I fully intended to blog again during the school summer hols but on August 15 2016, my partner went to hospital, vomiting blood and then had a fit due to dehydration. Unfortunately, a nurse held him down during the fit – something you never do – and she broke his back in 3 places. He was in hospital for 5 days during which they argued that he must have broken his back at home and they also didn’t bother to find out why he was bringing up blood. They then sent him home and he has been laid up for nearly 6 months now. I am under huge pressure at the moment and now his back seems to have healed wrongly, which is making walking almost impossible and he is in constant agony. I will write again soon but I thought you should all know why I have been so quiet. Hopefully we will have recourse to the law in this situation and I’ll let you know how it goes. Also huge thanks for all the Christmas gifts and cards especially to Kathleen who sent her gift to ensure that I got it in time. You’re all stars! See you on the bridge – Sharon
It’s been nearly a year and I have missed blogging to you all. After a year I have taken myself off the anti-depressants – they helped for about 8-9 months but the last 3 to 4 months I don’t feel that I have been getting any benefit from them. I now have surges of emotions, good and bad and it is a little like riding a roller coaster. Still it has only been two weeks, I’m sure things will improve. I feel that all my recent emotions, good and bad have been smothered by the pills. It is the beginning of the summer hols again and I know I am in for a hard six weeks!
Recent changes and problems at London Bridge Station have heavily impacted the business. The last three months have been extra-difficult with the RMT conductors causing chaos with their strikes and constant sick days. They are lucky to have jobs with a constant income. I am only earning two thirds of my profits from last year. Just when I think it can’t get any worse, it does! A huge thank you to my lovely lady Kathleen – due to an injury and train changes I have not seen her for nearly two years but she regularly sends me a card and some money – thanks Kathleen, you’re the best!! At the end of August, the trains that no longer stopped at the station from New Year 2015 will return – I am really looking forward to seeing people that I have missed for 20 months. However the people that currently come in on South Eastern trains will no longer be able to get off at the station so I will lose another lot of customers, including the lovely James and I will miss them all.
I will write more soon, as long as I am still feeling better, see you all on the bridge. Also a message to my lovely regulars – thank you all so much, I don’t know how I would have survived without your support over the last very difficult 20 months. And congratulations to my fellow journalist Danielle Baptist and her partner Kevin on the recent birth of baby Nova – she’s so cute. Please leave a message if you are glad to hear from me – that means you, Mr Clarkson! London Bridge Sharon
Sorry for the terrible dearth of blogs recently, I started taking anti-depressants just over two months ago and unfortunately I have not had an easy ride. The tablets have made me have short-term memory lapses and I don’t know wether I am coming or going. In the next few weeks I hope to be back to business-as-usual but I have no idea if this will be possible considering the way I have been feeling.
The summer holidays have run for four weeks, and the first three were quite hard but basically bearable. However, the last week, the second in August has been a dog-days month. It has been incredibly quiet and I have struggled to keep it all going. One good point is that my regular customers have been bringing me back very cheap (about £2-3), very tacky souvenirs, which is what I have asked them to all do. I now have a lovely shoe box, nearly half full of fabulous, outrageous souvenirs! Everyone has really met the challenge incredibly well and searched long and hard to bring back the worst things that they can find! What a lovely lot they are. The level of tackiness achieved has been remarkable and I wish to thank them all for rising to my strange challenge with such willingness and fervour. No-one has forgotten my request either which is great – I thought that once they all got off on their hols they would all forget me but no, none of them did! Thanks so much guys!!
Today, whilst buying mags from Ben, the co-ordinator at Waterloo, I asked to have a look at the latest list of sales figures, listed by vendor number. The list was from the week before last and as Ben looked at it he said “Your figures are wrong on here, surely?” I told him that, no, unfortunately, the figures were quite correct – my sales dropped by a quarter to a third after New Year when three of the Kent platforms closed and those trains could no longer stop at London Bridge. Since then my sales have dropped to half of pre-Christmas levels leaving me in rather a woeful state. In the last three months I have been in debt more than out and the whole situation is beginning to feel quite hopeless. The recent losses in sales are due to people avoiding the rail chaos that is London Bridge and instead they are travelling to Charing Cross, Blackfriars (which apparently is quite a civilised choice), Victoria and Cannon Street. I have no idea how this will all end but it’s not looking hopeful for me – getting new people to buy when they have been walking past and ignoring you for months is very difficult. Most regular customers are the sort of generous people who would buy the magazine automatically, without thinking, usually from a vendor who is a regular fixture on their route to work. If they changed jobs or offices, then they would automatically scout around for a convenient vendor and then transfer their allegiance to them, usually with no thought at all – they are just naturally kind and generous. Unfortunately, most of the 46,000 people who pass me in the morning are not naturally kind and generous – in fact a large number of them can be rude, arrogant and thoughtless. So my task is now much, much harder than it has ever been before – and with no guarantee of any success. Keep watching to see how I fare – Sharon
Keep checking the “About Me” section as I am always tweaking the sections or adding stuff that I had forgotten and it grows a bit at the end every now and then too.
Last week I finally saved enough dosh to pay for my liability insurance so that if my whiteboard becomes a negligent public menace, you know, knocking people over just for the hell of it, they can be reassured that they will be amply compensated! Up to a million smackers in fact, but don’t let those serial insurance-for-injuries claiming types know or before you can say “whiplash” they will be suffering from it! Anyone who trips or falls within 20 feet of my board or even rucksack will be investigated long and hard for pretence of pain symptoms. I am really glad to have it back as during the three weeks that I was without it my sales were pretty awful. Now this might be due to people over-spending in the Easter hols but you never know in my job. Anyway, the board is back and I am really looking forward to getting some great messages down this week. Many thanks as usual to all my regulars who helped me with the insurance financially and also those who helped me with my feelings of helplessness and anger and my being miserable over the whole issue of whiteboard safety. See you on the bridge soon – Sharon
After the awful week that was last week I was hoping for something slightly better this Monday morning and evening, especially as monthly paydays start around the 20th of each month – of course, more people get their wages further towards the very end of the month, but still, I was hoping for a slight improvement today. All in all, the day was amazingly good and I should like to thank all the people that made it so – Mr Rob Clarkson, who on receiving his yearly bonus, immediately thought of me, and gave me some badly-needed money this morning. Also lovely Tamaki, who has enough problems of her own, told me that she is worried about my depression and the way my lack of funds has exacerbated it, and gave me some money too! Then this evening the lovely Katie, who moves office this week (oh no! Another lovely one gone for good!) stopped and gave me a donation to pay for my liability insurance. She said that my description of my whiteboard troubles on this blog have made her “really furious” and she said that she just had to help me get the board back. So – thank you, thank you, thank you all, including anyone not mentioned here, who has helped by going the extra mile for me recently. You are all superstars in your own right and I don’t know what I would do or where I would be without you all – love Sharon x