Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Where’s the toilets please?

My first day in my new job was easy. Too easy. I’m hoping it will become more challenging because my brain needs more stimulus. And the annoying part of not having enough stimulus is then I am thinking I could be at home writing a novel instead of having to work ridiculously long hours in retail.

A job in publishing would do. I don’t have any formal publishing qualications but I’ve edited several books for other authors now and project managed my own three to completion. But, as always, age is big barrier even if you have transferable skills. 

In the meantime, I’ll have to keep persuading folks out of their cash for luxury goods they don’t really need! Or directing them to the toilets which seems to come with the territory. I think I did about ten requests for the loos yesterday, as well as one for vacuum cleaners, one for headphones, one for incense stickers, one for Christening presents, one for watches, one for sweets, several for cafes and god knows how many else. The best one was from a lovely lady from New York and her daughter who asked for somewhere to eat when I directed to them to the nearby cafes the answer came back “Oh I mean a British pub. We want to have the British Pub Experience!”  This necessatated the use of Trip Advisor, Google maps and so on. And then to finish off our conversation, directions to the loo. And for my own amusement I ran through all the different terminologies for going to loo in the UK including “spending a penny” which they thought highly amusing.

Of course the best part of working retail is you get to meet some lovely people. Of course you do get meet a few who should be shot on sight but, for the main part, most people are just lovely.

So I have to keep my brain active so today I have set myself a challenge:I want to turn at least one of the loo requests into a sale from my counter. I figure it’s a tough challenge as, talking from my own experience, if I want to go to the loo, nothing will stop me. Not even a six-foot wall and barbed wire.

I think I’ll focus on the middle aged men today. My theory behind this is - they haven’t had kids so they won’t have the weak bladders and bowels that us ladies do but they won’t be too old so they’ve encountered prostate problems. Secondly, if they’re mature they might have more cash to burn. Thirdly, flirting is a proven sales technique and this is something I am uncommonly good at.

Just call me a sales slut.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Monday, February 19, 2018


On Friday I was offered a temporary job until May 31st in London. The £522 trainfare per month is going to eat into my salary but it’s a job and gives me breathing space.

The last few weeks have been hell. Some days I have felt physically sick knowing that in a few weeks time I would not be able to pay the bills. £72.00 a week job seekers allowance doesn’t go far. There were even a couple of days I had to force myself to get out of bed. The best I could manage was to scroll through the job sites and submit my CV and, at times, that took all my willpower. I had 18 days out of work but, for the main part, was unable to do anything but the barest of essentials.

These are classic symptoms of anxiety and depression. Fortunately, I have enough self-awareness and am well-read enough to be proactive in preventing myself slip any further. Chiefly, I contacted my friends, told them how I was feeling and asked them to come round and give me some support. Luckily, I have many kind and wonderful friends who I have been open with about the problems I am facing. They have been awesome.

How awful it must be to be depressed and anxious and have no friends to confide in. To feel isolated.

So I have made it through yet another crisis. Just. It has not been easy. Tomorrow I start my new job and hope it creates some other opportunities before the end of May.

And when I get home I am going to start building my new blog. And begin a new novel.

I don’t give up easily.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Silence is not always Golden and the #Metoo campaign

Abuse comes in many forms.

I've always been extremely discreet about my private life on this blog. However, with the #metoo campaign still gathering momentum I am reviewing whether I should stay silent much longer.

Being discreet, protecting my children, hasn't made my husband more cooperative or communicative. If anything staying silent allows him to keep viewing me as a doormat. If I didn't have children there is no way I would put up with the crap I have done. I would have been gone like the wind.

Over the last few days, there are been more revelations about abuse by Oxfam workers. It seems some workers were dismissed for their abusive and exploitative behaviour and others were given the chance to jump ship.

The sexual abuse of women and children has been rife in the news for a good few years now. How disheartening to find out that it exists even amongst the charity sector. However, perhaps it is not surprising given that no profession where a man holds power, whether it as a priest, politician, TV presenter, film producer, football coach, in the office or in the home, abuse of women and children is everywhere.


I'm fortunate I know some good, kind and responsible men. Otherwise, it would be easy to become disillusioned entirely with the male species.  But centuries of male entitlement and privilege doesn't disappear overnight. It is important that women speak out. We are half the world's population and yet frankly the vast majority of us are still getting a shit deal.

So as my mind goes over and over the problems I face, I have decided I am going to add my voice to the #metoo campaign.

I am ever mindful of my children’s well-being so it is going to be an anonymous blog. It is unfortunate as I would rather be me, but I will be better able to articulate my experiences this way.

Writing is my therapy. I am now at a stage where I face so many problems, both short term and long term, if I do not do something proactive to help myself reduce the stress then I will probably implode.

So writing therapy it is. I will still be writing here of course. This is my writing home. Hopefully, if I can get rid of my anxiety elsewhere this blog will be a much happier place!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mission Impossible

The last few years have definitely felt like a mission impossible for me. And it's not looking like its going to get much easier soon. However, at least I've got something to look forward to.

Tom's new movie!

Awesome. He may well be nuts but most us are in our own way ( I think I qualify) and he makes a darn good movie.

Sadly, I've still got to wait until July. Bah humbug.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Student Dilemma

I am currently in the social area of a large British university as Master Ben is on a day course. It is filled with chairs and tables and lots of plug sockets. It is a kind of social work place for the students with lots of nooks and crannies and even some private booths with large computer screens.

I don’t recall anything like this in my day at Uni. There was a bar of course and a library but not really a social workplace.

It’s a kind of relaxed place where you can meet your fellow students or lecturers for informal sessions or to work.

There is also a cafe. So I set myself up to apply for jobs all day in a suitable spot. However, to my huge disappointment I discovered I’d forgotten the lead to my PC (my battery only lasts an hour at most) which would mean using my iPad which is very difficult for anything remotely complex like form-filling. Writing this blog is also very difficult as the IPad screen won’t scroll down in tandem with the Blogger screen.

So I decided to soothe my frustration with a hot drink from the cafe.

My medium latte cost £2.10.

That is only slightly less than the cost in London or in my former place of work which was the
second most popular tourist destination in the UK which was obviously doing it’s best to rip off the customers.

Now I understand about making profit. But come on - £2.10 to students! It’s no wonder they all leaving college with huge debts. What a rip off.

Looking around me here, the only person drinking a non- purchased coffee is a woman about my age who has brought her’s in a flask. She’s either a mature student or a lecturer. But obviously has some common sense because if you add up a few £2.10 coffees every week, maybe lunch and a cookie or two that ends up a lot of cash over a month for your social gathering/chat about your last lecture.

There was none of this in my day. Work was in the library or in your room. I never worked with
others unless it was in an official tutorial and then we didn’t stop for coffee and biscuits. We just got on with it. And if you wanted to socialise in the day you did it in your room with an instant coffee made from a cheap jar of Tesco’s home brand coffee. And cheap biscuits not luxurious cookies.

Okay, so I am kinda furious the students are being ripped off but I’m kinda furious with them too. It’s all too cushy and easy with their comfy working areas, coffees, computers and vast array of technology to do their research. Kindles and Ipads to download books and cut and paste their notes in a minute or two.

I’d like to see some of them try writing a ten-page essay long-hand and then rewrite it three more times because there’s too many typos. And go the bloody library and read a book without needing an endless supply of £2.10 coffees.

In fact, if I was a student here I would be boycotting the cafe with the other students and driving the prices down to an acceptable level.

Students are always moaning about their lot in the UK. Well I say get off your butts and your iPhones and put down your expensive coffees and maybe you’d leave uni with a lot less debt and a better work ethic.

Rant over. Coming up next - a scientific pie chart on the male species.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Practical Advice

Since I have some time on my hands I've come up with some practical advice to anyone struggling in a relationship. I've put a lot of thought into it as you will see. Here it is:

As soon as your partner starts treating you like shit, dump them. It will not get better. 

Boy, I think I could have a career in this counselling business! I've managed to sum up in two lines what it takes most self-help authors an entire book!

Maybe I could write a book entitled Fifty Ways to Leave Your Spouse.

This would consist of 48 repeated lines of:

As soon as your partner starts treating you like shit, dump them. It will not get better.

Followed by:

Take all their credit cards. And slash their trousers discreetly in the crotch area so they don't realise until they're on The Tube and being arrested for indecent exposure.

And finally...

And, most importantly, reverse into their precious car as you back out of the driveway. (At high speed.)

Hey, I'm really good at this practical advice! It's kinda flowing naturally despite the fact I did none of these things myself! They say people learn from experience. And I've had a lot of that. Maybe I could also be an agony aunt? I think a top spot on the Guardian would suit me. God knows that paper could do with a little humour. Maybe when I back on form I'll send in a trial marital advice column.

On a more serious note, over the weekend I watched Suffragette with Meryl Streep as Emily Pankhurst. It stirred up a lot of emotions. My overriding thought was that whilst women may have the vote now, we still have a very long way to go towards true equality in the workplace, in the home, in marriage, in politics and in opportunities. Only for a few lucky women is equality the real deal. And as for sexual liberation - well I strongly doubt that too. But it suits some men to let us think we are sexually liberated as then it so much easier to abuse us.

I thank those early suffragettes for paving the way. It has given us women voices. And when I am finally in control of my life, I will unleash my voice again.

The sequel to The Changing Room has been on hold for a long time but soon it will back in progress.I have more essential things to do whilst I am unemployed but when those are done, it will time for some serious writing to commence. It will be some time yet before it is finished but when it is, get ready for more a lot more laughter and a lot more tears.

This voice is only just breaking out.

Ps. If anyone wants to send me some questions for a trial marital advice column please do!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Looking forwards

Since I have more time on my hands I have decided I shall write a little.

Today has been a really tough day. I didn’t sleep last night as I am feeling anxious and was bitterly disappointed at not getting the job I interviewed for yesterday. Had I got the role it would be a huge game-changer for me and my boys.

But there’s no point thinking it over too much - that’s easier said than done of course so today has been a very tough day as I’ve tried to kick myself out of a negative mindset.

So I’ve spent numerous hours wading through job sites looking for jobs that might fit. I’m trying to find one on an equivalent pay or more as taking a hit on the salary scale would be a major setback. I’ve bookmarked some recruitment consultants to pursue in the next few days.

What else? I spent 40 minutes on the phone with a prearranged interview for a role in London. I believe it went very well but, at the end of the day, you never know who else you’re up against. I’ve already taken one test for this position and if I get to the next stage there will be two more face to face interviews and two more tests including a 4 hour on the job trial. It’s a great job so I don’t mind how many hoops I have to jump through, I just hope my jumping is high enough.

I texted the recruitment specialist at a National retailer that I have already had a conversation with about ten days ago and who are interested in me. At that point they didn’t have a suitable vacancy for
me as I’m after a managerial role within an hour’s commute and a reasonable salary. I reminded her
that I’m still looking and I can take up an appointment with immediate effect due to the redundancy.

I made application for a deputy manager’s position for a store in London. It was a job I could most
defintely do. I was rejected in the afternoon. Disappointing but at least I got a response and a timely one at that.

I followed up an application on the Internet I made on the 12th January for a job in the locality with a personal email as I’d not had any response. I’ve still not had any response although I see the firm is still advertising.....

I’ve started a new job application on the web for a library role. It’s not enough pay but I might be in with a chance so I’ve decided to go for it anyway as at least I’d enjoy it. The unfortunate thing is my CV is now geared to a retail management role so I need to tweak it to add back in some of my publishing endeavours which, theoretically, should be relevant.

So I made a few steps forwards but not enough. It’s been a tough day. I am frankly used to rejection now and my skin is getting thicker all the time. I’ve had two meetings with shop managers in the last few weeks and we seemed to get on very well - one even wanted me to come back later in the day to
see his area manager who was in the locality and said he’d text me a time after he’d spoken to him. I
spent the afternoon researching the company ready for an interrogation and then... radio silence. Nothing.

This is what it is like being a fifty-plus woman trying to get a job. It is bloody gruelling.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to meet a friend for a coffee as I need some friend therapy. Hopefully she won’t want to throttle me when I relate my recent experiences and moan for England.

Maybe we’ll chat about Tom Cruise instead. I haven’t told a Tom joke in a while. Not even a small one. Hmm. I think that needs rectifying.

My Nominees for the US and UK Elections and Other Waffle

It's the early hours of the morning, and I have had a large gin... Late-night alcohol is always a good recipe for writing gibberish. And...