only had Saturday
at my destination instead of Saturday
and Sunday when I was on H&D
despite having Friday as an additional
day off. On H&D, when we had
a weekend off, we finished on
the Friday afternoon and returned
to work on the Monday afternoon.
This allowed overnight travel
on Friday, all-day Saturday and
Sunday at the destination and
overnight travel home. Sometimes
it is not the amount of time you
have off that matters but how
useful it is to you.