Like most people I’ve done loads of different jobs, while I was at school, while I was a student, between other jobs…
My first job was delivering papers; I was up at six every morning and did my paper round before cycling to the swimming pool for an hour’s training before cycling on to school. How fit I must have been when I was a teenager! I then had a Saturday job going round collecting money from the people I delivered papers to… I can’t imagine a kid being allowed to do that these days!
When we moved to the west country, I had a variety of jobs, working in a shoe shop which I loathed and hated, working as a waitress in a café, then working as first a chambermaid then a waitress in a big hotel on the seafront. I really enjoyed waitressing, loved meeting the different customers, and loved working with the other waiters and waitresses, as well as seeing the inside of a professional kitchen. I sometimes wonder whether I should have gone into what is now called the hospitality industry, because I really enjoyed working in the hotel (although being a chambermaid was a bit gruesome in those days – if I say that none of the rooms were en-suite, and they had chamber pots under the beds… then I think you can work it out!)
I also had a summer job strawberry picking; the best strawberries are grown in Cheddar and my mum, sister and friend went and picked them one summer. I was the slowest picker you can imagine, not because I was eating them, I was just very, very slow… in the end the farmer moved me to the packing shed!
While I was a student there were not as many part-time jobs about, so I just worked in the hotel when I went home in the holidays. Between leaving the polytechnic and getting my first proper job in the civil service, I worked for a charity shop; two other girls and I drove a big van down to Devon and Hampshire and drove round collecting bags of charity donations of clothes and bric-a-brac. we stayed in guest houses and were given money for meals… again, can you imagine it now? I was twenty-one, Vanessa was nineteen, and the other girl whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, was eighteen.
I worked in the civil service for nine awful, boring, ghastly months and then got a job at Manchester Airport which I absolutely loved. I returned to college to do a teaching certificate, and got a part-time job working in a pickling factory… For the first hour every morning we all just wept with the smell of the onions, my Indian friend Prem had black streaks from her kohl running down her cheeks, then we got used to the smell… until the next morning. Each night I had to wash all my clothes, even my underwear, and shower and wash my hair. I didn’t dislike the job, I much preferred it to working in the shoe shop!
Then I went into teaching… and that was it for temporary jobs, until I left to have my children; then i did a few different stints on supply teaching, including working in an infants and nursery school… I really struggled with that, I’m much better with sixteen-year-olds! Then I got a temporary job working in a PRU, a pupil referral unit… a temporary job which lasted fourteen months, until i got a permanent job working in a different PRU!
However, none of my jobs ever involved my dressing up as a noodle pot: