1066 - Battle of Hastings
30 July 1966 - England win World Cup
21 July 1969 - Man On The Moon (unless you believe the conspiracy theories?)
17 March 1978 - Release of Stiff Little Fingers first single (Suspect Device/Wasted Life)
One date that is forever burnt into my brain is 10 August 1987.
Why? I hear you ask (or perhaps I don't, but I'm going to tell you anyway).
This was the date I started work. The day I, and 70 other new Apprentices (35 Mechanical & 35 Electrical), turned up at our place of work for the first time.
And 25 years later (and I hasten to add) several changes of job later, I'm still at the same place. And so are 14 others.
So, to mark our 25th Anniversary, some of the remaining lifers turned up at the staff restaurant this morning for a coffee and a chat. You may never meet a more cynical bunch of sods (joking (honest!)).
So, I'm in a reminiscing mood:
Mid way through their last school summer holidays, 70 kids turn up at this daunting grey establishment ready to give the next 4 years of their life to learning how to be some form of engineer/technician.
Some are here because they want to be, others because it was the only job they applied for, maybe a couple just got on the wrong bus. But anyway, there we are with no clue who anyone else is, or what is going to happen in the next 48 months of our young lives.
When you are thrown together with a group of people your own age, friendships develop over shared interest, new interests are discovered with people you would never normally speak to, and you learn to be tolerant of the one bloke who is constantly spouting bullshit about how his grandad was Frank Whittle, or how he invented the Compact Disc but forget to send the details to the Patent Office (these two events aren't 100% true, but you get the general idea).
Our time together also coincided with the discovery of alcohol, and the almost quaterly event of the House Party (ie someone's parents were on holiday, word got out and about 10 or 15 of descended on their house for a week of loud music, heavy drinking, junk food and a lack of sleep).
The Apprentice Years were soundtracked by Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, The Jam, Happy Mondays, Quadrophenia, The Blues Brothers and Monty Python.
Many of us made it through the 4 years and then all got monumentally pissed after the Prize Giving Ceremony (including receipt of our Indentures). Some people moved on, others stayed and forged a career in their chosen specialism. But we all (sort of) stayed in touch.
And so 25 years later, a small group of ex-Apprentices are sitting drinking coffee and asking "Where did the time go?".
To quote the song: "we were so close, and nothing came between us"
(I warned you I was in a sappy, reminiscing-type mood)
The Jam - Thick As Thieves
Note: If you know the above Jam song, you probably also know "Burning Sky" which (sadly) is probably more what it is like now
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