stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The White Strand of the Monks, Iona

This beautiful beach hides a tragic history - in the tenth century there was a bloodthirsty Norse massacre of some of the Abbey's monks. One photo looks back towards the abbey. I hadn't spent a lot of time on this beach before, but had only seen it from a distance. The small sandy isthmus in the distance is on another tiny islet.

We had the beach almost to ourselves. A noisy oystercatcher was flying around (in the third photo) seeming quite disturbed. Youngest daughter discovered a surprise on the rocks! But we havent been able to discover if this was the reason.

We wandered along, collecting shells and rocks, and soaking in the quiet and peace. I found a large piece of greeny mauve marble that had come from the vein in the south of the island. I brought it home in my coat pocket and hoped I wasnt weighed at the airport!

Enjoy the photos without any text or captions to distract you. I recommend clicking to enlarge.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Back from Iona....

...with lovely memories of a tranquil and magical place - also thanks to EasyJet (aka SqueezyJet for the less than human queues at Bristol Airport, even worse than US Immigration or DisneyWorld!) we all got an airplane aircon cold, one after the other.

This is the best view of St Columba's Bay - an hour's walk across the heather and peatbogs to the remote south of the island. Have you ever seen such jewels of pebbles? I had to leap out of the way of an advancing wave to get this glistening shot - you can just see my reflection in a couple of the black stones!

We spent a relaxing time hunting for Mermaid's Tears, before finding our another small hidden bay (The Bay of Ivor's Cornfield apparently)

Then we climbed over the hills and tried to discover the way to the ruins of the Marble Quarry, first used in the 1790s for a few years, and then again in Victorian times. The view across to Mull was lovely. You can see the edge of the quarry on the bottom right where steam tugs would come to collect the cut stone blocks, till it failed again.

Then across the hills and heather, the weather on Iona has been dry but I still managed to find some bog in which to tread up to my calf!! No shot of muddy boots until the ferry home! In lieu of a path, we followed a sheep track back to "civilisation" - a nice cup of tea and the thought of a good meal in the island pub later on in the evening.

PS I am very sorry but I accidentally deleted this post - and so lost the comments! Doh!
Photos are back now too. Double doh!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A long moan about my job - sorry!

Its been a strange time on the work front - quite unsettling.

Firstly there was the long awaited restructuring at work. The whole library service had been working towards this for a year or more, and we all knew that £850,000 had to be saved and that there was no way that the County Councillors would consider closing libraries. Or buying less books. So that left staff. Less staff. By not filling any vacancies they managed to lose 26 jobs over the year, so no one was made redundant.

Then they altered the management structure.

This meant my lovely job, with websites and other techie wonders, no longer existed as such. It was downgraded and they gave it to the cataloguer. And they gave me the job of looking after Health & Safety, buldings, blocked toilets, window cleaning contracts, paying invoices etc etc. In short, nothing to do with being a librarian or information or websites!

And no appeal against their decision.

However, three days into our new structure - and another bombshell hits. Not enough money saved. Another restructure. Is this a world record? So this time it is proposed that we shall cut opening hours of libraries, as we cant close them altogether. And we have to cut the jobs of another 40 library assistants, and also 6 out of 20 professional librarians! However the press release doesnt seem to mention the 40 library staff out in the branch libraries.

I had go so depressed and dispirited at the thought of my allotted job for the next five years that I thought about finding some other job. I hadn't been given any hand over for it, apart from going to a couple of meetings with my predecessor (who was from a temporary staff agency on a short contract) And those meetings showed what the job was about. I have to force myself to stay awake, and I often drove home in tears. Still do. If I retired now, I shall lose 28% of my pension for life, as I am deemed to be leaving "early". Although the state pension says I can retire at 60, my work pension says 65!

I was thrilled to be shortlisted for interview for a job with the BBC looking after the BBC Dorset website. But the job was called Broadcast Journalist, and while I obviously fulfilled many of the criteria, I didnt get the job because, I suspect, they want a proven journalist and writer. I had a great day out in Southampton though, and really enjoyed the interview and the writing assessment.

A great source of consolation was that a great writer and blogger who is already working for the BBC didnt get the job either! I recognised him coming out of his interview, which I think unsettled him a bit. Even got a mention on his blog post for that day!

All these application forms plus the new duties and subject area of my new job have meant little time for blog reading or writing.

I have told my bosses that my current job is not what I enjoy doing, and though I will give it my best shot, I should like to be considered for redundancy in the next round of cuts. I expect it will take till next year. But meanwhile I shall try not to mind the drudgery and boring nature of my post as Business Support Manager. I do wonder if they knew or cared that I was inumerate when they put me in charge of authorising invoices! I probably wont go job hunting again - there are not many webby/interesting jobs in my small town.

Also interesting too that Zen's working life is badly aspected! But at least I have a job, and a laptop and an office to myself. Not everyone can say that!

Moaning over.

On Monday I am off for a week's break on Iona, with LLF and Youngest Daughter. Hurrah. I seem to remember that a holiday on Iona featured in some of my first ever posts in October 2005. We will be out of contact of mobile phone and internet access for a week, so I shall look forward to catching up when I return.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A few words in another place.....

Ive written a few words over on ArkSanctum (please forgive the tea stains on the website, wont you?)

Time seems to be in short supply right now!