Random Flashes of Excitement
Too much melody obscures the song; with
Such a burden, no music can enchant
By vessels plain are noble thoughts conveyed.
She looked across the room,
Her glance the fragrant slap of mercury.
And just as carefully
The dance was by too many steps betrayed
Discreetly added space provides
The air that gives
The music and performers room to breathe.
21 Jun ’04: Today got to work to find pigeonhole full of paper – five separate Certificates-of-Conformity. There was also a memo form Belinda about misuse of computers and viruses etc. The bottom of the form included a declaration to be signed, confirming that ‘I have read and understood…’
I added a note pointing out that I had never been given access to a computer or e-mail address or relevant training. (Note: when I attended the interview for this job they told me that it was vital that the new staff member should have an excellent grasp of IT and that computers are involved at every stage of the job)
2 Jul ’04: Strange day at work yesterday – asked Dave about Vil 171 resin and discovered that we already have a red oxide primer based on it. So I got the retain sample and checked it, only to find there had been no hard pigment settlement or viscosity drift.
Gave Gill a tank sample report to type up, and she managed to make only two mistakes in the typed version.
Still no word from Rob about my computer training, or the transfer of all QC work over to the other side, or my monthly report submissions.
20 Jul ’04: Today got the handbook from Colin for the Eiger Mill. According to Flemo, it is cooled using a water tank mounted on the roof. Which might be full of dead pigeons or clumps of moss, which would explain why the paint emerges from the mill at 70 deg C. I checked several times.
20 Nov ’16: It’s Sunday morning – I have now been unemployed for about ten months, sent off dozens (perhaps hundreds) of job applications, attended eleven interviews, and have decided to erase my career history from Linkedin, since nobody seemed to be interested when it was all on there.
So far there are about six different cookery shows on TV at the same time, and two of them feature Gino D’Acampo.
9 Jan ’04: Memo from Steve M, saying that the Ministry of Defence are coming here next week to inspect the paint department. They’re also going to visit PPG, Leighs, and Beckers. And they want to come back at 3-monthyl intervals…or so he says.
(Note: Sterling has submitted a tender for an M-o-D contract to supply military coatings, and the details specify that this project is so grand that it will need collaboration between several firms, acting as a consortium. However, our Coatings Division consists of me, Joe, Andy and Kev, whereas the other firms are likely to have at least six senior qualified technical people plus a host of technicians)
Kev has also requested a new glossmeter (£1100) which doesn’t give the same results as mine.
Books we really should have at work, but don’t: Business Theory and Practice; How to write tech reports; Standard business letters; Teamwork and management skills; and Basics of Paint Technology.
21 Jan ’04: Well, next Monday we have four visitors from the MoD coming – so, to create the impression that the paint dept is huge and thriving, I am to be temporarily transferred upstairs.
We shall dress up the EPD lab to make it look like a paint lab. And to convince them that we have six people working on paint. I pointed out that having a girlie calendar on the wall probably wasn’t a good idea, but nobody seemed bothered.
Pay rise to 21643 before tax.
We’re still sending out paint with Certificates of Conformity to Def-Stan 80-7, even though this has now been superseded by Def-Stan 80-114.
A few months ago had complaint from Newage about the Epoxyshite Black varnish actually being clear. Rob asked me to check whether it was being stirred before filling-off. Anyway, I checked the formulation: very low P:B ratio during grind, with no dispersing additive. And the mix ratio is 17:1 with activator, so it probably undergoes flocculation during storage, giving the illusion of being a clear varnish.
26 Jan ’04: Today walked to work; transferred lots of my lab stuff up to the EPD lab to create the impression that it’s one glorious paint dept up there.
The MoD didn’t even bother looking at the lab.
At 4.35 Rob turned up in lab and asked me to come over to the boardroom to speak to the MoD people. Went in and sat helplessly while Steve M waffled on.
The four MoD bods were okay – didn’t give us a hard time. However, I reckon that Leigh, Becker’s etc will be able to put on a much better show than we did: ‘here’s our new colour computer’, ‘here’s our nine research chemists’, ‘here are our automotive finishes’, and ‘here’s our snappy detailed website.’
Song for Three (Leicester 2.30 a.m.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if I’d attended
A decent school where the teachers would
Make us listen to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
Then let us construct mind-maps
Of Eastern European Geography
And Arthur Conan-Doyle’s moustache
And the Marx brothers’ hidden glove
And Gershwin and Rachmaninov
And the etymology of Scaramouche
And Golding’s own Beelzebub
And invite the scholars to produce
German translations of the song.
Wouldn’t it be splendid if I’d had
Two parents with some common sense
Who could do outrageous things, like
Hold sensible conversations
Remain sober for hours at a time
Remember the important
And forget the insignificant
Trust each other to trust their kids
And focus on the outside world without
Descending into panic every night.
I sometimes think that all creation
Pivots round a single line that reads
‘When every child on every street’
And so the empty-handed song proceeds
Down a cobbled road that never ends
Past a horde of memories and friends
Reflected in a canal that, like a lake
Skimmed by moonlight, brings to us
A sense of time and wonder and of doubt.