Another of the volunteers around the country for ‪#‎VolunteersWeek‬ where we celebrate the work of ‪#‎BloodBikes‬.
My name is Kathy Drogemuller and I am 54
I work for the LEGO Group and in January 2015 reduced my working week from a fulltime, 5 days per week position to 4 days in order to allow me to fulfil my ambition to sit as a Justice of the Peace. I have also since established myself as a professional proofreader. With one ‘extra’ day off per week I find I can commit to being on SERV duty one weekend (2 days) per month – or 3 days if it is a bank holiday weekend.
My alarm goes off and my main focus is getting my twin sons to school and then myself to work. I generally go into the London office 3 times per week and face a commute of just under 2 hours by train & tube or by bike. I prefer to use the train as, if I can get a seat, I can at least be productive in one wayor another on the journey in, but at other times it is just nice to be on your own out on the bike rather than having to face the commuter crowds.
Within my job for LEGO, I am responsible for using my html coding skills to develop and deploy emails to LEGO customers. I got my job after having taught myself how to code when my children were
small and then furthering that knowledge with several university courses which I attended in the evenings. Coding is – for me at least – a great balance of creativity and logic and requires enormous attention to detail as, if just one character is missed, the entire code can break. I also love the problem-solving factor of fixing broken code. This attention to detail has led to me completing a professional proofreading course and I now also contract to clients as an independent proofreader under my own company name of ‘Mark My Words’.
My typical day is about time-management and, to some degree, prioritisation (a skill I learnt very rapidly when, already with a 3-year old daughter, my twin sons were born). I have a lot of daily commitments which need to be considered and it is balancing all those to the best of my ability that makes ‘my typical day’. I could be working from home, or commuting to London. I could be sitting in court passing sentence on someone or staying up late to finish a proofreading job. This applies to my work with SERV too. When I am on duty that takes precedence over everything else. Of course, whilst I’m waiting to be called out I can still be productive – in fact it can be a good opportunity to get some of the cleaning done around the house or pick up a craft project that is waiting to be finished – but if the phone rings I will happily drop the mop at a moment’s notice and go out on the bike to make a collection.
The worst part of my job is, without doubt, the commute. Fortunately, we are strongly supported in working from home which is a huge benefit and effectively saves me 3 & 1/2 hours of travel each day.
The best part of my job is the LEGO Group itself. The company’s values and its commitment to its employees are extraordinary. It is a wonderful environment to work in and LEGO itself is such an amazing product – one that, again, provides a balance of creativity and logic.
After work I like to spend time in and around our beautiful village of Sonning. It is on the Thames and is a lovely, tranquil spot to go for walks or to one of the local pubs with my husband and our new puppy, Basco. I have an allotment in the village which needs regular tending but is a good excuse to be out in the fresh air, getting my hands dirty; and one of my neighbours kindly allows me
to keep a colony of bees at the bottom of her garden. The bees themselves require the occasional monitoring, generally in the Spring and Summer, but things can get pretty busy, particularly when the honey stores are removed. As far as biking goes, I am heavily involved in my local advanced rider club and very much enjoy the social rides that are organised from within the club.
With them I have had some tremendous – never to be forgotten! – weekends riding in the Welsh countryside. I assist with editing the club’s monthly magazine and with maintaining the membership database and it is through this that I learnt about SERV and the work that the Blood Bikers do. As soon as I had passed my advanced rider qualification I applied to be a SERV rider
and have been with them for over a year now.
I take great pride in being with SERV. Often it is just you and the bike out on the road but knowing that what you are carrying has the potential to save a life is so rewarding. My most memorable moment with SERV was delivering a package of surgical needles directly to a ward as they had run low on supplies. I waited on the ward as patients were being attended to directly in front of me. Usually we make our deliveries to a laboratory or a help desk but
on this occasion it became very personal. The surprising thing was that the nurse I handed the package to had not heard of SERV before that day and had had no idea that the service we offer was available.