Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Back to the past

This telephone box is in the hedge of our friends' house in Devon. It had its date with demolition, but that passed and it sits, forgotten, under a blanket of ivy. It has long since been disconnected. If you lift the handset the line is dead and there are some impressive spiders' webs inside. I hope BT never remembers to come and take it away; I quite like its air of decaying elegance.

We were in Devon for the latter part of half term. Wall to wall sunshine, pub lunch, Sauvingnon Blanc, barbecued Bampton butcher's burgers and a lovely trip to the National Trust's Barrington Hall just about sums it up. Oh, and the small matter of trimming the hedge, mowing the lawn, weeding the garden and planting seeds too (we have to earn our keep!)

Then it was back home to Wales and back to reality with a bump with me returning to my old job after being on maternity leave for seven and a half years. I'm covering the present incumbent's maternity leave for a year. I'm there for five hours on three days, so it's not onerous and actually it's been quite fun (so far!)

It's interesting too being back in the newsroom with adults talking about grown up things and with the news on the telly (not CBBC or HSM). Plenty of old faces to catch up with as well, although I was slightly overwhelmed for the first few days. One problem with living out in the sticks is that I don't see that many people. I can't remember the last time I was in a room of so many people all talking at once and sometimes talking to me. It was a bit of a shock to the system, particularly coupled with being faced with a Mac, Quark and a page of news to sub and write sensible headlines for. It made my head not exactly ache, but my brain felt stretched or strained, like a muscle after unaccustomed exercise. Then on Monday this week I was handed the good old Mart reports and suddenly the mists cleared and everything came flooding back.

It was odd to go back to the 'same old same old' after so long. Things are different, but much the same. The newsroom has moved into a bigger office in the same building and there's a new desk, but on it sits my old telephone with the extension number in my handwriting on it. Funny to find that old relic after all this time. Unlike the BT telephone box, however, it has not been disconnected.


  1. Wow Mags, I am seriously impressed! Scares me to even think of it. How on earth did you get yourself back after such a long break? Needs must I guess, but well done for such a huge change of scene and for doing it with style xx

  2. I hope BT don't remember it either! There's one of those in a reclamation yard on the way to town. I'd love it 9don't know why...just nostalgia) I suppose.

    Everytime I look over at it, deB says "no" before I even open my mouth.

    Your break in Devon sounded heavenly...and well timed too, just before you re-entered the old job. Good luck with it...sounds an interesting post.

  3. well done you, PM. Am impressed and slightly envious in that I would love a job to slot back into - to find a new one strikes me as up there with flying to the moon. Great hours too. Really hope it goes well for you.

  4. Wow, that's some maternity leave. I haven't done Quark on a Mac for a few years, and I'd be terrified of going back to it. So kudos to you. BTW, I've added you as a friend on FB - hope you don't mind!

  5. Good luck with the return to work - that's an impressive maternity leave! Your country must be miles ahead of us in terms of supporting families.
    When we bought this place there was an old British telephone booth in the woods. The builder had worked for the telephone company and had somehow obtained one of the red booths. Of course he took it with him when he left - drat!

  6. Adore the grown over telephone box. Love that kind of thing. Congrats for going back to work, and hope you continue to enjoy it.

  7. We have a red phone box near us, it too had a reprieve and I love it. Mobile phones don't work a lot here so they are useful in an emergency. They are all going over to cards so no-one will use them will they?
    Well done you on going back to work - in at the deep end!

  8. Good to meet yuou and it sounds like a challenging new chapter in your life. We were in (South) Devon last weekend too - whereabouts were you?

  9. So agree that BT forgets about it. Lovely description of the phonebox, so I shall forgive you the wall to wall sunshine bit! Well done you going back to work, there've been some changes at the WT in that time!

  10. Good evening from New York, Mags,

    I so love your photo of the red phone box and that you found your handwriting on the office phone.

    Best of all I love how you communicate all of your transition. Lots of folks would love be able to make such a transition, no matter whether they needed to or not. It is just retaining that flexibility, and interest in what lies beyond our day to day familiar routines. Is that what might be quotidien in French?

    Even folks, like myself, who have dived in and out of the outside work place, still yearn to test our routinized familiarity with our businessy day to day with another version of what 24 hours might hold or provide.

    Congratulations to you! Hoping that your family will support you in this new schedule, and that you will be keeping a journal, or starting a novel, or writing lots of notes in notebooks. You've got a special take on what life is right now. I think that lots of people would also love to read what we are reading.


  11. Well done, like a duck to water, eh? No wonder they were so keen to get you back. (I do know what you mean about rooms full of people... have just returned from trip to the south including a visit to a crowded restaurant in Cowes - I felt quite overwhelmed!)


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