You can find these shoes (feet) in…
Rose Cottage, Forbestown, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
They belong to…
Carol Hutton – 61 years old. In a relationship with ‘the man’. Born in Victoria, British Canada. Runs an HWRC (rubbish dump & recycling facility) in Scotland. Has “a weird sense of humor.”
She spends up to 12 hours a day in steel-toed boots, so on sunny days, she likes to free her toes. “The wee umbrella is because one must ALWAYS use one’s protective safety gear!”
What it’s like to walk in her shoes for a day…
“On a work day I get up, feed the dog & cats, put leftovers in a bag for lunch, drive 18 miles in beautiful countryside to my work site.
In winter I often have to shovel snow before leaving and getting to work.
At work I tie back my hair, stick lunch in the fridge, make a 2pack mug of quick porridge for brekky, put on a funny hat (I’ve a collection!) as it makes folk laugh to see them, my gloves, open the big shed, drag out the power leads, hook up my compacting machines, shift large wheelie skips around, open the gates & set to work.
My customers are generally a happy lot! We chat about our lives as they deposit green waste & other recycling. Some tell me jokes & make fun of my silly hats! I educate folk on various aspects of recycling, show them where it goes, help them haul large items like fridges & washers out of cars, heave & stack scrap metal neatly in the skip so there’s room for more, sweep the area of nails & other detritus, pull recycling out of the landfill compactor & put it in the right places, pull landfill out of the green waste compactor (just read the damn signs, people!!), bag up clothing etc for the SallyAnn box, saw trees in half so they fit in the green waste compactor, sort through black bin bags showing people what they should be recycling instead of binning, break cheap wooden furniture apart so it’s easier to chuck in the wood recycling skip, shout at idiots trying to run over my traffic cones or other people, help the elderly & infirm empty their cars, roll up & tie mattresses so they don’t clog the machines, wield a sledgehammer, axe or saw when they DO jam up, flatten cardboard boxes so they fit in the big bins, toss timber into the wood skip instead of climbing the stairs all day long, put nice but unwanted things on the adoption wall, get wind blown, rain soaked, frostbitten & sunburnt. And keep smiling & laughing because it’s ALL GOOD FUN 😎
At lunch I close the gates, eat my warmed up leftovers – or sometimes use the GF grill & a mini hob to cook from fresh, read a book until I reopen. If the weather is really warm I’ll put out a deck chair, take off my boots & socks to gives my toes some sunshine. They like that 🤣. There’s always ONE twit who comes through the shut gate to ask if we’re closed for lunch. Well, DUH!! 🙄 But we’re not allowed to hit them anymore for being TOTALLY DENSE. Shame, that 🤣
On hot summer evening shifts I’ll have an ice cream & pop as a treat. Sometimes the foremen come around just to get in the way & interfere in my day. Or they phone & I can’t hear over the machinery noise so I hang up on them. I phone in to various offices to arrange scrap metal & other units needing changed out or report repairs needed.
I do small repairs myself as I’ve a good toolbox & loads of materials to hand to re-use!! Then I open the gates & repeat as above until closing. It’s tidy up the site of detritus, unhook the machines, store my tools, ensure the electrical recycling area inside the big shed is tidy, wash my dishes, water the plants, tidy the office, do a little paperwork, lock up, and drive home 18 miles to feed the dog & cats, have a shower, make supper for the man, watch some telly & go to sleep.
On days off I hoover, do laundry, hit the net to catch up with the news & organise Legion Riders Branch charity events, & then ride my motorcycle in them. I also keep the garden tidy too.”
Growing up in her shoes she was…
“I was supposed to go to Uni, meet a nice boy with rich folks, get married, have kids. Blah de blah.
I wasn’t allowed to do ‘boy stuff’. Like fix things or ride motorcycles or wear jeans.
My mother was a domineering, two faced bitch. She manipulated everything & everyone around her. She tried to live out her stifled dreams through me. It was a constant battle to be who & what I wanted to be.
The school system perpetuated that programming, or tried to, by blocking girls from Shop class etc. Through teachers of BOTH sexes making fun of my aspirations. Through tacitly allowing other students to bully me for daring to think & be different.
My dad was the opposite. He was a live & let live kind of guy, always telling us to use our heads, reason things through, decide what WE wanted to do as we knew ourselves best. And then he followed through on that backing us all the way.
So I did my own thing, bucked the system & ended up on the leading edge of girls learning & going into non-trad activities & occupations.”
Her biggest challenges day-to-day…
“Having enough time to get everything done & energy to deal with it.
Dealing with idiots in middle management who couldn’t tie their shoes without a risk assessment in place.
Having enough money to keep the cars & bike running well.
Dealing with the vagaries of a severe PTSD sufferer spouse.
Not making enough money to set aside for savings.
No main shops, banks or govt offices within 30 miles.
Very few friends. But those I have are keepers!!
Crappy mobile signal & net speed.
Men who think with their dicks instead of their heads. 🙄
Women who think my job is not for a lady, and who place limits on themselves that trad mid 20thC society have programmed them into accepting. People AFRAID of themselves so they don’t even try but sit in a corner & whinge about how unfair their lives are & it owes them more than they have. (Get an f’ing grip…).”
What are the advantages of being a woman in the 21st Century?
“We’re closer to proper equality as individuals but it’s still a long way off. At least I can vote & drive & hold a bank account & property in my own name these days.”
One thing you should know if you’re going to walk in her shoes…
“I’m an individual. I’m not you, or anyone else and it’s up to ME how I live my life, what choices I make & how I cope with the outcomes. It’s my right to determine who I am & what limits I set on myself. Not ‘yours’.”
Flashbulb memories (s) or what it’s really like to walk in her shoes…
“Where do I start?? We were always taken camping as kids. I used to call in the loons as my voice is quite adept in that way.
Sailing on the SS Empress of England from Greenock to Montreal in 1966.
Taking the train across Canada & all passengers getting thrown off in Winnipeg due to a CPR strike.
We drove through a forest fire when I was 10. Wild.
Watching my mum break through the ice on frozen tatty fields when we were skating. Not deep but she had to crash her way back to the shore with dozens of folk howling in laughter. She was furious because her fur coat was sodden & she had to drive home in it. And then the car horn broke & stuck on. Hilarious. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
Building paths in Goldstream Park & watching Nootka & Red salmon spawn.
Climbing Apple trees to harvest them in the back yard & watching dad prune them.
Visiting my granny & having cold meatloaf sandwiches & cream of celery soup after us going rockpooling at the beach.
Learning to play the piano, guitar, flute & glockenspiel.
Taking best actress award in the BC Drama Festival.
I learned to fly in 1974, age 17, & was the first girl in Canada 🇨🇦 to do the cadet flying scholarship programme. I joined the army as a Gunner Signaller & remustered to SecInt.
I did all sorts of weird & wonderful things there. Saw tragedies too.
A woman who slit her wrists in the tub & a 15 year who hung himself in his basement. I spent nearly 12 years in the army before going to work on the oil rigs. It was hard work but good fun! We sometimes went tubing behind pickups on ice roads! Trees hurt when you fly off & crash into them at 20mph though. 🤣
I once had a bear come into my kitchen. I shouted & threw a pan at it. It left.
I also worked for an outfitter who took people big game hunting. I ran the camp so shot & butchered the camp meat – moose, deer, bear, birds – cooked, prepared hides for curing, spent time on a trapline, living in a tent in spring & fall when not on the rigs in summer & winter. I even sewed up a man’s leg when he put a chainsaw through it. Did a good job according to the hospital. I hit the arse end of a large moose near Peerless Lake Alberta & rolled my pickup into a swamp. I walked away without a scratch or bruise. Just wet. Next day it was righted & I drove it away sans windscreen 100 miles to have new glass put in. I left the weeds hanging on it as trophies. Speedo never worked after that….
In 1992 I worked at Giant Mine in Yellowknife during what was to become Canada’s worst labour relations disaster. The strikers rioted several times, burning vehicles, destroying buildings inside, badly injuring others; they targeted us with laser scoped rifles, tried running me off the road, tried running me over, blew things up around the site – including a sat dish 30 ft from my house – death threatened me in the YYK airport, and eventually killed 9 of my co-workers in an underground bomb blast. Only one has ever done time for it. Nine men’s families ripped apart just because CASAW wanted a 10% pay rise in a falling gold price market. That taught me the price of a human life. 10%. That’s all.
After a bad car crash in 1993 I changed careers & designed, sold & supervised new home builds for 5 years. I bought, refurbed & sold some houses making a decent bit of cash at it. It was okay but Adventure was missing from my life!! So I moved to Scotland 🏴! Great memories here include showing highland cattle, renewing a friendship with a long lost Royal Marine pal, meeting HM & Prince Andrew, watching my cat have kittens & watching them grow up, shovelling EPIC amounts of snow in the winter of 2010/11 when the Braemar temperature reached MINUS 30C & -35F at Mine, motoring across the new Queensferry Crossing Bridge whilst sitting backwards on a custom trike & filming a customised van convoy crossing for the first time, finding my other half when our eyes met across a crowded Legion AGM. All good fun, for the most part!!”
How about YOUR shoes?
“This Carol’s story, it is unique, it is hers and it tells you something about being a woman in the 21st century.
If you identify as a woman, your story is just as important. CLICK HERE to get the questions and be part of our story, history and Her-story.”