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Author Topic: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond  (Read 42391 times)

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Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #150 on: September 02, 2015, 18:58:09 »
Cont...
PJ continued to spend two evenings a week, plus occasional weekends, training the lads with the other Officers.  He was so pleased to see a shy, quiet lad, who on the face of it, wouldn't say `boo' to a goose, suddenly blossom and gain not only stature, but confidence in himself. On a few occasions a lad would join and try to cause chaos, but he either gave it up as a bad job and left, or realised that he could gain a lot more and get to travel a bit by conforming.  Sometimes they would go to camp at another area, and I can remember that the Unit had bought a second hand Minibus, and I went along with them and PJ.  It was better than staying home on my own!  At one time they also had their own band and would parade through the town on Carnival day.
 
In the late 70s we had been getting a bit fed up with our next door neighbours.  They were noisy and being an old house we often couldn't sleep when they were having a bath, as it echoed, and they were inclined to shout!  So....we decided to look for another house.  We found one at Halfway, which happened to be a bungalow, and we loved it straight away.  We managed to put in a bid which was accepted, and we managed to find a buyer for ours at the same time.  We didn't have a lot of furniture even though we had been there for 10 years, so we managed to do the move ourselves, with the help of a friend and PJ's cousin who had come for a few months visit from Australia.  We managed with our car and a minibus, and by the end of the day everything was done. Gradually we replaced things and had new carpets etc. and it slowly became a home....our home!   Time moved on and we had a couple of holidays in Yugoslavia.  It was not expensive, and part of the country was really beautiful. We liked exploring and would walk miles around the seashore, which was very unspoilt at this time.

I still worked for the Insurance Service and used to catch a bus to work, until one of the girls who worked there also, use to pick me up in her car. I was always busy work-wise as I ended up being head of Accounts. Being a busy office, there were always people coming and going to take out insurance or similar.  I also did the banking, so that was a walk out every day.  Not that I minded, it was a bit of a break on nice days, but not so good when it snowed!
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #149 on: August 21, 2015, 19:27:12 »
Cont...


After a short break at home, I began to get bored, and decided to look for a part-time job.  My sister worked as a Manageress for Crown (paints & wallpaper) in the town, and they needed someone for a couple of weeks whilst a staff member was on holiday.  Seeing as I had worked in that trade before, she asked if I would like to help out.  I said yes, and it was nice to be busy again, plus it was a bit of pocket money for me!  Whilst I was there, my sister started talking to a lady we both knew, who's brother ran an Insurance Service Office, and they were looking for a part-time typist, and my sister asked if I was interested.  Rather than being bored, I said yes, and ended up being with them until I retired!  I started off part-time, but eventually I progressed to full-time and had a couple of girls working with me.  I was also a guinea-pig when they went over to computers, and subsequently ended up doing the banking and paying the Insurance companies each month.

In the meantime, PJ had several jobs in the Building Trade, and worked his way up to a Site Foreman, which also meant travelling quite a bit as the Company had quite a few building sites spread around. Eventually he was promoted and was in charge of various sites around Kent.  He used to make me laugh with some of the stories of problems the builders had.  One site he went to which was already under way when he got there, looked odd to him.  He checked the plans and discovered that they had started the brickwork the wrong way round.  The front was at the back, and visa-versa!  It all had to be re-done. Lucky for us his job came with a car, which was nice, as it saved us having to fork out.

We had a couple of friends, one of whom used to work in the same solicitors office as me, but they moved away as they had a change of work which took them to Marlowe.  We visited them a couple of times including one Christmas which was nice.  Later they moved back to Kent, so we were able see more of them. One Christmas, we decided to fly to Malta for Christmas with them.  We had flown to Jersey before, but this was quite different.  We had booked an apartment, which was quite nice and we took a bit of food to keep us going.  Christmas Eve we went out to a restaurant for dinner, and our friend said he would have octopus soup.  When the dish arrived and they put it in front of him, there was a tentacle hanging over the rim.  His face was a picture and we couldn't help laughing!  There were quite a lot of lights in the various villages and it was quite pretty.  We decided to go back again, but in the summer.  On another occasion we had a holiday with them in Cornwall.  We had chalets which were quite nice, and the weather was sunny and hot.  PJ sat on the beach too long and that evening he went into shock when we were trying to sleep.  He was very red, and hot, so I got him to drink plenty of water, and after cooling him down with lukewarm water, I covered him in cream.  He was a bit better in the morning, but he'd learnt his lesson, not to sit too long in the sun.  Strangely he was dark , and usually tanned easily without burning, but as I told him,  Cornwall is hotter than Kent! 
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline Lyn L

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #148 on: August 21, 2015, 17:43:48 »
Certainly not boring busyglen  :) I've enjoyed all the stories
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #147 on: August 21, 2015, 15:04:34 »
Thank you Signals99.  :)

This is the first time I have written for about a year, as my time has been taken up with other things.  I agreed to carry on when a couple of other `writers' said they would continue also.

I retired nearly 12 years ago having worked all my life, and having written my late mother's story, I decided to try and do mine which I thought might be boring. We'll see how it goes. :)
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline Signals99

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #146 on: August 21, 2015, 10:16:03 »
Hi just caught up with your story Busyglen, you make a subject that would drive most of us to madness, so very interesting. Are you still working? Or  have you retired, looking forward to the next episode of your life.😀

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #145 on: August 20, 2015, 19:06:49 »
cont...

It was nice to hand back the `heavy' stuff and concentrate on the daily work plus quite a bit of general stuff like ordering stock, and sorting out problems etc.  Most of the daily bookwork was quite easy, but there was still a lot to do with banking, getting bank drafts, and arranging bank transfers of monies for house purchases etc.  I was also given the job of keeping track of stationery stocks and re-ordering whenever necessary.  Whilst this was all going on, the gentleman who had taken on the job of doing the Company books, and also drawing up wills etc., asked why I hadn't gone on to become a Legal Cashier.    I replied that I didn't think I had the knowledge, and that I also didn't think I could find the time to study.  I was told that it was possible to do written exams, showing your ability and knowledge of various subjects.  I still didn't think I was competent enough but was eventually pushed into having a go.  The first part was answering several questions in depth, which took quite a while to assimilate.  Once that has been done, I could choose a subject and write  a short piece on it.  I decided to write about the life of managing an Accounts Office for a firm of Solicitors, which after all, was what I was actually doing.  I set out all of the rules etc. needed for banking and also the ordering of stock, plus keeping the daily books up to date, and methods used for transferring money between banks and other solicitors.  I finished in a bit of a panic, as it had taken me a while to work it all out.  Nevertheless, when I finally received the results, I had passed with distinction! Eventually I became a FILC.....a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Cashiers....How I will never know, as I thought I had `fluffed it'. 
So, I came down to earth, and continued working hard. 

Later, a part-time lady was brought in to help with some of the day to day work, which relieved me to get on with other jobs which included keeping all of the stationary up to date, and organising typewriters to be repaired where necessary.  As well as manual, they had moved on to electric typewriters by this time, and although they were much quicker, they often seemed to cough up a fault.  The girls used to complain if it couldn't be sorted there and then, and they had to go back to a manual whilst it was repaired.
A year or so passed, and the Legal Executive who was head of the Accounts Department, and who also did Wills and Probate, announced that he was leaving the next month.  It was a bit of a shock, and I was advised that he would be replaced eventually.  Days and months passed, and I found myself taking on more work, until one day the Senior Partner came in to my office in a bad mood.  He asked why I had done a certain thing, and I replied that he had told me to.  He hotly denied it, and told me to get it sorted!  I was furious, but did what he asked, and then went and left the information on his desk.  When I got home that evening, I told PJ that I had had enough and was going to give my notice in.  I was doing more work than ever, and even though I had been given a rise, it was not what I wanted.  He said go ahead, as he had a good job by this time and we could manage ok. So the next day, I handed my notice in to the other Partner, who dealt with the staff.
At the end of the day, he came into my room and said that he had not handed it in to the Senior partner, as he wanted to give me time to change my mind.  I was adamant that I wanted to leave, and so he went ahead and told the boss, who sulked for days and gave me a wide berth.  Eventually he came and spoke to me and told me that he was sorry I had decided to leave, as he didn't want me to go.  I told him that I had been there over 10 years altogether, and felt I needed a break.

 At the end of the month, I left, and was treated to a lunch with the senior staff, and left on good terms.   
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #144 on: August 12, 2014, 15:29:42 »
cont...

After I had been at Smith's for about nine months, I received a call from the Solicitors asking if I could help them out by taking over the accounts again, as the gentleman who had taken over, had made such a mess of everything, and had left.  I was a bit reluctant to go back again but in the end I said I would help out until they found another Legal Cashier, and duly gave notice to Mr. Smith.  Actually, I had been getting a bit bored over the last month or so, and the chance of something to get my brain going again, was quite welcome.

Thus I found myself in Trinity Road again in a different office, as they had acquired another building.  I was quite shocked when I looked at the books, as they were a complete mess!  I started off going back to the beginning of the year which was the only place I knew that would be correct.  From there I had to re-construct several months all over again! There was someone to help me, which was great and the lady had managed to get the daily banking into order.  As the rules are very strict in Solicitors Accounts, the only way I could sort everything was to set a new set of books up along the side of the ones that were incorrect. Each day had to be reconciled with the bank, and all cheques entered on the drawn day.  Gradually I was able to sort out the errors, and eventually I had a balanced and reconciled set of books ready to be scrutinised when necessary.  It wasn't just the Clients account though, the Office account was also a mess where the man had tried to reconcile the books with the opening balances and didn't know which side they went on.  I guess he thought it would be a doddle, but unfortunately for him it was more complex than he imagined.  If I hadn't had the training in that office in the first place, I would never have taken it on, as, believe me or not, I have always hated figures!!  But then again, I also hate being beaten, if I can find a way to sort a problem.

After everything was sorted I was asked if I would go to a Seminar and Computer exhibition in London, which was quite a shock!  I'd never been to London on my own before, but not wishing to appear a wimp, I agreed.  I was asked to see what Computers were around which would assist the Solicitors business, as at that time, computers were relatively new. So, off I trotted!
I found my way around the underground, and eventually pitched up at the right place.  I got chatting to a couple of girls and we pooled our knowledge and information in order to see what models would be helpful.  We had lots of leaflets thrown at us, and I tried out several machines, but at that time, I couldn't see anything that would be of help to us.  There were several ideas for normal office work, but not, as far as I could see, suitable for accounts.  I was advised that they were hoping to set up an accounts package shortly, and gave me details.  By the time I left to catch the train, my head was buzzing with all of the information, and my bag was full of leaflets!  I reported back the next morning and it was agreed that it would need several different seminars and exhibitions to find something which would suit the firm.
 
Shortly after this, I was advised that they had found an Accounts Legal Executive, who was coming to join the firm, which would relieve me from a lot of pressure.  I was asked if I would continue to work in the accounts office, as it would allow them to take on more accounts work.  I thought about it, and talked it over with PJ, and he told me to do whatever made me happiest.  As long as I wasn't being exploited, and enjoyed the job, then go for it.  Thus started another new spell where I also managed to obtain letters after my name!   
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #143 on: August 09, 2014, 16:14:10 »
Cont...

On the Monday, we both prepared to go back to work, and for me it posed a bit of a problem!  Having been an excellent cook all her life, my mother could serve up dishes from nothing, and I had not even begun to wonder what I was going to cook (or indeed more importantly, IF I could cook)!! The only times I had cooked anything before was when my mother went on holiday, after my father had died, and I muddled through with warming a pie, and cooking potatoes and some vegetables.  So we discussed what to have when we had gone shopping for groceries after our return from Blackpool.  We had been given a nice set of Pyrex dishes, and one was suitable to put in the oven to slow cook something.  So...I put two chops in it and covered it and put it on (what I thought was a low gas) and after preparing the vegetables, left them ready to cook when we got home.   When I got home a few minutes after PJ there was a sort of haze in the kitchen!!  I'd left the gas a bit too high, and the chops had burnt and the dish had cracked in the heat!!  Oops!  Lesson No. 1!  We managed with the vegetables and made up for the lack of food when we got home after work!    Gradually I sorted myself out and between the two of us we managed quite well, and a bit later I was inviting friends to come for a meal. 

I had to get used to signing my new name, not only at work, but on cheques as well, and occasionally I slipped up, but like most things, it soon became second nature.  To start with, it took a while to organise my days, as PJ was out two evenings, and occasionally three, and sometimes we were both out on a Saturday or Sunday if it was for a function that related to the organisation he belonged to. Slowly, we began to buy bits of new furniture and decorate, and eventually we were able to put in a new bathroom, which was originally the coal-shed in the garden.  It was to be ten years before we were able to move to a better property, which was quieter (no buses roaring past) and a nice garden. Unfortunately, it meant I had to catch the bus to work then which was a bit of a pain as I was used to just popping up the road! But back to the earlier days.

Life carried on as usual, and eventually PJ was offered a new job with another firm.  It meant more money, and also it would give me the chance to have a break from work.  I'd been working full time ever since I left school, and I was now in my early 30's.  So, I was persuaded to give in my notice, and it was decided that I would learn to drive.  I filled in the forms and was quite looking forward to being independent, once I had passed the test. However......before I had the chance to book a lesson, PJ came home with the news that the firm he was working for, had just gone bust!!  "POP!" all my dreams came crashing down!

So - I started hunting for another job, and eventually I found a part-time job as a proof-reader, at Smith's Printers in Bluetown.  The money wasn't great, but it would certainly help whilst PJ found another job.  I quite enjoyed the job, even though it was reading and correcting copy, and shared the job with a young girl, and sometimes with the secretary.  Obviously I needed to be able to spell, and some words I had never heard of, so had to check them out, but on the whole I didn't have a problem.  However, one day I mis-read the information on a label, which only had one letter in the middle, and I had checked it as having two!  There were several boxes of these, and Mr Smith was furious that he would have to print them all again!  I can't for the life of me remember what the word was, but it was something that could be spelt either way, and I picked the wrong one!!  After that, I always got things double checked if I was unsure.  And so, I settled in and PJ soon obtained another job, which although he had to travel, he was given a company car, and the salary was more than he'd had before.  We were slowly heading in the right direction.
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #142 on: June 21, 2014, 19:11:44 »
Thank you for your kind words Desbrow.  It's strange but I don't start out setting the plot and sort out in my mind what is next, I just think of what happened next in my life and carry on!   I automatically start writing in the period I am talking about and sometimes when I am reading it back, I hardly remember writing it, as I see everything in picture form.  Weird!

I also have read Helen Forrester's books and enjoyed them.  :)
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Offline Desbrow

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #141 on: June 20, 2014, 18:30:23 »
Another great entry busyglen.  You have a fine knack of interweaving both personal and social history in the small details you include (e.g. white paper until you could afford some carpet).  Reading these posts I'm reminded of Helen Forrester's books on growing up in pre-WWII Liverpool that start with 'Twopence to Cross the Mersey'.  It's been a while since I read them but I recall they captured both a life and an era in a similar manner.  Your description of the wedding preparations certainly contrasts with the "production numbers" some feel they have to put on these days!

Minsterboy

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #140 on: June 20, 2014, 14:38:43 »
OK busyglen, fair enough, just me being nosey.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #139 on: June 20, 2014, 14:02:48 »
Curious to know where this first house of your's was busyglen, was it in Sheerness.

Yes it was in Sheerness, Minsterboy, a small terrace, but I prefer not to say where at present.  :)
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Minsterboy

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #138 on: June 20, 2014, 12:38:51 »
Curious to know where this first house of your's was busyglen, was it in Sheerness.

John38

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #137 on: June 20, 2014, 12:07:07 »
Really good read, really enjoyable.

Offline ann

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #136 on: June 20, 2014, 10:59:31 »
Totally agree.  If you could not afford something you went without, and saved up.  Made you appreciate things so much more.  I too was given lots of secondhand furniture by relatives keen to help out.

 

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