Friday, December 29, 2006

All change at the factory - Again

Day 5 of the 6 day cycle. 8:00pm to 4:00am
Tiles made: Rives Regence Droit Noir 4000
Tiles unstacked: Rives Standard gauche Rouge 4000
As of 7th January I'll be changing team - AGAIN. I will be going back to team E with Pascal Quintard. This is the team I started with 2 years ago.

Apparantly, because of over stock, they are cutting production of factory 5 on team B. This leaves us with 3 extra staff. So they are cutting the interimaires (like me) but because they have already invested 2 years in me, rather than drop me they are moving me to another team.

I should be thankful, because it's better than getting the axe, but I'm disappointed because I'm hoping to be taken on full time, and instead I discover that I'm hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

I also can't see how they will fit me into Quintard's team because he already has 2 interimaires in his team. One of them, Cyril, has been there as long as I have, and they make a good team. The 3 of them have been together for over a year. I can't see them breaking up a good team just to fit me in. It seems more likely to me that I'll go into the mould workshop, or another press.

Otherwise, last night was a good night. the press ran well, and I spent the night driving the transbordeur.

I got to bed at 5:00 am, and then had to get up at 9:00 because we had been given tickets to a free cartoon at the cinema. They had been given to us by Veronique, Aubin's mum. So Callan, Briony, Aubain & I went to Chasseneuil. The file was "Merlin l'enchanteur" and had been made in Angouleme for Arte television. Not released to cinema, it had aird on Christmas eve on tv. So the Conseil General was giving these free screenings. It was pretty weak. Computer animated, none of the charm of trad animation and far from Pixar/Dreamworks/Disney. But the kids liked it.

I'm going to have a cup of tea and have a wee nap before tonight's shift. I'm taking a gallette to work to share with the coffee break.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Eeuw - vomit everywhere

Two sick kids.

Last night we were all in front of the tv. It was late for the kids 10:30ish, but it's school holidays, so no problem. Callan announces that he has a sore tummy. Suddenly he throws up. We decide to put him in the warm guest bedroom, and Fi will stay with him. Briony draws a picture of Callan vomiting. Then Fi asks me to come help as he's been sick again in the bed and we have to strip the sheets and turn the mattress. This time we put towels under him in case it happens again.

Then Fi comes down again, can I come help because now Briony has been sick in her bed and it's a hell of a mess. We put her in our bed. (with towels) and I stay with her. Callan had Fi up a few more times in the night, and Briony threw up again at 2:30am.

We all got up late. B had a bath to get the sick out of the ends of her long hair. They are both now lying on the couches watching Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp version)

On the plus side there has been a thaw and it is 8 degrees outside. I chopped some wood and worked up a sweat. the pigeons water is still frozen, tho the white bird is on the nest again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An ice-pick for the pigeons

-6 degrees celcius this morning. It's been below zero for the last week, and getting colder. The pigeons water is frozen, so each day at feed time we have to thaw it out with warm water.

The cold is also a worry for my little car. It has had a leaking radiator, and, in topping it up with water I have no idea now what the water/anti-freeze ratio is. It started this morning so it can handle -6 at least. I had to chuck in a bottle of "anti-fuite" to hold the leak until I can get another radiator. It seems to be holding.

We had a SPLENDID christmas, with my brother and his girlfriend over for 2 days. We all ate and drank way too much, so everything went to plan really.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The devil finds work for idle hands

So while my wife is out chopping wood (see yesterday's post) I've been keeping occupied by carving orange-peel men with pith willies.

Isn't he cute? And of course - on the end of his willy there is ......

a pith helmet!

Friday, December 22, 2006

First day of winter

Although the cold weather started a few weeks ago.

We are now burning 3 stoves - the new (to us, we bought it second hand for 450 Euros) cuisiniere in the kitchen, the little poêle in the office, and the Godin in the lounge.

The cuisiniere is fantastic. Not only does it bring the kitchen up from 13 degrees to 20 degrees in an hour, but it is also great to cook on. The kettle stays on it permanantly. When tea is required we simply shift the kettle to a hotter part of the stove and seconds later she boils. It takes 50cm logs, the same size as the Godin, which is handy.

The little poêle (pronounced "pwal") burns really easily. It used to be in the kitchen, but was simply too small. The Godin in the lounge is a stately green enamel thing. It is difficult to get it to burn really well. When it does it is splendid.

The downside of these burners is the wood required. Every morning Fiona fills the little chariot with wood from the hangar in the garden and carts it into the 3 rooms.
Here is a pic she took on self timer, dressed in her glamorous french labourer blue.

In interesting grammer note on the word "poêle". La poêle (feminine) is a frying pan, but le poêle (masculin) is a wood burning stove. That happens often in french, the gender of the word changes its meaning. When you learn a new word you must always try and learn it with its participle and practice it with matching adjectives.
ie: Le poêle est vert (the stove is green) but La poêle est verte (the pan is green)

Sylvia Browne is gifted

At lying.

Rob Lancaster's Stop Sylvia Browne website is now full of excellent details. Especially interesting are the transcripts of Montel shows where you can see how spectacularly wrong she is.

What is it with this woman? Does she really think she helps people? Does she really think she communicates with "the other side"?

She is either deluded, or, dishonest, or genuine.

Look at the links on Rob's site and decide for yourself if a psychic should have such amazing misses.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm having a fag!

Here's another difference between France & Britian - sweet cigarettes.

It's entierely normal to find sweet cigarettes in the shops, and parents don't even blink at the notion of letting 4-year-old Jean-Baptist running about with a fake fag in his mouth.
Which I think is absolutely hilarious. The good folk of ASH are concerned
Maureen Moore, chief executive of ASH Scotland, said it was time that selling sweet cigarettes was outlawed.

She said: "There is a possibility that these kind of sweets could be banned under a ban on tobacco advertising, which will cover anything which mimics or looks like cigarettes.

These quotes are from a 2002 article in the Edinburgh Evening News

Martin Raymond, deputy director of programmes at the Health Education Board of Scotland (HEBS), added: "We are surprised that in this day and age this type of confectionery is still available. We do not want to be po-faced but smoking is a serious issue.

"The problem with sweetie cigarettes is it normalises smoking behaviour for young children. It isn’t doing their teeth any good either."

I think that being po-faced is exactly what they want to be. Playing cops and robbers with toy guns doesn't normalise shooting behaviour in children. People like Martin Raymond probably also want to ban chocolate money. What would his reaction be to a drink in France marketed at children called "Champommy". It's sparkling apple juice but it is bottled with foil around the neck like champagne and the TV ads show kids having a great time at a party drinking the stuff. Ban it I reckon.
The splendid examples in the photo include the brands "Chicago" and "San Francisco" and there is also a plastic lighter and a pipe.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Official - winter at the factory

Day 3 of the 6 day shift cycle. Shift midday till 8:00pm
Press - DTP
Tiles made: Rives GR13 Gauche, Littoral - 4200
Dry Tiles unstacked: Double Tuile GR13 Rouge

A good day, the press turned well. The chain had broken down last night and so Team "C" were forced to unstack their tiles on the floor. We then had to stack them on the chain as well as our own. And, team "A" had been using the blue glaze and all these tiles were covered in a fine blue dust.
We rigged up an air line to blow the dust off them as they went past. very clever.

The presvious 2 days were on the Mulder and a bit hard since there was no one to help me. Tatis is to old and Ludo was busy setting up other presses so I did most of the work myself. Normally, on the Mulder, you spend one hour on, one hour off, so catching tiles for hours on end is a bit much.

Winter is officially here as the big overhead heaters were turned on. It's been freezing at dawn. Apparantly, if it gets really cold they light fires next to the doseurs to defrost the frozen clay!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Xmas Lights

This morning, when I left to do some plumbing, Marco & Stephan were putting the christmas lights up. When I got home there was a big tree in front of the Mairie, and these nice green lights outlining the church's arches.
They have also done their usual trick of attaching little trees to the gates of all the houses. We'll buy a little string of lights and light it up, and also get the kids to decorate some empty box "gitfs" to stick on it.