kelzadiddle: (Kevin Ayers Still Life With Guitar)
So, after missing yesterday's Philosophy tutorial I had two extra journeys knocking about on my bus smart card. Last nSo yeahight I decided that it might be a good idea to go to Belfast to do some shopping. With winter rolling in quickly I need some warmer clothing, and Primark has been stocking some funky knitwear and flares, so I decided to forget my terror of the place and go shopping.

Shannon and I got to town to catch the bus at about half twelve, to discover that buses on Saturday are less than regular. Most buses only go between Lurgan and Belfast, which was no use to us. We waffled round town a bit, planning on getting the 2:32 bus, but then Shannon had a revelation: the train. We could try there, to see if they were more regular, and they were.

One thing I'll say about train services over here; they're a lot more vigilant. Even from a station as small as Portadown's, there's a man checking everyone's tickets as they go out onto the platform. It isn't like in England where you can just go onto the platform half an hour early and dawdle around; you wait in the designated area and then aforementioned ticket man will call you through when your train's there.

Yeah. The trains over here are different. Look at me with my Irish wisdom!

Anyway, we got to Belfast... )
kelzadiddle: (English is a Mugger)
Today was my third day of work with the ExtraCare Charitable Trust shop in Earlestown. In a nutshell, it's a voluntary job as a shop assistant, and I get to do everything from sorting clothes, to steaming them to make them look presentable, to storing them, to sticking them on the shop floor, to running the till... and there's probably more that I can't remember.

It's my Monday, Wednesday and Friday thing. Nine to five - and I believe I'm the only person who stays until the very minute the shop closes, other than the manager and deputy manager - and I bloody love it.

The work? Knackering, both physically and mentally. Carrying stuff to and fro all day gives you one hell of a workout. You haul huge plastic binbags full of clothes out of the stock room into the sorting room, spend an hour on your feet going through everything, tagging and hanging what's worth selling and binning what isn't. Then you haul them all into the steamer/kitchen area and spend a further hour steaming all the creases out of everything. Then, you have to haul it all upstairs, usually making several trips, to the storage rooms on the second floor. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sound tiring to you? It bloody well is. And it's flipping fantastic.

You see, it keeps you on your feet. There's always something to do. You're always moving about, carrying things, so you get a bit of exercise. And it's a challenge to the mind in some ways because of the complex sorting and pricing systems they've got going there. With clothes, you have to scrutinise them carefully for the slightest blemish. Marked ones get 'ragged', but the charity still receives money for scrapped clothing (50p per kilo).

For good clothes, you need to find a size, figure out whether it's been 'rotated' (sent in from another shop who's failed to sell it), and write all this down, along with the sort code (there's a different number for ladies' tops, ladies' trousers, menswear, kids' clothes, books, etc). Then you have to remember which hanger to use, remember to put a size cube on the hanger and actually tag the item. There's a lot to memorise, and when the process becomes second nature, things can be forgotten.

It's the same with running the till. There's this huge process you have to go through, and if you make a mistake, the till screams - quite literally - at you. If you press the 'cash total' button too early, for instance, it beeps loudly. And the method's slightly different when people pay via. card. I learned this the hard way the other day when I inadvertently created an anomaly in the shop's books - which Dawn the manager had to rectify with a call to the Head Office. Er - oops. Sorry, Dawn!

There's always something to do. We get loads of bags of donations every day, so there's those to be sorted. If not, there's tidying to be done in the stock room, on the shop floor - anywhere in the shop, really! Or, if you're a nutter like me who loves making tea/coffee for people, there's that to be done.

So, it keeps me busy, it hones my organisational skills, keeps me mentally alert, teaches me to socialise... and then there's the 25% discount and first pickings of anything that comes into the shop! Huzzah!

Speaking of which, I brought three more lovely items home today, all clothing. Two tops and a hat.

In which Kelza goes on a ramble about what we all know is the main reason why she loves her job... )
kelzadiddle: (keep calm and read Wodehouse)
I've done a rudimentary clean-up job for the night's work. Tonight, darling readers, is the night that I get back into writing again. I did a little work (read: one paragraph) whilst in Ireland but was generally too distracted for much - I had to make the most of my time there, after all - and the few days after coming back, my heart just wasn't in it.

Smiller's party was two days ago; the TV/Film themed one, anyway. I didn't go to the GaGa themed one - parties traditionally leave me crippled for three days so two in a row would have been pushing it a bit. I managed to finish my hat (le joys!) and my costume was as follows...
  • Aforementioned hat.
  • "Swiss cheese" armwarmers in pink + black stripes.
  • Burgundy floral shirt with frilly cuffs + collar.
  • Flared jeans shortened by four inches.
  • Floral waistcoat in pale greens + pinks.
  • Green patterned shoes.
Technically it was a fancy dress party, but I was one of the most dressed up there. Most people just wore your typical casual party stuff, or were in fancy dress but you could hardly tell. For my first fancy dress party, I think I did good. I made a convincing Mad Hatter, and most of the stuff was straight out of my own wardrobe. The sirt and the waistcoat were together less than a fiver - huzzah for charity shops! - and everything else not handmade was bought ages ago.

Hop aboard the Wafflecopter )


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