Daily Prompt: I was a Temp

Back  Garden

They said this was just temporary. Only a few months. I had to find my own temporary solution. They removed my space outside, but only for a summer. Where there was a large table big enough to eat meals, to work on the computer and even room left for a few flowers, it has all had to be reduced because there are changes. But this is only temporary they say, although how long is temporary. This temporary will be until October due to the renovation work on the building where I live.

I was once a temporary in the real sense of the word. We called them Temps in England. I was a shorthand-typist by occupation and worked in the City of London. It was in the good old days when the computer was still a typewriter and if you were lucky if you had an electric computer, as they were usually reserved for the director’s secretaries. However, I had a firm job working for a shipping company in London, near the city. After a year in the same job I decided  to search for something different. I went to an agency and signed on as a temp. This suited me. I worked for the agency, had no paid holidays and my wages were by the hour and notice could also be given by the hour.

Perhaps it might not sound so posiive but the wages were a third more than normal and I never knew where I would be working until the end of the week. The offices where I worked were mainly in the City of London. Once I had a great job in a chartered accountants in a newly built high office block next to the Mansion House. We had a selection of quality biscuits with the coffee in the morning as well as the tea in the afternoon, served in porcelain cups. I was assigned to one of the accountants, a city gent, and they all wore the uniform of the bowler hat and umbrella. It was a great job. I was only there for a couple of weeks (unfortunately) whilst one of the girls was on hoiday.

However not all jobs were perfect. I worked for the warehouse of Thomas Cooks in Farringdon, the british travel agency, but they also did goods transports. It was a terrible place to work, and all the girls, about 8 of us in the office, were temp, because they never found anyone to work there permanently. The office was situated above the canteen kitchens. I never ate there, and from the smell that we were getting all day, I would not have watnted to. Our men were many in the main office, from all parts of the world, and we girls were assigned to four men each. This meant we took their dictation and wrote their letters. If you ran out of work, there was one person that always had something. This was my mistake. I often ran out of work, and helped him with the result that he also had no more correspondence to dictate. It seems this had never happend before.

The next week when I reported to work on Monday morning I had a new list of men to work for. The four top managers of the department. I complained and they did go a little way to change things, but I was probably too good. I stayed there for a complete winter, because I knew I had a sure job throughout the Winter as they would never find anyone wanting to work there otherwise. Temps were usually only fully occupied in Summer because of the holiday season.

I worked in an office for engineering in the city and it was the beginning of the photo copying deivices. They were not yet Xerox style, but a bath with developing liquid. You had to dip the  positive and negative paper into the bath and pull it through somehow and got a copy, but you could not really call it a photo copy. It was a messy job.

I worked in the local government office for social workers typing the social cases, and I learned that not everyone had such happy lives. One woman had a child that was yellow and there were debates going on who the father was, as her husband said it was not his and probably the chinese neighbour.

And so life went on. I picked up my wages in the temp office once a week and eventually gave in my notice. They were a little annoyed as I did not get my new job through their agency.  I told them I had asked a couple of times if they every had anything abroad but they did not, and now I had found a job in Switzerland. That was the end of my temporary working situation, but I loved it this way of work. Almost every week a new adventure and the pay was great. This all happened in 1965.

Daily Prompt: I was a Temp

Good Morning

Renovation 08.05 (23)

Even building sites have their charm against a cloudy sky. I noticed that when the builders leave us in the late afternooon, around 4.30 p.m. and peace reigns once again, the birds return and like to perch on the scaffolding. The three neighbourhood cats (one of them mine) leave their homes and go on an exploratory walk, discovering the changes in the scenery, and life generally returns to normal. We can open our windows again although carefully, as there is always a danger that a fine cloud of styrofoam will be blown in by the wind.

This morning I was again awakened by the sound of drills. However, it seems they are not drills, according to Mr. Swiss, but pneumatic chisels. It is always good to learn something, but a pnematic machine by any other name still sounds the same when being operated. I eventually ventured into the appartment from the bedroom and found closed doors everywhere. I do not like closed doors, there is only me, Mr. Swiss and the cat, so why close the doors. Ah, of course, it was because of the buiding noise. However, whether the doors are closed or not, the noise is still there, although some like to wear ear plugs.  I had things to do in the room with the closed doors, like firing up my iPad with electricity for the day’s supply and plugging in my Kindle – my computer headquarters are in this room with the closed door. The cat that owns me was also not happy, because this room is her bedroom during the morning. However where there are ear plugs there is always a solution for some.

I am sure when I begin my cleaning programme with the vacuum cleaner I will be competition for the various pneumatic appliances.

Renovation 08.05 (12)

Now this was a photographer’s delight, the non plus ultra of photography. Yesterday we said good bye to the last remainders of the blinds. They removed the large sun blind, although it was no longer really possible to lower it as there was scaffolding in the way. There remained two screws which had been incorporated into the concrete when the building was originally constructed and so they had to be cut by an cutting machine. What an opportunity for an action photo, so I took a few, to be sure. Sparks were flying and I was there with my camera. Yesterday morning I was busy cleaning and cooking and could not get to the building site. When I eventually arrived the builder said he had missed me. I told him I had housewife chores to deal with in the meanwhile. Unfortunately I cannot spend all day where the action is, now and again I have to lead a normal life.

Part of my normal life, in the evening, is reading and I have now finished my first book with the American detective Alex Cross by James Patterson “Along Came a Spider”. Mr. Swiss found the film starring Morgan Freeman as the detective and now we have it. He said we must have seen the film at some time, but I do not remember. It was a good book, some interesting twists and turns and I will probably be reading a few more in the Alex Cross series. James Patterson is one of those writers that I enjoy reading.

And now back to reality before I begin to clean the bathroom. I discovered a second lilac tree in the meadow next to my garden yesterday and took a few photos. Makes a change from the daily building site views, and reminds me that that is a nice peaceful world out there as well, with just the sounds of the birds and the bees.

Lilac 08.05 (3)