I don’t know if you’ve ever caught an episode of Repair Shop on BBC Two? It’s an informative little programme showing expert craftsmen and women pool their talents and resources to restore heirlooms and treasured antiques, to prove that anything can be restored to it’s former glory.

Well it’s a favourite of my photography obsessed other half, and over the past few weeks he’s been bitten by the restoration bug himself, and our own little Repair Shop seems to be taking shape.

One of the artisan craftsmen specialises in restoring and repairing old clocks and mechanical toys etc; and I must admit that there’s something strangely soothing and mesmerising about watching him work – the same feeling that watching snooker gives me! I simply would not have the patience to sit hunched over a tiny, intricate clock mechanism for hours, working away tirelessly to bring it back to life, but thankfully, there are talented people in the world who can. It’s a show that you can simply sit back and enjoy, its gentle pace is comforting and I must admit to the odd ‘lump in the throat’ moment at the end, when owners are reunited with their restored pieces, family heirlooms brought back to life for new generations to enjoy – it can get quite emotional!

So back to my partner, his love of photography doesn’t end with the pictures he takes, it extends to the camera equipment too, and he has a deep love for old cameras and lenses. This admiration for these vintage pieces has now evolved into a new hobby, an extension of his photography passion, and he’s trying his own hand at camera repair and restoration.

Although the dining room now resembles a mini workshop, he’s really enjoying taking old, neglected lenses apart, and then slowly learning how to reassemble them, ready for each one to enjoy a new lease of life.

Inevitably he’s attempted to explain the intricacies of the task to me, but my brain just isn’t wired that way and I’m as lost at the end of the conversation as I am when it started. I do, however, understand the joy of seeing these unloved, cast aside items slowly coming back to life, proud, gleaming and ready to be useful again.

And that thought took me back to my redundant months last year. I’ve felt unloved and cast aside before…who hasn’t! But this was different, this time I was older, just the wrong side of a significant birthday!

In my head I’m still a teenager, my body of course knows differently, and delights in reminding me constantly, but there’s nothing like the recruitment process repeatedly labelling you as ‘mature’ to send you spiralling towards the panic that no one will ever want to employ you again!

Luckily for me, Chrysalis Consulting was my ‘Repair Shop’! The team welcomed me on board and although they didn’t set about me with tools and cleaning products, they did invest time, energy, support and encouragement, even before Day One.

Nine months on I’m doing things I never expected I could do…I’m embracing the positive side of social media, I’m writing content, I’m marketing, I’m self-developing and continually learning…my confidence repaired and restored which has an impact both professionally and personally.

So to all those recruiters out there, insistent on labelling me as ‘mature’. Yes, I may have a few years on the clock, but I’m NOT a b***dy block of cheddar, I’m still ME!

Sue Alty – The Creative Coordinator

Contact Sue

We think Sue must be a ‘Master of the Dark Arts’, as she has hidden depths! Running our office with meticulous planning and capability, Sue is an avid list writer with a keen eye for detail. But don’t be fooled by that organised demeanour, for Sue is as creative as she is efficient! A skilled communicator with a humorous edge, Sue is as passionate about people and their learning and development as she is about becoming the future Mrs Tom Hardy or Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch (either will do!).  An interesting career path has taken her from the glamour of working in luxury London hotels to the chilled Distribution Centres of supermarket retail, and whether managing small groups or large teams, people are at the heart of everything Sue does.