All students in Britain are obliged when they are 16 to have work experience for a week. Either the school sets it up for them, in which case they get stuck with boring times in a bank or a shop where nobody knows what to do with them, or they rely on tagging round work with their parents for a few days, not really understanding what they do and being stuck with the photocopying and making the tea.
Unless of course you have such a silly job as me. When we lived in Lithuania, Sloph's work experiences included two weeks in the British Embassy in Vilnius. She sat in the Commercial Section feeling useless until the Ambassador took pity on her and told her to research the energy sector for him and write a paper on it. Her career was set from then on. Later we did a trip to Parliament to talk to an MP and a meeting in the Ministry of Economy, both on closing the nuclear power station, which was unpopular. I was accused in the Ministry by one official of trying to get my daughter a job there. Since neither of us spoke Lithuanian this seemed a bit ambitious.
Today we had a trip out of the office so Bee came too. First we went to a winery to do a photo shoot (we are preparing for an advertising campaign). It was arranged at short notice so I didn't really have much idea where we were going. This was only my second photo shoot (my first was yesterday :)), but we are working with a firm who have good ideas and have delivered so far, so ... I just asked for a food processing factory that was modern where we could show some boilers or other technical stuff.
On the way we spotted one winery we had heard of so had a quick photo opportunity of our own. The before and after of a Soviet winery.
So we arrived in a downpour of rain at a (another) famous winery. It seems they are the most technologically advanced wine factory to be found anywhere in Georgia. Each year production consists of 1.200 000 bottles, the Badagoni wine factory has now become the largest winery in the Caucasus. They don't seem to have a website but you can arrange a wine tour including a trip to their winery here. They had a new stylish building (with glass and local stone and a see-through glass floor to the cellar) whose design was explained when we found they were a joint venture with an Italian firm.
No answer at the main entrance and we remembered it was a religious holiday. More mobile phone calls on the iPhone by the creative type got us in the trademen's entrance at the back and a tour of the factory. Then the photographers unloaded the paraphernalia, my assistant and I chose the shots (by the vats and then by the bottling line). The actor chose whether to wear a jacket or not, and peered at his notebook while pretending to read the dials. After a while we had refreshments, but it was a bit boring and Bee went off to sit in the plush Italian armchairs in the entrance and watch the clouds and rain obscure the fantastic view of the Caucasus mountains towards Russia and Azerbaidjan. Here are her photos while we were waiting.
First the cellars, built out of traditional Georgian bricks. The casks in which the wine was ageing came from France and Slovenia. The vats on the production floor were Italian stainless steel. The refreshments were Khvanchkara, (see pallet) and the photo of the Mukuzani crate is included for Sloph, as we forgot to take a picture as we drove through the village of Mukuzani on the way.
Eventually that part was finished and it seemed that the day couldn't end without a Georgian feast in a local restaurant. I forgot to take its name and I was too busy to take photos of it or the food. The restaurant was a bit like a motel, but with separate rooms for eating in. We had a huge feast of Kakhetian specialities, a roaring fire in the corner and many speeches to the birthday boy (it seemed our creative type had one today and had given up a day off for us); to the religious holiday, to international friendship (you know the sort of thing) and my speech toasting a quality work experience covering advertising, a tour of a winery, and Kakhetian hospitality. What more could a student want? Nobody toasted the weather.
Later we were due to do a shoot at the one house we have found with a solar panel, but that was ruled out by the continuous rain.
Now we are waiting to see how Bee's career develops.