This weekend marks my penultimate visit to the pub, the next trip is moving day. To the oft repeated question of “is it getting there” the best answer that I can give is ‘apparently’. By that I mean I am paying people and they are doing stuff but progress is difficult to measure.
I have adopted a new term ‘there or thereabouts’ which seems particularly apt for the pub. I can tell you that the beer supply is now there or thereabouts which leaves the rest of the back bar to resolve. Roofer is there or thereabouts in terms of cost now need to nail availability and slot around the stonemason (Monday’s call).
CCTV is work in progress as is the ever entertaining plumbing. Great to see a competent plumber in the building this time, more quotes to follow. Having reviewed the installation and noted that the 15 mm was too small for all the rads and definitely wouldn’t meet hot water demand; the end conclusion can be surmised as ‘well it shouldn’t work’. I guess the pub companies years of penny pinching and bodging have taught them something after all!
I am frankly overwhelmed by what I have to achieve in such a short space of time. This is not a gentle, fluffy overwhelmed but a sat on the floor in the early hours shaking my head overwhelmed. I remain convinced that necessity is the mother of invention and that my hit rate will increase when everything is on site, being wrong is not an option.
In other news it is wonderful to see crowds queueing to reach the gorgeous little island for festival. Is it a shame that they won’t explore the island more? Well of course it would be good to see more exploration but perhaps just knowing that the island is here and associating it with good experiences is a start.
Next week marks my last week in Derby, although not my last week with BT before any suppliers start celebrating! A recent trip on the Vic line reminded me of the enormity of what we do. As those trains come thundering into the station one after another you can’t help but to be impressed. From the creaking days of crawling through the network in the middle of the night on T1 to the remarkable record of performance that is the line today, it’s been a journey. Watching the early sets of Electrostar returning to the works for half life reminds me of meetings with clients threatening to pull contracts. The same clients run the biggest platform in the UK today and are clamouring to buy more!
I am struggling to step back from my engineering heritage but equally know that I need to. Every subcontractor will attest to the fact that I pester and challenge, sorry guys but I’m doing my best! As much as people have told me that they ‘would love to be more practical’ it is also a curse. There is no job that I am not prepared to tackle and so my work list grows continuously whilst available time diminishes.
I had a nice weekend,spent with friends. Great to catch up with people and the glorious weather frames the coast at its best. I awoke early this morning to streaming sunshine reflecting off an ocean as calm as glass. As I drank my tea and looked out at the beach I saw the street cleaner busily returning escaped sand back to the beach. I have seen this guy loose this battle repeatedly, fighting the elements to keep the sand in place. Like painting the forth bridge or writing lines the task seems thankless and more than a little soul destroying. But on a morning like this morning this man is one of the luckiest out there. Not for him the rush of the commute, the office gossip does not call to him. The money might not be great and I guess the sense of achievement is not so much but today this man has the best job. Just in case you think that I have lost it I will continue my observations. As a beautiful sunseeker lazily ploughed the surf I realised that there are better jobs. Hell I love the coast but it always looks better from several million pounds worth of yacht!
While catching up with friends this weekend I realised, once again, how privileged I am to have the friends that I have. My friendships, like my life, are unique. The conversations that I have had over the weekend would not sit naturally with anyone else I am sure. I love where I live, I love my friends and I love my job. I am in fact a very lucky guy, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. I guess that some of us are pre-programmed to look for change though, it’s not about being unsatisfied it’s just about change. And so it is that my mornings this weekend were spent looking through local news and property for the next location.
One snippet of news that hit me this weekend was that if your single at 40 then you will remain that way. Obviously this is worked out by statistical analysis but the numbers were pretty convincing. Given the train wreck that is my relationship history this is fairly reassuring and it certainly supports my experience. Whilst writing this I did look for the article in question but had no luck, it was one of those silly search engine ads. Scarily I did find a plethora of results explaining that single over 40s are a lost cause. I have to tip my hat to the guy who commented on an article saying that single over 40s were damaged goods. He noted that whenever he is asked ‘why is a good looking successful guy like you single?’ he cuts straight to the chase with “I’m damaged goods”. That has to save so much wasted time!
I close this morning’s post with a conversation that I had with the elderly lady that boards the train with me. When you are as approachable as me it takes some time to build up to conversation. I think we were 4 or 5 months in before exchanging salutations. This morning I was asked if I was ‘off to that place I would love to be in’. We had a faltering conversation while I tried to work out where she had confused my destination with. I realised that she hears me purchase my ticket and therefore knows that I am going to Stratford, does she think this is Stratford upon Avon perhaps?
Apparently not, this elderly lady would love to win the lottery and reverse what she claims to be her biggest regret, moving to the coast. I can’t imagine how many years ago she moved from town, I have no fond memories of it and I’m 40. The lady in question takes the train 6 days a week. Colchester is the closest town that she can reach and she spends the day wandering around the shops. A couple of times a month she extends her trip to Chelmsford as a treat. I have no reason to believe that this ladies mind is anything less than pin sharp and I must presume that the move was made when she was younger anyway. Did she not realise that the shopping experience would be less? Did she not evaluate the move? Surely the lure of the open coast and fresh air had delivered on the promise? But then perhaps she moved at 39 years of age in a desperate attempt to avoid the single at forty curse. . . .
Is understanding the physical world an Engineer’s curse? Do those of us that are not Engineers still have a need to understand how things are produced? I don’t think this generally extends past the male of the species, I don’t mean this in an offensive way it’s just that in my experience women just accept that something is there but men like to know why or how. As an example of my theory imagine a couple describe a broken down car, the man will say that ‘the engine stalled like there was no fuel’ and the woman will say ‘it just stopped’.
If we dig further its probably the same in men, so your male hairdresser will say ‘it just stopped’, your postman will say ‘I think it ran out of petrol’ and your Engineer will say ‘I think No 2 spark is shorting when its wet’. Of course the real difference is that its probably only the Engineer who will want to observe the entire repair in order to understand what happened.
Now one of the industries that I have spent time in is FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) which broadly speaking is everything that you have to sell 100 pieces of to make a penny! One of the items in the group, the one I spent time in, is food. So I am experienced with glass, cardboard cartons, plastic bottles, shrink wrap, boxes and the like or more accurately I am experienced assembling and filling these devices. I know, for example, that small cartons of juice are produced by forming a tube and filling it with juice before pairs of jaws that incorporate twin high voltage heating strips and a central cutter cut, seal and crimp the ends.
This evening I had a snack of some raisins and then the Engineer’s curse struck, I found myself looking at the seals and working out how they could be achieved most efficiently, I checked for the oversize e that means the product is subject to average weight legislation. I looked at the alignment of edges to see which bond was applied first (side) and then looked for the tell tale open end that occurs when you use the tube feed method.
There was a date ink jet marked onto the pack and this led me to consider the marvel of high speed inkjet printing, you charge the ink molecules and use 50 KV plates to direct individual molecules of ink out of the stream to the opening.
So the Engineer’s curse, a packet of raisins takes longer to dissect and reverse engineer than it does to eat!