Uncle Reg’s Roasting Tin

The post flight back jet lag following my return from Toronto, early Friday morning, has kicked in big style. Today’s plateau of fatigue evoking memories of the tiredness I experienced when working nightshifts in my 20’s/30’s.

I truly hated working the week of nights rostered into numerous rotating shift patterns endured while working three decades in the IT operations and service management. An inability to sleep more than three hours during the day, after I’d worked through the night, introducing tortuous levels of tiredness. Exhaustion severely impairing my ability to function effectively both in and out of work.

Reading the above paragraph, may lead to enquiries of “If you despised night shifts so passionately, why did you work them then, Gary?…… You could’ve left to embark upon Monday to Friday employment where you worked core hours of 9am-5pm. A role where you probably felt as unfulfilled as you were in an IT role, not to mention worse paid, but at least you gained a longevity of sleep enabling you to function more effectively in a working environment….. By the way, Strachan, have you still got my Royle Family dvd which you borrowed in 2007? “

The above, a fair enough question by you my reader…… Well, apart from the Royle Family query which doesn’t apply to all my readership, if at all!….. In fact I’m pretty sure I’ve never borrowed a Royle Family dvd from anyone (reader of my blogs or not).

Anyhow to answer your question…… I worked night shifts, in a role I didn’t particular enjoy or play to my strengths, purely because I had four people to feed, clothe and shelter. Circumstances that meant I was reluctant to quit shift work, which would’ve resulted in a loss of the extra income generated from a shift allowance.

Don’t get me wrong, without exception, the three companies who employed me over those decades of sleep depravation treated me decently, and in one employer’s case still do. However, many years of feeling jet lagged one week in four eventually took its toll. As middle age drained of energy and enthusiasm, my mental and physical health became hugely impacted living under the circumstances. I existed, not lived for many, many years.

I’d like to think my writing shows I’ve a level of erudition to ‘bring something to the table’ if employed in a role that plays to my creative strengths. However, five years ago due to a variety of reasons my performance had dipped to such a level I deemed myself utterly unemployable. A stress laden mind cruelly evoking misleading notions of ineptitude.

I’m interspersing penning this essay with cooking a roast beef dinner for my mother and me. The silverside joint being cooked in a roasting tin made by and given to my parents in 1960 by my great uncle Reg.

This tray made by my paternal grandma’s brother at the Leeds metal works he was employed, a gift for my mum and dad when moving into their first home in Kirkstall.. A sturdy tin that has been in the family longer than me; a tray that’s been seen oven in situ for almost six decades of Strachan Sundays. A tin subconsciously, but indelibly, etched in my mind under ‘Memories’.

It’s robust and hard wearing nature a result of being made in days when the UK, along with many other nations, wasn’t the throw away society of contemporary times. My great uncle’s pride in producing a product of superb quality ensuring my mum and late dad didn’t have to purchase a replacement tin in the 57 years they were married before my old man’s passing in 2017, or indeed since!

Anyhow, I’m going to bring this essay to a conclusion as I’m going to watch a Royle Family dvd I ‘mysteriously’ found in my disk collection this morning.


  1. As Reg’s Granddaughter of 40 years old,I had not known about this roasting tin until very recently. I think it’s amazing and heart warming that the tin is such a big part of the family, still after all this time.

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