Sunday, 12 April 2009

Mother's tales

Today was spent visiting my mother and she was in good form. She is properly settled into her apartment now and seems to enjoy having other people nearby to the extent that it has given her the confidence to get out and about when she can. She is certainly slow and unsteady on her feet and I can understand her reluctance to walk what for her seems a long distance when it is all up hill. This is made worse by the fact that the pavements and kerbs on her route are broken, uneven and there are no suitable places to cross the street. I was going to take some photos of her trying to get around and send it in to the local council only I ran out of memory on my camera. It will have to wait until my next visit. We had a nice meal in the local curry house. Perhaps a strange choice for an Easter Sunday but I haven't had curry for ages and my mother also enjoys it from time to time. We walked up and back and then sat to rest for a while in her flat.

My mother spent most of her life as a secretary to various men. She started in the civil service and then worked for an accountant, finishing off in a big charitable organisation. She was able to take shorthand, was a touch typist and was also involved in organising the day to day life of her boss. I suppose we would now call her a Personal Assistant. She worked before the days of Internet, emails and computers when the 'boss' never wrote or composed anything himself and at best would dictate a letter for her to edit and type and present for signing. She watched the story of the senior government official who had to quit because he sent some ill advised email with some amusement.

"I thought to myself.. in my day if you had a good secretary this wouldn't have happened. We all worked for these men who were always apt to do stupid things, because after all, they are men! Your job as a secretary was to watch out for them, and if they looked like they were about to do something stupid you tactfully asked them if they were really sure they wanted to send that letter or note and pointed out what might happen if they did"

Nowadays of course once you press the SEND button the damage has been done and can't be undone, you type your own letters, and if you have a secretary and if he or she is bright enough to work out that you are about to be a bit of an ar*e then they would immediately send a copy of the email to the local tabloid journalist and take the cash reward!

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