Odd Jobs #14: Virtual Assistants to Worm Farmers

This is the last of my series of odd jobs; along the way, there have been some amazing, some disgusting, and some downright puzzling ones.  Somewhere out there, beneath the deep blue sky, there’s someone thinking, “Why did I take this job, again?”  Having said that, every job has some kind of perk; it’s just that with some jobs, you have to dig into the muck to find it.


A friend of mine had a grandfather who was a rubbish collector back in the 1950s here in Switzerland; times were slim for the family, and he used to bring home things he thought were interesting, useful, or perhaps valuable that he’d found in the rubbish.  One of those things he’d brought home was a large tome, with gilt embossing and brass knobs on the pictorial cover board (these “feet” are at the four corners, and were used to support the book cover and protect it from wearing on the gold leaf when it sat on the wooden pulpit), and deep, plain embossing on the back board.  That someone would throw it away rather than giving it to a charity is beyond me.  Be that as it may, it was discovered to be Dr. Martin Luther’s Haus-Postille (sermons), with illustrated lithograph engravings throughout, by W. Walther, from Dresden, dated from 1890.  It was passed down through the family to my friend, and she had no use for it; she knows I collect books (including antique books) and have a library, and thus it has now come to me.  It is in excellent condition, and is being well looked after now, despite its close call in the rubbish!  [The image does not do justice to the brilliant golden gilt that still shines clearly on my copy, even after all these years…]

So, on with the final lineup of odd jobs!  The first and last links take you to another list of odd jobs, which includes the two here.  A couple of the jobs seem a bit dangerous to me – either flying off the side of a water slide that doesn’t quite meet safety standards yet, or dangling by a rope off of a glass building… if I had to choose I’d take the water rather than London pavement as a place to land.  Safer, but not necessarily easier, is the job of a voice-over artist; dubbing languages for films, or filling in the voices for rough tracks in animated films, or even – and I find this particularly unethical, as a singer myself – to be paid to replace a recording artist’s voice, such as the scandal involving Milli Vanilli, which destroyed their careers.  Enjoy browsing the final list; perhaps in the future at some point I’ll bring along another addition or two.

  • Virtual Assistant
  • Virtual Head Hunter
  • Voice-Over Artists
  • Water Slide Tester
  • Wax Figure Sculptor: Mold wax to create figures, often for, but not limited to, the human form. Figures are often made in the likeness of people who have achieved historical or celebrity recognition.
  • Wig Maker: Put simply, they make wigs, but the process is anything but simple. First, wig makers create a plastic model of the wearer’s head and hairline, and then they transfer the mold onto a padded canvas similar to the client’s general head size, covering it with wig lace. Using a needle, they knot and pull thousands of hairs, one by one, through the mesh cap. Once all the hairs are in place, the wig is styled to the wearer’s preference.
  • Window cleaner for the Gherkin (London): It takes a team of 9 cleaners 10 days to complete the task, as the building stands 180 metres tall and consists of 7,429 panes of glass.
  • Worm Farmer


Filed under Articles, Images, Lists, Musings, Research

14 responses to “Odd Jobs #14: Virtual Assistants to Worm Farmers

  1. This is a timely post and much appreciated. I am a worm farmer. It is a lovely profession but does take a close bond with worms. It is ideally suited for those whose embrace all thing of nature, including breeding worms. At latest count we now have approximately about 235.700 worms all relishing and devouring our discarded Murdoch Newsprint and food scraps. You should see our garden. I sometimes put in a spade and lift the soil only to be greeted with happy worms. They remember me and show gratitude. They are very intelligent and through the years we have recognized their love for us and vice versa, us to them. They even make a noise when they go through the Newsprint and leave behind their castings.
    We are in a symbiotic relationship and we would never go without our worms.

  2. There is so much history in an old book and all its owners.

  3. Fascinating! What noise do worms make? Do you keep them in containers of soil? Who are your customers? Symbiotic relationships often come in unlikely places, don’t they? 😉

  4. True; especially if they’re signed by previous owners, they have their own story to tell.

  5. Thank you for the link! A very interesting story… and I love a bit of detective work, too.

  6. A fascinating book to have been rescued from oblivion Trinity, am sure it has a beautiful place to rest among your collection of antique words. That is the type of books my eyes search for in my overseas travels. With your expertise on books, can you throw any light on my two books dated mid 1800,s, Heaths Book of Beauty edited by the Countess of Blessington ?.

  7. Would the publisher be Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & Longman? Published around 1835? Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington was the editor for that book. The printer would have been J. Moyes (for the London editions) – you may or may not find that information on the title page; if there’s a dated introduction in the front matter, it would narrow down the printing date. Is it leather bound, with gilt edging? If so, you’ve got a treasure of a book!

  8. Thanks for your assistance, yes the publishers are as you say and edited by the Countess of Blessington leather bound and gilt edged, there are two books, one dated 1840 and the other 1844, both have original lithographs which you can see I have used as headers in quite a number of my recent poems, I think the copyright time frame would be over for them by now, I photographed them out of the books, many thanks for your help.

  9. You’re welcome! I think that the copyright expiry depends on the arrangements for the work (if there is a perpetuity for the heirs of the author, etc.) As long as you credit the images, it should be no problem either way. I’ll go peruse your headers. 🙂

  10. Thank you Trinity, you a Gem.

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