Diary of my work experience adventure with Penny Post – by Anna van der Giessen

My work experience was a relaxing yet eventful time with Penny Post. I learnt about digital media and website maintenance and this has improved my communication skills.

Monday – Day 1 

My mother gave me a lift to Penny Post, and we were warmly greeted by Penny and Brian. I was shown around the house and garden and introduced to the three cats – Simba, Marmite and Cleo.But unfortunately we don’t get a week off school to pet cats all day so we soon went inside to start work. 

We sat down and started talking about a problem Penny was having editing the website in Chrome on her laptop. We thought that it might have been due to the number of open tabs, and before trying to close them all, I showed Penny a tree-style tabs chrome extension. But the problem turned out to be caused by one of the other extensions that were open in Chrome. 

Penny then showed me how the embedded links functioned works and how to edit a page, and then left me with the task of fixing links the website showed as broken, and checking an aspect of the website that hadn’t been checked recently (fact checking) as Penny and Brian had to take a zoom call. I checked that the changes that I’d made to the website were OK and then we went outside to pet the cats, hold the chickens, watch the ducks on the river, and have lunch. 

Afterwards Brian showed me how to use Illustrator, (an app that’s like Photoshop but with vector images) and we updated the map of the Penny Post area slightly. After that, Penny showed me the video editing app Premier and left me to increase scale of each clip in a video that was being made about Hungerford Youth Club: it had been filmed landscape, but we needed a portrait version, 

I then proceeded to type up a rough draft of the day’s blog. 


Daily Mission: pet the cats – complete.

I had some visitors while working today

Tuesday – Day 2 

After getting to work three and a half hours later then I was supposed to due to a flat tyre that took a while to get fixed, I completed the daily mission of petting all the cats and got to work updating the Newbury section of the website.

There were some fact-checking calls that needed to be made to check missing or incorrect information and Brian made some calls to show me how it was done. 

Then Penny and I worked on fixing an issue with the PayPal donate button, revamping the landing donation page.

Afterwards I finished editing the video from Monday: adding keyframes, making the videos full-screen and making some colour corrections due to the changes of the lighting.

By the time that was done it was nearly time for me to go, an hour later than per usual due to the late arrival, so we discussed the rough planning for Wednesday which included attending a Library of Sanctuary Award ceremony at Newbury Library. Afterwards I gave this blog an update. 

After I arrived home, I worked on the blog, patched up some of the grammar, and called it a day after doing some of my own research on Wednesday’s events. 

Daily Mission: pet the cats – complete 

Wednesday – Day 3 

A very exhausting day, I’ll give it that much.

I started Wednesday getting ready and heading to the bus stop in my village to get the public bus to Newbury Library. I was incredibly nervous as I’ve only taken the public bus before once and that was some time ago with my family. This was my first time taking it alone.

My mum walked with me to the bus stop and waited with me until the bus got there. Getting on went alright although I was terrified at the time. I noticed later that I had been given an adult ticket which in the end I just let be. 

I arrived at the library early, so renewed my library subscription, got the wi-fi password, and went upstairs to do some research.

Penny arrived and we went into a meeting with the library and Educafe staff about how the day would go. I then joined in a card-making activity for a little while to relax and made a purple card for a family member’s birthday. 

I then worked with Ginette Gibson (who volunteers at Penny Post) who taught me how the calendar app Time.ly works and we simplified the lengthy list of library events on the calendar into one event that redirects to  the West Berkshire Library calendar. After we completed that I had my lunch and grabbed a blackcurrant squash drink from the drinks area. 

Then the West Berkshire councillors arrived for the award ceremony and Leah (another student on work experience with Penny at Newbury College) and I joined their tour of the library. Leah, Penny and I interviewed them and Chairman of the council told us about the old Newbury Library (where Prezzo used to be on Cheap Street) and gave me a lesson on the history of the English language which was very unexpected. 

By that time it was nearly 1pm, which was when the ceremony was to be held, so we got ready for the speech.

We thought it would be best to record the video for the article, rather than writing down as it was said, and so we decided to use my phone. Afterwards photos were taken and it came to an end at about 1:45pm. We uploaded the video to YouTube and set it on private in the hope of getting auto-caption to work; then discussed the plan for Thursday. I explained my research to Ginette and then my sister and mum then arrived to pick me up from the library and we called it a day. 

At home I tried to get the YouTube captions to work but, alas, they hadn’t. 

Daily Mission: pet the cats – failed (wasn’t at the house to complete this).

Thursday – Day 4 

Thursday was about writing the article about the Library of Sanctuary Award. This was slightly out of my comfort zone as I didn’t know where to start or what to write about. However, with a few tips from Penny I started to get the hang of it. I learnt how to use Elementor to lay out a page and add images and textboxes to it and then I got to work. 

wanted to add an image of the old library to the page, but I could find barely anything about it online, as whatever I searched just came up with the current Library in The Wharf

Penny suggested I call the Chairman of West Berkshire Council (who I had talked to yesterday in the library) to ask exactly where the old library had been. I was dismayed as I don’t like making phone calls but, oh well, Penny reassured me it would be fine. So, we called him up and he was very helpful and we quickly found the location.  

We then called Ginette, as she was going to be in that part of Newbury, to get a better-quality image of the plaque as all images online were unreadable. She agreed to help and I got back to work while we waited for the photo. Later, we also called up the founder of Educafe to get a quote from her about it all and then we added to the bottom of the article. 

Due to the YouTube captions not loading, I got an app on my phone that should have done the trick, but it was loading for the entire day. Eventually, we tried to get it to work on the laptop instead which did end up working but limited to length to five minute which was annoying.

I used an app to cut the first couple minutes off and run it through again, but we had no easy option to get it onto the laptop, so we gave up getting a transcript and did it by ear. 

We decided that the Library of Sanctuary Award article would take the place of the one I was going to do originally on revision techniques. Penny said I was still welcome to write that article for Penny Post but I am not sure I will have time (but hopefully the research I did for that will help me out with my exams). 

We discussed the plan for Friday, and I went on my way again. 

Daily Mission: pet the cats – complete 


Friday – Final Day 

I arrived while Penny was discussing something with someone on the phone about Monday. We then went to 4LEGS Radio (a local radio station in Eastbury) for Penny’s weekly slot.

It was my first experience in a radio studio and talking on the radio. I was nervous at first but it ended up being enjoyable. We talked about Dutch things for half an hour (my family is from The Netherlands) after talking to another guest about a dementia choir in Hungerford. 

If you are interested you can click here to listen to the show.

We got back to Penny and Brian’s house and I updated this blog as I hadn’t been able to get round to doing it during Wednesday’s busy schedule, while on Thursday, I had been busy (with the article about the library) all day. I asked for Penny and Brain to help check what I had done. 

After some shortbread, I started to move it all over to a post on the website and added some images.

With the laptop battery nearly having run out, I called it a week. It was tiring but enjoyable and I learnt a lot.

Daily Mission: pet the cats – complete 


Anna van der Giessen
Work experience student
Year 10, The Clere School


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