Some years ago I wrote a column explaining that I wouldn’t be writing any more columns. That was an April Fool. This is the real thing.
Some of you may be aware that I’ve been seconded to Belfast to work on our company’s new project there, the result of which is that my days at the Lurgan Mail are numbered.
Leaving one job to start a new one is a lot like leaving one relationship and launching straight into another.
The most difficult part is when you have to ask your boss/lover if you can make tentative approaches to other potential bosses/lovers.
It’s at that point they know it’s over. Each subsequent interview represents a dinner date which part of them selfishly hopes will fail miserably and part of them hopes will lead you to bigger and better things.
Should you be successful in your quest for a new start, it’s inevitable that everyone involved will take some time to get used to the change. There’ll be tears, pangs of regret and the occasional expletive-laden outburst shouted in the heat of the moment.
My new relationship is a tricky one. It’s a six-month secondment with no guarantee that it will become permanent, in which case I’ll return to my former job.
In a way what I’ve had to say to Clint is, “I’m off to Belfast to sew my oats, promise me you’ll stay true and keep a place in your heart (office) for me in case I come back”.
Clint has been the butt of many a joke in this column over the years, but he takes it all in good spirit. He’s a bigger man than I. Seriously, though, he’s a considerably bigger man than I.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been working for the Lurgan Mail for over 10 years. I started spreading the news on October 4, 2004 when Facebook was in its infancy and people walked the streets in search of a heated argument. Over the past decade I’ve looked on as Facebook has cemented its place as the premier amphitheatre for bickering of all shapes and sizes. Now that’s progress.
I’ve really enjoyed my time at the ‘MAIL’. Through the course of my work I’ve met people at happy times and sad times. I’ve been welcomed into the homes of MBEs and chased from the doorsteps of people who’d rather not have their name in the paper.
I’d like to thank everyone who I’ve interviewed for their time and co-operation. Without people sharing their stories, I’d have nothing to write about. And anyone who reads this column will know that when I’ve got nothing to write about I resort to toilet humour and stories about my kids (and in some cases both at once).
To many I’ve become known as Yer Man due to my role as weekly columnist for roughly eight of the 10 years at the ‘MAIL’.
Writing a column every week is an extremely difficult thing to do and at times I make it look just that. It’s also a very cathartic process and there have been occasions, when like a North Korean dictator,I’ve used this column to rewrite history from my point of view.
Had my long-suffering family or any of my long-suffering work colleagues had a chance to publish their own journal, many of the events I’ve described over the years would read very differently.
To the many people I’ve ridiculed over the years I say both sorry and thank you.
This is farewell, but not goodbye. You mightn’t have got rid of me just yet.
Thanks for reading.