Tuesday 21 January 2014

End of an era

When I first met Mr FF, in 1966, he was working as a draughtsman and I had started as a shorthand typist at the same construction company.  He used to phone the typing pool when he needed a letter typing, management did not allow staff to draft any correspondence, everything had to be dictated without notes direct to the stenographer. If I was sent to the drawing office, which wasn't that often because I used to cause a bit of a stir in my little 60s mini skirts, I perched myself on his drawing stool and rested my notebook on his drawing board while he stood beside me dictating.
One day when he had some drawings to send off he took the opportunity to ask me out.
After a while he decided to become a chartered engineer rather than a draughtsman and went off to college for three years. Unfortunately half way through the course, by which time we were married, the engineering council changed the rules and even though he passed his exams with distinction he couldn't progress to become chartered unless he embarked on another 3 years study without any grant.    So he started work as a structural designer still using a drawing board and when his company were upgrading the office he had the opportunity to buy his old board which he was pleased to do for a few pounds. Eventually when we had moved to Scotland Mr FF did more training including an evening course that allowed him to take the arduous 7 hour examination to became a chartered engineer. He went on to become a fellow of his professional institution, took a year as Chairman of the Scottish Branch of Structural Engineers, sat on various committees and government bodies, completed an MBA, a glittering career.  But he always had a soft spot for that drawing board, the equipment that started his working life, so it was a big step for him to sell it recently. 
It is a beautifully made thing, cast iron and quality wood, it looks vintage, its very solid, Mr FF never ever put a drawing pin into the wood always attaching plans with masking tape, it is in pristine condition.  But the board hasn't been used since Mr FF drew up plans for the house we have lived in for the last 23 years and it was moved to the workshop, which is why the photographs were taken on the drive.   I moan at Mr FF to clear old papers out of the office, to be more tidy, to adopt the once past the desk policy, but he has my total respect for this downsizing, it does feel like closing the door on part of our lives. The board has gone to a good home but at the moment it really feels like diminishing not decluttering.


  1. It is hard to say goodbye to possessions that have been such a huge part of our lives. I guess the fact that it has gone to a good home and will be used must be some comfort - much better than it going to the tip.

  2. Have to admit I'm still hanging on to my 'golf ball' typewriter!

    Granny G

  3. It is hard to let go of the past!

  4. This sounds crazy but that brought a few tears to my eyes. This is a very strange transition stage ( we are going through a similar thing) Its a bit like you are supposed to stop being who you were, but are not sure who you are going to be. At least it went to a good home. xxx

  5. The end of an era. When I first started work in 1986 it was in a Drawing Office and everyone worked at drawing boards. With the advent of CAD in the late 80's the role of the boards was seriously diminished until by the mid-90's there were none at all. Progress in a way I suppose, but I understand the connection to the past and reticence to part with it.


  6. Awww! That must have taking some 'letting go'! Ros