Thursday, 28 March 2013

Walking the dog

Spring is still slow but there are early signs! We have had a few warmer days but interspersed with days of rain and cooler spells. However, signs of life are emerging; the grass is growing and wild flowers are springing up in the meadows.

As usual I didn't have my decent camera with me when I took the dog for a walk. I only had my mobile phone, and because the sun was shining on the screen I couldn't really see what I was doing. Bearing those things in mind, I was quite pleased with the results.

First flowers

Walking the dog

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Spring is slow to arrive this year

It is the beginning of our third year here and the coldest one so far. The dry spell ended and January and February were wet months. The lake has gone from being a puddle to completely full and the river that flows into it has burst it's banks a couple of times. Our last walk around there was a couple of weeks ago and it was full to the brim. The weather was also cold and sunny.

It's hard to believe that we walked across this bit of the lake back in October.

Despite the sun, it has been cold and so we are only seeing the first signs of blossom and green shoots. Actually we aren't complaining as once the weather warms up we will be back into the cycle of cutting crass, pulling weeds, and generally trying to keep on top of the green bits.

The last few mornings have been frost free but the cold is set to return for (hopefully) it's last burst before spring. There is snow in the north of France and the South of England and it is heading this way. It reminds me of the first time I came down here in one Easter and we were caught in snow on the drive down.

We have been very busy with various projects for other people, so have made little progress on our own project. At those times I have to remind myself that we are living here and not commuting back and forth from London to Eastbourne (and spending 12 hours stuck in the snow)!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Women's work:Sepia Saturday 166

This is a photo from my mother's collection and is of her and her colleagues from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It was sometime in the late 1950s and the Ministry was based in prefabricated buildings in Stanmore, Middlesex. My mother was a shorthand typist.
Work Colleagues Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries 1956-7

Lovely's mum
This is her on the front row, bottom right. My mother worked there until I was born. I think she worked in the typing pool, but then from time to time she worked specifically for some of the Chief Executives. She told us one story, almost as a warning of the apparent dangers for women in the workplace. Apparently one of the CEOs had a bit of a reputation and when his regular secretary was away the temps would last a day or so and then run out of the office in tears. One day mum was assigned to his office. All was going well but after a couple of days he asked her to go over to the low table across the room and look up a phone number for him. As she lent over he jumped on her back and asked her to carry him across the room! She was shocked but kept her cool, stood up quickly, dislodging him and turned to face him. From that moment on she never turned her back on him. She told us he was extremely high up in the Civil Service but she would never reveal his name, even years later. How times change! Women then were expected to just put up with this type of behaviour and manage it as best they could. I have to say her tips stood me in good stead in my working life, as I certainly came across my share of slimeballs!

My mother worked in various secretarial posts. For a long time she worked for an accountant who did the accounts for the cake factory next door. She got me a summer job in the factory one year and my job was making cardboard boxes! I got very fast at it and was then told I was too fast and if I didn't slow down they would make the rest of the production line work faster. I slowed myself down by readiing the paper at the same time as making the boxes.

Mum's last job was at the Commonwealth Development Corporation.  While she was there she met Prince Charles!

Lovely's mum meets Prince Charles