Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pagans are idiots

Someone was telling me about his wife being neopagan and lighting a blue candle because it is a ssociated with "healing energy". I do a web search and I find:

Earth Healing and Peace Spell
Place the blue candle in its holder and anoint it with lavender oil moving from the top of the candle to the middle, then from the bottom to the middle, so that the whole candle has been anointed, but no part of it has been anointed in both upward and downward directions. Excess oil may be used to anoint your breastbone with the triple moon.

Raise energy by visualizing that you are a tree. Extend your roots into the earth and feel the rich abundance of energy the earth gives to her children. Draw energy up through your roots, through your trunk and into your branches. Allow it to cascade in silver fountains back down to the earth.

Visualize the world as a place of freedom, peace, equality and plenty. Opinion and belief may be expressed by all people in an atmosphere of safety, tolerance and understanding. Nationality, wealth, ethnic and social background are all irrelevant in this place. Respect for all is the code by which we live. Everyone's voice is equally heard and relevant. There is no need for desperate action here because the deep belief in the heart of each individual is that everyone is equal. There are infinite numbers of different types of people who naturally band with others who are similar to themselves, but each one is of equal worth to the larger group called humanity. Difference is valued for its role in the survival of the species - a sure antidote for stagnation and stubborn sameness.

Explore this world, explore the feelings of it and create it in your mind.

When you have finished exploring, direct your silver fountains of earth energy into the blue candle through your hands. Light the candle. Bind the spell, visualizing a cord tying around the candle. Address the earth:
I bind this spell by power of the three, may it harm none and
bring good to thee.

Proceed with the simple feast to ground yourself.

What is that all about? I though christianity was full of hocus-pocus bullshit but compared to neopaganism it's a beacon of common sense.
"ground yourself" indeed.

2 for the price of one

Day 4 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift midday till 8:00 pm
Press - Mulder AND DTP
Tiles made: Ventilation 033 Rouge, Rives Standard
Dry Tiles unstacked: Faiteaux Littoral

We were supposed to be on the DTP today but because the mouleuse was buts we carried on the Mulder. By 6:30 pm they had the Mouleuse fixed and we switched press.

I took a thermometer in and it only registered 36 degrees. It certainly wasn't as hot as yesterday, but it sure felt warmer than 36.

On the sad number plat spotting front I have now clocked up:
09 Ariège
10 Aube
11 Aude
12 Aveyron
and currently searching for 13 Bouches-du-Rhône. The teens should whip thru quickly and then I'll be stuck on the 2 Corsica departments 20A & 20B

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I melted into a puddle

Day 3 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift midday till 8:00 pm
Press - DTP
Tiles made: Rives 033 Rouge 2100
Dry Tiles unstacked: Douille Littoral

I have NEVER felt it so hot in the factory before. At the DTP it isn't the hottest part of the plant, but there is no air movement. My face was a cascade, I had to tie a bandanna of paper round my head a la Rambo. My shirt was soaked, my jeans were wet from the sweat off my legs. It was terrible. Must have been about 50 degrees celcius. Today I'll take a thermometer in to check.

Didn't make many tiles because we had a broken mould just before 4:00 pm and the transbordeur broke down just before 6:00 and we didn't turn after that.

On a positive note, Laurent was quizzing me about whether I want to stay on at Lafarge. I told him I was thinking of asking the union to put some pressure on and he said don't do it, it will backfire. Unfortunately a lot of what goes on the the factory is down to piston the old French style of who you know and who you've bribed. While we were broken down Nounours asked me to help him set up the STP and showed me how the press works. Either he's finally warming to me or the 2 things are connected and there are things afoot

Monday, July 10, 2006

Never did like spaghetti much anyway

Day 2 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 4:00 am till midday
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Ventilation 33 Ochre
Dry Tiles unstacked: Demi Ronde 50 Paille

I was feeling low at the start of the shift after France's loosing to Italy and Zidane's self destruct. Starting a shift on only 4 hours sleep didn't help either. Everyone was subdued. The dream was over.

Those bastard cinquante tiles. If they're a pain in the arse to make they are even worse to stack. They weigh 5 kilos dry and they get stacked 3 at a time so you have to hump 15 kilos of tiles over and over. Plus sort out the jams they cause on the conveyor belts.

By the end of the shift the world cup was already fading from my mind and tomorrow's shift is on the DTP. Things alays get better

Sunday, July 09, 2006

On va manger les spaghettis

Day 1 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 4:00 am till midday
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Demi Ronde 50 4100
Dry Tiles unstacked: Ventilation 33 Paille

Argh the dreaded demi ronde cinquante! The biggest heaviest meanest tile we make. And with a glaze too!
These tile are always shit to make, and because its the first day of the cycle the press is never set up right. And so it came to pass....
One of the problems is that the pour the plaster moulds nearly 8 hours ahead of time, so by the time we fire up the moulds are as dry as a bone and suck all the moisture out of the clay whic sticks to them. Its hard work trying to get 6 kilos of tile to let go of the mould without deforming the tile in just 4 seconds before the press turns and the next tile comes along.
Anyway, with a lot of bitching and cadjoling we get the thing going. Gerard takes over from me after an hour and a short time after the klaxon goes off and the press stops. Seems gerard has been having trouble catching the tiles and has been dropping loads of them onto the conveyor belt below in the cellar. This has blocked up the conveyor belt. So we have to go down into the cellar (which is still flooded from last weeks storm) and pull out all the bists of trimmed tile and dropped tiles from the conveyor. Drop them, splash, onto the floor.
Nounours tells me to take over again from Gerard if he can't hack it. This takes Gerard aback a bit because it means I'm doing double shifts with the heaviest hardest tiles. After an hour he takes over again and this time makes more of an effort.
At the end of the shift I'm spattered with glaze. On of my co waorkers asks if I've been making bread.

There's world cup fever in the air. France in the final tonight. On va mager les spaghettis.

I sure hope so

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The big storm

Day 6 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift 8:00 pm till 4:00 am
Press - Mulder
Tiles made: Ventilation 33 Paille 4200
Dry Tiles unstacked: Demi Ronde 33 BV

We've had two or 3 weeks of scortching weather. the factory has been hellish and everything is dry.
I'm on the press at about 10:00 pm and I notice the lights flickering. "No problem", I thought, "the mechanos are probably welding something again. Then a few far off booms - Ah, thunder. A storm coming. Thank God.
Suddenly the lights cut out and the press stops. Crash! goes the thunder. The whole factory is dark except for some emergency lights and, strangely, the neon above my press.
"Allez!" "Vas-y!" go the cries of all the workers. Machinery stopping is always a cause of celebration.
We go to the door to see what the storm is like and a practically blown back inside by a fierce wind. All the dust of the past 3 weeks in the factory has been blown up into the air and visibility inside and outside the factory is zero in the dust.
The lightning stikes are almost continuous and its like daylight outside. A howling hurricane wind is bending the trees and making all the corrugated skylights flap and crack.
Then the rain hits. Heavy, heavy, horizontal rain. The black cloud racing over us has a hard defined edge - the storm front.
In no time the ater is pouring in through the roofs ans the guttering can't cope with the load of water. The water comes pouring under the doors and the transbordeur has to be stopped because it is powered by an electric rail which is now under water.
All the water finds its way into the cellars where the conveyor belts that carry the clay around the factory are housed. The cellars are soon a foot deep in water.
I borrowed a colleagues mobile phone to call home as I was worried about Fiona struggling to close shutters in this wind. She's OK because the worst of the storm didn't hit Cherves.

I've been at the factory 18 months and this is the 3rs time ist flooded in a storm. Seems that when they build the new factory they didn't put adequate guttering in the valley between the roofs. Too late and too costly to put right.

A flood is exciting when its happening but VERY BORING when you have to clean up after it.