back to article BOFH: Rome, I have been thy soldier 40 years... give me a staff of honour for mine age

Old wizard in snowy forest BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns George, our faithful cleaner, has joined us in the office this morning. And, despite being in an age group that makes a cold snap potentially fatal, he's still ticking. Thanks to his great-grandfathered employment policy, he cannot technically be forced to …

  1. bpfh Silver badge

    At last the first post-confinement BOFH.

    About time!!

  2. Antonius_Prime

    We are spoiled!

    New BOFH and a new Dabbsy on the same day?

    This is more inspirational that Dabbsy's "Today is your life's tomorrow!" (


    For me anyway...

    Those that think the above platitude is the way of the world may end up herding alpaca's in Patagonia, via the Ural Steppes...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: We are spoiled!

      Indeed, a most glorious day.

      Thumbs up for El Reg for a much needed break from the normal tedium.

  3. Pete B Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Dabsy & Simon

    Both back on the same day - coincidence?

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Dabsy & Simon

      Who cares, just celebrate it as a gloriously bright and momentous day after so long!

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Dabsy & Simon

        It's no coincidence -- our regular contributors are back, we're grateful for their return, and there's room for more.


    2. Chris G

      Re: Dabsy & Simon

      I will regard it as an anniversary present since I mentioned the other day that today is my 14th wedding anniversary.

      Now I need to get a bottle of sherry for the wife.

      1. PhoenixKebab

        Re: Dabsy & Simon

        "Now I need to get a bottle of sherry for the wife."

        Sounds like a good swap.

        1. Kevin Johnston

          Re: Dabsy & Simon

          Presuming you actually like Sherry...actually scratch that

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dabsy & Simon

            I believe she spells it Shari.

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

              Re: Dabsy & Simon

              Time for a slap up meal......lamb chop?

        2. wegie

          Re: Dabsy & Simon

          Who actually downvoted that?

          Even us girlies snorted our white wine up our noses reading that!

          1. The First Dave

            Re: Dabsy & Simon

            Probably someone who had heard that joke one time too many already?

        3. stiine Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Dabsy & Simon

          Only if its a bottle of Barbadillo Versos 1891 Amontillado.

          1. Robert Helpmann??

            Re: Dabsy & Simon

            Only if its a bottle of Barbadillo Versos 1891 Amontillado.

            Are you saying we cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry, Montresor, er.. , Stiine?

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Dabsy & Simon

            A cask, surely?

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    A brilliant return for our favourite character...

    And once and for all proving you youngsters still have a thing to learn from us elders ....

    PS another one of these please >>>

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Woohoo

      Once again it's proven that "old age and treachery are no match for youth and exuberance". I hope the PFY takes note of what happened.

      1. John Arthur

        Re: Woohoo

        I think it's the other way round "youth and exuberance are no match for old age and treachery"

  5. GlenP Silver badge

    Something has been missing!

    Friday's are now complete (at least for as long as the Local is allowed to stay open).

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Just today

    I read a mention of BOFH in another thread, and was also wondering if we would ever see a BOFH or a Something from Dabsy again, damn if they don't pop up today!

    I'll have to keep a closer eye on the facilities guys from now on!

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: I read a mention of BOFH in another thread

      Yeah, that was me (unless there were more than one) - looks around for magic lantern that I might have accidentally polished...

  7. IGotOut Silver badge

    It's Always....

    ...the cleaner.

    1. Chris G

      Re: It's Always....

      I bet there are more than a few cleaners who learn enough in the wee hours while cleaning, to blackmail their way from the lad in the post room, all the way up to the CEO.

      In fact, I wonder how many CEOs started out as cleaners?

      1. Rhuadh

        Re: It's Always....

        How about a baggage handler who ended up as ceo of the same Irish airline? Allegedly!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's Always....

      Is it Henry, the mild mannered janitor? Could be…

      1. Alligator

        Re: It's Always....

        No, it's Penry, the mild-mannered janitor.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "I feel like I've wasted my life."

    Not entirely. George must have picked up the tip about open windows somewhere. Or was it the other way around?

    1. Jens Goerke

      Great minds think alike.

      1. pavel.petrman

        Re alike

        I've heard multiple times that when you have a very specific engineering goal to achieve (like, say, supersonic airliner) and give it to multiple disparate teams, if they succeed at all they inevitably arrive at very similar solutions.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Re alike

          What like Bristol and Sud Aviation?

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Re alike

            The comparison would be better between Concorde and the TU144 "Concodski".

            Broadly speaking there is really only one sensible way to achieve most engineering objectives. In the case of a supersonic airliner then the basic objectives are to go fast (requiring big engines and a low frontal profile like a fighter to minimise drag) which combined with a requirement for carrying passengers means that you end up with something very long and pointy. Putting people in the big hollow bit means that the engines and fuel tanks are going in the (long, large) wing area.

            And there you have the basis for every SST design. So yeah, give several teams of engineers the same job with the same tech base and chances are that the result is going to look broadly similar although not identical in details.

          2. pavel.petrman

            Re: Re alike

            More like open windows, in this case...

  9. Rol

    On the Buses!

    You wait patiently for a noteworthy VIP to trundle along to cut the "Welcome to the Weekend" ribbon, and two arrive at once.

  10. Rol

    The Rag Trade

    Could this be the start of a Reg theme coming on?

  11. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Thats my first guffaw in delight for a while.

    Plenty of cynical guffaws while watching the news of late but its nice to clean hobnobs out of the keyboard with a grin on my face.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Thats my first guffaw in delight for a while.

      Dark chocolate digestives over here, but otherwise the same :)

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Thats my first guffaw in delight for a while.

        Dark chocolate digestives are good, so are milk chocolate digestives. With old age comes wisdom, Grasshopper - Normal McVities digestives are better.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Thats my first guffaw in delight for a while.

          Yes, we have to tell the young'uns that or no-one would eat the ones we've licked the chocolate off.

          1. Tim99 Silver badge

            Re: Thats my first guffaw in delight for a while.

            Yes, but only because we have no teeth...

            1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

              Re: Thats my first guffaw in delight for a while.

              The ones with teeth marks have hard centres.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Thats my first guffaw in delight for a while.

          Just found out I can make hobnobs and plenty of dark chocolate available too!

      2. Anon

        Re: Thats my first guffaw in delight for a while.

        Try clotted cream on dark chocolate digestives. You can pretend it is to keep the crumbs under control (it doesn't).

  12. Blackjack Silver badge


    Does this guy forgot to update his plan due to Coronavirus?

    There are many office buildings not only vacant but whose leases are not being renewed.

    With like 80% of the workforce at home they can switch to a different place overnight. There is this nice smaller place two blocks away whose company went under, they were a travel agency, and they are selling quite cheap. You may need to bleach the place a few times since a few people in the building had corona...

    I really really really wish I was making stuff like this up... but while not giving names... stuff like this is actually happening...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Uh...

      Mission Control is firmly set in the building and the company isn't going to migrate to the cloud - not until BOFH is in control of the cloud. It might change if a more convenient place can be found for Mission Control and the DC - say the back room of a pub.

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: Uh...

        Why the back room? Surely you can buy a tap add-on for a z/OS cabinet, and they are water-cooled.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Uh...

      George can pay off the BOFH with the first month's rent to tell his bosses that they can't possibly move because the cost of wiring the new building the custom way he's wired the current one for optimal performance would exceed any possible savings.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uh...

      A certain university I could (but won't) name in the last few years converted a machine room into a couple of huge open-plan offices to house its previously fairly spread-out IT department. Not content with implementing a hugely unpopular and frankly stupid plan once, they also commissioned a new academic department building built on much the same lines.

      Then we got this pandemic.

      What was a crap idea for an office layout which is universally disliked by those who have to occupy it, which reduces work satisfaction and which increases sick leave taken by inmates suddenly became a complete liability.

  13. Cubical Drone

    This is a good example of the second important reason to treat everyone with respect regardless of thier station.

    (The first reason is simply 'Don't be a prick.')

    1. Ochib

      Dont be a prick. The rule named after someone, who in-fact is a big prick

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Its called Trump's Rule?

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      I think this is actually a lesson of "Read what you actually sign and don't leave contracts were anyone can grab and or edit them."

  14. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    He's timed it well...

    What with everyone on lockdown or just WFH it'd make it difficult to slip those documents in here or there..

    I wonder if he could claim on the buildings insurance for the large number of accidents that occur on the premises caused by negligence of the occupiers staff? (such negligence includes, but not limited to 'asking for printers refilled with paper', 'cutting IT budgets', 'cutting HALON maintance contracts', 'demanding new PC's to send emails' and just being a Bean counter...)

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: He's timed it well...

      Obviously not. You don't poach on the BOFH's turf.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: He's timed it well...

        Seems like the BOFH was poaching on George's turf.

  15. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    what a classic!

    I feel like I've wasted my life.

    -The BOFH

    That is some next level BOFHery , but not from the BOFH!

    Thats Keyser Soze level Boffery!

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: what a classic!

      It's Verbal Kynt level, if that's the reference you're going for.

      Wait, I forget, was that also a fake persona and we never found out who he really was?

      1. ortunk

        Re: what a classic!

        Days I've spent trying to piece together that puzzle

      2. Ochib

        Re: what a classic!

        You mean Roger "Verbal" Kint

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: what a classic!

      If there is one thing BOFH sucks at, is long term plans.

      Then again is he had that much patience he wouldn't be in tech support anymore; he would own 60% of the company and relax at home.

      Until he eventually get arrested,;of course.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: what a classic!

        I think that's why he hasn't, because this is actually one of his longterm plans. Had he done something to take over the company, he wouldn't have leverage to use against his witnesses. By keeping his take restrained, he can get rid of evidence by threatening people from the blackmail file. He also doesn't have to worry about a replacement tech finding out any of his secrets.

        Keep in mind that he did a similar thing with his own employment contracts, in fact at least twice. He just didn't have the audacity to try one this big.

  16. stiine Silver badge

    my nose hurts

    My lunch was not created to be expelled through my nose...

    On the plus side, Simon is still alive, and still a genius.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: my nose hurts - Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey

      The Nissan Story

      Nissan factory in Newcastle area in the 80's...

      Automated mail truck with flashing light, beeping as it moves (Helen Keller would have been aware of it's approach) & overly sensitive sensors that stop 100 meters away from a insect in its path then wait before resuming moving. Stop at each location to allow mail to be loaded\unloaded.

      With the sensors being frequently tripped it, mail delivery was quicker by hand so someone disabled them & mail delivery got to the expected performance.

      Icon - It's Friday & Welcome Back Simon.

      Executives from Nissan turned up with local dignitaries, MP's & the like & given a factory tour.

      Partway through the tour, along comes the mail truck & to prove how safe it is, local manager sticks out his foot to prove how it's H&S compliant & half a ton of metal, motors, mail & batteries proceeded to run straight over it while it suffered no damage at all, which was more than be said for the managers foot.

      It was at that point in the story that I managed to cough up & painfully eject through my nose a chunk of strawberry cheesecake & the beer I was drinking while laughing uncontrollably.

      Icon - It's Friday & Welcome Back Dabbsie & Simon.

  17. DogMan

    It is wonderful to see the BOFH back

    Greetings from across the pond

  18. Slow Joe Crow
    Thumb Up

    Chapeau, George had a scheme so clever even SImon was in awe.

  19. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    It is positively epic to have someone who can teach the BOFH a new trick!

  20. earl grey

    hot coffee out the nose

    A co-worker of mine years ago (now sadly gone) and i were in a meeting with a "client" and a particular topic caused said friend to eject hot coffee in two streams right out of his nose. Painful it was.

  21. Ozan

    Wonderful return to the form. Wonderful story. I sure missed one and only BOFH.

  22. Unicornpiss


    Bastard Janitor from Hell. Although the acronym could suggest something else that many have probably experienced..

    1. Precordial thump

      Re: BJFH

      Just put 14 stitches in a bloke for that...

  23. Anonymous Coward

    A mild-mannered janitor?

    A story about a clever but mild-mannered janitor? Complete phooey!!

    1. Marshalltown

      Re: A mild-mannered janitor?

      Technically a "BJFH" I believe.

  24. Down not across Silver badge


    Unsolved hit and run. Accidental fall from open window. Sounds like George is more like Léon than a janitor.

    With that said, I concur with Simon. I've wasted my life.

  25. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Welcome back Simon.

    Great to see things are going well at Mission Central, barring the odd open window or elevator accident.

    Greetings from South Africa.

  26. IceC0ld

    the new BCfH

    All Hail the Bastard Cleaner from Hell :o)

  27. Coastal cutie

    The BOFH out operated!

  28. TeeCee Gold badge


    I don't suppose George also owns a company based in the channel islands that begins with M by any chance?

    The only bit of this cheesy old conbusiness model he seems to have omitted is where you "find" that the contractually agreed lease payments aren't making you a fat enough profit and alter the contract to screw more out of the tenant.

  29. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Now at last a plausible explanation of why Piper finally retired in Nightingales.

  30. Arbeebee

    And then there is this janitor...

    1. wrangler

      Re: And then there is this janitor...

      Thank you.

    2. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: And then there is this janitor...

      Late to the party here, but only just found this link and had to comment.

      A humbling read. Thank you for sharing.

  31. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Movie: Breakfast Club

    The Janitor: "I am the eyes and ears of this institution."

    Executives will come and go. Support staff, well they know where the bodies are buried.

  32. scoldog1

    I remember the BOFH once said George was "Alfred to his and the PFY's Batman"/

    Like all good butlers, he gets things done even though you rarely see him and he knows a hell of a lot more about that is going on than you think he does.

  33. frankvw

    Titus Andronicus, no less

    So good to see that the BOFH knows his classics!

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