Over the last few weeks I have been sharing some of the jobs that gave me the background to my novel, Just an Odd Job Girl. I did leave some of the jobs out of the book and over the next week or so I am going to share a couple of jobs that were memorable.
1984 – Advertising Sales and Artificial Insemination Marketing!
1984 turned out to be a year of two halves. As we headed into 1984 we both were settled into our jobs. I was doing more travelling with responsibility for two more shops in York and Nottingham as well as the retail marketing side of the crystal company in Ulverston. I was away a fair bit of the time but so was David as his career began to move towards the new entertainment possibilities of cable television. However we did manage to head off to Wales from time to time and headed up some of the amazing tracks on Snowdon.
One of his previous bosses took over the cable TV division and David moved with him. This meant a house move as well and we put our house in Southport on the market. With little equity and higher house prices further south in Tring, Hertfordshire we needed to downsize and bought a small three-bedroomed semi-detached house.
We were closer to my family in Portsmouth and so visits home were more frequent. I found myself a part-time job locally with the editor and owner of the Friesian Breeder’s Handbook. A farmer’s ‘must have’ if he kept a dairy herd of these beautiful black and white cows.
As you can imagine quite a change from retail marketing manager for cut class crystal but I soon settled into selling advertising, editing copy and on occasion accompanying my boss to the large agricultural shows around the country.
I really enjoyed these shows but this is where my retail experience took a slight change of direction. As well as running the handbook, my boss was also a broker for bull semen. Whilst he would be around the show taking photographs for the next edition and drumming up advertising, I as set up with a table in a stall between two of the exhibition Friesian dairy cows.
I had a front row seat and insight into the grooming required to prepare a supersized momma ready for the show ring, including liberal baby powdering of already creamy coloured udders. Pristine and pampered they would await their turn to be led away by the proud owner. Unfortunately, from time to time I also had a front row seat when nature took its course and the udders became less than creamy white!
If that was not educational enough; I also was expected to sell a certain number of straws of bull semen to the farmers that drifted in and out of this fragrant bower. I had some very interesting discussions with prospective buyers as we perused the stud book and discussed the attributes of each of the macho looking specimens pictured. I actually could be quite persuasive and I like to think that 30 odd years later there are some fine herds of Friesians who are the result of my matchmaking!
As you can imagine this led to some very interesting dinner party conversations and included one with my father who asked if I collected the samples myself! Thankfully that was done by more experienced hands than me and the straws were safely frozen and stored in a laboratory awaiting my order to send onto to the new owner. Not sure how impressed the cows were at this rather truncated mating ritual but they probably dreaded seeing he vet arrive with his cool bag and rolling up his sleeves.
As you can imagine I loved my job! However, fate was to take another hand in our lives and the new unit that my husband had moved to join was suddenly closed by the parent company leaving David redundant. With a large mortgage and not much coming in from my part-time job, we were facing a bleak run up to Christmas. One night the phone rang whilst I was in the bath. I heard mumbled talking and David was on the phone for several minutes. He then shouted up the stairs. ‘Do you want to go to Texas?’
His previous boss had offered him two years in Houston selling optical fibre to the telecommunications industry. Of course we said ‘Yes’ in a nanosecond.
We hurriedly put the house on the market, arranged to put our furniture in store for two years, piled both David’s parents, his uncle, my parents, and my brother in to our little house for a last snowy Christmas. We had a ball with two barrels of homemade beer, good wine and a cramped turkey dinner followed by charades.
The first week in January we packed two suitcases each and boarded a flight to Houston.
You can find the other posts in the Odd Jobs and Characters in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/short-stories-odd-jobs-and-characters-2018/
Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed… thanks Sally