Friday, March 17, 2006

Thieving French Bastards

Day 6 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Tiles made: Marseilles 40 Rouge - 4600
Dry Tiles unstacked: 1/2 Rives Plat Rouge Veilli, Douilles Valmagne Cuivre, Faitiers 1/2 Ronde Brun Veilli

Some low-life son of a bitch went into my locker and stole 90 Euros from my wallet. OK, so I'm an arse for having that much money on me and for not locking the locker, but for the 14 months I've worked there I never have and always thought that a combinantion of working class fraternity and rural French honesty would have made it not necessary.
Crime in rural France is rare. We never lock our house or barn or garage or cars. Very few people do. Everybody knows everyone else and knows each others business.
My co-workers were sympathetic but all warned me of the need to keep things locked up. Apparantly anything not nailed down in the factory will be stolen. I guess I was lucky not to have lost something sooner.

The tiles we made last night on the dreaded Mulder were OK, they are not very heavy but they can be tricky to get out of the press without deforming them. It means having your arms up for an extra 1/2 second wiggling the tile about and it does get tiring. More tiring than a light tile should merit.

The unstacking on the other hand was a right pain in the arse because the demi-rond BV always have a patch that has no paint because the clay has stretched in the mould under pressure. So every tile has to have a "coup d'eponge", a wipe with a sponge soaked in a dilute mixture of the BV. This wipe of every tile takes time so it means the stacking gets really frantic.

The tiles arrive on a conveyor to be restacked on the balancelles. They arrive in batches of 4. Demi-Ronds go into the kiln stacked in 3s. So the procedure is:
Wipe the 4 tiles with the sponge.
Stack 3 of them onto a balancelle.
Carry the spare to the head of the next 4 that have arrived.
Wipe the 4 tiles with the sponge.
Stack 3 of them onto a balancelle.
Carry the 2 sparees and stack them on a balancelle near the next 4 that have arrived.
Wipe one of the 4 and put it on the 2 already on the balancelle.
Wipe the 3 remaining tiles with the sponge.
Stack them onto a balancelle.
Refresh the sponge with BV

This bullshit, together with the tiring press, plus it was the last night shift meant I was dead on my feet. And the heartburn was bad. I was pleased to see the end of the shift.


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