Abandon ship,I thought, as I put down the telephone Friday morning: I'd just called into the work to say I wouldn't make it in due to a general inability to use my left leg without enduring subsequent long minutes of atrocious pain. The owner of the printshop wasn't around, caught up in some personal business he had neglected to mention to me when I asked for the full weekend off in order to recover: I had then agreed to come in on the Friday, but it became rapidly apparent that particular morning I wasn't going anywhere.

"I'm supposed to be here 'til two but I'm finishing at one," the new man in charge of the printing press told me: "I've got a job interview at half two this afternoon."

Which is impressive, since both myself and the previous man in charge of the printing press guesstimated anyone's chances of surviving our employer's unusual working habits might stretch up to even several weeks. Instead the new printer beat both of us by showing clear signs of resigning within a fortnight of beginning the job.

I told the poor chap I'd try and be in that afternoon. I didn't make it, and don't really expect to be back until Wednesday afternoon. At the time, I recalled being told by the previous printer that, before he himself had arrived in this particular place, up to fourteen - fourteen! employees had passed through those doors in the space of two and half years.

It's never had more than two full-time and one part-time/freelance, including the boss.

The physio agrees I need a chance to rest and recuperate and see if it makes any difference to the sciatica. I've found it can take a couple of hours for the pain to really fade during the day, and I'm generally more or less pain free by the middle of the afternoon ... as long as I don't go walking any further than the front door.

I considered my options; the knowledge I would be nowhere near the workplace for most of a week made me almost euphoric; that alone made me feel better than I have in a month or two. Perhaps it's really time I looked at some other employment options, whatever the minor advantages the hours of my current daytime employment give me.

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