And so my two-week (well a week and four days if you want to be ‘picky’) placement began in earnest…

I arrived fashionably late (only 5 minutes or so, don’t worry I’m not a rebel of any description. Nicking sachets of ‘sauce’ from the local pub incurs a rash and hot sweats!) to a queue in the reception, consisting of one elderly lady dictating a ‘hushed’ advertisement in the ‘lonely hearts’ ads to a sour-faced receptionists who then informed her it would cost £28 to put in this week’s rag. After an instantaneous hot flush and a mumbled “how much?!” she left as she had entered…old and lonely.

I would normally have felt sorry for her, but I’d been made increasingly late by my ‘courteous’ decision to allow her to go first through the door, resulting in having to hear her life story from behind, as the time trickled by and sensing by name would be black by the time I’d ventured into the office upstairs.

Having signed in (at last), i ventured upstairs to a somewhat different layout to what I’d been accustomed to the year before, but a few familiar faces starred up at me in a “errr, yeh?..” kind of manner and so i quickly warbled something vaguely like “Hi I’m Natalie and I’m starting my work experience today”, and was ushered to the other side of the office to an awaiting Editor and a couple of more familiar faces.

Mike (my Editor) had already got ‘something lined up for me’ at 10am, which turned out to be an interview with a local tattooist, whose business had seen a recent hike in lion-hearted males wanting ‘England-themed’ tattoos in light of the World Cup.

After a short walk down, a rummage through the diary by a ten-year old girl, who turned out to be the bloke’s daughter, and after 20 minutes an “oh yeah, she’s from the Chase Post Dad…remember?” …

FINALLY i got to talk to the co-owner who really didn’t seem to grasp the concept I was writing a piece that would potentially form a free advertisement for his business, and instead shook off the story by saying: “we’ve only done half a dozen of so tattoos mate. Not exactly been rushed off our feet, and after how they played on Saturday, I don’t think we’ll be having many more!”

Half an hour later, and having managed to get some degree of information from him (never mind ‘blood from stone’…it was more like ‘getting a jif lemon from Sainsbury’s on pancake day’), I left with the skeleton of a story.

In the midst of piecing together the ramshackle of an article I had managed to get, I could hear Mike coming back up the stairs to the office, being drowned-out by a warbling man.

I looked round and in walked Ronnie Corbet.

I joke.

But seriously, if you could genetically create the ‘love child’ of Ronnie, Yoda, and a little bit of John Mccormick, you would get Mr Armitage.

Mike: “I’ll just brief the reporter and send her in”

Mike: “Nat, will you deal with him for me?”…

Small, loud, highly opinionated, and with a hearing deficiency that rendered most of the interview audible to most of the town centre, Mr Mccormick spent the majority of it declaring how the end of the world would soon be upon us, in as little as 2 years, following a period of ‘low solar activity’. (Isn’t it possible that it just got a little exhausted from the whole ‘lighting up the world all day’ occupation and took an early vacation??..)

Apparently not.

After yet another half hour of ‘the end of the world is nigh’, I was sufficiently deaf in my left ear and covered in specks of saliva, (that I’m sure if examined, would contain caviar, pipe tobacco, and small children!).

Mike: “he’s quite a character isn’t he?” greeted me as a sat back down at my desk…with a smirk.

Me: “just a bit.”

Having typed up ‘the end of the world as we know it – according to Mr Armitage’, I was kept quiet with a press release on a local church féte and the promise of a ‘lucrative interview with a movie star’ the following day.

I await with bated breath..

(what IS bated breath?!)

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