scribbles tagged ‘Loughborough’

Smoking reflections

Friday, July 13th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Retail manager (1989-1991) aka ‘Saturday girl’

This job helped to top-up my PhD grant while I was studying full time. I was the only employee of an antiques clothes shop. Having a Saturday girl meant that Val, the owner, could have a day off.

My Saturdays were spent ironing, mending and making adjustments to antique clothes, then doing the weekly accounts at the end of the day. We didn’t have a till. We had a metal box with a key. I used a paper pad with a pen and a ruler to list items sold and write and sign receipts.  Despite the overhead of all this writing at the point of sale, cashing up didn’t take long. There weren’t many sales. Look how neat the shop rails are – a sure sign of very few customers!:

MerchandiseIt was fun when we had a customer!

They would see my genuine joy when they came into the tiny shop.  I’d look up from the sewing machine or ironing board, welcome them, offer them a cup of tea, then go back to whatever I was doing – if they clearly wanted to browse alone.

Some people would happily chat about the styles and period clothes they liked, asking questions about the clothes and the business. Some customers asked for jobs – as I had once done. All our few customers stayed a long time browsing. Some customers would travel long distances, over 50 miles, to visit us because of our unique and interesting stock. I like to think our friendly style also helped.

If customers were actually thinking of buying something, and it didn’t fit, I’d fit them for adjustments – pin the clothes – agree a price. I could make the changes on the spot in the shop while they browsed further and drank tea. Lovely. I loved the shop and the job. We had some customers that came in every Saturday, they were more like friends. I’d been a Saturday customer before I got the job.  It was having tea with Val and talking to her about her stock and business that had lead to my getting the job, I’d persuaded Val to employ me.

Cashing upAt 5.15pm Val would roll in to cash up for the week and get the weeks takings to the bank. She’d pour two large glasses of white wine, bring out an ash tray, and light a  cigarette. That’s Val sat infront of the sewing machine waving her fag at me.

With the shop closed I’d do the paper accounts for the weeks takings in the notebook. Not part of my job, but Val said she wasn’t very good at adding-up numbers which was all that I had to do. Easy.

As I counted the cash and checked it against the notes for the week Val would enlighten a 26 year old me with her 36 years of life wisdom. This wisdom mainly involved different ways of taking revenge against the married men she’d had affairs with. They were juicey stories and quite shocking to think she actually did those things. She explained that these men were responsible for ruining her life by lying to her about their intentions to leave their wives, that kind of behaviour needed severe punishment and she delivered it.

I made a couple of mental notes:

  1. Know lovers for who they are, rather than what I want them to be….
  2. Don’t upset Val, she’s capable of pure evil
Smoking reflections
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old local

Sunday, October 9th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

The clientelle of a real ale pub in a midlands town

The pants of the khaki Cargo make an appearance

I wandered in without realising this was a women-free zone. A couple of the locals appear a bit overexcited by the novelty of a woman in the place. They remind me of those small dogs that attach themselves to your ankles.  Kind of cute, if a bit random and inappropriate. Shift workers at a local factory, some ex-students, they boast of thier prison histories, mention that I’ve got  “great pins” and slur other stuff I could barely understand

I’m more than glad when my companions saunter in…

Swan In The Rushes

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land lines

Friday, October 7th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

The telephone pole’s spider silk lightly clings to the nearby houses

Burder street telephone lines

I wonder how long this will last when a substantial swathe of people find it easier to get connected and  manage thier bills using a “Pay as you go” mobile phone – no connection charge, no deposit if you have no credit history….

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Loughborough is full

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

I called 6  hotels, all fully booked, none knew of other local hotels with spaces…

In desperation I discovered that Loughborough had a tourist information centre with a telephone number!  The automated answer machine message told me that the answer machine was ‘full’ – unable to take any more messages

Apparantly, the local University’s “Freshers Week” has filled the town to bursting

A lucky call connected me to a working-mens club, converted into the sort of hotel that has permanent residents. Bargain price. Such a bargain I knew it was seedy before even seeing the place

Which of these hotel services do you think I tried out?Sunshine hotel room charges

I didn’t add any holes in the doors, judging by the holes already there – they come at a discout rate if you bulk-buy:

Sunshine hotel room

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dodgy mums

Monday, January 14th, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

A professional person that has known me for at least 2 years had to sign my passport photograph to verify it was a true likeness. A  Geordie friend  of 21yrs that I met at Loughborough University did the honours. She’s currently a full time mum. It didn’t occur to me, silly me, that full time mum’s don’t count as professionals worthy of verifying identity. Even if they have British passports, clean driving licences, no criminal records, like my friend. IPS rejected her. She’s mightily insulted,  that’s insulted that takes about 90 mins to fully detail . I’ll have to track down a friend that’s currently employed, even retired professionals don’t count because obviously they get unreliable and dishonest once they retire….

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