New Ocado Bonus Scheme for Drivers

Vale of PewseyOcado are introducing a very innovative new bonus scheme for their drivers which will add a huge fun factor to their deliveries. The top UK online supermarket believe that it is important that their front line employees enjoy their work as much as possible.

Director of Staff Motivation, Avril Josher, said that the intentions of the scheme are to show appreciation for the Customer Service Team Members (delivery drivers) and to introduce and extra element of interest to their routes.

Conway House“The idea is to award a small reward for every house visited with a name that appears on the list of most common house names. The routes are defined by sophisticated scheduling software and the number of bonus names on any driver’s route on a particular day is pure chance. They won’t know how many they have until they print off their route at the beginning of their shifts.”

A bounty of fifty pence will be awarded every time a driver delivers to any of the following addresses:

Manor Farm The Bungalow Conway House Yew Tree Cottage
Fairview Springfield Ivy Cottage The Laurels
The Old Post Office The Barn Church Farm The Lodge
Hillside The Old School House The Rectory The Croft
Orchard House The Willows Mill House Woodlands
The Haven The Old Forge Greenacres The Gables

Miss Josher told us that the scheme would be run, as a trial, for the whole month of April, starting today (01/04/20).

When asked about her thoughts on the scheme, driver Donna Lapporte, was very enthusiastic. “It will definitely make our rounds more exciting and, as I deliver to at least four of the names on this list on a daily basis, it is going to add more than ten pounds per week to my pay packet.”

Said Touja Dorra, “If I see ‘Church Farm’ as my next drop, I’ll immediately be thinking ‘KER-CHING! FIFTY PENCE MORE!’ This is a great scheme. I love my job at Ocado. We have fun.”


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From the Depths of Despair to Road Warrior


First days at ASG – February 2008

On 13th December 2017, my position as EMEA Vice President of Professional Services and Presales at ASG Technologies was made redundant. The given reason was that it was a necessary cost reduction. At the time, I believed that.


ASG PS Meeting – March 2015

Since then, I have been persuaded that the real reasons were very different. Many of my friends, who are still employed by ASG have commented to me that they are sure that my exit was engineered by somebody with great influence who didn’t want me working for the company anymore. Several facts that seem to support that conclusion.

  • Nobody else was laid off at that time.
  • Two weeks before my exit process commenced, I received an email from the second-in-command of the company thanking for my exceptional performance and contribution to the business.
  • That same senior executive, in a “town hall” conference call, had announced that the company’s finances were now in such a good state that we could ride any storm.
  • Over my ten years at the company I had continuously delivered improvements, including Sales and Presales training and strategic changes to organisational structure and processes leading to increased profitability.
  • I was the “go to person” to get things done to such an extent that I had former colleagues calling me for months after my departure to ask me questions as “nobody else seems to have the answers.”
  • My ex-colleagues still tell me how much they miss me and that “We were only talking about you yesterday.” One of them even told me that he’d always thought of me as part of the DNA of the company.
  • On the day of my final exit meeting, I was confronted with two very trivial “incidents” that were on my record despite never have been mentioned to me before that time.
  • None of my bosses made any genuine attempt to help me to find an alternative role which would have retained my services. I proposed about twenty.
  • By April 2018, just four months after my redundancy date, my role had been re-created and filled. That breaches the rules, but it is hard to prove and not worth the stress.

Early morning runs in Naples

I do wish that I was still at ASG, contributing to the company’s continued success. From the day that I joined, 1st February 2008, I always envisioned myself as working at the company until the day that I finally retired. I loved my time at ASG and I really miss a lot of my friends and colleagues and the way that we worked so well together.

There has always been a small part of me that hopes that my friends are wrong and that the reason for my redundancy was a true cost cut and that I was a victim of my own success: my team was running so well that they no longer needed me.

Unless you’ve been there, it is hard to explain how devastating it is to discover that you have been deceived and betrayed by those whom you trust. I once did a mutual SWOT analysis with a friend who was on my team. He identified ‘trust’ as both a strength and a weakness. He told me that I tend to trust people immediately until they give me good reason not to trust them. Somebody deceived me and that hurts.

However, all of that is behind me now and it is time to move on with my life.


Touting for jobs at Andover railway station

In the darkest days of the two years that I spent looking for jobs, sending off over 250 applications, I became very upset by the thought that somebody in a lofty position at ASG had been disturbed enough by something that I said or did to them that they saw fit to engineer my removal from the company that I’d loved and served for so many years. That person obviously didn’t have the balls to speak with me about whatever I had said or done. What a shame that I had to suffer for their weakness. There was a time that their action against me drove me to the very brink of suicide.

On that day, it was only good fortune that saved my life. I bumped into an old friend as I walked, full of determination, toward my imminent demise. He held me in conversation for over half an hour, by which time I had returned to my senses enough to question my intentions. He doesn’t know that he saved my life. Perhaps, someday, I shall tell him.

There was a second occasion on which I came very close to suicide. I had got to the point where I was applying for all jobs at any level. I just wanted to work. I had been through the selection process to become a supermarket assistant and had convinced myself that they would give me the job. I received a rejection email. At that point, I came to believe that nobody wanted me or understood the value that I could bring to their business. That rejection email was total rejection of me by everyone. Nobody wanted me!

I made my way up to the railway station and sat on the bench waiting for the westbound train to pull in. I was going to wait until the last second of its approach before I flung myself under its hefty wheels. I would soon be pâté on the line.

The train was twenty minutes late. During those minutes I thought of all the problems that my death would cause for friends and family and for the poor driver of the train that crushed me and the people who would have to clear up the mess. I decided to save them all the trouble.


Out of those depths of despair, I have arisen, a new man with all my usual positivity and energy restored.

Day Three

Day 3 at Ocado

I have secured employment as a Customer Services Team Member, Delivery Driver, at Ocado, which is officially the top online supermarket in the United Kingdom. I am very proud and happy to be part of the company and the brand. I love getting out on my route, delivering to lots of wonderful, appreciative customers.

The only stress in the job comes when I am running late and I feel that I am letting my customers down if I have to call them and let them know that I will be arriving 30-60 minutes after the end of their scheduled slot. Almost all of them are very understanding and tolerant and are happy to receive their groceries. Nevertheless, I can’t get over the feeling that I am letting them down and that I am not providing the best possible service for them.

Ocado Highlclere 20200214

Deliveries take me everywhere!

The money is not great, but I have a job. I am occupied. I have exhausted any savings that I had before I was made redundant and I am having to top up my income by drawing down on my pension funds. I still have an outstanding amount on my mortgage and my car loan, but I will survive.

I have lots of new friends and I am working for a great company who appreciate my contribution.

In the current world health crisis, people appreciate the essential service that is brought to them by delivery of their groceries to their doorsteps. Over the past few days, my customers have told me that I am a “road warrior” and a “superhero.” They are full of gratitude and compliments. I am only doing my job but such appreciation makes me feel fantastic.

What have I learned from these experiences?

  • Suicide is never a good solution. It hurts too many people and it is the end for the person who commits it.
  • Something else will always come along, eventually.
  • Patience is a virtue.
  • Life is good.

I have truly risen from the depths of despair to become a road warrior.

Related posts:
Redundancy: New Opportunities
   Fishing for Jobs
   Back to Work!
   Lance Saves the Universe!

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Lance Saves the Universe!

One valuable lesson that I learned from reading so much Sci-fi in my youth is that, when the universe is threatened by an alien invasion, the way to deal with it is to identify and destroy the source.

Citizens rejoice! I will save you.


I found the source of the virus and I have isolated all remaining supplies in my chambers. Over the coming days, I intend to eradicate all traces of this evil liquid.

Now, where’s that bottle-opener?

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February 27: Flash Fiction Challenge

Write a short, impactful story.

Now whittle it down to exactly 99 words.

No more. No less.


Give it a go.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

It’s white and dismal, the never-ending feeling of a winter that lingers too long. Squalls bloom snow like algae, spreading across hardened mats of layered ice. It does not feel fresh when February rolls into March, and grocery store adverts tease me with lucky green shamrocks and early promotions for spring. One day I’m gazing with hope at an azure sky, and the next, the gray dome of my snow globe snaps shut. Relentless is the winter on the lee side of Lady Lake Superior.

I confess that I’m daydreaming of the open road. The Hub took a fall on the snow-covered ice that is our driveway and stormed into the house growling about leaving for the desert. I almost said, okay. If winter is relentless, then those of us with cabin fever feel restless. It’s an itch beneath the skin, a need to move the body more than measured…

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Flash Fiction Challenge


Whilst out delivering groceries to a Hampshire estate this morning, I saw a sign which led me to pose the following question as a flash fiction prompt.

In one hundred words or less, answer the question, “What valued possession did the pheasant leave in the middle of the road?”

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Time for a Comeback

It is time to drag myself back to my true passions: writing and running.

I am inspired by this excellent article from Wild Words by Bridget Holding.

My personal approaches are:

Writing: Write something every day even if it is nonsense. My aim is to write at least 500 words. I confess that I have lapsed recently.

Running: On at least five days each week, get yourself outside your front door in your running kit. Ensure that you are adequately stretched. Run!

Now read the article.

You Will Come Back- on procrastination


On a frosty February morning in the mountains of the Pyrenees, I wanted to share with you my response to a question about procrastination that a student asked this week.

‘How can I make myself sit down and write? I try and try, but each time I end up tidying my desk, or making another cup of tea, or surfing Facebook. It’s really soul-destroying.’

Procrastination, I know that one. Between deciding to respond to you Sarah, and sitting down to do it, I’ve had a second round of breakfast, sowed a button on a blouse, checked the news headlines (again), and been very attentive to the cat.

But seriously, if the resistance is very strong, sitting down at the desk, and writing is not something that we always just decide to do, as you discovered. If it was, each time we re-made the decision, we’d succeed, but we don’t, do we? Speaking personally, I’ve had times when I felt nauseous and dizzy at the thought of writing, and had to lie down instead. Really physical. Not something we can just talk ourselves out of.

In fact, and this may surprise you, I don’t think there’s a problem at all with your procrastination, with the fact that you’re not sitting down and doing it. I think it’s rather beautiful, and exactly what needs to be happening in that moment. That may not be what you want to hear, given the little voice inside that tells you ‘should’ be writing, but bear with me…

I’m assuming that you’ve made a clear intention, with the whole of your being- body, mind, emotions, to write? (How we make that intention in the most helpful way is for another conversation.) If so, then trust that your whole organism is orienting you towards that outcome, even if, in that frustrated moment of making the sixth cup of coffee, it doesn’t look how you hoped it would.

Human animals function like this: we make contact with a task, and focus/concentrate on it until we’re tired, or for some reason our system is overwhelmed, then we naturally move our attention to something else. The something else will usually be sensory (colour, smell, taste etc.) Contact with the senses steadies us, grounds us, and brings our nervous system back to equilibrium. It will probably also involve physical movement, in order to release pent up energy in our nervous system.

Take note of the things you go to instead of what you ‘should’ be doing. The smell and taste of hot drinks. The feel of your desk top as you tidy it. Walking around. Physical and sensory. Now isn’t that just perfect!

You’ve much more chance of coming back to the writing, if you allow that natural oscillation between contact and non-contact with the task.

And you will come back. You will be taken there despite yourself. Because we need to tell stories, and keep telling them, to survive and to thrive.

Unfortunately, we are trained from the beginning of creative writing learning to try and ignore an unfolding, organic route to realising the natural storyteller, in favour of controlling the process with thoughts. Then, when (quelle surprise) something doesn’t work on the page, we cross out the offending words and replacing them with ‘better’ ones. That’s akin to covering signs of disease with a band aid, and hoping it goes away.

If you resist the path that your whole organism has chosen for you, in favour of trying to control the process with your thinking mind, you’re less likely to get there, and if you do you’ll be exhausted by the time you arrive.

Time to choose a different approach, and take a leap of faith, don’t you think?

This is what I suggest. That you hold your intention to write lightly, and place most, if not all of your focus on enjoying the present moment process.

Watch the beauty of the pendulation, feel how your body experiences activation and then discharges energy to relaxation. Know the ebb and flow. Surf the waves of it. Allow and enjoy your indirect path. Remember you are going exactly where you need and want to go, in the way that is best for you.

If you feel yourself tighten and become anxious, with accompanying voices saying things like ‘this isn’t what I should be doing’, remind yourself that your natural storyteller can be trusted, that they are always orientating you towards telling the story that you need to tell.

You will gradually circle inwards, like a magpie turning ever decreasing rounds above a shiny object, until it descends upon it. You’ll land at your destination, with the ease of one carried on the currents. You’ll sit down to write.

What are your experiences of procrastination? Would this/ does this approach work for you? I’d be delighted to hear about your experiences, either in the comments, Facebook group, or privately via

If you’d like to receive the writing prompt that accompanies this article, sign up for the Monthly Newsletter. 

And thank you Sarah, for permission to share our discussion.

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Marriage Unarranged #booktour #ritubhathal

Ritu and Geoff are lovely friends of mine, whom I met through the Annual Bloggers’ Bash Awards. This looks like a great book from Ritu and I love the qurstions and answers in Geoff’s probing interview at the end of the article.

Take a few minutes to read the article. Maybe you’ll follow their blogs and purchase a copy of Ritu’s ‘Marriage Unarranged.”


I have known Ritu Bhathal, yes this lovely lady

pretty much since we started blogging. In that time she had blogged her heart out. Her prolific output, her range of subjects, her dedication to improving the craft all stand out. But she is almost always the first one to read and comment on any new post I launch into the ether and her approach has been universally supportive, as you would expect of someone who values her Bloggily.

A while back she took what she considered to be a brave step with a book of poetry but she need not have fretted. It was an excellent read, a proper dipper-inner. At the time she talked about the book, that project that had been on the slowest of slow burns. Would it ever come to be?

Yes, it would! It’s here in

Marriage Unarranged

I was privileged to be a beta…

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