Twickenham Part 1: My first day, 14th March 2015

So, on Saturday I had my last day working at Twickenham for 2 and a half months. No rugby matches are taking place between now and mid-August so my last pay slip for this quarter will turn up in my inbox on Thursday and I’ll get paid on Friday (which is also the day of Summer Ball – convenient!). It’s been 2 and a half months since my first shift too, on 14th March, although I actually got the job 4 months ago at the very end of January. Due to the nature of casual stadium work, there wasn’t a match on until mid-February and I was otherwise engaged with orchestra rehearsals. However, I had a day of induction plus a two day course for my NVQ Level 2 in Spectator Safety so by the time I started work I had been to the stadium 4 times so I was kind of familiar with the area and some of the stadium, which made me feel slightly more at ease.

Despite this I still turned up on my first day at the wrong place – I went to the agency staff check in rather than RFU. It was made better by the fact that I had been chatting to a friend at the train station and mentioned that I was going to work at Twickenham and as I got on the train a girl asked if I was working at the stadium (my friend was waiting for a different one). Turns out she was working hospitality, just like my flatmate and another friend from CU, and also was a first year historian in my Gods, Men and Power unit! We’d never met before but it was good to have someone to chat to on the way. Because I was worried about being late my train got in at 11:10 and I was at the stadium by 11:30, even though my shift didn’t start until 12! I got someone else to sort out my clip on tie, donned my hi-vis, stopped off at a portaloo, and waited to be called by my supervisor.

I think I actually answered the call for Gate B by accident and then promptly lost the stream of people I was following and got very stressed and called on a man called Josh who was by Gate D to help me find out where to get my coat. I was almost in tears, but he was nice and put me at ease because he was working that gate and I knew that 1) he knew I was down at the coat room in case my supervisor was annoyed, and 2) I had a person to look out for when I got back. The coat room situation was a hassle for me and I am so glad that there is no longer a cloakroom component because the queue was so long. I’d brought a bag with food in just in case I couldn’t eat the free lunch but I decided it’d be fine so checked that in with my coat and got a medium Twickenham coat in return.

The loss of my coat was a mistake. Although it was mid-March, there are parts of the stadium which are very windy and don’t get much sun. I can’t remember how sunny it was that day, but that’s kind of a mute point. It was VERY cold and my Primark trousers were little use to me on the warmth front. My old school shoes with one pair of socks resulted in ice cubes for feet, as well as mild blisters that can still be seen 2 and a half months later. My top half was slightly warmer with a white shirt, blazer and coat, but I was glad of my slightly warming gloves and very warm hat! The next week I tried to rectify the situation, wearing thermal leggings under my trousers, a pair of 10 denier socks as well as the normal ones, and my own coat underneath a large Twickenham coat (plus hi-vis of course!). I may have looked like Michelin Man but at least I was fairly warm.

So yeah, this post has gone on for a very long time already, so I’ll end it here and continue tomorrow.

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