True Story No25

 Your job's secure but not your car?

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 from outside.

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 big.

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 his door.

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 twice.

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 the building.

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.

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