Journal Entries, Sun 1 Jun 97: Yesterday had refund from Eagle Star Insurance. Paid into my savings account and arranged for my TESSA to be topped up by 50 a month.
Bought ‘Propagation’ and ‘Songs For Swingin’ Lovers’.
Lady K rang: apparently all his neighbours have decided to have a barbecue in his back garden as a chance to get to know one another.
They turned up on his doorstep and announced this. They also want to have copies of his house keys ‘in case anything happens’. Dread to think what Eagle Star would make of that!
Last night to Fred’s, Vine, and Curzon’s. Woke up with splitting headache, weird dreams about a garden full of blue gravel, escaped onto a wet beach.
Today caught bus down to Raynesway to check out where bike lessons tomorrow. Goods Vehicle Test Centre, next door to Rolls Royce Associates, huge place swathed in razor-wire fences.
Thur 5 Jun 97: listening to Frankie singing ‘You Make Me Feel…’
Have had four exhilarating days tazzing round Derby and Nott’m and bits of Leicestershire on a Kwak GPZ500.
Monday: turned up at test centre about 10 past 8. Eventually Mark (assistant instructor) turned up and explained that Rob had been injured the previous day. I went out on an old CG125, did some theory work about how to signal at junctions etc.
Tuesday: rode round playground on a big red Kawa 500, tried to come to a sudden stop and landed the thing on its side.
Weds: did ring road, slip roads, dual carriageways, freshly concrete-chipped roads. Got told off for not getting up to speed and not exploiting lane choices correctly. Went back to Mark’s place for coffee to meet his missus and Nomad, the sweetest baby dog.
Thurs: rode a Honda CB500 instead of the Kwak. Much better – superb mirrors, nicer gearbox. Did some U-turns and emergency stops. Dropped the bike.
Tomorrow: test at 2:45, get to centre for 12:30, remember licence and passport (and cancel signals). Patrick’s Wedding Reception. Sod the test, the learning has been fun.
Sun 8 Jun 97: Friday afternoon got to centre, Mark and Paul (other learner) arrived 1:00 exactly.
Went out on CB, not very good control. Car reversing towards me but with no white lights showing.
Turning round in the road – walking and riding. Tried turning on a hill and dropped the bike. Got v flustered, humid hot day.
Went to café near test centre and only then did I remember I’d left my passport and licence at the training hut. Mark raced off to get them, returned, we were about 5 mins late starting test. Almost failed the eyesight test, mistakenly reading a ‘W’ as an ‘M’.
Wobbled round roads, did emergency stop, turned bike round on foot, was about to do a U-turn when the examiner noticed that my tax disc had expired and decided to terminate the test.
Came back, shrugged off leathers, donned suit and minced off to B’ham for Patsy’s Wedding Reception. Hotel was a dump – battered furniture, peeling wallpaper, showers not working, no late drinks until non-residents gone. Riaz blew his top and the manager gave us a £15 discount. Morning after – breakfast served by Mrs Overall (two sweet white-haired grannies called Phyllis and Violet). Then the next day we went to Riaz’ place and met Les, Les M, Alison and Hayley.
9 Jun 97: Today at work told everyone about Friday’s disaster. Stu managed to hold back for a couple of hours but eventually said ‘So, it was a waste of time you taking the week off’.
Tried making blue paint using computer-predicted formulation. Hopeless!
Signed up for a three-year saving scheme with Yorkshire Building Society, put away thirty a month and get the option to buy McLeod Russell shares at today’s price, which may be above or below the price in July 2000.
[Note: share price £1.30 when I joined, 42 pence five years later]
Rang PT with the news about the bike test fiasco; apparently Carrs – sorry, DuPont industries – is worse than ever, with bad atmosphere, production down, tedious administration.
Sat 28 Oct 95: Last week went to see ‘Species’ and ‘Apollo 13’ at the flix.
Weds night went to see Simon Rattle conduct Beethoven 8 and 9 at Symphony Hall – magnifico! [Note: back in 1982 my introduction to classical music began when I recorded three pieces from Rad 3 onto an orange BASF C90 compact cassette – DSCH five, Beethoven eight and Sibelius seven]
Manda and Betty came to Route 66 on Weds night to meet me and Andy and Lady K and Peter – turns out Peter and Betty know each other, but don’t know how?
Been invited to Biker Party on Dec 16.
Work is mad – hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stock been destroyed. [Note: twice a year we carried out stocktaking, putting dated stickers on dozens of five-litre tins of high-grade pearlescent mica metallic scarlet paint. Nobody had agreed to purchase this stuff so it just sat there under the dank arches for five years before being loaded onto pallets and dumped]
Got an interview next Thurs – Houghton Vaughan lubricants.
Last night to Antelope for Bears’ Night with Lady K – all the usual punters there.
24 Feb 95: Well, it’s all been happening at work this week: Keith from QC lab was suspended for allegedly forging acceptance notes for batches of material.
Lee was sacked for stealing clearcoat from the works.
The gatehouse man (security guard) was also sacked for letting him into the building and out again with the material.
Bob handed his notice in, panic stations in the lab.
I mentioned to Stuart that I had arranged a job interview elsewhere and he gave me a stiff talking-to in the main office. I explained that I hadn’t been given any technical guidance and I felt that I wasn’t really using my knowledge to its full potential.
He replied that they had big plans for me and wanted to provide me with tech data and eventually promote me to Chief Chemist. He also remarked; “There’s no point in you looking for work anywhere else, because people are the same everywhere and you’ll have the same problems.”
What problems, I wondered.