• Ben Pechey

Girls on Film #1

Hi there, welcome to a brand new series on benpechey.com. Girls on Film is an interview series where I speak to the inspiring people around me, and I will photograph them on 35mm film- Simple!

Today I want to kick off the Girls on Film with my one and only sister. We have a tumultuous relationship, we can love and hate each other at the same time. However, she always has my back and would do anything for anyone- especially me…


Having just bonded over a friendly game of National Trust Monopoly I sit down with Rachel to discuss her career and her obsession with scarves and her love for Norman the Cockapoo.

Ben: Welcome, and thank you for being my first guest for Girls on Film. You have just lost Monopoly to me, but when you don’t loose (or rather when you don’t let me win), what are your tactics for winning?

Rachel: I buy the orange and the red ones and then develop the orange ones. Three houses are optimum, three houses people can usually pay once or twice.

B: So you get lots of money?

R: Yes, so you can then develop the reds slowly, and then you can buy other things. However, you are best starting with the orange ones, the red ones and off you go!

B: Duly noted and understood- I just play however I am feeling and hope for the best! Talking about business and making money what is your profession so that people know and can understand what it is that you do, obviously I know but other people won’t...

R: Well I sit in an office and type...

B: You do more than that !!

R: Well I work for Historic England as a Business Officer which means - well there are lots of parts to my role- one part involves looking at listed building applications and planning applications that will affect the historical environment so anything that will affect a listed building or a scheduled ancient monument.

B: Just for context can I ask what are listed buildings?

R: A listed building is a building that has been listed because it has special significance

B: Is that because it's a specific age or

R: It’s not a specific age, in some cases, it is a certain age but it is to do with age, rareness and uniqueness or is a good example of something

B: So I would be listed because I am unique?

R: Well you would be listed as something …

… Pregnant Pause …

B: Ouch !! So what else do you do? Whats a scheduled monument, what do you do with that?

R: Basically we have to make sure that anyone who wants to do any sort of work that might harm a scheduled monument- such as an ancient burial site or an old war memorial- we have to look at it and make recommendations to the department for culture media and sport, and they allow them to do it or not. I just look at the form check that it is correct if its wrong go back to the person and say your form is not filled in correctly and then write them a letter telling them that! I also look after grants for listed buildings, if you have a listed building please don’t ask me for money! There are only certain things that you can get a grant for, and I can’t just give out money. I project manage the grant process and make sure that work is being done to the right specification, liaising between the client, architects and the contractors, making sure that no-one falls out !!

B: So there is obviously a high-pressure element to your job, what would you say is the most rewarding thing about your job?

R: Making a payment of lots of money is great because it means a job is going to go ahead. Phone calls from the public that don’t want money but are interested or that have a question that I can actually help with or if people want advice because they care about the historical environment, that makes me really happy. Or if I just had time to do all my filing that would be pretty rewarding !!!

B: So on a slightly different note what one thing could you tell me that people would be surprised to know about you?

R: I have a crippling fear of ladybirds, I cannot talk about them without feeling slightly sick and possibly wanting to hurt things. That's relatively surprising I suppose

B: I have learnt not to even question this !! Obviously, a lot of your time is spent working but what do you do when you are not at work?

R: I spend an awful lot of time walking my dog - Norman- and taking things out of Norman’s mouth that he shouldn’t have like umm very expensive Tom Ford sunglasses that you may or may not have received for your birthday

B: Very terrifying memory there - move on

R: I enjoy reading, shopping on the internet

B: Okay let's talk about that, what is your most recent purchase ??

R: My most recent purchase is 2 dresses from ASOS (shop here and here)

B: So you say you like to online shop, where are your favourite places to go

R: Asos curve is always an excellent starting point, Simply Be is alright

B: I’m not keen on their website, I don't like the way it looks, it’s confusing

R: It's also annoying because you can only look at 20 things at a time, so you are constantly clicking the next page

B: so if you want to go back its really hard and too much effort

R: However, Navabi is a really good site, but with the much monies

B: Yes they have very expensive things!

R: If I am not looking for clothes, my favourite shoes come from NonNon which is an amazing website. You should go and look at them, but don’t buy them because they are my shoes. I also love KittyCat accessories which are the only UK seller of Erst Wilder brooches which I love

B So there is a fire in your wardrobe - what 3 things are you going to save in a fire

R: I can only save 3?!

B: Yes, 3 things

R: But I have 40 million things that I want to keep

B: You can only save 3 things !!!

R: I feel like crying, no ahah, I would save my Vivienne Westwood Rocking Horse shoes, the grey pair - although it breaks my heart to leave the red pair to perish. This is cruel, this is horrible. I hope you are asking yourself the same question.

B: Oh God I couldn’t answer this question

R: What could I not buy again? Oh I would save the jewellery that you bought me from that French place I can’t remember the name of

B: Les Néréides Paris in Covent Garden

R: I would save them because I couldn’t replace them and I adore them. The only other thing that I love more than my shoe collection - which apparently I cannot save- is my scarf collection, I have an extensive collection

B:Are they all stored together?

R: I have three hangers

B: Well you could grab the hangers I suppose !!

R: Well I will save my babies then !! Oh and obviously I would make sure that Norman is safe too !!

B: If you had to pick one scarf to save if the fire gets worse and you have to use them to damp down in front of the door to stop the smoke but you get to keep one.

R: It would probably be the one I am wearing right now

B: Your Hogwarts Houses Infinity Scarf? If it was me it would be the one that is the map of Paris - I adore that

R: Oh that is lovely

B: Now time for some quick fire questions

R: Oh god, I can’t do quick fire questions !!

B: Favourite Disney film?

R: That's hard !! It’s between Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast

B: You can have both, you’ve just been through a horrific fire !! Favourite Harry Potter Book?

R: Prisoner of Azkaban

B: Favourite Harry Potter Film?

R: I guess the one that was done the best is the Philosophers Stone, they really tried to make that as close to the book, whereas a lot of them

B: I think the seventh book 2 part films were really good

R: But that is my least favourite book. My favourite part of the books is Hogwarts learning spells and being there. The last book doesn’t have that so I like it less. The earlier books and films are better for me !!

B: What inspires you ?? Or what motivates you

R: Partly I have to work to replace the things that Norman eats !!

B: Tom Ford Sunglasses are very expensive !!

R: Also I love my job and is important, the things that we look after are what makes the UK so special and we have really interesting buildings that have a history.

B: What was the last thing that made you smile?

R: Chucking Monopoly houses at you !!

B: Yeah that was really irritating - you know how to push my buttons !!

R: Monopoly, in general, made me smile!

B: What are you looking forward too?

R: This is going to sound really boring but …

B: Oh god is it your history fair thing? Oh, go on then tell me about your history fair …

R: I subscribe to the BBC History magazine and they advertised a history fair in York in November and I have tickets !!!

B: So obviously you appreciate history. You studied History at University, your speciality was

R: Medieval History

B: Then you went on to do masters

R: In Medieval History

B: A lot of people do a degree and get to the end of it and think about masters. What did you get out of a Masters that you think makes it worth it?

R: I got to research something that I didn't get the chance to do on my BA, I fell in love with something that I thought I liked, but it really deepened my love for the 14th century which sounds odd

B: Everyone can love who or what they want, people have married trees for god's sake so falling in love with the 14th century is not that strange

R: I got to learn loads of different skills in depth such as Latin, and I also got to meet some really amazing people.

B: So a masters is worth it?

R: It is if you go into it with an open mind, it's not going to give you a job that will make you a millionaire overnight. You might not even get a job at the end of it, but if you go into it loving the subject wanting to learn more you will gain so much from it.

B: If there was anything that you could do differently in terms of education what would you change? Is there anything you would change?

R: I am happy with how everything turned out. I wouldn’t change it, maybe a little less naive.

B: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

R: In a little cottage in the countryside with Norman, books and a Crazy Cat lady starter pack !!

B: Incredible !! I’m speechless !! On that note I will bid you adieu, thank you again for being my first guest on Girls on Film. Thank you so much !!!!!

R: Thank you !!

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