Timeline event number ‘p’

“Sunday morning and it’s raining hard out there in Leeds; I’m listening to the Magic Flute overture on Rad 3 whilst ironing my blue shirt, you know, the one that was £3.99 from a charity shop in Eccles. I wore it to the pub and told my friend that it was a real Jaeger. ‘Yes’, said he, ‘I can read the buttons.’ I was amazed at how sharp his eyesight was, but then again I have always had difficulty in seeing things that to many other people are perfectly clear…for instance, a few nights ago I met up with my partner for a drink. He seemed rather distracted and I asked whether something was bothering him. As soon as I had spoken the words I realised that he was going to tell me what I knew already but had chosen to ignore, that we were very different personalities and that the gap between us could never be bridged.
The shirt has a fine Prince-of-Wales type check design, with bunched straight lines like a sort of logarithmic graph paper on which you could chart your emotional and spiritual growth. There would be intense flurries of drama with long stretches of serene tranquillity, during which one could take stock and make plans for a future that probably wouldn’t arrive.

I sat there on your doorstep until one a.m.
Cold and lonely, waiting for you
To get back from the pub. I didn’t know
How innocent I was, but I knew
With utmost clarity that I was not in love. 

This tender membrane keeps at bay
The atmosphere that threatens to corrupt
Your silver elegance. 

The high priest keeps his mystery intact;
Dismissing science, he tells how God
Bestowed upon the wicked microbes
The skill to tunnel quantumly
Through soft elastic barriers and hence
Unplan with grace the perfect family.

Yesterday I went to the art gallery; several pieces have been brought together for an exhibition about WW1 which began 100 years ago. As well as the paintings and sculpture, there was a glass case of books including Lady C by DH Lawrence; the caption pointed out that this novel was actually a study of PTSD. The book had been left open at a passage where Lawrence talks about how psychological wounds will leave permanent damage to the soul, and that the individual may afterwards resume a pattern of behaviour which gives the impression that they have recovered from the trauma. But this is just an illusion.
Rather like Alice Shields, who described happiness as being a pane of glass that you carry through life. One day it gets broken, and you are destined to keep the fragments, even though they can never be restored.
Lawrence’s emotional life would need a lot of graph paper with some strangely configured axes to chart the progression from Chrysanthemums to Gentians to Snake…
Sunday afternoon, and it’s almost stopped raining. On Rad 3 they’re playing ‘O Superman’ by Laurie Anderson, as one of the choices on Private Passions, where Michael Berkeley is interviewing actor Michael Sheen.
And I don’t have a TV set, so I’m listening to this on my Pure digital radio, a leaving gift from my workmates back in 2005.”

An old publication


Fame at last! Okay, so we wrote this paper twenty years ago and it’s not the most tidy piece of technical reporting, but I was fed up of hearing people say “Oh, but everyone knows you can’t stick polypropylene…”
If you’re willing to invest a bit of time and effort, you can bond PP with epoxy or PU or acrylic adhesives. It doesn’t require expensive equipment or dangerous chemicals; just a primer solution and some abrasive cloth.


Plastic Banknotes

Hurrah for plastic banknotes, which are to be introduced in the UK in five years’ time…apparently the Mail has already started publishing scare stories about how polymer banknotes have a greater tendency to harbour deadly germs and microbes and viruses, so that anyone who tries to pay for goods and services with these hideous slimy leaves will fall down in the street, screaming in pain as their hands and eyes are slowly covered with hideous blisters like the victims of The Andromeda Strain.
Hurrah for plastic banknotes, which will probably be made from biaxially-oriented polypropylene, a lovely variety of carefully stretched PP having greater thermal and mechanical stability than ordinary PP. Who knows, perhaps in the next five years a new version of this material will be developed, using nano-technology to regulate the spherulites.
The firms who produce PP will occasionally produce guidance brochures for their customers; these will often include advice on the use of adhesives or paint with PP – this often consists of a simple warning that “It is impossible to bond PP with adhesives, so don’t bother trying.” In which case, it would be reasonable to expect that printing on PP was equally difficult, and that the ornate patterns on a plastic banknote would be worn away after a few weeks in circulation, leaving you with a pocket full of worthless plstic sheets.
But my own research (20 years ago) showed that if you coat the surface with a primer film and then scrub it with abrasive paper, you can use epoxy or PU adhesives to stick PP to anything else. This technology might end up being useful to the people involved in designing polymer banknotes – whether they work for the Bank of England or some rather less wholesome organisation…
Hurrah for plastic banknotes, which can be gently rinsed under the cold tap to wash away any traces of cocaine or other proscribed substances which you may have been nasally ingesting…no more of these alarming news items claiming that ‘traces of coke have been found in forty percent of banknotes in the London area.’

 “Heavier in our purses and more toxic. Plastic is very toxic and contains many carcinogens, unlike paper. But we have become a plastic obsessed society. How will these break down when they wear out?
This comment, posted on the BBC news forum by ‘Peter’ in Dec 2012, shows how ignorant the UK population can be about polymer science. If plastic is “very toxic”, why is it used to make credit cards and drinking water bottles and disposable cutlery and cups and cellular telephone cases and car dashboards and false teeth and hearing aids and ballpoint pens?