Vilkyd 185X Aphorism

Journal Entry, 25 Mar 2018:
Went swimming; I used locker no. 91 and was horrified that I couldn’t remember which element had this atomic number. I also can’t recall whether Haydn’s symphony no. 91 has a nickname; it must have been on the three-disc box set I borrowed from B’ham library back in ’87.

I can swim a length in 42 seconds; by pushing myself I can get that down to 32 seconds but it’s a real effort.

Walking back in the weak spring sunshine, I started pondering a new Tarot deck. The suits would be Chains, Flowers, Horns and Eyes, while the major arcana would be archetypes from the world of science and engineering.

Weds 20 Feb 2013:
Yesterday had my meeting with Matt M. He asked a load of general questions – how long have I been here, what was my job title, how did my role fit in with personal skills and career background etc? At one point her remarked ‘You’re a technologist, so presumably that means you have technicians working for you?’

Did I have any problems with safety? No. Did I have any ditto with quality? Yes, said I; we have a load of ornate quality procedures which don’t contribute anything to the running of the lab.

Thur 7 Mar 2013:
Splendid day at work!
This morning I calibrated the pH meter, measured the fallout volumes, checked the ovens and looked at my e-mail inbox – about 20 messages.
When assisting Carl with the panel to freezer transfer, he asked if I had ever been to Disneyland. I glared at him and said (without thinking) ‘What sort of girl do you think I am!’

Then this afternoon the pair of us embarked on a supremely stooped and pointless task, monitoring the 20-litre graduations on a 100-litre storage reservoir (which is always used completely full). The lovely Danielle has issued a formal method to carry out this drama including a huge sprawling sentence with a Fog Index of 29.

Fri 3 May 2013:
Yesterday had my ‘skills training needs’ meeting with Larry C. He’s never read my CV and didn’t know I had an interest in bikes.
Went through a long list of standard tests – humid exposure, colorimetry, impact, Buchholz etc – to see how well I knew this and how often required.

At one point he asked, “Have you worked anywhere before you came to us?” which seemed odd. Perhaps he thinks I’m actually 26 years old, fresh out of college. So I ran through my reverse chronology.

No mention of anything to do with ash content or NVC or water vapour permeability. When he asked about the SO2 (kesternich) test I said no, that’s Danny’s baby – apparently everyone had made the same comment.
I did point out that I thought it was a horrible, dangerous, time-consuming test; ‘I don’t know how much money it brings in, but that lab space could be used for something else.’

Weds 8 May 2013:
It’s May the Eighth Today! Strange development at work.

Yesterday we had our marine meeting, and John C asked if there were any items of equipment which had to be repaired or replaced. – we mentioned the QUV machines which have collapsed with old age.
Then I sent an e-mail today pointing out that the top-pan balance in the salt-spray lab is suffering from corrosion. Copied Rawcliffe in on this.
Later on heard Jon G telling Carl that we could possibly save time by dropping our procedure for salt-spray titration, and just check the SG instead.

Then later had an e-mail from Rawcliffe asking whether I had looked at the stainless-steel option, and saying, ‘Part of the problem might be all the different things you have to weigh out on it such as the chemicals for salt-spray titration. Perhaps it would help if we changed over to hydrometer methods rather than titrations to measure salt content.’

So all my wet paint testing has been given to Dean and now the SS titrations are to be eliminated.
Not much left for me to do, then…

Thu 30 Mar 2000:
On Radio 2: ‘Lost in Space’ the song, taking me back to my trip home from the Farmyard Party two years ago. Bliss.
And at work, it was only Brian taking the piss out of Steve which led to us fortuitously locating the drum of WB blue coating.

Alan Freeman – camp, long-serving BBC DJ – is very ill, but still presenting two weekly shows, and Dale Winton has been drafted in as co-presenter. So the end is nigh.

When changing formulations from one alkyd to another, compare oil length rather than just weight – brittleness problems with drum coatings.

Prepared tape of Santana ‘Lotus’ for Anda.
At work: new batch of Pontrilas Blue (WB vertical floor paint) required with enhanced wetting properties. Also paraffin spot tests on 185X black drum paints.

According to the papers (quoting ‘Your Mortgage’ magazine) house prices in Tamworth are set to rise by forty percent over the next five years.
[Note: estate agents soon forgot the ‘5-years’ bit and slapped an overnight rise of 15-20 percent on their stock]


heart with pleasure fills…

A Bowl of Porridge

If too much force is applied to the knife, then the almonds are likely to shatter and fly across the kitchen where they could lie on the floor undiscovered for weeks on end; so I carefully use a rocking motion with the blade to carve up the dried fruit and nuts for my breakfast porridge.

Some people say that the fruit should be left as a single layer on top of the oats, to give a stronger, sweeter taste. But I prefer to blend all the components uniformly during cooking; sometimes I become distracted and forget to check the porridge, so that a creamy caramel-flavoured skin forms on top.

I recall once hearing about an additive which was used to improve the properties of wood-varnish. This finely-dispersed mineral (cerium) could give an increase in hardness and water-resistance, even when present at absurdly low levels. Somebody suggested that it was becoming concentrated at the upper surface of the varnish, to give a hard composite skin; but no, they checked this using a microscope and x-ray fluorescence. The stuff was evenly spread throughout the entire film of varnish.
Perhaps the cerium has magical magnetic properties and is somehow knotting together all the resin molecules in its vicinity, causing the overall material to become tougher and more intense.

Some people disapprove of adding dried fruit to porridge; they consider it a needless indulgence, while others even regard the use of milk and sugar as being decadent. “We were not put on earth to enjoy ourselves” they might say, adding “The pursuit of pleasure weakens the spirit, and the experience of pleasure leads only to disappointment.”

Outside my window I can see a clump of daffodils; because that side of the garden is shaded, they have bloomed later than their fellows down the road.  I photograph them at intervals, watching them change from bare green stems to bold yellow trumpets. Yesterday morning I found them all totally crushed by the previous night’s snow, and was unsure of how they would survive; but now they are back, the very emblem of cheerfulness.

Wordsworth was a master craftsman who had the entire English language at his command; and his choice of simple words:

“And then my heart with pleasure fills…”

…captures perfectly the optimism that these flowers convey.

Squeeze-esque Try Trier Denier

Just because Trier shows us an awful vision of the world, it does not mean that the world is an awful place.

A cold afternoon; I walk down to the Whitworth Gallery to look at their latest exhibition, a selection of found images created by John Stezaker, who  takes vintage photographs and carves windows in them, through which we can view other pictures (faces, people) or simply a blank white space. I am reminded of the cover art for ‘Presence’, where a sinister black object interrupts a series of ideal family gatherings. Or ‘The Next Day’ where Bowie’s elegant profile is excised from a familiar image.

Then I went to the cinema to see a film called ‘The Shape of Water’ and decided to take some pictures of the nearby buildings. We have a parade of retail units, large open spaces where hip young professionals can purchase exclusive and whimsical household knick-knacks.
Alas, these fashion-conscious fogeys are neither numerous nor wealthy enough to support the trendy shops which sprang up in pane-glassed splendour, and now the retail units stand forlorn and cold.

In the shapeless foyer of the cinema a small display of art work includes a group of suspended tarot cards and some directors’ notes based on a Lars von Trier film. Perhaps every big-screen film is really like a Stezaker picture, with one reality obscured or vignetted by another story that we choose to put in place.