I like work! I'm a great believer in it. In fact there are times I spend much of the day just looking at work, either indoors or out, I'm ambidextrous that way. Work I say is good for the soul, especially the watching others do it part. I'm very keen on that part. In fact I was hoping to spend much of today doing that very thing, watching others spend their Saturdays working, at the market, cleaning the car, on the farms, anywhere as the sun was shining and the sky was blue.
It didn't go to plan!
Museum Big Boss One (who does not do Saturdays) asked me to be in this morning, 10 am sharp, to meet a couple of women who wished to talk about the Great War for some musical project they were involved with. I was there. I'm like that, scared to refuse. To be there meant missing out on watching folks work but it had crossed my mind I could watch the other museum staff work instead while I chatted. Come ten the women gathered and I locked us in the dim office, I forgot to open the blinds, and offered the material I had prepared and that left out for us by Big Boss One. I should add that for the past couple of days I have been attempting to find info on several dead soldiers for these girls, working until late last night to sort things out for them, even searching the web before seven as I ate my burnt breakfast, and yet not a word of complaint passed my lips. I'm like that. So today, once locked in, I asked what exactly they were looking for.
Women! That's what!
They have decided to do a musical project (in August?) on women, and how the Great War changed their lives and the changes it led to up unto our day. Naturally I found my mind numbing at this point. Everywhere you look the commemoration of ten million dead men, 750,000 of them ours half of who's bodies were never recovered, are centered on what wimmin did during the war! One did enquire as to what the grating sound was, the car park outside I lied and stopped my molars grinding and turned their attention to the work women were doing in this area for the war effort.
The next two hours were spent discussing (talking) the situation. Around a thousand women worked at one factory alone making shell casings, ammunition boxes and lots of money. The soldiers daily rate of pay was one shilling and two pence, around about ten shillings a week and more if he had some particular skill. The girls earned at least a pound a week, sometimes more as they were paid the same as the men. Not only to cut absences through sickness the factory had a surgery and looked after the staff well. Vast numbers of shells were produced for the war this way, cheaper than via the normal manufacturers. The lassies drove lorries, worked machines, wore lipstick and smoked cigarettes. The thought that things were black and white had to be removed from these women, both friendly and efficient clever capable women at that, and no doubt although we only scratched the surface they have some better idea of what they want now.
I wanted sleep!
I had expected ten minutes, half an hour and heard the clock chime twelve before we ended the day. Time for lunch thought I. Naturally Big Boss Two (who does work Saturdays) then smiled, cried and tore at my heartstrings pointing out that someone had not come in, the one who had was off to lunch, she herself (not these are all women!) was busy and had to meet a man (for the presentation) and was very busy. Having run a handkerchief under a tap she dabbed her eyes and pleaded for help. Naturally I said "NO!" as I would miss the football, naturally I was still there an hour later!
At least during this time something good happened. Yes it was a shock but it happened. This chap came in to discuss the war, he was a bit unsure as to what he was after but he did mention his relative who died, Ambrose, the very man I had been researching! This was his great nephew! I mentioned that a woman had sent me a picture and some info but he could not work out who that could be. It turned out to be his wife! This was a lovely man, much fun, and we had a good chat. That really did make my day. A living connection with the name on the memorial, more of this please!
Lunch over, a replacement for me found, I began to head for home. However the man who does the odd jobs on a Saturday needed help with his Butt. The water butt that is, there was a jam and we had to empty this vast amount of water so he could fix it.
I then headed for home, quietly picking up my jacket and sneaking out when no-one was looking.
As I got through the door my arm was grabbed by Big Boss Two who wants me to do it again next Saturday! I said "NO!" and headed for Tesco.
Home in time to miss the start of the football, burn my dinner, eat not just today's but tomorrows also as I was that hungry by now, and then discover three replies to my quest for information regarding dead soldiers! How lovely! So after watching Manchester City defeat Everton (Naismith still has the Rangers habit off falling down for no reason) from my bed, I am not proud, I respond to these with a smile, content with the world, the lovely deep blue sky outside, the gentle music playing in the background, and deciding some work is not as bad as all that and I might have to do all this, or something like it, next Saturday again.