Saturday, May 27, 2006

The psychics fail again

With all of the publicity around Eric Julien's predictions for a fragment of a comet to strike the earth on the 25th and cause an undersea eathquake and tsunami, there has been a lot of traffic and talk about predictions of earthquakes.
When the SaveLivesInMay! forums were active there were people who claimed to have predicted the December 26 Indian Ocean Tsunami and another who claimed to be an "Earth Sensitive" who could hear the earth's tectonic plates moving.

A pity then that none of them foresaw today's Earthquake in Indonesia that may have killed 1400 people. It measured 6.2 and hit the island of Java.

No doubt afterwards these ghoulish bastards will all be saying "I saw it! I saw it!"

Until I see documented proof via timestamping that someone logged specific predictions, (place and date) I will remain of the opinion that these people are full of shit. Its no good saying "There may be a quake in the southern hemisphere in 2006" hell I can do that, in fact I just have. If just ONE psychic would log BEFORE the event, something like "Earthquake in Java, Indonesia end of May 2006" I would sit up and take notice.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Day 6 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Marseilles 40 Rouge 5300
Dry Tiles unstacked: Marseilles 40 Rouge, Faiteaux Rouge, Demi Marseilles Rouge

5300 is a good amount and the chef was very pleased. Laurent apparantly sang my praises to him.
Other folk weren't best pleased tho, bceause the chef had all three sections running at full speed, thru the halfway break. This meant that people had to take their breaks early or late to cover for other people. And then, because there were so many tiles being produced there weren't enough wagons left to take them thru the kiln and two sections had to stop turning. So people weren't happy about having their breaks buggered about with only to stop 2 hours later.

Although there are three production sections there is still only 1 kiln and 1 system to take tiles thru the kiln. When the system to stock unfired tiles gets full, there is a bottleneck at the kiln at production has to stop.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Skeptics Circle

A site that I read daily is Skeptico mainly for his excellent content, but also because his list of links saves me from having to make my own.
I am flattered to have been mentioned in Skeptics circle for the post on Bracchiumism.
Shared reading includes Skeptic Rant, Rockstar's Ramblings, Photon in the Darkness, Bad Astronomy, Respectful Insolence and more.

In fact Bad Astronomy is responsible for my lost blogging time as I got sucked into the madness that is the world of Eric Julien and his apocalyptic visions for 25th May.
WHAT? That's today! And his predictions haven't panned out? What a surprise!
On my last read I notice that he has extended the time frame to include parts of June what with Blue Aliens being bad at communicating time via crop circles, so there is still time left for his LUDICROUS scenario to coem to pass.

I spent way too much time on his forum, trying to talk sence to the crazies. First our posts were deleted and then we were barred and finally the forums locked down because of our negative influences. In one of his final posts Julien said "Now is the time to act. We have not the time to play with the children. So, I have decided to ban SYSTEMATICALLY any member disturbing the energy involved for preventing the death of millions of people."
Tres drole.

Grumpy as hell

Day 5 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Marseilles 40 Rouge 4800
Dry Tiles unstacked: Ventilation Littoral, Faitiere No.1 Brun Masse, Rives a Rabat Droite Rouge Veilli.

Once again you can see how much time gets wasted when there are changes of product to be unstacked.
First we had to rince out the ongobeuse of the black glaze the previous team had used. Then load up the 3 colours required for Littoral. It was then we discover that 1 of the 4 turbines on the big ongobeuse has no drive belt and is not working, but we struggle on. When the Littoral are finish we stop everything, rince out the ongobeuses, re-adjust the grappins and continue with the Faitieres in Brun Masse -ie: no glaze. And when those are done, we stop everything again, load the ongobeuse with the Rouge Veilli, re-adjust the grappins and continue with the Rives a Rabat.
The mechano, meantime has to fix the brocken drive belt while the ongobeuse is in action. he gets very messy.
The little Rive tiles keep getting jammed in the belst because they are only just big enough to fit. When the jam in the ongobeuse I got covered in glaze getting them out. If you are not quick off the mark the jammed tile causes others to back up and fall all over the floor wasting time and tiles.
Towards the end of the shift this was happening all the time. The air was blue with my cursing because I could never catch it happening. When there is a jam I have to stop the belts to stop tiles piling up and the jam getting worse. When I get back to my post and restart the system I am far from the place where the jams happen.
And we were too short handed (because an extra person is required to turn the tiles over as the come out of the descenseur) for soemonee to watch the place where it was happening.
At the end of the shift and I'm cleaning up the tiles that are on the floor I notice that one of the supports for the belts has slippd and was acting as a brake on the belt. This made the belts run at different speeds so the tiles would skew, fall and jam. Aarrgh. MERDE!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Getting behind on the posts

Days 3 & 4 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift midday till 8:00 pm
Press - P35
Tiles made: Rives a Rabat Gauche & Droite
Dry Tiles unstacked: Lots

Aargh time zooms by.
These tiles are easy to make. But we had a bit of trouble regulating the chassis to take the tiles. When you start there is a chassis waiting. You place the tile, kick the pedal, the chassis advance, you place the tile, kick the pedal etc.
After 8 tiles the claie of 8 chassis scoots off to the ascenseur.
But after about 10 minutes it shoots off one chassis too early! So you have to load 1 tile in advance and hold off kicking the pedal. No big deal, until 10 minutes later it shoots off two xhassis too early. So you load 2 tiles in advance, hold off kicking the pedal and then play catch-up because the next claie is now 2 chassis too far back. And then 10 minutes later . . .

there was a new interim youngster joined us for a day. Shame. he was completely lost. You forget what it's like your first day, the tiles all look the same.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Still struggling

Day 2 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 4:00 am till midday
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Faitiere No.1 Brun Masse - 5100
Dry Tiles unstacked: Faitiere No.1

A better day then yesterday, but still too many stoppages. It pisses me off the way GeGe doesn't respond to the buzzer.
The guy at the press can see when soemthing has gon wrong with the dry tile circuit. In theory he then hits the buzzer, because he can't leave the press. The stacker, on hearing the buzzer, stops stacking, comes over, sorts out what's wrong and goes back to stacking. The press doesn't need to stop.
But GeGe just ignores it. And he never buzzes when he's on the press.
I'm just an Interm worker, not a full time salariere, I don't feel I am in a sufficiently secure position to tell GeGe how to do his job, and I am certainly not going to drop him in the shit over it.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Head for thie hills! The Tsunami is coming

On May 25th a fragment of the comet 73PS will crash into the Atlantic Ocean triggering and undersea earthquake and the resulting Tsunamis will devastate coastal Europe and the United States.

So far so plausible. Then go to the Eric Julien's Save Lives in May website and try and learn more from the man who made these predictions.

It came to him in a vision. Oh.
It was verified by crop circles. Oh dear.
That were placed by Aliens. Oh dear, oh dear.
And its all part of an intergalactic political struggle because humanity's nuclear testing is disrupting alien life on other parallel universes.

Good Grief.

I've spent the last 2 days having a whale of a time on the site's forum where there are some seriously deluded, scared,misguided and downright lunatic people about.
And a few sensible skeptics too, trying to show a bit of logic and reason, and trying not to fall off the chair laughing.

But really some of the folk there are pretty hurt and messed up mentally and it is not fair to laugh. Others tho' are so flakey and into alternate reality and aliens they obviously thought Deep Space Nine was a documentary.

Rain on the parade

Day 1 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 4:00 am till midday
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Faitiere No.1 Brun Masse - 4800
Dry Tiles unstacked: Faitiere No.1, Rives Chartreuse BV

The team before us had ben making the same tiles, so in theory we should just be able to press the go button. But they had the machine badly set up and we had to tweak a few things.
The stupid mouleuse got blocked with clay and we lost half an hour sorting that out.
The Rives we were unstacking were awful, whoever made them was obviously having trouble with the DTP. We had to bin over 100 of the tiles.
The weaher is wet and windy which is a shame for the town's annual clay/ceramics festival. We will go tomorrow afternoon with some friends. The invited potters are from the Catalan. Last year's exhibition was stunning.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Wanted - for Pigeon murder


The luxury pigeon loft is ready and Marcel brought round a box with 9 pigeons. We let them out into the pigeoniere and left one bird in the box.
We then showed Marcel round the garden. When we got back to the pigeoniere the box was open and Loki was eating the last bird. Oh the shame! A neighbour goes through the trouble of selecting birds and your dog eats the one he was going to take back home!
The birds are taking some time to settle in. It was 2 days before they dared fly down to the ground where the food and water is.
Stupid birds.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Like old times

Cover for illness Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Ventilation 33 Valmagne Cuivre 4900
Dry Tiles unstacked: Ventilation 33 Ochre

In the middle of my 4 days off I got a phone call from the factory. "Cyril's father has died can you come in to cover?" No problem, and extra day's pay.
I get in to work and there's Cyril. Turns out it was his grandfather, not his father.
But some other guy's been taken into hospital with appendicitis so they need me anyway.

Same old press, but I was with the team that I first started with at the factory in January 2005. I was with these guys for 7 months before I changed teams. It was nice working with them again.
The weather was hot, we had no breakdowns, and the time went by quickly

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Palmistry, Numerology, Astrology: Bullshit

The other evening at the cafe, the tall, dark Camille was looking at Sylvia's palm. "It has to be the left palm", he said, "because that is the side of the heart." He complimented her on her long lifeline.
"I wonder how that works then, Fiona" Sylvia asked my wife.
"I'll think you'll find that it doesn't, Sylvia. It's all a load of nonsense."

This got me thinking. How can people accept stuff like this without question. I started looking at my own palm, the lines, the wrinkles and then I had a vision - Why the lines on the hand? Why not other lines? Why not the lines on your wrist?
And thus was born the ancient art of Bracchiumism (from the Latin Bracchium - wrist).

Ask your client to make a fist and cock their wrist to accentuate the wrinkles below the wrist.

The hand has to be in a fist because that harnesses the client's life energy. If the hand is open, then the lighter lines that denote the earliest childhood years and the last golden years will be diminished as the lifeforce escapes from the fingertips
Count the number of lines that encircle the wrist.
Multiply the number of lines by 15 and add the number of lines created by the curve of the thumb. (The number 15 was sacred to the Chaldeans of Persia because it was the ratio used by their architects to determine the slope of a stepped pyramid. Freemasons also have their origins in Chaldea, but they try and keep this information secret. The thumb was known by the ancients to be a center of physical strength and energy). In the photos of my hand this would give a lifespan of 78 years.
After telling your client that Bracchiumism is little known, but practiced by the Gypsies of Southern France, who brought it with them when they came from Persia, you can then tell them that actually the whole thing is completly made up and a load of hogwash, just like all the others.
When you run through this rigmarole of course you can use any old numbers and multiply them by whatever you need to get the result of a nice long lifespan.

Sod's law though, I'll probably come across Bracchiumism being practiced for real and no-one will believe it was I who invented it.

Stand by your ham

This is me and my ham in February just after preparation. Below is the ham today, being sliced and it is DELICIOUS.
Here's how to make a cured ham:
Buy the hams when they are on promo at the supermarkets. Here that's in January and February when they knock them out at two Euros per kg.
Then go across the road to the cafe and get two of the old boys to come show you how to do it. In my case the old boys took the form of Marcel and Milou. Marcel used to be a butcher. He cut out the hip bone from the ham. but left the bone that has the ball joint on the end.
Then bend the ham in half to crack the knee joint that is in the middle, and use your thumbs to massage the blood down and out of the meat.
Make a thick paste from: Eau de vie (or cognac); ground pepper, ground coriander, Rabelais, and smear and massage this paste all over the meat and in and around the ball joint. The Rabeleais is very dark and pungent and will soak into the ham giving the edges a darker tint.

Lay a thick bed of coarse salt in a tub, put the ham on top and then completly cover the ham in salt. Bury it in coarse salt. Leave it in the salt for 2 days for every kilo of weight. The salt will draw moisture out of the ham and stop it rotting.
Take it out of the salt and hang it for a month or two in a cool, well ventilated place. The longer you hang it the drier it gets.
What you end up with is very like parma ham.

Try and get the salt off and slice it thinly.

You can't argue with the numbers

Day 6 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Ventilation 33 Littoral 5600
Dry Tiles unstacked: Faiteaux Valmagne Cuivre

The end of the 6 day cycle and the chef is pleased with the production. By keeping the press turning we've produced over 5500 tiles each time we've been on the Mulder. That's 500-700 more than normal. It all adds up over time.

Other good news is no heartburn on these last 2 night shifts. It seems the secret is don't eat so much (in general) and don't bother with supper on the night shift. I think my body doesn't know what to do with a stomach full of food while still picking up tiles at midnight.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Its a filthy dirty job cont.

Day 5 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - DTP
Tiles made: Double Tuile GR13 Littoral
Dry Tiles unstacked: Double Tuile GR13 Xahara

... and the job got filthier.
We only ran the press for 3 hours because of a breakdown at depillage. This meant nothing could come out of the kilns, which in turn meant nothing could go into the kiln, which in turn meant no more could come off our press. A big shame because the press was running well.
So instead we have to clean. In the cave all the clay that spills off the conveyor belts collects in little piles. These become bigger piles. After a while there are huge mountains of dusty earth clogging up the conveyor belts and motors. It is supoosed to be cleaned every day and if each time just gave 10 minutes to sweep the place out it would be kept under control.
It took 3 of us two and a half hours to clear the place out. It's hot work and the sweat was pouring off me, mixing with the clay dust and turning to mud on my arms, face and shoulders. (I was wearing a vest)
After that I had to prepare the ongobeuses (Glaze sprayers) for the following shift and that meant more water and glaze over me.
An finally, the next shift to use the DTP will be using black clay. The tremie feeding the DTP was full of red clay. So it had to be emptied via the conveyor belts into bins which were then taken by forklift to the neigbouring empty tremie and tipped in.
Quelle galere.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Its a filthy dirty job

Day 4 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift midday till 8:00 pm
Press - PZ45
Tiles made: Faiteaux Valmagne Cuivre 4200
Dry Tiles unstacked: Faiteaux Valmagne Beige

The Valmagne Beige colour is made from a coating of white and then random sprays of Black and straw. Well, those are the colours after the tile has been fired. Before firing the white is a pale blue, and the straw is white.
Yesterday, the ongobeuse which gives the blue coating had one defective turbine, and I got blue glaze all ove me trying to repair that. And a few times the tiles got stuck under the black and straw sprayers and I got thos colours all over me sorting that out.
I was filthy at the end of the shift, and my glasses were spattered with glaze too.
The weather was very humid and it was hot work stacking the faiteaux. My T shirt was chafing under my arms and I had a nice nappy rash under my armpits when I got home.

Today has been a lovely sunny day and my pigeon loft is ready. Pigeons will be delivered by Marcel (a man who merits a blog posting dedicated to him), maybe tomorrow or Tuesday.

Its quarter past seven and I have to leave for the night shift....

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Street Party! The bypass has arrived

The nearest big town to us is Chassenieul (3 sets of traffic lights, 4 banks, 3 butchers, etc) I had to go there this morning to get some chicken wire for the pigeon loft.
Today is their annual Fête de la Déviation. 3 years ago the town's 4-lane bypass was completed. Before the bypass all the heavy goods vehicles coming from Spain and Portugal on their way north used to go through the main street. With the 3 sets of traffic lights, it was chaos, both for the townsfolk and the drivers.
They were so pleased with their bypass that when it was completed they held a street party.
They were so pleased with their street party they decided tio do it again the following year. And so traditions get born.

When ever Greenies and enviroMENTALists get their panties in a bunch over road building they shoul bear in mind the impact that things like bypasses have on people. The people of Chasseneuil celebrate a 4 lane motorway every year.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Where are the French Unions when you need them?

Day 3 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift midday till 8:00 pm
Press - PZ45
Tiles made: Rives Plats Rouge Veilli 4200
Dry Tiles unstacked: Demi Postel Rouge, Rives Plats Rouge Veilli

The Rives Plats are normally easy to make, they are small and light and come direct from the mouleuse. You grab the tile, put on a chassi, press the pedal to advance the chassis, grab the next tile.
Except today we couldn't adjust the chain that drives the chassis correctly and the claie of 8 chassis would shoot off to the ascenseur when you only had 4 tiles on. So the procedure was: put 6 tiles on without advancing the chassis. Press the pedal to send the claie off. Grab 2 tiles while the claie goes past and put the 2 tiles on the chassis. Continue to kick the pedal while handling tiles in both hands to get the next claie (which is 4 tiles behind) to come within reach. Lay tiles and kick the pedal until the claie is in its ready to shoot off position.
Madness. Plus we were short on personell again so I didn't get a break until 4:30. Four and a half hours graft without a break.
Where are the french unions when you need them

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Back to Basics

When I was young(er) I used to think that the Police were good guys doing a difficult job. As time went by I changed to thinking they were all a bunch of bastards and I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire.
Now though, I believe that they are people like the rest of us: flaky, farty, good, bad, heroic, cowardly, jobsworths and saints. They are increasingly hampered by paperwork and crap liberal legislation.

I was reading The Policeman's Blog and I found a post on Robert Peel's Nine Principles. Written over 100 years ago. Read them, point by point and think about how far modern police forces have lost their way.


  1. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

  2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.

  3. Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.

  4. The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.

  5. Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.

  6. Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.

  7. Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

  8. Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.

  9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

Production Record

Day 2 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 4:00 am till midday
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Faitiere No.1 5800
Dry Tiles unstacked: Marseilles 40 Brun Rustic

Probabaly not an official record but 5800 is the highest number I can remember.

But it's bloody annoying because the shift boss had a talk to us as our production figures were bad. He wants us from now on to not stop the press for the casse-croute, but to keep rolling and take turns having a break. Gege was not at all keen on the idea and had a strop.
It makes sense I'm afraid because in a half hour break we can make nearly 400 tiles. may not seem a lot butthat's 2400 over a cycle. Also, when the press is stopped for half an hour, the clay hardens, the moulds dry out and sometimes it can take 15 minutes to get the thing turning well again.
But back to being bloody annoying - today we would have mad over 5300 even if we had stopped for a break, because there were no breakdowns, no change of product to unstack. (Have a look at last Friday as an example of having to unstack different products - each change involves adjusting the grappins, rinsing and restarting the glaze sprayers etc)
So the boss will look at today's figures and think "Ah, my little talk did the trick - now I know how many tiles they can really make"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sarkozy gets tough - the french seem to like it

I see in Le Figaro that a poll has shown the majority of French are behind Sarko's immigration proposals.

And he has support from both right and left.
Firstly 60% of french are dissatisfied with current immigration situation (75% of the righ-wing, 56% of the left)
76% felt Sarko's new plans were "justified" (81% right, 76% left)
Sarko recently commented in the press "some do not like France, No one is stopping them from leaving" The poll showed that this comment showed some divisions between right and left and between generations, but not as much as was expected.

Sarkozy is proposing that immigrants undergo compulsory citizenship training and french language training. There are also proposals to limit immigration to people possesing skills currently in demand - in the restuarant services, building services etc.

Here we go again

Day 1 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 4:00 am till midday
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Marseilles 40 Rouge - 3989
Dry Tiles unstacked: Ventilation 33 Ochre

Start of a new cycle. I was having such a great dream, I was quite grumpy to get up at 3:00 am.
Nounours is on 3 weeks holiday (2 cycles) and so Laurent is in charge. I like Laurent, but GeGe doesn't so it could get tricky.

The chain was full for the whole shift, so stacking was a real pain. We were always having to make space by re-orgainsing the tiles already put on the chain by the previous shift.

3989 is not a great figure but not bad considering we had somne set-up problesm and had to wait for the chain a few times. I was quite tired at the end of it.
I had big plans for the afternoon, to clear out the pigeon loft and get in a few trips to the tip. In the end I only managed to clear it out. Didn't feel up to the tip trip. Now that it's all clear I see there is a lot of patching to do under the eaves or the birds will bugger off. I'll have to get down to the hardware store and get some chicken wire.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fizz! Bang!

Yesterday we were cleaning out the old pigstys, which we hadn't touched since we bough the place. They are in a little stone building, very low roof, and hay stored on the upper deck.
The floor boards are very rotten on the hayloft and hay had fallen through, together with stones, old tiles and untold years of junk from previous owners.
As I'm raking up the straw, I found this:

Big nasty LIVE anti-tank or anti-aircraft round. I didn't want the police around causing hassles if it wasn't necessary so I showed it to the neighbours and the mayor(who was in the village hall participating in the VE Day dinner/dance). All agreed that the Gendarmes should be called.
I called the Gendarmerie (only Roumazieres was in business due to VE Day). They said to bring it round. So I popped it into a bucket of sand and drove it round to the cop shop.
They look at it and say "Quand meme!" which loosely translates to "gosh!" But there was no greta surprise. No questions about how it got there, were there any more, are you an international arms dealer etc. etc.

It doesn't look 60 years old to me, but it would be cool, in light of some of the posts I've done on the local Resistance, and what with finding it on VE Day if it was WWII munitions.

Monday, May 08, 2006

French journalists don't know about

The following story appeared in the Sunday edition of a regional paper called Sud Ouest:
Ayant découvert, en restaurant une maison, un tonneau de rhum jamaïcan de 20 ans d’âge, des ouvriers de Budapest ont joyeusement enterpris de l’alléger de son contenu. Intrigués par le poids toujours élvé du tonneau vide, ils ont ouvert… pour y découvrir le cadavre momifié d’un diplomat hongrois que sa femme avait rapatrié à la manière de l’Amiral Nelson. Cette gueule de bois, ça dû être quelque chose.

Cool story, I thought, I must check out the net to get more detail. And hey presto! Google takes me to the ultimate reference source for urban legend.

The body in a barrel story is referenced in Snopes here

Happily that led to an hour of Snopes browsing. Did you know that Fanta was developped in Nazi Germany because the Coke factory there could no longer get the Coke syrup.

8 May - Victory in Europe Day

May in France is littered with public holidays. May 1st is Labour Day and may 24th is Ascension but today, May 8th is VE Day
So for all the people who harp on about how the French would be speaking german today if it wasn't for us saving their asses, yes the French are grateful for liberation and they do remember.
They remember with a public holiday. No work, no school. They remember with every little village in the land having a ceremony at their war memorial. They remember by having renamed countless town squares "Le Place 8 May" as well as all the boulevards and streets now named 8 May.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

How manga are you?

Me as an Manga Cartoon
Create your own at:
hattip to Blognor Regis

Unleash the MAGNETRON!

I was sitting the kitchen at the afctory the other day, and on top of a cupboard was the box thet the microwave oven came in. It had the words "Microwave Oven" in numerous languages down the side, and most were variants on "Four micro-onde" or "Fourno Microndulo". Except the last version was "MAGNETRON"


What country and language is this that has so little fear of science and technology that they can name a kitchen appliance a MAGNETRON? A Google search took me through the history of Microwave ovens.
As part of the 1939-1945 war, research into Radar was afoot and Percy Spencer was working with the Raytheon company. At the core of 1940s Radar was a Magnetron, the beast that generated the microwaves. Spencer found one day that a peanut bar in his pocket had melted while he was standing infron of a magnetron. He experimented with popcorn and got it to pop when exposed to the microwaves.

Hey Presto! The microwave oven. Early models were 6 foot tall and watercooled and naturally a bit slow to catch on. In 1975 Microwave ovens finally sold more units in the USA than tradional gas ranges.

Magnetron is also a Pokemon electric character. That's more like it. For me Magnetron sounds like the kind of device that Ming the Merciless would turn on planet Earth in order to vaporise it. "Flash, we only have 8 seconds left to deflect the Magnetron from Eath's orbit"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Easy end of Cycle

Day 6 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Marseilles 40 Rouge 4950
Dry Tiles unstacked: Marseilles 40 Rouge, Demi Postel Rouge

A nice easy night for the last day of the cycle. The little marseilles tiles came out of the press easy-peasy and I was feeling rested after not having to go up the roof in the afternoon.

We would have cracked the 5000 except that at the end of the shift we had to unstack little Demi Postel tiles and Nounours struggled to adjust the grappins to pick them up. We lost about 20 minutes right at the end when the Transbordeur got bent so Laurent couldn't remove the full charge of green Marseilles.

Drove to Limoges at lunch time to pick up Mike & Annabel from the airport. They are here for 1 night taking advantage of 14pence Ryan Air flights.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Drug Dealers gut dogs

Well this is nice ....

Last weekend there was a big rave at Chavannes (Dept Cher).
It seems that during the cleanup the bodies of 15 dogs were found, all of which had been gutted.

Vets say that it is a method used by dealers, the dogs are used as mules to get the drugs past security and then evicerated to get the produce. It is a method already seen in use in Holland and Belgium.

Ironically the dealers would probably get a harsher sentence if caught and prosecuted under animal welfare laws than they would if prsocuted under narcotics laws. A 22 year old woman died at the rave as a result of a drug overdose.


Day 5 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Marseilles 40
Dry Tiles unstacked: Faitiere No.1 Brun Masse, Aretier BV, Chatiere Regence Noir, ventilation 33 Paille, Rives GR13 BV

Man I sepnt all day yesterday on the roof helping Adrian & Brian with their tiling. Started at 8 in the morning, took an hour for lunch and finished at 5:30. The sun was beating down and it was really hard work, felting in the windy morning and then laying tiles and stacking tiles on the roof. My arms, backs of my legs and neck got sunburnt.


I had to start an 8 hour shift at the factory. Luckily the little Marseilles tiles are childs play (relatively) but I was knackered. My feet especially were on fire.
Adrian was expecting me again today at 1:30 for another afternoon on the roof before tonights 8 hour shift, but he's just called to say it's off this afternoon. HOORAY!

I must be overworking when I regard what is normally time between waking and working as "time off". Now I have the afternoon free to take the trailer of garden shite to the tip and get tidying the pig pens for the new pigeon loft

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What a crap day

Day 4 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift midday till 8:00 pm
Press - DTP
Tiles made: Rives GR13 BV ?
Dry Tiles unstacked: Rives Demi Ronde Xahara

What started out to be another easy day like yesterday all went wrong at 2:00 pm. First, the conveyor belt leading to the press walked itself off the side of its rollers and the edge of the belt got chewed. The mechanics cut off the chewed edge and then spent some time getting the belt properly centered and tensioned.
Then the pump that sucks excess moisture off the top of the mouleuse went on the fritz and that took some time. And finally one of the bolts holding the upper tile mould sheered, and a new one had to be machined.

And when the press did get working I spent all the time nursing the claies which were doing their best to get jammed. We were taking off Rives Ronde which are big tiles, and making Rives GR13 which are little tiles. Mixing products of the two extremes makes the machinery very difficult to set up.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A mixed bag

Day 3 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift midday till 8:00 pm
Press - DTP
Tiles made: Rives GR13 BV 4000
Dry Tiles unstacked: Rives GR13 BV, Rives GR13 Terron, Demi Regence Terron.

The DTP press turned like a dream and 4000 is a good figure. When Everytheng went well I was bored mindless, sitting there with my roller and BV putting paint on the cut edges.
But then for certain periods the claes gave absolute shite, getting jammed in the descenseur, the ascenseur, the deveateur. I had to jump around and sort things out and still get back to make sure every tile had a little roll of paint.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Get mad as hell

My thanks to The Devil's Kitchen for this post and this link.

Get Mad

Crap Puns

The french love puns. And "Double Entendre" isn't a french phrase for no reason - theya are the masters. This is why it is very difficult to get a straight answer out of a frenchman. He would rather answer with a pun or a dirty double entendre.

An example: Last night, a neighbour was telling us how a piece of corrugated iron (tôle ondulé) blew over and injured his dog. The dog needed sutures in its leg. The moment he said "tôle ondulé" his wife said "comme les vaches ont du lait".

"ont du lait" and "ondulé" sound the same.


My wife asked another neighbour if she could use his mini-plough to plough her vegetable patch. Well, I thought he was going to have an anurism, such an opportunity for double entendre.

Labour Day

Day 2 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 4:00 am till midday
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Faitiere No. 1 Rouge - 4600
Dry Tiles unstacked: Marseilles 50 Rouge.

It's Labour Day.

So I laboured. The shift was OK, apart from having to stack those big bastard Marseilles we made yesterday.
I got home and there was no-one here so I browsed my blog roll. Then 1:30 I had to go off and do some more roofing. From 1:30 to 5:30 I was on the roof laying tiles. That made a 15 hour working day. Working mind, humping tiles about, not pratting about with spreadsheets or javascript or Flash animation!

Labour Day, mon cul!