Tag Archives: Living

Jillian 13a – 2nd School Incident (Continued)

Jillian 13a - 2nd School Incident (Continued)

For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/fun-training-offers/meet-my-friend-jillian/

“Where were we?” Jillian asked when we next met. “Think I left you on a bit of cliff, hanging on my every word?” She smiled. Guess our Jillian is beginning to enjoy this.

“Sir 2? Is that where we were? Where I left you? Sir2 sitting on his desk talking away quietly while we were all shouting at each-other?”

”Yes.” I said trying hard to get the same ferocious glare Jillian can conjure up at the sound of a hat dropping. I failed.

“He had this other infuriating habit of NEVER repeating anything he had said while we were shouting. So, of course we were once again all together shouting,' What did he say? What is happening?'

“Eventually we go the gist of it.

“We were going to 'borrow' tools; tape measures, string, chalk (we had no idea why we needed to bring chalk to school, but we didn't ask) shovels, rakes, spades, picks, some short sticks of wood, a small plank about 3 feet long and about 6 inches wide, and anything else we could find from our Dad's sheds. Someone was to bring a wheelbarrow. No one was to know. This was to be at 6.00pm on Thursday evening after dinner. Secret kids' business.

We were to assemble at the back gate of the school after telling our parents we were going to be outside playing (luckily the weather was good). Sir2 was going to let us know if the coast was clear, meaning all teachers had gone home

On the night. No one else knew anything and there were about 15 or more of us kids. It was the best thing. We were all so excited. We whispered although it was still light and we were outside where we were usually shouting ourselves hoarse, and there was no-one nearby to hear anyway. But it was a bit like 'The Secret Seven', or spies, or really neat stuff like that.

“Sir2 whispered too. He told us we were going to measure out a jumping pit, and a run-up, (he had the measurements on a piece of school notebook) and we were going to dig a long narrow pit about 1 foot deep. It was before decimal currency.

We started by hammering 4 little wooden 'pegs' he called them, into the ground. They made a rectangle. The string was to go around the pegs and when we covered it with chalk and flicked it at the ground it made a white line on the grass to mark the edges of the pit. Sir2 had to check that the angles were correct. The strings had to be 90 degrees – or something - so the pit looked good.

Who would have thought that all this stupid maths was going to be important?

But this was such fabulous stuff, I had no idea, how it was all going to work.

But in about 2 hours – all of us working flat out – we had our pit dug out. It was huge, About 20 or 30 feet long, I later learnt, and about 9 feet wide. We had to take all the dirt and dump it over the back of the field where there was a lot of other dirt so no-one would know. I love secrets.

The run-up went back another 100 feet, but luckily we didn't need to dig this. We just put a couple of pegs to mark the start. We also put our little piece of timber in the ground about 3 feet from the beginning of the pit, to mark where you had to jump from.

When we finished and were laughing and carrying on as kids will do, three big trucks pulled up to the back gate loaded with very little tiny chips of wood and sawdust.

We all looked at Sir2 and he laughed out loud, “What do you think the pit was for?” he asked.

Well we had no idea. But these 3 huge tip-trucks pulled into the school yard and tipped this spectacularly HUGE amount of wood bits into our pit. I had never been this close to a huge noisy smelly truck before . It would have been frightening, but there were younger kids there and that wouldn't have been very good.

That's when the rakes got used. We raked it all so the whole pit was full to overflowing and looked a bit like a huge mound in the town cemetery.

It was getting dark. So we stood back to look at our work. A couple of brave kids had a quick jump.

Our long jump pit was agreed a success.

We snuck back home and managed (most of us, I think) to get the tools back into the sheds without being caught. We headed back to our bedrooms and pretended we were studying. Whew. All hot and sticky. And dirty? You wouldn't believe?

The next day Sir2 was called into the Headmaster’s office to explain how a long-jumping pit had suddenly and magically appeared at the bottom of the school field. The rest of the kids were going crazy. We could tell them now it waslong jump us. We were so proud. One of my best moments at school.

I think Sir2 got into a bit of trouble. But we kept our pit, and some kids did all right at the school sports long jump as well.

It was a win all round. Sir2 was our hero.

Jillian 12 – School Incident

For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Sometimes I ask people to tell me about one or two of the weirdest things things that have happened to them at certain times of their lives. Can be fun to listen to the answers. Can be enlightening. Can sometimes explain things about life that you hadn't even thought of asking.

Jillian had two incidents from primary school in a little country town that she told me about. You know I often wonder if she is telling me a truth about herself or channeling someone else? Perhaps they are all fantasy? Apparently our brains after a short time has passed, cannot tell the difference between something imagined, something we've read, a movie we watched a while ago and the reality of something we actually experienced. So could she be making all this up? I don't know. But as Mark Twain is supposed to have said, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story." So on we go.

Jillian started laughing as she began this story. She was about 10, she said, when it happened. Her class was being taught by a young chap who she later found out was in his second year of teaching. So he was probably only about 22 or 23.

"We were doing a bit of outdoor PE. Something about ball skills or other teacher bulldust for wasting a bit of time. Tunnel ball was the way it started. Then Sir decided to make it more difficult and have us pass the ball between our legs to the back and then over our heads back up to the front of each team. One person was supposed to run from the front of the line to the back each time they touched the ball. Made for a fast and sometimes complicated game. Winner was declared as the first team to have the person who started at the front back in front again. Got it? If the ball was dropped or anything like that you had to return to where you were before the mistake.

"Of course the boys could not do it with out some form of mischief." she laughed. "So there was ball throwing and kicking, bashing of team members to slow them down, and general mayhem.

"Sir was having a little difficulty keeping things in check. He yelled at us to stop fiddling about. Then a few moments later he grabbed a boy rushing past him and told him to stop mucking the game up for others.

Nothing changed. Well it did. It got worse. The whole game was in danger of deteriorating into a free for all.

Sir was getting angry and upset. He shouted at the top of his voice - I now realise an combination of the two phrases he had already used. 'Stop f ucking everything up!'.

"There was a shocked silence. It had the desired affect. The game cleaned up, school sportfinishing not long after. "

My team won. I do remember that.

"No one heard what Sir said, and no one told their parents. That was good. He was a fun teacher."

#ourjillian

Jillian 11 – Family

For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

We've never talked much about family here, but Jillian has one brother and one sister.

I can remember two things she told me about her brother. He was a bit of a wild one. I'd like to say his name was Jack or John, but that would be too trite. He is really called Robert, or Rob, or Bob. I like Bob, so for our purposes he'll be  Bob.

Once when they lived next door to a butcher's shop in a rented property (I remember the shop had a sign saying "Free Meat Tomorrow." and you can imagine the problems that caused the blue rinse set. Didn't get the joke, did they?)

Anyway, one day Jillian and her mother came home to a God awful row coming from the back yard of their home.

Seems while they were away Bob had invited a friend around to try out his new dirt bike. Only a little 100cc job not much of a bike really, but it was dirty and did have the pre-requisite knobbly tyres.

dirt bikeBob and his mate were doing circuits around the back yard. It seemed they hadn't noticed that the bike had gouged a huge circular trench in the lawn and the few flower beds that surrounded this grass (it really wasn't good enough to be called a lawn even before this event) and followed the fence line. Of course, since nothing is created or destroyed the evidence of their fun was all over - great huge clods of it - the rest of the lawn, the wooden fence and the side of the house. It was a monumental mess.

My memory is a tad hazy about what happened next. Probably selective recall, 'cause it would not have been pretty. Jillian's mother was a highly strung individual.

The family moved from there soon after. Wonder why?

The next spot for this exciting family (Jillian was not impressed with this one either) was a larger property on a steeply sloping block which went down to a mostly dry river. Well, OK a creek. Bob used to shoot rats down there from the back door , but that is another story.

At the back of the house a few meters from the kitchen was a brick and concrete retaining wall.

There was awasp nest wasp nest in the soil behind the wall. It was too deep to dig out. Down near the bottom of the wall.

So Bob in an heroic effort to remove this nest for his mother had devised a devlish scheme. In school he had learned that calcium carbide and water made an explosive gas - acetylene.

Where he obtained the CaC2 we did not ask.

A narrow metal tube about 2 feet long was hammered into the dirt behind the wall and filled with the aforementioned chemical. Water was poured down the tube and a little while later when the violence of the reaction slowed down, a lighted match or two were dropped down the tube.

The resulting explosion fixed the wasp nest.

It also blew out the kitchen window and all but destroyed the retaining wall. There were bits of concrete/brick wall, glass, wasp nest, soil and small pieces of rock all over the place.

Job done Bob.

#ourjillian

Jillian 10 – Worst Travel Experience (Again)

"It doesn't really fit into best or worst categories," Jillian said once when we were talking about her travel experiences. Still? Yes, I know, but they are always interesting.

"There was once in Glasgow quite a few years ago, when I was staying with a friend of my mother's. It had been a long and harrowing journey from London's Euston station to Glasgow Central on the fast train. Can't remember what it's called. Perhaps The Flying Scotsman” she said. (Editor note: I think it was called Inter-City).

"Anyway. It was one of the new fully electric trains that had just introduced and it travelled, I think, at about 110 mph most of the way. It whipped through the stations like a tornado - the carriage rocked quite violently it seemed, and the noise of the wheels and the sound of the wind reflected back from the station buildings were very frightening. I wondered what would happen if we rocked so far that the platform or the roof would make contact with us and cause a catastrophic crash. Of course it hadn't happened so far and probably would never happen, but it was hellish scary."

"The trip took 5 hours but it seemed like forever." she said.

I sensed this was not the story. I was right.

"When I arrived, it was really embarrassing," she went on. "I was so exhausted, and it was getting latish, I could tell by all the half hidden yawns.”

“I think it was about 9.00 pm,” (she explained as an aside), “so I let them know I was ready for bed.”

A few friendly 'getting to know you' things happened. Including questions about what time I wanted to begin my exploring of Bearsden where they lived, and Glasgow in general, and what I wanted for breakfast.

BearsdenBearsden Coat of Arms lies on the northwestern fringe of Greater Glasgow, approximately 6 miles (10 km) from the City Centre, and is effectively a suburb, with housing development coinciding with the introduction of a railway line in 1863, and from where the town gets its name (Bearsden station was named after a nearby cottage). Wikipedia.

I said that since I was only going to be a few days I'd like to start quite early about 9.00am. And I mentioned that I thought a quick trip to Edinburgh might be a good idea. Shock horror, “That is so far away - on the other side of the country.” they said in unison, looking at me as if I had two heads. (It is actually about 60 miles or 70 km - just over an hour's journey by car and probably not much different by train). I gave that idea away. Pity, it would have been nice. But I didn't want to upset the hosts.

Next was the breakfast question. Easy answer.

"This," Jillian then said, "is where it became truly weird. I am in Scotland, right? Haggis and porridge? Yes? So not wanting to be a nuisance I said I'd just have porridge. I assumed that was the national breakfast.”

"MISTAKE. Big mistake.”

“I noticed a bit of activity outside the bedroom window as I crawled unwillingly from the warm bed on the rainy, cold morning that followed. My mother’s friend's husband (she couldn't remember names so this is a bit cryptic) was just pushing his bike back into the small lean-to thingy next to the very small and narrow cottage sort of structure in which they lived. See what I did there? Winston Churchill would be proud.

“They had NEVER eaten porridge, and, so as not to disappoint me, he had popped out to the early opening corner store to get some. Needless to say I was mortified.”

“And they didn't know how to make it either. It was horrible. But as I'd asked for it, I had to pretend I enjoyed it."

#ourjillian

Jillian 9a – Worst Travel Experience … continued

For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Wellington Airport.

Waiting at the antiquated and squealing, jerking baggage carousel. Finally it stopped. Nothing for Jillian.

Okaaaay.

What now?

It was then that it hit our friend Jillian. SHE HAD NOTHING. Her business clothes, fresh undies, toiletries, make-up, hair-brush the paperwork and stuff for her meetings, proper handbag - all was in that luggage. That luggage which she no longer appeared to be in possession of. I know, Churchill would not like that hanging preposition but bugger it - Jillian has lost her bag for God's sake.

Panic. She ran around frantically looking for someone, anyone to help her. Signs that existed were in English and Maori, but nothing appeared to help her figure out what to do.

Finally as she was close to breaking down here alone in Wellington, NZ on this fateful evening without anything, she began to cry. But she quickly decided that this was NOT the way for a business woman to act. With tears still clinging resolutely to her eyes she finally slowed down, and found a counter that was the most likely hiding place of those whose job it was to trace lost luggage.

"Nah. wasn't on the plane, Luv." said the helpful chap after asking someone on the other end of the old fashioned phone/intercom system, the same question phrased at least 4 different ways. Talk about the bleedin' obvious.

"So what do I do?" Jillian asked. "When is it likely to get here? What happens in the meantime?

"Dunno, Luv," he explained. Pause!

Obviously the answer to all 3 questions.

Jillian filled out a form. He had finally offered, "We'd better do a form, Miss"

He gave her a voucher for some airline stuff, soap tooth brush and the like - shit, yeah, she remembered that's in the bag too. Of course – it would be.

Then he added the clincher, "Since its after 5.00pm the airline counter is closed and you won't be able to redeem this until tomorrow. Sorry!"

“Sorry 'bout that.” he repeated unhelpfully.

“Shit, Shit. Shit.” Just another example of her shitty life, she thought. “Why doesn't stuff go right – just once would be OK? OK?”

Bet this wouldn't be happening to her boss Jack, she thought. Not bloody likely. “Why is it always me?” she wailed to herself.

Nothing open at the airport. Ironic isn't it. If she had know there was going to be no baggage as soon as she landed; shops would have been open and emergency supplies could have been obtained. Easily.

Outside, feeling completely naked with only her small clutch purse, an emergency touch-up lipstick and a credit card.

A taxi. Yep. That's the next step. Thinking. Thinking!

N.Z. still closes down in the evenings. The motel she was booked into was up in Lower Hutt. Quite  distance away.

Let's go.

Big mistake. The motel was staffed by a large bored woman with no interest in anything but the latest episode of “Close to Home”.

No emergency supplies. No help. No luck. Bad Day? No shit!

By this time the taxi had roared off.

“Was that a petrol station we passed just before the motel?” Jillian thought.

A short walk – thankful for small mercies – and YES a service station.

And finally a bit of luck. A small washing line and pegs. A traveller pack of soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and even some deodorant. Not much else. But how good is it to have something?

Back in the room taking stock.

A quick, but horrendously expensive international phone call later, Jillian had managed to let her boss know what had happened and asked if he could fax some brochures, prices and anything else he might be able to lay his hands on, that might be a help. He said he could. Another small win.

Freezing. Naked and attempting to wash her smalls with the bar of soap Jillian wondered if it could possibly get worse.

It could. And did.

Nothing was dry in the morning and as the soap had not been rinsed out thoroughly, the undies were wet, cold, stiff and VERY uncomfortable. It was cold and windy, no surprise, and she looked and felt utterly ridiculous in her summery Melbourne costume. And COSTUME was really the word. She felt like a clown.

There was something for her at reception, not the least of which was the staff and other  guests laughing at this amazingly stupid Australian woman in the green and gold.

Taxi to the office of the older, straight laced MD of the company considering doing business with an unknown Australian firm for the first time. One with a YOUNG female sales rep. What are they thinking?

Short ride. Reading through the info supplied, Jillian found it was extremely limited. No company info, hers or the prospects. “Guess we trust to memory”, she thought. Very basic, black and white brochure and a price list.

Great. “I wish I was dead!” she lamented to herself.

Well it turned out to be an OK meeting. They seemed to understand her predicament. Laughed, but she was beginning to expect that. She was so cold, thinking and speaking was a chore, but it was finally over.

The journey home in the big metal tube in the sky was as uneventful as it could be under the the circumstances, and the credit card took a BIG hit. The Big Sky Mall.

Booze, (Scotch, Gin and Red Wine), promotional rubbish including a jacket to cover the summer gear and a watch and camera she didn't need but the retail therapy helped. Yes it did. Pity there were no shoes.

Well probably a good thing there were no shoes.

The next day; back home. In her own apartment. Properly clothed, a little less mortified, and with a developing hangover, Jillian phoned her boss.

An order had been faxed through during the night and even though it was a small one, it made our Jillian smile. Maybe the chafed bits were worth it after-all.

That was about it, though, for orders from this company, and it kind of put an end to Jillian travelling for the rest of her time with this employer. Unfair. But that's the way it goes for a woman in a man's world.

As the ticket and accommodation had been purchased using her Amex card, Jillian was able to claim for all the lost stuff. Suitcase and all. A nice little win she thought. Bought some new clothes with the money. Sweet, Bro.

3 months later, her very badly battered bags arrived home. They had been to Hawaii and Los Angeles. Lucky them. “Even my bags have a better life than me.”

#ourjillian

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