About Me

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I never wanted to be a fitter and I didn’t even know what a fitter was or did, until it was too late. The story of how I came to be one can be seen on my website: www.calvertonfitter.com After 45 years in industry working on such diverse things as aeroplanes and textile machinery I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog and to share some of the things that I've seen and done. Some of the posts are funny and some are sad. Some are political and some are about racism. Hopefully you will find them all interesting, and even entertaining!

My Favourite Posts

Some of MY favourite posts include: The Congo, Deltic (3 posts), On the Buses, The Bus Drivers Story, Classical Music and Sherry, Working in Karachi 1988, Going to Karachi 1988 (hilarious), Broken Mug, Tilbury (4 posts).

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Its Xmas

Merry Xmas to you all. Have a good holiday.
There I go again, talking to myself.

It seems strange being on holiday and just being made redundant and wondering how long my enforced unemployment will last. Not too long, I really believe, but I will soon be finding out. Finding a job is a full time job and come January 2nd it will be all go on the job-find campaign.

Today was another of those good and bad days. I visited my mother in a retirement home, she suffers dementia badly, and it was a miserable experience. I'm not even sure if she knew who I was and her words were mostly unidentifiable except for the occasional 'that's a nice coat', pointing at my jacket. I took her a box of chocolates and she set about eating them one at a time and playing with the foil wrappers. On her pillow was a pair of her knickers which she'd pick up, fold, unfold, hold up for viewing then put down for another chocolate. And the place reeked of urine. I can only hope I never end up like that.

Next stop was a lot more pleasant with a visit to my niece and her family to drop off presents for the children. Joseph is the newest at less than 3 months old and I had a great hour cradling him and making what I believe are the appropriate noises. When he wasn't dozing he at least seemed interested. That's my claim anyway. Merry xmas.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Last Day and X-Ray

That's it then, finished for xmas. In fact finished until I get a new job. What a strange day its been, my main job was to take a sledgehammer to a large packing case (large-think garden shed) to dismantle it. Then I took a jig-saw to the ply panels to make them small enough to put in the compactors. I had a walk round the factory, only cleaning jobs happening, and swapped words with some of the guys and told them I'd come round later to say goodbye.
I didn't get to see them again as I had to dash home to take my wife for an x-ray. She hurt her arm last night and its seized up during the course of the morning. I only got to say goodbye to the boss and a couple of fitters I work with. I hate goodbyes anyway.
There was no fracture to her arm, just soft tissue bruising and they want to see her in the new year for physio. Sounds good but she's still getting pain if she moves it.
So I'm thoroughly pissed off and sat here watching 'I've Got News for You'. Somehow its not cheering me up.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Penultimate Day

Tomorrow is my last day at work and today I had a presentation by the guys and was given a bottle of Glenfiddich malt whiskey (wonderful stuff). One of the contractors (the ex-marine) didn't seem to realise that a sort of thanks had to be given in return so I struggled to get it out while he prattled to one of the others. I brought in some boxes of mince pies and other tarts which were consumed throughout the day.

None of us did much today. Mostly preparing the factory for shutdown and no lines ran. What a drag. I did bring a load of my tools home to save time tomorrow.

The German engineers found a major problem with some of the computer hardware they are installing so the project will not get completed until next year after it is replaced.

A manager from one of the companies which does contract work for us came in and was shocked that I was being made redundant. He said he talks regularly to companies who complain about a shortage of engineers and took my details to pass on when he gets the chance. Maybe my xmas holiday will turn out to be shorter than I anticipate.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Nearly Xmas

Hope you like the elephant. Congrats to whoever did it but I still don't know who you are.

What a miserable place work is. Night shift has been called off and only a fraction of the normal production was produced today.(Grief, what poor English but you know what I mean).

I hardly did anything and can't really phone up the people I want to arrange job interviews with until I know when I'll finish. A German engineer arrives tomorrow to start up the line we have been upgrading so maybe if all goes well I will finish on Wednesday. The boss finishes on Wednesday so that's also a good clue. I also managed to get my hair cut on the way home tonight so I almost look human again, fit for a job interview anyway.

Our contract welder(ex Royal Marine) seems to relish playing Dueling Banjo's on his phone when in my presence. He'd made the comment that it wouldn't be played down Moss Side, to much hilarity from the others. I'm obviously missing something here because I saw the film Deliverance and enjoyed the tune, still do, and if I wanted to be stupid I'd be making comments about white rustic inbreds. Crazy or what?

Friday, 12 December 2008

Last Full Week

This was probably the last full week at my current company after nearly 6 years. I would guess that next week I will finish on Wednesday after spending Monday and Tuesday just tidying up and odd jobbing as the project nears completion. The main load will be on the electricians to finish the wiring. (There's a joke there somewhere).
The original planned 14 redundancies turned to 16 as the order book continues to collapse and I'm one of them. Of the 16 just one guy decided to appeal and the union shop steward went in to argue his case with management. He won the case and management therefore fired the next guy on their list. It was the shop steward. You just couldn't make this up could you.
I've applied for 3 jobs and registered with 3 agencies and they are all optimistic that that my skills are just what people want out there and promise me a job very quickly. We'll see.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Just another day at the office

Couldn't resist publishing this picture. I copied it from science blogs which is always worth a visit and where the proper credit can be seen. The post is called 'Quick, put this on a tee shirt'

Our German engineers arrived at work this afternoon, instead of this morning, due to a four hour delay. These Germans just can't get it right sometimes.

The contract welder we have for the next two weeks, ex Royal Marine, revealed that he was born in Zambia of English parents and so had 2 passports. Having been born, and lived there, should have been the opportunity for an interesting conversation but as he had been warned that my wife was black and that he probably had nothing of interest to say that didn't involve the N word there was complete silence. What a shame. Wot izit wiv peepl?

Friday, 5 December 2008

Fork Lift Trucks

Thursday morning I got into work to find that one of the large bendy fork
lift trucks (weighing about 10 tons) had reversed into a wall in one of the warehouses. The truck was undamaged but the wall no longer exists for a few square meters and builders came in to board the area up. The driver says he only just nudged it but knew something was wrong when a breeze block fell on the gas tank. I haven't made this up.
Thats the funny bit out of the way, after all I am being made redundant with a lot of others.
Now the bad bit.
Our electrician walked over to see what he had to do about making any electrical circuits safe when he was hit on the ankle by another fork lift truck. He came into work later in the day from the hospital with crutches and the news that he had a broken bone in his foot. That makes him very lucky. It will be after xmas before he's in work again. In fact I may well not see him again. TGI weekend.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Cold, the Cull and the Huffington Post

It was freezing again this morning and it took a combination of de-icer and scraper to clear the car windscreen. As usual it was the side road where I turn into work that nearly caught me out as it wasn't salted so the car did a little zig-zag into the home straight.

The cull has started at work and it looks like 16 people will be going and it includes me. I will be officially informed on Monday and it looks as if I will be expected to stay until 19th Dec. to complete a project. Aren't I the lucky one. I did expect it though as there is no-one else in the engineering department that could go as there are only 3 shift fitters to maintain 3 shifts and there is no way I'm going to do shifts so there was always a logic about it.

On site today was a contractor who pops in on a weekly basis to check the fume and dust extraction systems which they supplied and when I told him what has happened he immediately gave me his MD's card and to cut a story short I have a job interview the week after next. Funny old thing, life, isn't it?

We have on site a contract electrician for another day and a contract welder to help me out until xmas and they were talking in our works kitchen and playing on their mobile mini pc cum phone thingamajigs everyone seems to have and I suggested a look at huffingtonpost.com the great American liberal blog. A quick scan took place then a frown followed by the word 'Obama' and they glanced at each other and went back to what they where doing. Wot iz it wiv peepl?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Its Cold

Bloody hell it was cold. I don’t think I got warm on Monday at all and Tuesday was only marginally better. On Monday I never took my jacket off all day and arriving at work I found a number of cold related problems: the workshop heater had stopped working, one of the compressors wouldn’t work, fortunately another would, and a couple of machines refused to start. Bugger.

A welding contractor has started in order to further a job, which needs completing for xmas. He’s an ex Royal Marine who smashed his knee falling 30ft with a full backpack and has a plastic cartilage and false kneecap. No limp in sight. He’s very quick and the standard of his work is excellent and he’s done some globetrotting as a welder. After the lemons I tested before I went off sick he’s a breath of fresh air. Even if ccccccold air!