Hi, so this is my blog.
“About me” hmmm, where to begin…
I was born Jan 1st … only kidding, you don’t want to know all that!
I guess I’d say I’m friendly, out-going and I’ve been told I’m funny (ha-ha, not peculiar).
Admittedly, I do have a rather dry sense of humour, and I’ve been known to be a bit sarcastic, but that’s just a “Brit thing”, apparently.
I do try to be nice to people; the old “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” (although sometimes you just want to punch some people, but that’s not allowed, so…)
I give way to other drivers, help out friends in need, donate to charities and can’t abide cruelty to animals, or children.
I’d like to think that I’m going upstairs when I “pop – me – clogs” if there is anything in the hereafter and we don’t just wink out of existence.
I had a happy childhood, always out playing (and being a Tom-boy) either in someone else’s garden, or down at our “den”. It was a little cluster of trees in a valley at the bottom of the farmer’ field, near the canal, but we called it “The Forest”). This was pre-computers, so we made our own entertainment, building rope-swings down at The Forest, or go-karts (from my Dad’s spare wheelchair parts) or rollerskating in the street, or playing football -until I broke my ankle, and I wasn’t allowed to do that any more. We were also obsessed with “races” and used to run around the block timing each other. I don’t know why, it was just something we did.
My Mum, God rest her, taught me that nothing comes for free, giving me jobs to do around the house to earn my pocket money each week. We went “halves” on anything big I wanted for Christmas / Birthdays so I learned the value of things; like a new bike, or a TV for my room, or my first stereo system.
I can picture it now, it was an Amstrad. With a TWIN tape deck and record player and a snazzy graphic equalizer all in red and blue! It was originally £149, but by the time ‘d saved up my half, it had come down to £109 on sale, so I spent the rest of the money on records, and blank c-90’s tapes, so I could record the charts on a Sunday – BONUS! 🙂
I decided I liked this “having my own money” lark, so from age 11 I always had a job. I went and asked a neighbour for a job in his little DIY shop at the weekends, selling odds and ends and nuts and bolts, and fishing stuff (and pints of maggots, bleurgh!) during the course fishing season.
I also had 4 paper-rounds, once I was old enough (you had to be 14); a morning round before school, an evening round after school, a Sunday morning round, and I even delivered the local free newspaper once a week! Then when I turned 16 I was “promoted” and worked in the paper shop itself, marking up the papers and sorting out the bags for the other kids to deliver. Those early mornings were a killer – 5am start and then on to school!
My first proper full-time job was working in a local take-away over the summer serving Fish & Chips, kebabs, burgers pizzas and the like. I started doing lunchtimes, then evenings as well, then weekend nights until 5am, as we were right next to a big nightclub. So I was finally working full time, doing about 50 hours a week. The money was great! 🙂
I went to college to study Travel and Tourism BTEC, and worked in my first pub on my days off and at weekends, working in the kitchen doing pub lunches and bar-food and waitressing when needed.
After completing the 1st year (out of a 2 year course) I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do, so my Dad said I had to “Go out and get a real job”.
I ended up working at Vision Express as a trainee lens technician, but it was only a temporary position for 6 weeks during a promotion they were doing although I was kept on for 3 months, covering staff holidays. After that they just didn’t need me, so I was let go. The Store manager though had put in a word for me at Dolland & Aitchinson’s factory (where he used to be a manager) and I got the job working there, so started within a week of leaving Vision Express. Unfortunately after nearly 2 years they had to make some redundancies, and it was “last in – first out”, so that was me.
Luckily I’d kept my foot in the door at the pub, working weekends, so as I was now 18 I went onto the bar and worked nights and weekends there for a while, but I was looking for something more full time.
I saw an advert in the Job Centre (back in the days when you could GET a job in the Job Centre, not just an appointment to use the computer) for Pontin’s wanting workers for their fast food outlets at the Blackpool site, so I applied and got the job there, working the Summer ’92 season.
There were only 4 of us in our Retail Food Department, and we had 4 outlets, any 3 of which could be open at the same time: a cafe-bar called The Soda Fountain, which did sandwiches, tea & coffee, snacks and milkshakes and slushies, and was open 10 – 4; The Fish Bar, serving fish n chips, pies, pasties, and those awful steamed Westlers hot-dogs and burgers, open 12 -2 and 5 – 9; The Princess Theatre stand, which served crisps, snacks, drinks and chocolate bars and was only really open in the evenings 6 – 11.30, but occasionally during the day if there was something going on in the theatre, like talent shows or whatever, and lastly The Nite Spot Pizza Bar open 10pm until 2am, serving giant pizza and garlic bread by the slice.
LONG hours, but room and board and 3 meals a day were provided, plus your wage. It was only £75 per week, but as I was working so much I didn’t have time to spend it anyway. It was hard work, but it was fun, getting to meet all the different guests.
I got caught by the Camp Manager one evening, in the back of The Fish Bar. There I was, totally oblivious, singing my head off (and boogie-ing) to the radio whilst setting up, with the back door wide open. I just turned around and he was there, with the head of security, listening to me sing!! They were both smiling watching me work. He said they’d heard me from the main pathway – I was mortified!!
He actually asked me though why I hadn’t applied for Bluecoat, and said he’d put me forward for training. It was only a month until the end of the season though, so he said it’d be next year and to re-apply.
After the season ended in November I came home, and it was hard adjusting to being back home, having a curfew (yes at 19!) and treated like a kid again. I was planning to go back the following year, and apply for the Bluecoat position, but my Mum had become ill, and it turned out to be cancer, so I didn’t return. She passed away that July.
Me and my Dad had had a major falling out, and I’d left home (or rather been thrown out) and had a little bedsit, so went back to pub work to support myself. I worked in a few nightclubs and bars, and also applied to do a Trainee Manager course for bar work (the new NVQ) but after a year and completing that, and being promised Assistant Manager at the end of it, the landlord (who was a bit of a prick to be honest) said he was getting another trainee in, so wouldn’t be able to offer me the AM position any more, but would keep me on and offer me what hours he could. I later found out that the trainees’ wages were subsidised by the NVQ course, so he didn’t actually pay us anything. In the end I got sick of the instability of the hours, and wanted something fixed and permanent. So, back to the Job Centre.
I saw an advert for a national fast food company, offering a structured Manager In Training programme, and it turned out to be Domino’s Pizza. I went for an interview with the local store manager, who referred me to the franchise’s Operations Director from their HQ in Nottingham, and after an interview with him I was offered a job.
I loved it working there. It was long hours, but the pay was good and we had a great team. The company was expanding in the UK (this was back in the mid-90’s before Domino’s was such a huge brand over here), so there was scope for advancement.
After 6 months I was transferred to another, busier, store, and that’s where I met my other half – he was the Assistant Manager there. Well, I say I “met” him there, more like got to know him better.
The first time we’d met I was taking a phone call one very hot sunny afternoon. The sun was blazing in through the front window and I was squinting, crouched over the desk, writing down an order, when all of a sudden everything went dark!
I looked up and this Goliath of a bloke was completely filling the doorway, standing there like “Ta-Da!” looming over the counter, blocking out the sun and flashing this big toothy grin. I just kind of blinked at him a few times (I was still on the phone).
He nodded to me, and asked Johnny (the other lad on shift with me) if the boss was in the back, then strode through the store to get some dough for his shop. I was like “Whoa, who was THAT?” LOL.
He came walking back through a few minutes later carrying the BIGGEST stack of trays, said goodbye, and went out to his car. Me and Johnny were looking out for some great big 4×4 or something for him to get into, but he walked over to a Nissan Micra of all things, and we were like “He’s never gonna get in that!” He just opened the door and sort of folded himself into the car.
Years later, the first time I watched The Incredibles and saw Mr Incredible squeeze himself into that little car and sit all bunched up inside it, I roared laughing!!
Anyway, I only really saw him once or twice after that, at training classes and such, so didn’t really get to know him until I transferred stores. And then it took me months of flirting (and him being told by another work-mate) to get him to notice! Totally oblivious!
We eventually got together, and I’m lucky to have married such a wonderful chap. I really couldn’t ask for a better Hubby. He’s a big fella (and I mean BIG – he’s 6ft 10″ !!) but he’s a softy, and he’s just a wee bit obsessive-compulsive when it comes to cleaning (which is a constant source of amusement and entertainment to our friends). And he can cook, although he doesn’t very often because IT’S MY KITCHEN!
After 10 years in that franchise as managers, we opened our own franchise and ran that for 5 years, but after me having a rather nasty car crash on the way home one night (not my fault, I was hit by a drunk driver) which screwed up my back and put me out of action for months, we had to sell the shop as it was too much for him to run that and look after me at home.
Following the crash I was stuck at home, and slowly went into a depression. I put on a lot of weight due to lack of exercise, comfort eating, and some other health issues, and I was diagnosed type II diabetic a few years ago.
We now run an online business (we have stores on Ebay and Etsy) making and selling fabric party bunting, which gets sent all over the world.
Bit of a career change, admittedly, but we’re doing OK and work from home now, so not out in all weathers delivering pizzas.
I still love cooking and feeding people though, and when I get time I’ll post some of my recipes on here.