I have a lot of work friends listed on Facebook and as much as they know me…… they don’t really know me!
As I have never really introduced myself here in the WordPress realm I thought I would add a blog about me.
Hopefully this will give you all more of an understanding about me.
I’m not your typical run of the mill mum with three kids.
So here, with plenty of photo memories, is a fairly shortened run down of my last 20 years.
For the last 2 and a half years I have worked as a family care assistant on a childrens ward and I have throroughly enjoyed it but it’s not the job I had intended to do after college.
In fact nothing went the way I expected it to after college.
I trained to be a graphic designer and after college I spent nearly two years with a company called ‘Active Computer Graphics’
They specialised in company presentations from company logos all the way to boardroom presentations on slide shows, overhead projections and printouts. This was all before companies started to do all this ‘in house’.
It was intense work and after 2 years the pressure became too much and I needed something simpler so I got into retail.
I started on the womenswear floor at Debenhams in Bedford and ended up running the maze of womenswear stockrooms. May not sound very ambitious but I enjoyed it and it kept me fit.
It was during my time with Debenhams that I met my husband.
Anyone who knew me growing up would tell you that I liked to keep myself to myself. I loved movies and TV and for a while I toyed with the idea of set design as a career.
Oh yes, I was also a ‘closet’ science fiction fan.
It wasn’t until around 1990, when Star Trek the Next Generation hit our screens and I was earning my own money, that I realised I needed to find friends who were also science fiction fans.
I did something totally out of character for me and I joined a local Star Trek fan club.
Yes… I was labelled a ‘Trekker’
It may sound strange to some of you but this was a breath of fresh air.
I could finally talk about all things Sci Fi with people who were actually interested.
My husband to be was ‘The Captain’ of the club. How Cliche was that!
I also decided to go to my first Star Trek convention. What a revelation that was!
With my new found friends and Fiance, conventions became my new hobby. Wild weekends away, staying up all night drinking and talking about all things Sci Fi.
Ah yes, drunken nights discussing time travelling paradox’s…… eventually leads to writing a script with one of those new friends.
A script that was actually sent to Paramount. Unfortunately it was read, stamped and sent back saying thanks but no thanks.
But hey! At least we tried.
We attended conventions 2, sometimes 3 times a year depending on what was being organised.
We even did a Star Trek Cruise that sailed from Miami to Jamaica and the Camen Islands.
At the time these conventions were actually fan run and were loads of fun. They would literally run 24 hours a day. They were relaxed and you would quite often find yourselves bumping into the guests at the bar and treating them like the ‘people’ they were, you’d buy them a drink or vice versa and then you’d party into the night.
This was my life. I wasn’t interested in a fancy career. I worked so that I could play.
In 1994 I married my Captain. Ian.
As Ian was the main breadwinner, I moved to Coventry to be with him while he worked for IBM.
I ended up working for Argos. I helped open up their new flagship superstore in Coventry City Centre. I worked on the customer services counter. What an eye opener that was!
After two years with Argos, Ian was earning really good money and we decided to start a family.
We continued to attend conventions but we were now getting into Multi medias. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Highlander and Stargate all had great conventions and I was becoming quite well known for my artwork. A hobby that I had developed while I was a stay home Mum.
I created computer artwork portraits that looked like paintings. My friends at conventions kept pushing me to sell them until I eventually decided to attend a Buffy convention as ‘A Dealer’, selling my artwork in the dealer’s room.
It was a success and quickly became a great way to finance attending conventions.
Conventions were now slipping out of the hands of fans and into the hands of companies.
It was during our Highlander phase that I became intrigued with an actor called ‘Peter Wingfield’. So much so that I ended up running the UK side of his fan club, The PWFC – Click Here.
I even organised a group meeting with him at a convention and I got to interview him for the club magazine.
I even had a convention friend ask me to design some tattoos of her favourite characters, Methos and Kronos.
and I’m sorry but I just cannot remember your name! If you see this, get in touch. I would love to know if you did indeed get autographs under the images that you also got tattooed. In fact do you even still have the tattoos?
Unfortunately life started to take over.
We moved to Seahaven down near Brighton when Ian got a job with AMEX and soon after along came kiddy number 2.
Doing conventions was getting harder and harder. We managed but it was becoming time consuming at home. My artwork stall had grown so big that stocking it before each convention was a nightmare. Hundreds of pieces of work needing to be printed, checked, mounted, backed and bagged….. by just me!
When Ian’s job ended with AMEX we made the decision to move back to Bedford. Most of my family was in Bedford so I would have more support with the kids while I continued with the artwork.
The artwork was now becoming more than just a hobby.
At the turn of the millenium (that makes things sound so old!!) Ian’s job market crashed. The wages that he had been on for nearly 10 years dissappeared overnight. The only job he could get was on half of his previous wages.
This created BIG problems for us financially.
I couldn’t go out to work because I had 2 kids and another on the way. The only way I could help out was with my artwork.
By this time we had given up on conventions and moved into big multi media and collector shows like Memorabilia at the NEC in Birmingham, Collectormania in Milton Keynes and the London Expo at the Excel Centre in London.
We had branched out a little to try and make a bit more money.
Ian got into retro toys like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, Star Wars figures, that kind of thing.
I got into Care Bears and My Little Ponies.
I quickly built up a reputation and became known as ‘The Care Bear Lady’. People would actually come to these collector shows to look for me!
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.
Along came Ebay.
People no longer needed to go to these collector fairs to get their Care Bears or retro toys.
The shows had become so big with so many guests that attendees couldn’t afford to spend their hard earned cash at the dealers tables if they wanted to get autographs with the stars at £20 or £30 a pop.
The relaxed fan run conventions had dissapeared. The fun had dissappeared. So we stopped doing the shows and concentrated on selling artwork through Ebay.
A couple of years ago, things were beginning to look rosey again. Financially things had been sorted. It was extremely tight at the end of each month but we were still surviving.
Then the artwork got one last nail in the coffin. I was threatened with legal action by the BBC if I didn’t stop selling some Dr Who Artwork that I had done on Ebay. As Dr Who was my biggest seller at the time it kind of killed any reason to carry on selling through Ebay.
My Mum was about to retire, so it was a perfect time to think about getting back out to work.
That’s when I landed my job as a Health Care Assistant on a Children’s Ward.
It’s full time, long shifts, my Mum keeps my house in shape and helps with the kids, Ian still has a job and we are just about managing financially.
We miss the shows and the conventions.
We miss just being able to sit with friends and not worry about talking Sci-Fi.
We had some great encounters with guests.
I was actually serenaded by George Takei!! who took it upon himself to sing ‘Michelle my Belle’ when I was introduced to him.
I’ve hugged a terminator and various vampires.
Take a look at more photos at my flikr account… click here.
And now I’m a Mum, with a job I quite enjoy and the people I work with have no idea about what I did before I started working with them.
I’m sure they didn’t see me doing any of this!