Odd Jobs That I Have had

Like all of us, at various points in my life I have had a wide range of jobs.   Also as with most of us, the great majority of these jobs were ones I had on my holidays when I was a student.  And most of them were pretty mundane – factory work, truck driving and so forth – they produced the money that I wanted to enable me to wander around Europe as a hitchhiker, but did nothing much else for me.

Ice-cream Anyone?

However, some of these holiday jobs had a profound effect on me in one way or another, and there are a couple that really stand out in my memory as significant to me and my world view.

The first of these jobs that I can bring to mind was when I was a driver/salesperson in one of those vans that chug around selling soft ice-cream to people.  On the face of it, a harmless occupation – but it had its dark side too….

This was the relatively large number of people in the Council house estates I trundled around in with my van and chimes, who came out every day (I did this 7 days a week) with large jugs that I had to fill with the soft ice I sold… Literally every day these misbegotten people bought kilos of ice-cream from me, and presumably ate it too…

Can you imagine a diet based around about 5 litres of ice-cream every day?   It really saddened me – no, lets be honest, it disgusted and revolted me to think of the harm these people were doing to themselves and their kids by eating the chemical rubbish I was selling as ice-cream…

yuk!!!!

Death Of A Centurion:

However, the job that really got in amongst me was when I worked as a Ward Orderly at a huge mental hospital.  Though frankly to call it a hospital seemed to me to be a wild overstatement, as the poor people in the ward where I worked never saw any doctors, except on rare occasions when they flipped completely and needed stronger tranquilizers to keep them calm and easy to control.

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Aldermarston Marches – I Become A Revolutionary.

Back in the mid 50’s of the last century (God that makes me feel old to say that – the last century indeed!), owing to my mother’s very left wing attitudes I attended the first meeting of what was to become the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in London, and became a fervent anti-nuclear activist – well, a moderately active one perhaps I should say.

At this meeting it was decided to adopt what has since become the universal Peace Sign, that upside down “Y” thing, and that as a form of protest, an annual march from Aldermarston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment which was about 80 km from London to London – or vice-verse – would take place.

aldermarston march
We couldn’t afford to buy new banners when we changed the direction of the march!

I took part in the first three of these marches, which each took three days of gentle marching through the countryside, in the company of many thousands of other peaceniks and were actually very enjoyable to be honest. Lots of friendly people, lots of singing, happy songs, as well as the sort of dismal dirges more normally associated with such demonstrations of people’s will.

And it was quite fun marching in the company of such people as Bertrand Russell and Michael Foot as well.

Lady in Waiting to Queen Victoria and mountaineer:

A short diversion here, My maternal Grandmother who had been a member of the Communist party since about 1895 – at which time she was a Lady in Waiting to Queen Victoria – and who was a splendidly eccentric woman, once went on holiday to Crete with Bertrand Russell and together they both made the first recorded ascent of a large mountain there, which the locals renamed Mount Lilly in honour of my splendid Grandmother.  So if you happen to visit Crete, check out Mount Lilly and think of Lily and Bertrand clambering up to the top of it – as unlikely as that sounds!

Back to the marching now:

Continue reading “Aldermarston Marches – I Become A Revolutionary.”