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).





Monday, 9 March 2009

Oh Bugger

I'm having a real tough time at work, trying to develop a new type of coupling, but the damn seals keep bursting. At least I'm not on my own, that's the benefit of team work..........

Was reading a book called Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell about a couple of 19th century magicians but have finally abandoned it as a load of crap. I just don't care what happens next. I've tried to start A Thousand Splendid Suns but in spite of it seeming to be 'right up my street' I've put it to one side as can't just get interested at the moment. Also tried to give Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong, a second read but can't get going with that either. I've read the first couple of chapters of E.H.Gombrich's A Little History of the World. Its written for children but the subject matter is good and I'm learning stuff that's interesting.

My car is on its last legs so have to find another. I keep looking at the on-line and paper versions of Autotrader and am more confused now than when I started. Some of the best websites are from the one man and his dog outfits operating from home and with no showrooms. oh well.
Think I'll just go and slash my wrists......
Only joking........

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Oiy! Thats Mine!

It was opening day at my new companies new production and office unit (it's not a factory!) on Friday, and George Osbourne was the guest of honour.

My MD made a speech which stunned me speechless with the expression 'I don't know what gods plan is for this business...'. I've found out he's a very religious person as well as being very Conservative but his views don't allow for 'what Labours doing is probably gods plan'.

When it came to the toast George and my MD found they had no champagne glasses in hand and the person stood behind me picked one up and offered it over. I realised just in time what was happening and uttered those immortal words 'Oiy that's mine'. I don't care who it is but they're not nicking my champers. They were both given fresh glasses and I like to believe I wasn't overheard. If I'm fired on Monday I'll know I didn't get away with it.

Osbourne was in the car park at 12noon to link live with BBC's 24 news service on the question of the outrageous pension being given to the tory chief of yet another failed bank and commented about Prescott's suggestion that it be withheld with the comment that he wouldn't want to do anything illegal. He wouldn't, would he?

We watched the interview from the entrance hall (sorry foyer) where a large TV was attached to the wall and someone noticed the window above George was open and dashed upstairs to wave from it but just at that moment someone else spoilt the fun and closed it. It was strange watching it on TV and in real life.

The photo looks as if George is bumping fists, but he wasn't.

I finished my other birthday book this weekend, John Grishams, The Associate. It good, but not that good, don't buy any book until you've read Stieg Larssons, The Girl Who Played With Fire.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Meanwhile, Back at Work.

My, I did have a little go at Tenerife in my last post didn't I? There was an upside though, other than not being at work, and that was sitting by the pool reading an absolutely fabulous thriller. It was my birthday present from dear daughter called The Girl Who Played With Fire, by Stieg Larsson. Its the second in a trilogy and I just can't wait for the final one next year. A film is currently being made of it.

Meanwhile back at work, with my colleague, we managed to complete the assembly of a new prototype coupling to be used on undersea oil wells. We also moved factories, mostly while I was in Tenerife, sometimes I get my timing spot on.

Tomorrow is official opening day and non other than George Osbourne is coming to pump flesh and kiss any babies who might just happen to be lying around. So its clean clothes, a smile, finger food and champers for us all.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Tenerife

I've just had a week in Tenerife and can honestly say that I'm glad to be back at work. I've discovered that there are Gods, lots of them and they are called salesmen. Timeshare salesmen, holiday club salesmen, bow down and worship for they have changed the landscape of the island.

We were in Sunningdale Village at a place called Golf Del Sur which is close to Los Abrigos, at last a genuine name. It was a circle of apartments surrounding a swimming pool and was in turn half surrounded by similar property, while the rest of the view was abandoned building sites and tower cranes stretching down to the coast- with- no- beach. Even the pool was cold, I only went in once, then abandoned it to the kids.

Current cost to stay in delightful places like this is about £14,000, then there are upgrades to 'gold', another £5000, and to 'diamond' another five grand, and lets not forget the annual maintenance fee of £1500. What you get is the right to holiday there for you and your children's lifetime. Poor sods, what have they ever done to deserve such a fate?

Gazing inland up the slopes of the volcano I could see what I believed to be actual Spanish villages clinging to the slopes of rocky outcrops, but I was wrong. They were more Holiday Club 'villages'. OK, so mountain goats need holidays too.

At the top of one 'village' was a wedding-cake/candyfloss type villa which the rep/salesbastard was proud to tell us was owned by Mr Beniton himself with his 'little red Ferrari'. And everybody smiled!!!

I've just blown 1 week of my precious holidays on this shit so I feel very low at the moment and need a course of hypnotism to make me forget. I don't think I'll ever forget though that the food was so bad I once parted with £7.50 for a double mac at Burger King as a pleasant change.
crazy, crazy, crazy.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Birthday, Books and Bankers.

What I didn't mention about my birthday in the previous post is that among my presents were two great books from my daughter; a John Grisham, The Associate, and the real winner; Stieg Larsons, The Girl Who Played With Fire. I can hardly wait to get by the pool and start reading.

One of the days news stories is that its OK to eat as many eggs as you want unlike previous advice that 2 or 3 a week should be the limit. I must have gone through my life in a daydream because I've never heard of this limit before. Mind you, I've never been a twenty a day man!

Another top story is about the Banker who was sacked for warning that the banks were overextending themselves and taking too much risk. The Tories manage to make so much political capital out of the financial crisis that its sometimes hard to remember that they are all a bunch of Tories that got us into this pickle and many pay £50000 a year to be members of the Leader Group which gives them access to David Cameron. What word does Banker rhyme with?

Bugger it, I'm off on Holiday on Friday.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Birthday

My brain feels fried and I can't concentrate much on the old blog with so much happening at work and so much to learn.

I did have a birthday at weekend though and it was decided to take me to theTrafford Centre to finish off our holiday shopping and have a meal at our favouriteItalian Restuarant. I needed it as well because it just aint no joke trailing round that place, I was well knackered.

Next stop was a family getogether, there are 3 of us with our birthdays within a couple of days of each other so we swop prezzies and have a drink every year and this time a Wii was in use and much fun was had by most. I say most because in all this running around I was the driver and never got a drink. Oh, I am in a grim mood.

It doesn't help too much that on Friday we fly to Tenerife for a week. The problem is that we have been persuded to go with relatives who are supplying the accomodation and all we need is the airfare. Trouble is that its half-term and the airfare cost is the same as other weeks with a 4* hotel thrown in. I just love being ripped off.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Upsidedown Flag

Work's proving to be a bit of a headache as I try to understand the new design valve and try to take over the job completely. Its whats expected-there's no hiding place.

I had to smile at the news tonight, no not the snow, I'm referring to the Chinese Premier, old Whatshisname, over here for trade talks, and saviour of the country (this one) by doubling exports.
That is to say that China's economy will be salvaged by them importing from us and ours will be saved by exporting to them. Damn, I'm sure there's something wrong there somewhere.

The really funny bit for me was the signing of the trade agreement (whatever that is) at a posh desk with the Chinese and British flags in miniature stuck in the middle. The Union Flag was upside down, a phenomena I keep seeing on our TV screens. How can they get it wrong at such an event? Now I haven't flown a flag since my boy scout days but I do remember which way up it goes and that an inverted flag is a distress signal. Oh.... I get it.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

What a Day

Since starting my new job last Thursday its been all go, go, go, never finishing on time and painfully aware that for the first time in my life I do not get paid for overtime. What a martyr.

Today was a real classic as the huge prototype valve I am assisting to build displayed a major problem and had to be stripped down for some redesign work with the company chairman assisting. The clock is ticking for delivery to customer.

The company is also in the process of moving to new premises so any machining that needs doing has to be done by Thursday as the machine shop moves to our splendid new site and the tarmacking is done after that so no heavy waggons for a few days. Then in the first two weeks of Feb. the rest of us move over. Then this afternoon the Chairman's Blackberry spoke. BT. won't connect the electricity supply to the new place until 6th March. How our Chairman kept his hair on I don't know.

I was a full hour late setting off home but I had a plan. Call at the JobCentrePlus on the way and post my signing off cert. Failure. The office doesn't have a letter box so I had to stick a stamp on and post it. Then two bulbs went on my dear old Volvo as I set off again and I realised that I was right up the rear of a police car and speeding as I reached home. Wow, I got away with it but I sure as hell hope I never have another day like this for a long while.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

New Job

What a week. Oh yeah, well done Barak and good luck but this posts about me, sorry to disappoint. This is my 3rd week of unemployment and last weeks expected 2 interviews never materialised. There's always an excuse like 'The manager has been promoted and his replacement is still getting his feet under the table'. I can never tell whether they are taking the piss because I've heard it all before. That sort of thing gets filed with the 'The cheques in the post' sort of crap.

I did however have an interview on Monday with a company on Trafford Park which assembles wheels on train axles. It was an enormous place and expanding but ultimately in spite of an element of precision, it was all mechano set assembly. They offered me the job and I accepted (hey I need the dosh). Arrangements were made for me to go back on Thursday for a Drugs and Alcohol Test, a test I understand not to see if I am capable of imbibing these substances.

Then yesterday I had an interview in Northwich for a job as Project Engineer (sounds posh) with a company with fingers in all sorts of pies. I was grilled for over 2 hours by a succession of people heading up different sections of the outfit. At times I can say I didn't know whether I wanted a shit, shave or a haircut.

In the afternoon the agency rang to say I had been accepted and to start on Thursday (tomorrow). Wow, I got the job I wanted and now I knew the answer to the previous problem. And to hell with trains.

So here I go again, new employer, new people, new products, new problems, new year, new President. And I may well find myself in China later in the year installing engineering products that I've made. Wow again.

So maybe I shouldn't be too hard on agencies.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Walk in Fridge

Laugh out loud at the Heineken advert. I did.

video

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Job Search. Week 1

This is the end of my first weeks unemployment and I've spent a lot of time talking to agencies. I've updated my CV and got it online with jobsearch sites which has resulted in contact from 3 agencies from out of the area. One wanted to see a utilities bill. They can cocoa. Another seemed OK and said they'd look for me. A woman at the third agency rang me up and was all excited and wanted me to start immediately at a company in YORK. I had to explain that Manchester was nowhere near York and she seemed so crestfallen and promised to look for me in my own area. Her company was in Northampton which just goes to show that living in a place with 'north' in its name is no guarantee that a person isn't a southern lemon. I won't hold my breath with that one.

I had an interview with a Manchester Agency on Friday which seems promising as they are organising an interview for me with a Cheshire company in an industry I know something about. I'm getting excited. Then they wanted to know of any companies I knew of which they could approach on my behalf. Hello there, but I can approach a company all by myself thank you very much.

So in week 2 I should have 2 job interviews. As the old saying goes, 'You never know your luck in a big city'.

I also have an interview with the Jobcentre on Monday morning with a view to having my National Insurance payments credited and to see what the jobseekers allowance is all about.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Highgate and Back

I'm in 'Finding Work With a Vengeance' mode and have been re-registering with agencies like mad and talking with their reps. I'm amazed at the time it takes just to chat with one agency, then send them my cv with covering note. Add a little research and the hours just fly by.

We spent the weekend in London to collect our daughters belongings from the flat she is vacating. So as a last outing in the capital what did we choose to do? We visited Highgate Cemetery of course. What else? We took the guided tour of the West Cemetery (Karl Marx is buried in the East one) and found it really fascinating. In the 1830's the normal way to get buried was to pay for a church plot but the body would be dug up after 6 months and put in a lime pit in order to make way for another body in the overcrowded churchyards..

So an act of Parliament created 5 super graveyards round north London to ease the situation and the churches got upset at the revenue they were being deprived of so insisted the paupers were buried there as well for free, and they were. They are buried under all the walkways. Well, why not? With the advent of cremations revenue dropped off for everybody and Highgate offered a mausoleum for Urns which surprisingly was hardly used, the main residents being funeral directors.

You really wanted to know all this didn't you? Do yourself a favour and take a tour if you get the chance. It was bloody cold on Sunday.

The trip back up the motorways to Manchester was less fun than the cemetery though. The Volvo estate I have was filled to capacity and then some. I can't remember taking all that stuff down there. If I'd braked hard the windscreen would have been bombarded with books, files, coat hangers and all sorts of stuff but we did make it back in one piece in 4 hours including a stop for coffee. Crazy or what?

Thursday, 1 January 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I didn't get drunk once over the holiday, it wasn't the plan, thats just the way it worked out. Christmas day was good with the extended family and the remaining days have drifted by in lethargy.
Can someone give an award to Virgin1TV? They have just aired The Great Escape.It must be worth an award for STUPIDITY or TOTAL LACK OF IMAGINATION or something.I wonder if Richard Branson knows? This is the guy who started importing American records from a barge and went on to build a massive industry including an airline. For leisure he goes into the stratosphere in a balloon. What shall we put on our TV Station this Xmas Richard? What about The Great Escape? Oh, all right then. Not.
I've been updating my CV with my daughters help. I rang an agency I've worked with in the past and they said there's no need to chase them because if I put my CV online with someone like jobsite.co.uk the agencies will chase me and I'll be getting 5 job offers a day. How things seem to have changed in the last 5 years. Sounds great, roll on next week.
I'm sat here watching something stupid on TV and thinking about the weekend we are spending in London and I swear I've got Brain Death Syndrome creeping over me slowly and insidiously.