Leeds Sep 2013

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Landed in Consett

25 July 2013:

Hi Everybody,

Just a note to tell you that I’m on the move again – after three years at *****, Salford, I have landed a good job at a firm called ********* in Leeds. They produce high-grade industrial ******** for **** and architectural type applications; it will give me a chance once more to use my specialist knowledge of *****.

Hope life is treating you well – I’m busy packing books and clothes ready for my move in two weeks’ time. I’m spending a week in the Holiday Inn Express before moving into my rented flat about a mile from work…when I’ve settled in properly I shall send you all my contact details.

12 August – the glamorous twelfth:

Arrived at work to discover there had been a mix-up with my job offer letter. My day starts at 8.00 instead of 8.30, as I had originally been told. Perhaps this is a strategic ruse by the MD to see whether I will stand up for myself or meekly comply with any changes they decide to impose on my contract.

26 August 2013:

Well, here I am in my rented flat…it’s not a mile from work, it’s actually two minutes’ walk away from the factory. Too close for comfort, if you ask me.
Anyway, I got the keys and moved in on Aug 17 with one suitcase of clothes, then arranged for a removal firm to deliver my belongings from the Safestore warehouse. And on Saturday I returned to Manchester to collect the bike, loaded up with my last few items.
Until then I had always used the front entrance to the block; but going back and forth to collect luggage from the bike, I noticed for the first time that there was an outlet pipe sticking out from my bedroom wall. This pipe appeared to be dripping steadily, and had been doing so for some time, judging by the white stain spreading out beneath it.

This might explain why the flat smells of damp…

As for work, that seems to be going okay; my job title is ******, but I haven’t done much ***ing so far. I thought it would be prudent to spend some time finding out about the company’s procedures and materials, but the boss seems to think that I should put my foot down with a firm hand and stamp my authority. How to lose friends and alienate colleagues…

And apart from work I spend an unreasonable amount of time in the pub; I also went to the Holy Trinity Church (wonderful building) to hear a recital by the Cassia String Quartet. They performed Mozart, Britten and Schumann to an audience of three; but it was like a private musical gathering.
This afternoon (it being Bank Holiday Monday) I went to visit the Jamaican Carnival, to eat Jerk Chicken and drink Red Stripe while listening to loud Reggae music. Wonderful, if somewhat clichéd.  It was very warm, and I thought I’d better not get smashed ‘cos I’d fall asleep and wake up at 8.00 pm with empty pockets…

Sunday 1 Sep 2013

8.00 a.m…yesterday I went to the library and registered, sent an e-mail message to the Council Tax dept, went to the barber, changed my address at Santander, bought a corded phone and an airing rack, and had 5 pints beer and a burrito in town.

So far I’ve been at ******** for three weeks. Last week the boss came into the lab and asked **** if she would like to be trained up as a first-aider. Yes, of course, said she. He went on to mention – presumably for my benefit – that the lads on the works were so homophobic that they didn’t like being ‘seen’ by a male first aid officer.

Instead of providing bold, dynamic leadership, I’ve been exploring the company procedures and formulations to get a handle on the way things are done and where I might be able to suggest improvements.
It turns out that several of the raw materials are not being used in the most effective way. We have a number of products which include phthalo blue pigments and/or hydrophobic silica (Cabot TS-720), but these items are incorporated in the paint by high-speed stirring, rather than being ground in during a milling stage.
And they use a Brookfield viscometer at various spindle settings which only give a 3% FSD reading.

Last night I got a taxi home, and went round the back of the flat to inspect my outflow pipe; of course, it was dripping merrily away at about 2 per second. I did notify the flat agency that my health – and that of the structural brickwork – might suffer as a result of this exposure to moistness.

3 Sep 2013

Well, have been making up a few small batches of 2-pack paint. Today the boss wandered past my desk and said he wanted us to have a brief chat tomorrow afternoon – just to see how things were going and did I have any questions. I recall when he was running through the induction papers for me, he asked twice if there were any issues that I needed to discuss with him. ‘Nothing to worry about….’ said he.  It also occurred to me that the recruitment agency never bothered calling me to see how I had got on during my first week at the firm.

Last night went off to visit the bike club meeting at Cross Gates. Friendly bunch, good turnout, very active and organised.

Thurs 5 Sep:

If today is Thurs the fifth, then next week it will be Friday the thirteenth. Aargh! Today at work I was chatting to the lovely *****, and asked why she had not carried out the work I suggested to her yesterday. She made some vague reply, but also remarked that she would trust *******’s judgement more than mine in issues technical, since twenty years with a single firm was more instructive than my twenty years spent bouncing among half-a-dozen different companies.
But anyway, I have pointed out to my boss that most paint firms will incorporate dispersing agents in all their formulations to keep the pigments snugly adrift. But we do not, and we wonder why the viscosity of coating systems drifts on storage.
I still keep getting e-mail messages from various recruitment agencies, even though I have joyously notified them that I was moving to a new job.
Twenty years with a single firm which manufactures a very narrow product range for a specialised market, and with a very limited understanding of how to formulate coatings.

Went shopping and spent £5 on a DVD of ‘Anna Karenina’. I remember going to Stretford library and finding that book filed on the fiction shelf under ‘K’.

Sat 07 Sep 13:
Yesterday I left work at 4.00 and rode down to the Yodel delivery centre in Morley to pick up my Virgin Wireless hub. However, when I arrived I found that it had already been delivered and collected by my neighbour at 32. So I was out on the road for two hours, covering forty miles and getting very wet.
Then the plumber Mike turned up and repaired my leaking ballcock to see if that was the problem.

Weds 11 sep 13:
I remember being at work twelve years ago, when Corrie came rushing into the canteen and said ‘I’ve just been watching the BBC news on the computer and it’s like a film…two planes have just crashed into the World Trade Centre…you keep expecting to see Bruce Willis start running round the corner.’

Anyway, there’s something odd going on with this job….the agency who found me the post have not been in touch, and the other agencies continue to send me e-mail alerts for technical vacancies. I’ve sent e-mails to a few of my former tech association colleagues in M’cr – with specific requests for advice on a couple of technical issues – but neither has replied yet.
I’ve even sent an enquiry to my former boss asking for advice on a particular tech point, and received no response so far…

On Sunday went to the cinema to see ‘The Way, Way Back’ which was brilliant – funny, quirky, moving. The girl in the ticket office had decided to allocate everybody seats in the same row so we ended up bunched together in a near-empty screen. Not as pleasant as it sounds, really…