Adhesion to A Mud Puddle

Journal Entry, 17 Jan 2018:
Risham Syed exhibition at M’cr Art Gallery. A series of miniature postcard-sized paintings, simple architectural forms, semi abstract with high-contrast, almost like photographs. One of the small pictures had been hung in such a way that it cast a shadow which lined up perfectly with the edge of a building on the neighbouring picture.

For the ‘Tent of Darius’ Syed has placed five old army greatcoats on hooks below an acrylic copy of an old painting- tension between East and West.

Gorilla Poo

Clive popped his head round the door of the science lab. ‘Erm, any chance I can borrow a bit of cleaning fluid?’
Angus looked up from the bench where he was arranging a microscope. ‘No chance. We can’t let anything out of here…what do you want it for, anyway?’

‘Jenny has a coat back from the dark heart’. He paused. ‘We think it’s some kind of mud from the forest floor, we’ve used hot wash and disinfectant, but this stain just won’t shift.’
‘Bring it in. I’ll see if we have anything that can help. But keep it quiet.’

A week later, Angus dropped a plastic holdall in front of Clive’s chair in the staff room.

‘Oh, you’ve done it? Great!’
The other chap shook his head and explained that the most aggressive cocktail of organic fluids had made almost no difference to the sticky patch. ‘God knows what it’s made of, but I don’t want to get any of it on me!’

Meanwhile, in the jungle, a team of Chinese researchers was collecting samples of mud and subjecting them to solvents, ultrasound and centrifuge extraction. They managed to identify a curious morphology made up of undigested strands of cellulose, which seemed to give rise to the extreme durability of the sludge.

A review magazine, printed in Antwerp three weeks later, carried an article by one of these Chinese explorers in which he explained that they were following the trail of the Lost Buddha. Some people thought the Lost Buddha was a metaphor, a warning against human vanity and greed. Other scholars believed that it was an impossibly beautiful sculpture.

The Silent Bowl

When struck, the jade bowl
Does not ring
It casts no shadow;
Too heavy for a man to move, it stands
But then when filled with wine
A slender maid can lift it with a smile.

Before embarking on the journey
To Zhang-Wu
Drink carefully from the jade bowl
And know that you
Walk beneath the thousand eyes of
All the brave ancestors.

Engraved around the edges of the bowl
The blossoms fall with Oriental grace;
They have their own idea of gravity… 

The Chinese researchers were not looking for an abandoned statue of the Buddha after all; they had identified a crop of rare-earth ore deposits which they were using to develop new semiconductors. The statue had indeed been hidden once and covered with mud to prevent it being recognised and stolen. However, one of them noticed that the process of removing the mud took much longer than expected (at one point they feared that they had offended the Spirits by this degrading concealment) and he suggested that it might be a good material to use in preparing waterproof canvas for army use.

After years of testing, they realised that the mud contained extremely small particles of rare-earth minerals which had travelled through the apes’ digestive tract and emerged as a complex structure, with cellulose spines and ribbons of protein wrapped around them. And the synthetic version of this composite material allowed a new class of adhesives to be developed, which could provide strong bonds to the most reluctant of smooth plastic surfaces.

Journal Entry, 15 Sep 97:
Friday nite rode up to Stockport, found New Inn pub, had quick drink, asked about B and B and was given number of rather flash Hotel-Restaurant.

Really should have booked somewhere in advance.
Hotel about 2 miles from pub, pouring with rain, booked in, watched TV, had lager.

Set off to find Lytham. Still falls the rain, force 5 gales everywhere, got to Andy’s met Pat and Phil.
Sat night watched Last Night of Proms thru Andy’s new surround-sound speakers, then went out to Flamingo’s. Andy was being eyed up by some chap when they played ABBA so he had to join me on the dancefloor. Lots of clones and weirdos.

Sunday had scrumptious fry-up as Andy practicing for when he and LK start running a hotel together.
Walked to Lytham, bought glue, repaired toilet lid and hired some video films – Mars Attacks! And First Wives Club.

Today rode back – got lost about five times near Manchester, stopped near Buxton (huge meal in Devonshire Arms). Note: I was riding a 125-cc Honda with L-Plates, so I was not allowed to use motorways, but everything around M’cr tends to be diverted to the M60.

This is where it all began, a few years ago. I had asked for help to travel to an interview; the jobcentre staff were mildly curious (‘are you sure this is a real job interview?’) but eventually they agreed to supply me with a rail voucher from Tamworth to Trafford Park.

The journey involved changing at Crewe and then at Manchester and then at Deansgate, where I spent three-quarters of an hour waiting for another train to take me just one stop down the line to Trafford Park.
I had expected Trafford Park to be a large station with a gleaming concourse, banks of payphones, a smart café and a branch of Tie Rack or WH Smiths. Instead, I discovered it to be a run-down place with two bleak platforms. Next door to the station was a small taxi office. I entered the waiting room and asked if they could take me to Topaz Technology.

‘Dunno, mate’ said the bloke behind the wire grille, ‘Any idea where it is?’
There followed a series of hasty discussions – I think I even gave them the number of the company so that they could get some idea of the location – and eventually I found myself at the factory gates. The interview seemed to go well, until the boss said ‘Of course, it’s vitally important that the person who takes on this role is fully up to speed with computer technology. Everything we do uses computers. Have you made much use of computers I your previous job?’

I admitted that I had not used IT much in earlier jobs. ‘But I am currently working towards my ECDL’ I added brightly.
‘ECDL?’ He looked puzzled; ‘What’s that, then?’

I explained that the European Computer Driving Licence was a new, high-tech qualification being rolled out across the UK (we later discovered it was part of a mammoth fraud known as the Individual Learning Account scheme) and which was being advertised on TV as the only certificate you would ever need. Completely dishonest and misleading., but a good way to shovel millions of taxpayers’ money into the pockets of smartly-dressed consultants.

We chatted further; he said they would be in touch, and I was left feeling that the day had been a waste of time.
If I had been given more time to plan my route, I could have arranged to get a cab from Manchester itself instead of travelling to Deansgate and Trafford Park stations, which might have cost two pounds more but saved me an hour-and-a-half.

Then, a few weeks later, I had a frantic phone call from the recruitment agency saying that the firm wanted to interview me again. Now. Immediately.
I was baffled. ‘But I won’t have time to get to the station’ I said, ‘The only way I can get there is on my motorbike.’

So I jumped on my trusty Honda 500 and roared away to Manchester. The agency had given me a hand-drawn map of the factory location, which had been faxed to them a few days earlier. In Manchester I pulled in at a service station and asked the cashier how to find my way to Trafford Park. I produced the map I had been given; he peered at it, shook his head, and said that he didn’t recognise the district or the road layout. The map included the M63 motorway, which had been renamed five years previously as the M60.

Another hour of my life wasted as part of a journey to this firm. I was in a very bad mood (and 30 minutes late) when I eventually arrived, and I breezed into reception holding my crash-helmet as thought it was a bomb ready to be hurled into the office.

The boss was being very cautious; ‘We are quite keen to bring you on board, but there are a few workers here who feel that they deserve to be offered the post instead of it going to an external candidate…’
‘Of course’ I said cheerily, ‘It makes perfect sense to promote internally. You have a clear grasp of the individual worker and their skills and aptitudes. And they are already familiar with the product range and the manufacturing procedures. If you were to offer me the job, you run the risk of gaining access to new ideas and experience from a different industrial or academic background. I might look at your existing process methods with a new pair of eyes. Yes, it could be a big mistake to recruit someone from outside when your company already has so much expertise.’
‘We’ll be in touch sometime soon…I think’ he said as I left the building.

A few days later the postman brought a narrow DL envelope containing my contract of employment (2 copies, 3 pages each) asking me to sign and return, with a proposed start date two weeks’ hence. It also specified that I should arrange to undergo a medical examination before starting work. My local GP had a waiting list of five weeks for routine works medicals; I rang the firm and told them this, and they reluctantly agreed that I could arrange to see a doctor shortly after beginning my new job.


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.

Valtris, Eccles

Turquoise, January 2005

The other day, to my surprise
I found myself believing once again
And stared with undiluted joy
Towards the setting sun where clouds
Are in a shaft and light beyond compare.

The other night, as happiness gave way
To anger and confusion
You waited for me on the corner
Of Radium Street, beneath a post-ironic
Silver moon.

I saw my life at breakneck speed
Escaping in a stolen car
In search of someone else to occupy
A journey through a Nimslo scene
Where people fade at nobody’s expense

Tues 7 Jun 05:

Yesterday at work I had two samples to test, both with the same product code, both light grey colour, and both the same dry time spec.
One dried completely in 3 hours, while the other was still tacky after 4 hours. It occurred to me that Flemo might have added all the driers to the same batch.

e-mail message from Steve S about Pride Parade float – Julian has some ideas for decoration.

All Hail Pollution

Sing, sweet muse
f the ugliness of factories. Let us rejoice
In these dens of waste
Let us call blessings on the rusted cages
The grimy windows, acrid stench
And complex Harpies dancing
Through the poison clouds.

Was it Mercury who taught us
To create a landscape
Of broken concrete, battered metal,
Spills of random chemicals and dirt?
Everywhere the angles rust beneath harsh lights
And miles of futile pipework
Dream of pollution. 

Valtris Blooze 

It reassures me when I see
A shopping trolley lying there
Abandoned at the entrance to an underpass
It lets me know the world
Where I grew up is not that far away at all.

This is the Akcros factory at Eccles, on Lankro Way. There are some picturesque storage drums, rusty and forgotten, along with hundreds of empty plastic one-tonne containers, white and cold in their steel cages. Several years ago I went to an interview at this firm for a job as laboratory technician.

To ensure that I was on time for the interview, I decided to travel up to Eccles the night before and stay in a hotel. The place I chose was cheap and cheerful; they didn’t offer evening meals, so I wandered down the road to a restaurant called Smith’s where a jazz singer was performing. The place was packed, but they actually sorted out a table for me by turfing out one of the waiters who was on his lunch break in the corner.  The next morning I had breakfast in the hotel, in a basement dining-room that smelled faintly of mould.

It disappoints me when I stumble on
Mahler six on vinyl in a shop
Next to tatty paperbacks
And fat brown polyester ties. Does
No-one care about this avalanche of pain?

I remember walking along the long road where lorries waited to carry off the kegs of resin and sacks of pigment. After what seemed like twenty minutes of brisk walking I found myself at the security lodge, and ended up in an office discussing materials science with a bunch of smartly-dressed strangers. That road is now deserted, lined with concrete blocks to prevent joyriders or doggers ending up in the Manchester Ship Canal.

The interview went well; a couple of weeks later I received a note from the recruitment agency (Polyjobs) informing me that the firm had been suitably impressed by my skills and experience but alas, had decided not to proceed with my application.

And then I see a ruined factory, silent valves
And empty pumps, the canteen radiators
Cold with rust. No alchemy takes place
The way it did ten years ago, transforming
Beige slime into snow-white flakes of joy.

And then, nine years later, I did find a job in Eccles which meant that my journey to work took me past this site every day, listening to Schubert, Biffy Clyro and Liszt on my tiny Hitachi MP3 player.

Down the road from this derelict site is an office block which I have nicknamed ‘Cthulhu Mansions’ because it appears to have been designed without a single right angle anywhere. Presumably if there was an earthquake and this building was hit by subsidence, it would then settle down into a normal rectangular edifice.

Pivot of Spring

Song 4

It’s May the eighth today; how long
Do you think it will be
Before the publication of the Faber Book
Of twenty-first-century poetry?

Pet Shop Boys are dead and gone, it seems;
So artificial could it never be, two
Jokers who wrote nothing about nothing
After all. They faded from obscurity.

A Clockwork Orange will again be peeled
To entertain the zombies and their thugs;
Your DNA would stretch around the world
And liberate a freezing fantasy of drugs.

My left hand holds a tiny statue made
Of ivory, two millimetres high; my
Right hand holds a picture of 3C-236,
A sculpture on a slightly grander scale.

It’s May the eighth today; I wonder
How many years remain for us to play
At being God, going strong not going under
And watching all our dreams of love decay.

 Song 4 Revisited

It’s May the Eighth today, and
Down the road there stands
A building-shaped block of emptiness
A silent tribute to that phase
Two years and ninety miles ago

When elegant and sweeping, my ambition
Reached out towards the poverty I
Could not fear. It’s inside-out again,
And we’re heading for oblivion
Just like the future memory, it seems.

The empty lens is hanging once again
To show us how
A resurrection can take place
When we have no reason to believe.
You told me once that my friend
Senor Garcia looks a mess; tormented

By the icy sight of 3C-236, his
Looming harmonies engulf this hive of stars
And we can drink once more
The lavish wine that skins the ocean wide.

It’s May the eighth today; I think
My life moves on in ways I cannot see
We stumble on through chapters of the book
Of shadows cast by Homer’s ecstasy.

Journal Entry, 29 Feb 2000: My watch – for the first time ever – shows the wrong date, having jumped onto 1 March. [Note: I had a cheap Casio watch and it had been automatically programmed with the correct number of days in each month. But the year 2000 should not have been a leap year]

Last night went to B’ham, did a bit in the library, decided to call into Missing and who should appear in front of me but Lee from Derby! He’s moved down here.
Then went to Fountain; empty, hardly surprising, and went down to Boots. Stayed the night. Bought b’day card for Dad, this fountain pen, and some muscle-building supplement.

Felt ever so rough this morning; five pints on a very full stomach. Went into Art Gallery whilst badly hungover and saw the Bridget Riley zzowzzowww!!! picture.

The wall of the reception area is a gallery of certificates and accreditations, all smartly framed and perfectly arrayed.
I am escorted through to the boardroom, where we drink coffee. My hosts converse with each other in German, but they explain their discussions to me in English. During dinner I spilt a tiny blob of spinach puree on my shirt and it left an intensely green spot, which I feel certain my colleagues find amusing.
We hold a technical meeting, during which I explain that we want to explore the joint ventures based on tower paint and core-plate varnish. They are also working on paint for light rail carriages, and one of the Austrian delegates asks me if I have done any work on anti-gravity paints.
For a brief moment I could see a host of paisley swirls dancing in the cold skies above Vienna, as this outlandish idea took hold of my tired brain.

‘Sorry…anti-gravity paint?’

‘Yes, you know’ he carried on eagerly, ‘Gravity…when young men have their names on trains with spray can paint!’
‘Oh, you mean graffiti!’ I said, relieved and disappointed.

My mind wandered back to Truro station, where I had been waiting in the rain with a copy of the album ‘Graffiti Bridge’, looking at the pearl-grey sky made up of tessellated seagulls and profiles of American presidents.  I don’t know whether any of the other people round the table that day had listened to that album at whose core lies the song ‘We Can Funk’, a tremendous throbbing monolith of sound-engineered drama.

Perhaps we should encourage youngsters to use their spray-cans to adorn all railway bridges and canal towpaths and rail wagons; the numerous layers of tight polymer will protect against the ingress of moisture and delay the onset of rust.

01 Sep 06: Went to cinema to see ‘Children of Men’, then to f’s restaurant where we drank a bottle of Montepulciano and had some lovely food.

Film v good but departed from book – great soundtrack, some really poignant bits. Fabulous advert for oven chips based on ‘Food, Glorious Food’

Trailers for the new 007 film, and ‘The Prestige’ about a real magician in a town of illusionists – rather like Paul Gallico?

3 Oct 06: New government scheme to help key workers (nurses, teachers etc) get on the housing ladder with a 25 percent subsidy. Their typical low-paid key worker has an income of 35000. How much?

9 Oct 06: Spend spend spend! Saturday bought shoes from Clarks and a one-piece waterproof from Hunts. Ridiculous cumbersome garment.
Went to Monton, Chinese and four bottles wine. Ouch!

Last night with Joyce, Nick and Alicia to Bamford Arms for dinner.
Yesterday B- cut and blonded my hair. Went into work and startled everybody.

We had an e-mail message from Mary Lopes about their red pigment – it had lumps in it when I tested it in paint. She says they have been selling it for years without any complaints, so I e-mailed Adrian et al, saying ‘In that case why is it necessary for me to carry out evaluation tests on a successful product?’

Soft Shadows

Journal Entry, 07 Jan 04: Today rang up Whitchem and Schülke and Mayr to ask about fungicides.
And it occurred to me that we don’t use biocides in our water-borne systems. The EPD resins – alkyd and epoxy – don’t have any Acticide in them; perhaps that’s why we’ve had rheology problems.

One of our products is quoted as being Def-Stan 80-7. But that spec has been obsoleted by Def-Stans 80-114 and 80-126. Both of these contain ZP, so the original formulation is no longer compliant.
SP-88 line products don’t contain any Acticide, perhaps the sodium nitrite kills any fungi? [Note: we actually had a 20-kg bag of sodium nitrate which had been ordered by mistake instead of nitrite, and the works foreman said ‘oh, it’s close enough, it will do’. Been using this stuff for years in small amounts]

Curious incident at work: Rob was talking about the problem of noise during the shear testing of tiles. He nodded faintly at me while describing the design of lap-joints, and said ‘…don’t know what your kinds of tests were…’
He’s never before mentioned my research background.

8 Jan 04: At work: reading ‘More Tales of the City’, wonderful. Still have no idea who brought them into the canteen.

One of today’s QC batches is number Y1359, and the product itself is called SF1359. How transcendentally spooky!
New lib books: Kate Back, Assertiveness at Work, Elizabeth Harris, The Twilight Child, Sarah Passingham, Organising Local Events.

At our last local quality review meeting, one of the issues raised was the customer complaint about Blackpool Tower. Andrew F told us all that ‘Oh, this problem has been resolved by changing the application method.’ But I had identified three flaws in the formulation and no amendment had ever been issued. And Aquaform should not have advised Fairport to use a red oxide topcoat over a red oxide primer.

14 Feb 04: Last night went to the Lowry to see ‘The Woman in Black’. Chilling, funny. Birthday card to Thomas W in Germany, letter to Michael G.

What is to happen at work next week? According to the official memo, we are taking over entire European production of Epoxylite. Rumour has it that this will be sited next to paint department.
Marco Pantani, bald maniac who won the 1998 TdF has died in Rimini.

Soft Shadows

This house feel empty; perhaps
I live here, like some long-forgotten ghost
Who watches happy family games collapse
As a mother deserts the son who needs her most.

This job seems pointless; I perform
A set of tasks which anyone could do
And I betrayer or betrayed when I conform
To laws that hide the Judas Priest from view?

This wine tastes hollow; did I enjoy
The abstract grapes in any higher sense
Or invite the toxic nebules to destroy
The fleeting stars that leave us more intense?

This dream is fading, light draws near
And like a memory the sky begins to arch
As vague as Leonardo’s smile, and as sincere
The God our murmured prayers can never reach. 

17 Feb 04: Last night went with B to look at a house. Very nice, apart from the damp, and the roof struts collapsing, and the tiny lounge.

They’re making tower paint but have switched Synolac 78W for Vil 242. Without amending the formulation – now takes a lot more solvent.

Today at work; really odd – my tank sample report was typed up and was left in my pigeonhole with a standard letter for me to sign. But it said ‘From Section Leader, EPD QC’ and I took it back saying that since I’m not EPD I can’t sign it.
All the other report letters have been signed in the past by A N Other, when all along It Shoulda Been Me!