« The Cod Caller | Main | Confucius He Say… »

As Time Goes By: The Bee-Keepers

...I recall that before the 1980’s it was not done for the female office workers to wear slacks. I recall Mrs. Godfrey the office manager speaking to one girl who came to work in trousers, pointing out that for the office she should wear a suit or a dress...

Eileen Perrin continus her life story. To read earlier episodes please click on

In the very hot summer of June 1980 Les and our daughter Cathy were looking after our hive of bees. The bees got very excited and Les was stung on the forehead which resulted in his eyes closing so that he could not go to work. Later he was stung badly ten times by bees dropping down into his boots. He was in great agony and could not get his shoes on, and again did not go to work for four days.

Later in August he was stung again several times on the forehead and arm. After all that suffering we did not have a good yield that year.

That July we started our holiday at Mundesley, in north Norfolk and visited Norwich to look up Boyd’s Marriage registers at the Norwich Record Office.
We toured around and visited Southrepps where John Tyrrell Coan’s second wife’s father had run a bakery. We went in a church at Baconsthorpe, a village south of Sheringham, finding three generations of former vicars with the name Zurishaddai Girdlestone, born in the 1700’s.

Leaving Mundesley we went on to Lincoln via Kings Lynn, where we stayed a couple of nights. We enjoyed the old black and white timbered houses, the cathedral with stone carving like lace, and the old twelfth century bridge.

Then on to Knaresborough in Yorkshire, where we saw the petrifying well on the river Nidd. We went over to Harrogate and then to York, to go into the Minster, and have tea and toasted tea cakes in Terry of York’s tea rooms, which closed that year. After visiting Ripon cathedral, where Leslie’s cousin was organist and choirmaster, we left our lodgings in Knaresborough and drove home from Yorkshire over seven hours.

In the summer break from College I did more research in Somerset House, looking up wills, and went to Kew Record Office, and the India Office.
Back at work for the Autumn term, on the first enrolment day I took £10,000 in cash from overseas students.
Thinking back, I recall that before the 1980’s it was not done for the female office workers to wear slacks. I recall Mrs. Godfrey the office manager speaking to one girl who came to work in trousers, pointing out that for the office she should wear a suit or a dress.

Smoking was allowed in work places then, and I always suffered from inhaling it.
In November we went away for a weekend to Dorset and there in Sherborne, met a second cousin Leonard Coan and his wife Kathleen, where they ran the Old Post Office.

Headlines on December 9th that John Lennon of the Beatles, was shot dead outside his home.

To round off the year 1980 I returned to the India Office to follow my family history search, and on December 31st found John Tyrrell Coan’s marriage by an Army chaplain to first wife Mary Hopson, daughter of Sergeant Hopson, in Meerut, India in 1821.

At New Year 1981, I founded the Coan Family and Associate Members Society, COFAMS, and sent the first newsletter to the family members I had contacted in the past two years in researching the family history of my maiden name of Coan.

These quarterly newsletters have continued to be sent throughout the years up to the present and still continue. There are currently forty-five members.

News of 1981 started with Ronald Reagan becoming President of the U.S.A. on January 20th

On March 29th 1981 the first Marathon in London took place with 7500 runners.
In April the American Space Shuttle Columbia was launched successfully.

On July 29th Prince Charles wed Lady Diana Spencer in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Films of 1981 included Steven Spielberg’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ with Harrison Ford, ‘Chariots of Fire’ with Ian Charleson, and ‘Arthur’ with Dudley Moore and John Gielgud, and on television we were introduced to Dell boy and Rodney in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ a much-loved weekly starring David Jason, which has had many popular re-runs.

During the first eight months of 1981 there was repeated news of I.R.A. hunger strikers dying in the Maze prison after as many as 65 days fasting.

English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher began privatising nationalised Industries thus creating economic revival.

AIDS was first identified in 1981.

One of the first computers was installed at London’s County Hall, so large it occupied much of one room’s space. MS DOS was released for the first time by Microsoft along with I.B.M.’s first office-sized personal computer and in the U.S.A. the word Internet was first mentioned. In August 1981 a computer was purchased for the use of a more senior member of the office staff at Kingsway College, and we were encouraged to watch her use it.

On November 6th Cathy and Geoff’s second daughter was born named Rosemary Clare.

In December 1981 my husband Les and I both reached our fifty-ninth year: we had begun talking of when we should expect to retire from work. Neither of us was keen, wondering whatever we should do if we did not have to go out to work every day.

From January, the winter of 1982 started extremely cold, with a temperature in Scotland at Braemar registering minus 27 degrees.

The Falklands war began with Argentina, on April 2nd and ended on June 14th.
My mother Kitty Coan came to live with us for a while and celebrated her 90th birthday on April 15th. While we were at work every weekday, she was on her own in the house which created us some anxiety. Later that year she was re-housed in a warden-controlled flat at Rochford in Essex, where she had previously lived in her bungalow. We visited her regularly.


Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.