Remembrance


Hope everyone is well.  I’ve managed to post something this week and it should get better in the next few weeks, as I’m about to retire from work…Yippee!  Thanks to Rochelle for the photo prompt this week and for always being here, despite her hectic schedule.

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Remembrance

Holding tightly to my grandmother’s hand, we crossed the river to the island in the middle.

The stepping-stones were slippery and we had to take great care, the water was very deep.

My mother didn’t like me going there. I think she worried about the deep water. Her father had taken her there sometimes, when he was home from the sea. I’d never met my grandfather; he left my grandmother years ago, no one mentioned him.

We had a picnic and picked some flowers which my grandmother threw into the river. I asked her why.

‘For remembrance,’ she said, smiling.

 

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Memories of Another Life


I am feeling rather pleased with the fact that I have managed to post something BEFORE Friday.

I also have a question that I have been meaning to ask for some time now. I notice the times that comments and stories are posted and it makes me wonder just where in the world all you  Fabulous Friday Fictioneers are; it would be really nice to know. I’m in Wales, land of song (allegedly) and rugby (definitely) and laver bread… but that’s another story altogether.

Moving on – thanks as always to Rochelle for keeping us all focused and this week, thanks also to Jennifer Pendergast for the lovely photo.

Copyright Jennifer Prendagast

Copyright Jennifer Pendergast

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

Memories of Another Life

The Guardian watches us.

I slip through the gate unobserved; a delicious taste of freedom, though confrontation will follow.

Fading memories of childhood brought hope to years of waiting. There was love and laughter in that other life I lived.

Did they ever stop searching for me? Did they ever forget me?

I will never know.

I hear the running footsteps and the loud cries ‘Valide Sultan, nerdesin?

‘I am here.’

Silence falls.

My son confronts me. Conceived by force, taken from me at birth, I fall to my knees prepared for his wrath.

Only death will set me free.

 ____________________________________

I have just finished reading ‘The Aviary Gate’ by Katie Hickman, for the second time.  Due to the mixed reviews the book received, I thought I would do bit more research on life in the harems of the great Sultans. I came across the story of Aimee du Buc de Rivery and wondered if this incredible life were true. The photo this week let my imagination wonder a bit more.

 

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Nothing wrong in asking for a pay rise


 

A recent survey by YouGov for the Sunday Times, found that British women are less likely to ask for either a pay rise or a promotion, than men.

I’m sorry, but this isn’t news to me and the findings don’t surprise me in the slightest.

Although women can manage the household budget and make most of the larger financial decisions at home, they are totally embarrassed about managing their own worth in the workplace.  One friend once confided that if she was worth a pay rise, then her boss would make sure she got one.  I wasn’t sure if she was scared of being told ‘No’ or not confident enough to ask.

Most men don’t seem to have the same reluctance, they also have more confidence to stand up for themselves and on average get paid more than  women doing the same job – (on a personal note, this has always seemed an appalling situation to me, employers should set a rate for the job irrespective of the gender of the person doing it.)

In these uncertain times, hanging on to a job, any job, it a top priority for men and women alike. Unfortunately, most of the low paid, part-time jobs are done by women and when cuts have to be made, this is where the axe usually falls.

I haven’t any solutions and perhaps it is just that women are more interested in the broader picture of life, than the narrow view provided by work; whatever the reason women do need to find more confidence in the workplace.

See the full YouGov survey results here

Weekly photo challenge – Create – A Bird of Paradise


As soon as I read the topic for the challenge this week, I thought of my grandmother and a piece of work she created when she was 76, after signing up for a night school course to ‘learn something a bit different”. Her eyesight was getting worse and she was suffering with arthritis in her hands, but once she had started the embrodiery course she was determined to see it through. The result of her labours was framed and put on show in the town hall, causing her much embarrassment.

She had knitted, sewed and crocheted all her life; in the early days of her marriage it was through necessity, but in later life she enjoyed giving small gifts to friends and family.  Her’s is an incredible story of love and separation, of loss, betrayal and fortitude and perhaps one day I will write about her. In the meantime, although I appreciate it is not to everyone’s taste, I hope you enjoy her “Bird of Paradise”. I inherited it on her death and it is one of my most treasured possessions.

and a close up of the detail of the bird’s head

Yes, I’m a woman


Yes, I’m a woman.

I push doors that clearly say PULL.

I laugh harder when I try to explain why I’m laughing

I walk into a room and forget why I was there.

I count on my fingers in math.

I hide the pain from my loved ones

I say it is a long story, when it really isn’t, just to get out of having to tell it.

I cry a lot more than you think I do.

I care about people who don’t care about me.

I cry at sad movies, but will watch them again and again

I listen to you, even when you don’t listen to me.

And a hug will always help

Don’t know who wrote this, but I like it
I also like this sunflower; it is one of three that were in the bunch of flowers I bought in the market on Saturday
I love the yellow colour, so uplifting and happy, makes me smile
I like odd numbers too

The bride wore something old…a 127 year old wedding dress


There has been a great deal of wedding coverage in the press recently; a certain William and Catherine made headlines round the world, last week it was the turn of Zara and Mike. I oohed and aahed over the wedding dresses like most females I know and made comments on design, fabric, fit etc.

Then, yesterday I saw the story of the bride who had worn a 127 year old wedding dress for her wedding.  The dress was bought in 1884 for her great-great-grandmother and has been worn by several generations of her family down the years.

The bride looks stunning, the dress amazing. The family should congratulate themselves for keeping this heirloom safe all this time. I feel privileged to have seen it.

 

(click on the photo to read the full article)

Working mothers and maternity leave


According to a new report, one in three new mothers thinks that taking lengthy maternity leave has harmed her work prospects. Some think that, when they return to work the relationship they had previously with their boss has deteriorated.The research, carried out by the National Childbirth Trust found nearly four in ten mothers found things were very difficult when they returned to work after spending time off on maternity leave.

At present the amount of paid maternity leave in the UK is 39 weeks and Harriet Harman the Equality Minister is aiming to get this extended to a year. Now, whereas this may sound wonderful to some ears, to small businesses it can sound anything but.  If you own a small business, employing a few people and want to be competitive in your field, you will obviously only employ the number of staff you need for the work you have. Should one of your team become pregnant and eventually take her maternity leave, what options are open to you?

Can her workload be taken on by other members of staff?  Can you find a suitable temp who will fill in while the mother-to-be is off work? Can you add it to your already heavy workload?

If you can share her job between the other staff members, that’s great – but for how long? If she is going to be off for 39 weeks, what happens when your other staff want to take their holiday leave, or fall sick, what do you do then?  What about the temp?  If you are very lucky you may know someone who, after a minimal amount of training can do the job and things go swimmingly! Or you may have to resort to advertising for a replacement and, as we all know advertising is not cheap. If all else fails, you may go to a recruitment agency and ask them to supply a temporary worker to cover maternity leave.  Here you come up against another set of costs all together. Apart from the initial fee, you will be paying in all probability, a much higher rate for your temporary worker than you did for your soon-to-be-mum.

Now, don’t start shouting, I am all in favour of rights for working women; I would love to see every woman paid the same as a man doing the same job, but I also own a family business and have spent many years building it up and can see all too clearly the other side of the coin. While the mum-to-be is off her holiday entitlement still accrues; you have to pay maternity pay and also a salary to her replacement and, after a set time, you have to give them paid holiday leave too. After the paid 39 weeks, in the UK the new mum can opt to take extra unpaid leave of another13 weeks, meaning she could be off for a year.  In the meantime you have to cope as best you can, hoping that she will come back and eventually things will get back to normal.

But what if when she comes back, on her existing contract of employment, she announces that she can’t work full time.  She has problems with childcare arrangments, she has to work because she needs the money, but actually quite likes having an extended weekend with hubby and child, so, please can she work part time?  What do you do?  Under the present legislation, an employee with a child under 16,  has the right to ask for flexible working and, as an employer you have a duty to consider it. You don’t have to approve the request, but there is always the possibility perhaps, of being taken to an employment tribunal if you refuse.  If you have done everything correctly, the case would be dismissed, but there is always the time and worry involved in preparing and defending it. Then when that is over, you have to hope that perhaps the temp, if you managed to find one,will stay, if not you start all over again.

So Ms Harman, on behalf of all businesses, both small and large, I would urge you to think very carefully before adding extra weeks to maternity leave, for it appears that it is not just the business owners who aren’t particularly enamoured with your ideology, the new mums don’t seem too happy either

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1231901/Maternity-leave-wrecking-womens-hopes-promotion.html

Shopping is fun – if you are thin!


Had a very busy day in the office today, catching up on work that piled up while I was away yesterday. Grabbing a sandwich for lunch, I had a look through a newpaper that someone had left on a nearby table.

The headline that caught my eye was about having more fun shopping if you are thin. This brought back memories of those large communal changing rooms that were all the rage a few years ago and the fact that I hated using them.  They always seemed populated by tall slender women, who wandered about in various stages of undress, trying on the smallest of clothes without a care in the world; whereas I would try to hide in the farthest, dimmest corner with my back to everyone.

Most women do like shopping and use the trips for inspiration and ideas as well as buying clothes.  The problem that I have is in the sizing of the clothes. One store’s size 12 will be another’s size 10 and, if you are not having a particularly good day, struggling into a dress that you think should fit you, only to find when you look in the mirror, that you look like a sack of potatoes does nothing for your self esteem and your memories of shopping will be mainly negative.

Nowadays, most shops have thankfully realised that their customers are much happier and more relaxed about clothes shopping, if they provide well lit, good sized, individual changing rooms. And, if those shops also offer a good choice of clothes, in sizes that fit us, we can all have fun shopping.

Wear It Pink


Friday 30 October will be “Wear It Pink” day here.  Everyone at work will be wearing something pink and donating £2 to breast cancer care.

We intend to bake and sell “pink” cakes and cookies, we will have a raffle too and hopefully raise a lot of money. It is a sad fact that almost everyone you speak to these days has either lost a loved one or knows someone who is suffering with this terrible illness. 

This year, most of the men in the company are taking part too and are already discussing what they can wear, do I still have that pink tie? Can I still fit into that pink shirt? But at least they are joining in to help, which is all that matters.  Hopefully someone will take some photographs and I will let you know how much we manage to raise for breast cancer care.

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Pink Ribbons