Your job's secure but not your
I worked at GCHQ once, a long time ago.
It was a very large site, hidden away
in a sort of hilly location and was not particularly visible
The front was a bit confusing as upon
casual inspection it looked like a small group of Social Security
buildings, and that's how the sign described them, but once you
went in and passed through various gates, surrounded by barbed
wire, you could see other buildings, some of which were very
The high security, the tension, and
the nature of their jobs inside the site did strange things to
some of the people that worked there.
Every morning at exactly 9 o'clock we
used to look out of our window on the third floor towards a small
car park immediately outside.
An oldish chap would drive up, always
to the same parking place, which other people presumably left
free for him.
He would get out of the car and lock
He would then walk round the car checking
each door in turn.
Not once but twice, involving two complete
circuits of the vehicle.
He would then walk towards the main
door of the building.
After walking some ten feet or so he
would turn and go back to his car where he would again check
that his four doors were locked.
Usually he again made two complete circuits
before heading once more for the building.
After some fifteen feet he would turn
and repeat the performance.
Heading again for the building he would
get close to the door, stop and head back to his car.
After another check that each door was
secure he would be satisfied all was well and this time invariably
reach the building and go in.
We would wait.
The door would open and out he would
come, walk back to his car and repeat the performance.
He would usually enter the building
The second time took longer as he had
no doubt nearly reached his office.
I guess that once he reached his office
he wouldn't come out again.
Perhaps his colleagues restrained him?
I don't know.
We were all kept amused by this and
looked out at always the exact time when he was due to arrive.
He was never late and his arrival was
always at the same time within a minute.
Dogs are a problem for some people,
but not for all.
Because some staff were really "vital
to the nations security" they were allowed to bring their
dog to work.
If you were really essential you could
have your dog in the office with you.
One old lady used to tie hers to the
leg of her teleprinter near the door of her office which was
always kept open so the dog could look out and wouldn't get bored.
Another chap presumably wasn't quite
so important and he had to keep his dog in his car close-by outside
Every half hour he would emerge from
the building, walk over to his car and check the dog was OK.
Every hour or so he would take it for
a walk round the car park.
This went on all day, every day, probably
had for years and years, and most likely still does.