A personal message

It seemed an opportune to write this post. It is aimed at the people who knew me personally, from the Glasgow Caledonian University days, rather than for general consumption. I decided to write it because there was talk of a get-together at Glasgow. Also, David made contact with me recently.

It’s probably not wise to divulge too much information on a public forum, but here goes anyway …

As you all know, I was frequently taking the mickey out of the university, and several people there. If I had caused offence, then I apologise to the people concerned. Most of it was meant in jest, but some of it overstepped the line. My treatment of Arlene was particularly uncalled-for. Looking back, I must have seemed like a bit of a tearaway. To quote Mark Sinclair, “we’ve created a monster.”

I am a man with particularly underdeveloped social skills, so I hope that you will all forgive me for my misdemeanours. Despite all my snide put-downs, I want you to know that my time at the university was very special to me, and something I look back on in fondness.

I also treasured the gifts that you gave me when I left the university. I know that they were a little joke on your part about how much I berated the university, but they did mean a lot to me. I still have the hat, and use it frequently; not now that it’s summer of course, but in the winter, for sure.

I used the mug regularly, mostly at work. Unfortunately, it eventually broke, although I did get a solid decade’s worth of use out of it. I was so attached to that mug I decided to get another. Unfortunately the replacement was rather flimsy, and broke within a few weeks. Alas, the quality of their merchandise fell short of my expectations from such an august institution. Cough.

If anyone knows how to pass this post onto Jagan, or indeed anyone else who may be interested in an update, then please do pass a link to this article along. I think that I hadn’t shown Jagan enough appreciation for his supervision on my thesis. If you’re reading this Jagan, then I thank you, and hope I wasn’t too much of a handful to deal with.

I value you all. I had a great time. I wouldn’t necessarily want to repeat it, but it was great nonetheless. It is of course David that I formed the deepest bond with. I consider myself lucky to have him as such a close friend, even though contact has waned over time.

Ah, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

If any of you want to chat with me personally, then feel free to do so. If you want some kind of collective “Question and Answer” session, then maybe we could do something like that, too.

Many of you have gone on to achieve distinguished careers, becoming professors, heads of departments, hedge fund bigwigs, and so on. My life is rather more humble, however. I joined an outfit called IQ Financial in the early 2000’s. They were bulking up in staff in anticipation of a big sale. That sale never materialised, so they made a complete about-turn.

I was laid off after only being there for about a month. I moved back in with my folks up in Scotland. I found a job in 2002 at a company called Smith Rea. It was an Oil & Gas consultancy. I secured the position because of Russell, a friend I had made whilst at Sheffield University. I owe him an enormous debt of gratitude, and like David, he is a very close friend. I do not make many friends, but of the friends I do make, the friendship runs deep.

Smith Rea was acquired by Intertek, a big UK company, and a constituent in the Footsie. They basically bought out Smith Rea at its peak. A few years later the price of oil declined, and they ceased many of their operations in that sector, and of course ousted staff in the process.

That was in 2015. Although no-one said it, I knew that I was not an especially valuable employee of the company. I had not lived up to the potential that they expected of me. So I was one of the first out the door, at a time that they considered that their Aberdeen operation might still be viable.

I had always figured that Intertek would be the last job I would ever have. That assumption has, so far at least, turned out to be true. A programmer in his 50’s does not stand much chance.

It has given me time to pursue my own interests at any rate, even if those interests have only amounted to staring at the internet.

I started some hobby projects in programming. Most recently, I have been interested in mcus (microcontrollers). These are tiny “computers”, but with only a fraction of the power than the ones that drive your typical desktop PC.  They are typically used to control electronics. I have made a few devices. They can be fun to program, but also frustrating at times. It’s great to be able to create a little device that can be run off of a coin cell battery, though.

I’ve also got into doing some exercise on a regular basis. Nothing fancy, just some cardio, flexibility stuff, and some running. I’ve done a few “parkruns.” These are free public group runs held each Saturday. It’s become a world-wide phenomenon. My local parkrun is quite a long way away, so it’s not something I go to often. The rest of my runs are out and about the countryside where I live. I am happy with my progress, and think I’m doing quite well.

Well, that’s about it for now. I hope you have all been keeping well.

Although I cringe at the prospect, I have decided to attach a pic. Alas, time has not been kind to me. I’m wearing my Glasgow Caledonian hat event though it’s summer; because, well, it somehow seems appropriate to the occasion.


Take care, one and all.

About mcturra2000

Computer programmer living in Scotland.
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