Posts Tagged ‘seaside’

Yes, it did snow

December 18, 2009


In my experience, the weather forecasters don’t always get it right, and I always take their predictions with a grain or two of salt. I find the easiest way to tell what’s happening weather-wise is to stick your head out of the window and look up.

So when snow was forecast for our region, I was highly sceptical (too early in the season) and expected a few flakes around midnight to be the end of it.

I first noticed there was something different going on outside the window at about 9 p.m. And sure enough there was quite a shower of snowflakes whizzing past being driven by a very strong wind.

Oh, it’s too light, it’ll never “settle” – that’s one of the first new word I learned on arrival in England. Suddenly I am the big expert on snow, having been brought up in a country where winters last about 3 weeks maximum and snow is seldom seen.

But a few hours later, the scene was entirely different, and late night revellers, caught by surprise where laughing, shouting and screaming, sliding, throwing snowballs, taking photos of one another and being generally merry.

The snow took late night revellers by surprise

This morning it was still snowing! What a lovely surprise. As soon as it was light I dressed warmly, and armed with my camera, made for my the beach. It was very slippery underfoot, and I found my feet sliding out from me on a number of occasions. I learnt to tread on virgin snow, that made the going much firmer.


The park

The nearby park was a picture, a couple walking their dog which was thoroughly enjoying the novelty of bounding through snow to inspect a snowman.

Views from the pier were superb, and there were a few of us taking advantage of the photo opportunities.

Someone had even built a snowman sitting on a bench, with a plastic spoon for a pipe.

And there was no fishing today.

Home to a lovely hot cup of coffee and a biscuit (or two).


As the day wore on, and a weak sun made an appearance, the snow turned to a browny-grey slush, most unattractive to look at. Transport was disrupted, trains delayed, cars sliding all over the roads, Gatwick airport closed for a while, people started to get grumpy.

I had a doctor’s appointment, and the ramp from the pavement up to the surgery was slick with compacted snow that had turned to ice. Most of the complaints from those in the waiting room were about the lack of gritting and/or salt, their original aches and pains forgotten in their annoyance.

Ah well, the novelty is over, and so is the snow it seems. Perhaps there will be more in January or February – life at the coast continues.


On Graphic Design

November 12, 2009


A blustery autumn day - the pier at high tide

Looking for food inspiration, I was browsing through an old recipe book produced about 30 years ago by a then-colleague. I remembered the entire book had been produced on an IBM electronic composer, way before the days of computers. There was no spell check, and different fonts were on separate “golf balls” that had to be clipped in and out by hand,
We used Letraset for headings, the sheets kept in huge folders separated into the different typestyles (didn’t call them fonts in those days), and in the different sizes. Sometimes, in the middle of a job, we would run out of particular letters e.g. capital R, and have to make them up using other letters! Sometimes an entire wedding invitation would be made up in Letraset if the customer wanted a fancy script.

Pictures, photos and graphics were supplied as “bromides”, neatly trimmed and pasted down with rubber cement aka cow gum, a great substance that allowed you to move the artwork around until you found the right spot.

My colleague was a marvel. She could draw up the artwork for an entire business form – e.g. invoice, order form or statement, ruling all the lines with a Rotring drawing pen and ink – all, perfectly spaced, her neat corners were a sight to behold.

The day my boss decided to go computerised was like all our Christmases and birthdays at once. CorelDraw! Wow, what a boon! Suddenly, instead of being artists, we were computer operators, half the work was being done for us. Spell-check, hooray! Downloadable fonts at our fingertips – woopee! Scan in the graphics, resize them and drop them in where you want – what a doddle!

Aah, anyone remember those days?

On being made redundant

November 10, 2009
Good morning! Thank you for visiting … I’m Chamomile, just call me Cam … here you’ll find the views, ramblings, rants and inspiring philosophies of an …. Oh let’s just say I’m a lady of certain years! Hmmm, that’s already two exclamation marks, but there you go, I tend to get over-excited sometimes.

You’ll notice I almost said I was an elderly woman. So, I’m in my early sixties, look it but don’t feel it, more of that later. I seem to have ended up as that old cliché, the dear old lady living alone with two cats. How did I get here? That’s something I ask myself almost every day.


Oh what a beautiful morning!

I have worked hard all my life, throughout my pregnancies, returning to work a few weeks after the birth of my children (at that time in South Africa there was no financial infrastructure to support the incubators of the countries future), because I was not financially savvy and seemed to be perpetually short of money.

Divorced and selling up in South Africa in order to return to my birthplace, I found myself once more virtually penniless, with no property and a few possessions. So it was back to work … until last December when I became a statistic, one of the thousands who were made redundant in the economic crash. Yes, our employers ticked all the boxes, the consultations, what do you think we can do to save the company … we saw the writing on the wall but we thought it was written in chalk and could be erased. Then, on Wednesday we were told we were to close on Friday, not really time to say goodbye.

What is that like? Who can describe the feeling? We will each have our own version. I hated that word “redundant”, with it’s connotations of being tossed on the scrap-heap, of no further use, we don’t want you any more thank you very much here’s your money now go don’t darken our doorstep. So here you are, unexpectedly forced into retirement, suddenly it’s upon you when you didn’t plan it this early in life. I always thought I would work until I was 90!

What bad timing, just before Christmas, I thought, until someone pointed out that it was best before you’d maxed out your credit card on prezzies and wondering how to pay it off in the new year!

What do I miss the most about not working? Of course it is the regular income, suddenly having to budget even more strictly, juggling pension, benefits and savings with the same outgoings and expenses. But what I miss is the social interaction with my colleagues and customers. Our shop was on the high street with people in and out all day. We got to know our “regulars” and they were almost like part of the family, sharing their problems and joys, discussing current affairs, putting the country to rights, stretching the mind. Suddenly it was all gone. Here I was alone in my garret, staring out of the window wondering what I would do today.

Thank goodness that funk didn’t last long, after all it was Christmas. Spending time with the family kept my mind off it. In the new year I decided it was time to put my vast knowledge to use, spend my redundancy money on a new computer, good digital camera and other equipment and set myself up a website I am a good typist, love doing research on the internet, and am happy to spend all day on my computer. Now I am ready for customers ….

Suddenly I have all the spare time I could want, and meet up with my friends whenever we want. We use our bus passes to go out for the day, or we simply walk along the beachfront. That’s when I count my blessings … I live in a nice seaside town, I have good health, I have a lease on a huge old Victorian flat, my two cats (oh yes, the proverbial), good friends and a lively mind.

Yes, I still miss the money, and I’m in the process of writing a book on how to set up a website for free. Now my friends and I (three of us made redundant in the past year) wonder how we managed to find the time to do all the things we did when we were employed, our lives are so busy – oh, and all those library books to read! Those exercise classes we can attend, the reiki course …