This photo was taken on my first day working in Thamesmead. I had only been here once before applying for the job, but I had never been to this, probably the most iconic of locations in Thamesmead. Part of me thought “where the hell am I, and what have I done!” But my gut feeling told me this was good. Very good.

I remember posting this photo on Instagram and an old boss of mine asked if I was Head Swan Keeper. I remember feeling that probably wasn’t far from the truth. As I got to know more people locally, they told me of the rare black swans you get on Southmere Lake, but I still haven’t seen one. Is that how folk lore starts?

After a week in the job, HR asked how my “onboarding’ experience was going. I’m still not entirely sure what it means, but I certainly feel like I “got on board” quickly. Every day I met someone new and learned something new, and the rest as they say, is history.

[Cut to 4 years later and commissioning a hot air balloon…]

There is a response to this story here: Adriana Marques


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