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, 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.

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


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.