Womens History

Womens History

The Women’s Verbal History project started as an exhibition I created for Women in the First World War, but as time went on it became apparent that there isn’t much written about the history of normal women and what they did or do on a daily basis.  As a result, I have embarked on this project to record, recognise and acknowledge the history of women in the United Kingdom.

This website has been created to help promote the project and record and recognise the contribution women have made to our society.  We are not against men and we are not saying that the history of men and women is not as important. The majority of history that is recorded is gender specific and class orientated (in the UK).  What we are saying is that that the history of women, in their everyday lives is not recognised or recorded.  My fear is that if we don’t record this history then it will get lost and we will never know what our grand mothers, great grandmothers, aunts, mothers, sisters and daughters have done.

If you or your ancestors would like to take part or you have a wonderful story about one of your female relatives please record their history here.  Together we can keep them alive. Together we can learn from their experiences and together we will remember that we have a strong history to be proud of.

My Mother the Artist

This is the quilt my mum made.

This is the quilt my mum made.

My mother created this quilt for my father in a few months.  She started from an idea in her head, a book and just went for it. I think she is very talented. Unfortunately, my mother is on of the women who was born in and around WW2.  This is when the majority of women were told that all they had to do was go to school, find a husband and then look after the children.  This is so sad as she is a very talented woman.

In fact, I firmly believe that if she had been given the opportunity, she would have been on of the first women in her family to go to University.

My Grandmother the adventuress

Fancy DressMy grandmother on my father’s side of the family was still lifting an anchor on the boat she helped sail around the Med with her husband (my grandfather).  Her lucky number must have been the number 3.  She met my grandfather and three years later married him.  Three years after that she had her first child, three years later her second child and then three years after that her third child.



My Great Grandmother the Entrepreneur

Sara and Julie


Once I have documented our oral history, I intend to create a book of the stories and experiences.  If you would like to take part in this project, please contact me or write to me with your stories.  I would love to hear from you.

Second viewing of my property

Second viewing of my property

So, I might have to admit I am maybe a little excited; I have a second viewing of my property. There’s a young couple, looking to buy their first house. They came to see my cottage last weekend. This weekend they will be bringing their parents with them. It’s going to be interesting to see if they remember what my cottage looks. I have commissioned a decorator to repaint the living room and the master bedroom. The master bedroom had a patterned wallpaper when they visited; now it is being changed to a magnolia.  The living room will have a fresh coat of magnolia with a new coat of white for the ceiling.

I’m not sure how I feel about the parents coming along.  It will go one of two ways.

  1. They look of the cottage, that was built in 1860 and say there is too much work to be done to maintain it or
  2. They fall head over heels in love with it instantly.

It’s hard to call. Before the second viewing my property the couple going to look at a brand new house in the price range. The new houses are tiny. The bedrooms of small, although some of them have on suites. My cottage doesn’t have an on-site. In a new build, the kitchen will be brand-new, although most new builds have an open plan feel about them. Having lived in an open plan house, I have to say I dislike that style of living. You have to keep on top of any mess at all times. There is no way, for example, you can cook a meal and not do the dishes instantly as they are an eyesore.

A second viewing of my property

The second viewing of my property is viewed favourably by the estate agents as someone wanting to put in an offer. I’m not sure that I would agree.

I don’t see a second viewing of my property as being an entirely positive outcome.  This is why I am dubious and can’t seem to get excited about the about second viewings. You still have a lot of work to do. Keeping the house clean and tidy, making sure the rooms are all dressed, making sure the house smells nice and has that warm and cosy feel that wraps you in a warm blanket the moment they walk through the door. Anyone, who views a property doesn’t realise the that there is a three-hour ordeal for every viewing.

It will be easy to say that you should keep your house clean and tidy at all times. However, the reality is we don’t. For example, we walk into a room with a coffee cup and put it down, then go and get a packet of biscuits to eat with the coffee. We come back and sit down and watch television, while at the same time playing on an iPad or doing a craft. You then put those things down to go to the loo.  On your way back to the living room you pick up a glass of water, or something else. Thus creating a mess where ever we go.

The Selling Process

Selling a home is stressful especially when you have a second viewing of my propertyIt has been almost eight months since I made the decision to put my cottage for sale. Although I had an offer and he pulled out 48 hours before exchange (his work sent him to another office) this is the first, second viewing of my property I have had.

To be honest; I hate it. I hate the whole process of putting my Cottage for sale. The fact you have estate agents telling you to hide or remove some of your valuable positions (they call it decluttering).  Having to repaint, do additional repairs and letting people walk around your home and judging you. You know they are judging because you get feedback from the Estate Agents. Charming cottage, to small, couldn’t put a sofa in there, so you get a sofa.  The rooms need painting, so you paint the rooms.    The redecoration is the advice of the estate agents, who want to the colour pop and light bounce off the walls. The garden needs a good tidy, so you tidy the garden. The list just goes on and on.

Estate Agents

Then, of course, you have to deal with the estate agents.  Even now, after eight-plus months, I am not sure if the estate agents are telling me the truth, a version of it that they think I want to hear or are just lying to me.  I have no idea.  Do I trust them? No, I don’t think they are all trustworthy?  Do they talk a good talk? Absolutely.  They all sound convincing, they seem as if they speak with conviction, but I am sure behind my back they have a giggle.

Also, my Cottage for sale is tiny, in comparison to the Million pound houses they sell.  It’s a first-time buyer cottage and would suit a girl or a young couple. So do they push it, yes?  Do they want the sale as much as me, I don’t know.  There is a flat fee if they sell but nothing if they don’t.  However, after eight months are they board of trying to sell it? I don’t know, I know I am bored of trying to sell it.

My Cottage for sale and those purchases

What I have learnt so far about any prospective purchasers is that they are blind, naïve or have no imagination. How is it that they can walk into a room and see that it’s packed with the current owner’s possessions and not see themselves living in there. What is it that a purchaser sees when they look around the house.  I was told to ignore the positions people have and look at the ceiling.  That will give you an idea of the space available and what it is you are buying.  The current possessions in the house will be gone when the owners move out.  Don’t look at them, don’t judge them, just look at the ceiling and use your imagination.

In Conclusion – A Second Viewing of my Property

Am I happy about the second viewing of my property? I think I am excited but daunted at the prospect of having four people criticise my cottage. Do I want to sell my cottage, yes absolutely? The cottage will look its best and offer that cosy blanket!

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Living like a Ghost because you are selling a house

Living like a Ghost because you are selling a house

I would never have thought I would actively live like a ghost because I am selling a house.  Nevertheless, I am now living like a ghost just in Selling a house comes with questionscase the estate agents have a drop by viewing.  It is ridiculous when you think about it.  How can you live in your own home, yet make it available for viewing at any time of the day or night and have the place look immaculate?

Just try it for the next few days, when you walk into a room what you have taken with you?  Did you go into a room to get something? If so what did you do with that item?  We very rarely walk into a room with nothing in our hands or out of a room.

What did you do last night? Did you have a hobby that you practised, knitting, crocheting, playing on your iPad?  Did you pack everything away before you went to bed?

The simple things like making a cup of coffee then become difficult.  You boil the kettle and steam spew from the kettle, what would happen if someone came in just after that. Would they think the house is damp?  With the smell of coffee, the old selling trick that everyone knows, will the potentials realise you were merely making a coffee.  Then you have the teaspoon that has to be washed, dried and put away immediately.  Sitting in front of the TV, as soon as the coffee has been drunk, the cup has to be washed and put away or placed in dishwasher.

Then, of course, there is cooking.  My goodness me, what a mess we all make when we cook.  You may think it is just a few pots and pans, but try clearing that away before you eat.  Then putting your plates away and ensuring the kitchen is showroom ready before you sit down to rest for the evening.

Living like a ghost with others when selling a house

If you have other people in the house, then they have to live like a ghost too.  However, trying to explain the importance of putting things away, not making a mess and being adaptable to someone else’s schedule is dire.

What about daily living, when on earth are you meant to be able to do your washing.  Most of us work and need to do a few loads of washing every week, but when?

Selling a house comes with questions

Then there are the constant questions from everyone.

  • How much are you asking for your house?
  • How much did you buy it for and when?
  • What will you make from it?
  • Have you had any viewings?
  • What is the feedback from the viewings?
  • What are you going to do if it doesn’t sell?
  • Where are you going to move?
  • When do you want to move?
  • How much will you take?
  • What is the asking price, will you move from that?

Selling a home is stressful

These questions would seem okay if they weren’t all together and from almost everyone, you know all the time.  Saying that you hadn’t thought about this or that doesn’t seem to appease them.  The truth is, those of us who are selling a house are exhausted from all the questions, we don’t want to talk about it.  We know the house is for sale, we are asking ourselves all these questions and you know what, WE DONT HAVE THE FLIPPIN ANSWERS.

Selling a house comes with suggestions

One of the worst things about selling a house is the number of recommendations you get.  From everyone! No matter if you asked for help or not.

  • Paint the front door for curb appeal
  • Estate agents are rubbish sell it yourself
  • It won’t sell unless you put in a new kitchen
  • You don’t need a new kitchen, spend the money on a modern bathroom
  • You should paint all the rooms
  • Don’t paint the rooms its a waste of your time and money; the new owners will only repaint it
  • Tidy your garden
  • Get a sofa to show the room is big enough to take a sofa
  • Remove the chest of draws so people can see wall space
  • Don’t leave laundry out
  • Declutter your house, people don’t have an imagination, they need to envisage their ‘things’ there
  • Don’t take out the character of the house you are selling a lifestyle
  • Get your neighbours to tidy their gardens

Stress of Selling a houseListen to me, we know all this, we are not stupid.  We are just trying to keep our lives on course.  We are selling a house, but we still need to go to work, still have family commitments and everything else you have.  Give us a break, please.  Why not just say how are you doing today? Don’t ask about the selling a house unless we start the conversation.  You know what, we know its stressful, we are living it.  We know that you once sold a house and bought one, bully for you.

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Surveyors Report on my house

Surveyors Report on my house

Surveyors Report on my house scared my buyer

I have had a surveyors report on my house, the purchaser of my cottage was kind enough to send me a copy.  On the whole, I didn’t know what to expect from the report so decided not to worry about it. My first mistake.  What I hadn’t realised was that the surveyor was a complete and utter arse.  As you can see, this post is going to be very complimentary about the arse.

Surveyors report on my house

Report on my house for sale

I live in a tiny house, a two up two down style of Victorian Cottage built around 1860.  The date is significant on this occasion.  My cottage is very sweet; some would say quaint.  My cottage is one of 12 that all have front gardens and a back alley with communal entry at the front and back.  We are directly in front of another row of cottages.  The story I was told when I purchased the house was that there two farmers.  They disliked each other immensely and would always try and outdo each other.  Farmer one built his tenants a warm brick cottage.  The other farmer, not wanting to be outdone, built cottages for his tenants.  However, the cottages (the second farmer) built his tenanted cottages 10 yards in front of the first farmer’s cottages, blocking their views.

My Cottage

Communal Garden Path commented on by Surveyors Report on my house

Communal Garden Path

My cottage has a garden, that is over 180 foot long, in fact, I rent out the top part of the garden as an allotment.  However, my cottage garden is in front of my neighbour’s cottage with a communal path separating the house from the garden.  The story of the offset garden is that the cottages had been compulsorily purchased in the past.  When they became privately owned, someone measured out the gardens so that every cottage had the same size garden.  However, they forgot to add the length of a path for each cottage.  So all cottages gardens are out by one path length which is why my garden is opposite my neighbour.  Like I said, quaint.

The cottages have a beautiful community feel, and my neighbours are fantastic.  There is always someone ready to help and give advice when asked.  I like living there.  However, I have decided that I want a bigger house with a craft room.  I put the house on the market ready to make this fantastic craft room I was after.

After eight months, I had an offer on the cottage.  It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was an offer and craft room here I come or so I thought. The cottages are so unusual that they won’t appeal to everyone so I knew it might take some time.  This was when my purchaser decided that he would contact a surveyor to check out the cottage.

Surveyors Report on my house

Never having been in contact with a surveyor, I didn’t think anything of it.  This is my first mistake.  I  had no idea that a surveyors report on my house could be so upsetting.  The report, totalling 73 pages on a two up two down house was devastating.  If he were creating a dissertation or essay on an older property, I would have given him an A*.  A surveyors report on my house he gets an F.  Wading through the report these are my observations:

  • Surveyed the wrong garden, even though my neighbour told him he was in the wrong garden
  • Noted missing slates on my neighbour’s roof that was in my report to repair
  • Wanted me to dig up a communal path so that there was no concrete near my house for up to 1 meter
  • Get planning permission for my second bedroom that was built when the house was built – how I will get the builder to sign the project off from 1860 still baffles me
  • Excavate my front garden by 8 inches to prevent rising damp
  • Excavate my front garden by 8 inches just in case there is some flooding as  you take a step down into my house
  • Advised the purchaser to get insurance for subsidence on a cottage that has been there for 200 years and no evidence of subsidence
  • Get insurance for rising damp even though there is no evidence of rising damp
  • Took pictures of another neighbours roof with comments

Like I said he was, is and will be an arse.  There were other things in the report as well, that were inaccurate, but the above were the major ones.  Naturally, the buyer pulled out.  To be honest, so would I if I had this report.  With my buyer pulling out, I am now stuck with costs of the house I was going to buy (surveyor, solicitor etc) and selling expenses that seem to mount up.  I have spent over £5000 and have nothing to show for it except a 73-page report.

What did the surveyors report on my house get right?

He did get a few things right:

  • The skirting boards in my living room had excessive moisture in them.  20% is acceptable, and my reading was about 27%
  • There was some mortar lose on my chimney that needed repair
  • There was no damp course, (the cottage was built in 1860, they didn’t install a damp course then)

The Results

As a result, my buyer withdrew his offer.  I then lost my dream house and am right back at the beginning of the sales process.  Back to living like a ghost.

Working from home as a Travel Consultant

Working from home as a Travel Consultant

When we think of a Travel Consultant we think of big shiny offices or shops on the high street.  The traditional Travel Consultant is changing and there are more opportunities to work from home. It truly is the age of the computer and internet.

What can a travel consultant do?

In essence, they make clients life easy by organising all their travel arrangements. This can be either for business or personal and both. Booking holidays, booking flights and hotels all takes time.  A travel consultant takes this hassle away from the client. It will also mean that you will have to do some research into making the correct judgement and getting the right hotel booking and a good price.

It will also mean that you will have to do some research into making the correct judgement and getting the right hotel booking and a good price. Therefore understanding your client’s budget and personal requirements will be of vital importance.  You could possibly have your client’s credit card details, so confidentiality and trustworthiness are essential.  Discretion will also need to be undertaken.

It would be an advantage to have a list of local hotels and conference centres available in your area or create an approved suppliers list for your client’s.

There are some insurances that you will need to undertake with this type of job and training.  However, there are franchises that you can purchase that will guide you through the process.  This is an excellent way to get the backing of a larger organisation while still working for yourself at home.

Suggested Skill Requirements

  • A good understanding of clients’ needs. Knowing your client’s likes and dislikes would be an advantage, but through careful questions and open and honest discussions, you will be able to find out their exact requirements. You will need to be thorough and precise in what they want and what you can deliver.
  • Thinking on the spot
  • Organised. You need to know what is going on in your market. Knowing what offers are on in particular hotels and holiday resorts.  Having a preferred list of hotels and taxi that you rely on will also be an advantage.  Keeping records and a plan will be a must.
  • Flexibility. You will have to understand and know that business clients will change their minds and plans at the drop of a hat. You need to stay flexible at all times and work towards their time frames requirements.
  • Excellent IT skills. Keeping records and understanding how IT systems work will be a must. There are some websites for Travel Agents that may be useful for you to use.
  • Ability to work under pressure. Travel can be very stressful for some people, and they will rely on you to walk them through the process. If you are booking holidays, then remember that this is their only time off work and they have a dream that they are expecting you to provide.
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines. Knowing all deadlines will be of vital importance, and you will need to work to those deadlines and ensure that all subcontractors understand the time limits.
  • Research, digest, analyse and present material clearly. You will need to know your market inside out, make suggestions and help your clients make the right decisions for them. There will be some clients who know exactly what they want, but others will be relying on you to contribute to making those choices.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills. Understanding customer services is vital and speaking to them in a language that they understand and feel comfortable with is be an advantage.

In addition to the above you will also need to:

  • Honesty and reliability
  • Attention to detail
  • Discretion, understanding and confidentiality
  • Use of Word to create forms etc.

Further Reading if you want to work from home

In conclusion, you may like to find out what jobs you could do working from home from our book entitled ‘Jobs to do Working from Home‘ by Julie C Farmer.

Working from home as a Credit Controller or Creating Invoices

Working from home as a Credit Controller or Creating Invoices

All businesses need cash, all businesses raise invoices, therefore all businesses need a Credit Controller. Every business needs to be able to send out invoices to get paid. Therefore, a good familiarity with invoices and the legal requirements that must be incorporated on an invoice are essential.  In addition, if you have created an invoice you will then be in a position to create a quote form, a statement and estimate form.

Once an invoice has been created, then it may need to be chased for payment.  Many businesses, especially small businesses are reluctant to undertake credit control.  This is an ideal job to do working from home.

You will need to know what computer software package the template will be installed on.  Each software package could have specific requirements and how the invoice needs to be stored on the software.  You will also need to know how the invoice will be sent, email or post.

Suggested Skill Requirements for a Credit Controller

  • Equipment. You will need a computer, accounts software and an understanding of basic
  • Computer access. Access to your clients IT system would be an advantage, this can be done via a VPN.
  • Excellent organisational skills. You need to know what is going on at all times with invoices and payments. Keeping records and a plan will be a must.  If a client customer has said an invoice will be paid on a certain date, you need to ensure you check the bank to confirm the payment has been  If not If you are disorganised this is not the job for you.
  • Reliability. This is a job that needs to be conducted at least once a week if not more. You will need to be able to dedicate time your client on a regular basis.
  • Customer service. Understanding customer services are You may be collecting or chasing money. However, your client may need to keep their customer for the business to stay in operation.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail. You will need to be able to read the invoice, complaints and any queries that arrive from an invoice. Knowing what is going on with the customer at all times.
  • Calm and professional manner. Money is a very emotive issue even if it is for a company, so a professional attitude and understanding when people are yelling and screaming at you will be very critical. A thick skin would be an advantage.
  • Understanding of Accounts. Understanding accounts practices, language and accounting theories would be an advantage but not necessarily vital for a credit controller. If you are going to do other accounts practices, like a VAT return than accounts knowledge will be essential. This could also include some understanding of some legal requirements.


Further Reading if you want to work from home

In conclusion, you may like to find out what jobs you could do working from home from our book entitled ‘Jobs to do working from Home‘ by Julie C Farmer.

You may also like to read the following post:

Working from home

Jobs to do Working from home

Working from home as a Wedding Planner
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Working from home as a Travel Consultant
Working from home creating Basic Websites