Thursday, 30 June 2016

Jobs for the kids

It's been one of my paradoxical parenting dilemmas. Allowing my kids to have a childhood where they don't have to grow up too soon in age when they're inevitably exposed to all sorts of ideas, issues and imagery, whilst trying to nurture competent human beings who will be able to look after themselves and find their way in the big wide world.

At their age, I'd already started my first part-time job: serving and clearing up afternoon tea, and laundry wrangling, in an old people's home. At the time it was all about the cash, and I certainly appreciated the value of money more when I'd earned it through my own hard work, but the benefits were wider than that: learning to get along with all sorts of people, time-keeping, responsibility. The sort of thing you roll your eyes at when you're a teenager, but which sound very appealing as qualities you'd want in your children.

These days it seems to harder to come by a small part-time job in your mid-teens. Perhaps it's all the elfin safety and safeguarding that never existed back in the 80s.  So it was a cause for celebration when the 15 year old finally bagged herself a babysitting gig, with others lined up. We took the precaution of re-reading Shirley Hughes' An Evening at Alfie's, in which the capable Maureen MacNally is faced with a burst pipe whilst babysitting Alfie and Annie Rose. Fortunately there were no such mishaps and daughter came back having grown a little in confidence, and happy to be £12 the richer.

Image result for Maureen MacNally babysitting Shirley Hughes
Maureen MacNally mopping up...

Anyone with older kids, I'd love to hear how easy or hard they found it to get work and what sorts of jobs are out there. What does the teenage job career ladder look like? Is it all about the globalised market of the multinational chains these days, or are there alternatives?

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Poppy Love

Recently I've been noticing flower beds and road verges full of poppies on my travels locally. Maybe they're there annually but somehow they have seemed especially splendid this year. 

Perhaps I'm just getting better at waking up and smelling the roses poppies - an art that has been severely tested over the last few days, when there has been so much to ruminate upon.

I have a recollection that poppy seeds were given out to schools and community groups in 2014 as part of the commemorations of the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, maybe some of the poppy beds are the legacy of those seeds? 

Or maybe they could be part of ongoing commemorations; centenary events begin on Friday to remember the one million soldiers who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme, which lasted from July to November in 1916. A battle which typifies our perceptions of WW1 - helpless soldiers and blundering generals. It's a stark reminder of the futility of warring with your neighbours...

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Back in the saddle...

It's always the season for cycling, but especially now during the UK's summer. And it's always the season for blogging, but for me, especially now when things are less busy.

So what's new? The wheels are still turning. Part of our busy-ness has been a new twist in the quest to find a permanent home for Corsham's Community Bike Project, Spindles and Sprockets. It found one, at last! (Read the sorry tale of Spindles' earlier plight, here). Smack, bang in middle of the High Street.

A proper shop. So, one of us has been busy working there part-time alongside his other job - the project has had to morph into a slightly more commercial venture in order to meet the costs of leasing a property.

Today's frugal top tip? Get on yer bike for a cheap journey, cheap exericise and cheap fun. And if your steed is rusty and you need some help to get pedalling again, take yourself and your wheels down to your local friendly bike repairer who'll sort it out for you...

Check out this blog's earlier no-lycra everyday cycling guide here!

And Spindles here!