Many moons ago I worked at a graphics bureau in Brum called Scintilla. I was there for just over five years, and for most of that time I had a colleague called Carol Mansley. At the outset she was employed as production manager, but her style was completely dissimilar to her predecessor: Carol’s blended management with a hands-approach.
Over the months, as our small team grew in proficiency, the pecking order became less marked and we became a group of equals. This actually didn’t diminish Carol’s role as much as it sounds, because I think it meant she enjoyed the job more: in the Us and Them game she was definitely one of Us. During our tenure we had our ups-and-downs, but I only recall one incident where the exchange of words became heated.
Carol was far more methodical and diligent than me, and had the sure-fire ability to quickly understand what needed doing, and when. The four of us were a team, and depended on each other. If you asked Carol to help out with something you knew it would be done – she was a very dependable and considerate workmate.
It was very difficult to see below the surface with Carol, as she kept her own counsel on most issues. She was certainly of the school that teaches one to sit back and observe, rather than offer half-baked opinions. She had a broad spectrum of interests: sport, gardening, technology, photography, reading etc. I recall that we shared a fondness for the TV series Red Dwarf, and she could do a cracking impersonation of Craig Charles!
When Carol did venture opinions, or wade into conversation, we were assured of a statement that made sense, was not verbose, and cut to the chase. Carol could say more with a few words, and the arching of one eyebrow, than most folk manage with minutes of chattering.
It was with much sadness, then, that I heard that Carol died a couple of weeks ago. By all accounts it seemed she died suddenly, at home, of kidney failure. I’m not aware if there’d been any build-up to this, or any period of illness at all. Unfortunately, I could not attend either the main funeral in Chester or a recent memorial service in Bartley Green. So, by way of poor compensation I’ve decided to pen this blog entry.
I invite all who knew Carol, and most of all Colin and Steve Mansley, to leave a comment here, either adding to what I’ve written, or correcting me if I’ve misremembered something!
I have a link to some pictures that Carol uploaded to Flickr only just recently. Sadly it looks like this was a process she was just getting into.