Friday, 6 November 2015

Starting work again

Back in June I was made redundant and have since been looking for work. While I was in Germany with my lady at the end of September I received a phone call that I have been selected for a job at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell Oxfordshire.
I am, of course, delighted with this, it means I get to work with high power RF and big high volt, high amp power supplies. It also means I have to leave my home in sunny Scotland, and move down to Oxfordshire.
When I was made redundant from Fugro, I was paid the statutory minimum so I have been living off my savings. I walked out of the building after 4 years with £2800 (approx) and have had the sum total of 5 days work over the summer period working for a grain sampling company.
While I was working for Fugro I was living in a lovely little town, about 12 miles north of Aberdeen called Ellon. Obviously with out a job and a regular income, I could not maintain the payments on the rented house in Ellon, so I moved out of my nice little man cave and moved in with my girlfriend, who lives in the village of Boddam. Boddam is close to the town of Peterhead and about 30 miles north of Aberdeen. We now live in a small fishermans cottage and pretty much have a nice life here (other than the fact I have been unemployed).
My lady is buying the house on a mortgage, so I have been contributing to the cost of the house in equal measure to her, which has been eating into my savings quite dramatically.
In 2 weeks time, on 14th November 2015, we will get married in Gretna Green. The following week, on Monday 23rd November 2015 I will move down to Oxford to start work.
Obviously this is not an ideal situation for two newly weds, so she has applied to the Lab for a job as well. This means, that early next year, we will both be living down in Oxfordshire (assuming she gets the job, which I am fairly confident of).
We are going to rent out the house, and this means that first we have to fix all the little minor faults the place has. We have put up with them, basically because it is our house, someone comming in probably won't accept them. So, I am in the process of doing lots of little jobs in the house and will continue to do so right up until I head south.
I am back up for Christmas and anticipate lots of DIY when I am back!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


My brother is a kindly soul who recently arranged a surprise for his wife. He booked a holiday for them both to fly to Poland, specifically Krakow and visit Auschwitz.
Unfortunately she developed Emphysema and was unable to travel. So, rather than let the trip go to waste he invited me to go along.
The flight was due to leave Standsted Airport at 1255 on Monday and I was due to leave Aberdeen at 1915.
I had to travel down from Scotland to London that was a trip and a half. I asked the lady of my life to drive me to Aberdeen from Boddam where we lived so I could catch the bus from Aberdeen to London. I had been quite clever, I had built many hours of delay into my trip.
My bus was due to depart Aberdeen at 1255 and arrive in London at 0645. I would then have to get from St. Pancreas to Victoria to catch a train at 0800 to Standsted which would arrive by about 1000.
Well, I got to Aberdeen by 1845, kissed girly good bye and headed to the bus station. As I was so early I grabbed a bite to eat, bought some bottles of water and diet coke, a couple of sandwiches and headed for my bus.
The carrier I was using was Megabus and I joined the queue for my bus at 1905 and boarded the bus at 1910. All was looking good. What I did not know was that there was an asian gentleman in a heated argument with the supervisor for the bus. He had been drinking and had a quantity of alcohol with him and wanted to board the bus. The supervisor was prepared to let him board, provided he put the alcohol in the storage compartment of the bus. The asian gentleman was having none of it.
As a result of this the bus was delayed.
What should have happened was the supervisor should have dealt with the guy and the bus should have left on time. What happened was the supervisor walked off and left the bus driver to deal with it. This resulted in the police being called and the bus being delayed by 25 minutes. So, the first 25 minute delay was built in. Was I worried?
I still had a lot of time built in to my travel plans.
We travelled down the road to Perth, where we picked up some more passengers, then we stopped in Glasgow, where we had to change bus. This added about another 10 minutes delay to the trip, but I was still not worried.
We set off for England, while driving along the M6 we ran into a problem. A lorry load of concrete blocks had been shed and the M6 was closed. It was closed for over an hour and we sat and waited. Now I was getting concerned. If everything worked out, we would arrive in London just in time to miss my first bus connection to Standsted. However, I still had a couple of hours built in so I could still make it.
However, as we travelled south so we picked up additional delays on the motorway.
As we approached london, this just got worse and worse. We actually arrived in London at 0900 ish. I checked the bus times from Victoria to Standsted. Assuming I made the bus and there was no delay on the roads, then I would make the airport with 25 minutes to spare. This would of course include getting through security etc etc etc.
I got on to the train line and and found that I could shave an additional 30 minutes off by taking the train. So, I ran to the train, bought a ticket and jumped on the first train to Standsted.
I arrived at around 10 past twelve and called my brother.
We meet at the front of the airport and made a dash for the security queue.
Fortuntely, we made a dash, if we had decided to grab some breakfast first we would have been in the poo poo.
It took us 20 minutes to get through security.
By the time we got past the duty free picket line we had 10 minutes before the gate opened at 1225.
We grabbed some soft drinks and a couple snacks, wolfed both down and headed to our gate.
My brother had booked with Ryan Air so we were envisaging problems, however, the seats were comfortable, the leg room was adaquate and the flight passed in no time.
We arrived at Kracow slightly early, got off the plane and wandered through the airport. We came out in the arrivals area and the taxi that had been booked to pick us up was waiting with my brothers name on a large sign.
We walked out to the taxi and headed for the hotel.
The guy who was driving spoke really good english and told us some history of the city as he took us to the hotel.
We arrived at the hotel Symposzjum and checked in.
The hotel was nice and well maintained and we where checked into a double room with single beds, which was a bit of a relief.
We went down to the bar and had a few drinks, and then had dinner in the hotel restraunt. It was nice. We retired to the room and watched some TV. After an hour or so we decided to go for a walk and we wandered into town and visited the Tesco in town.
The following morning we walked about 100m to the local tram stop and headed into town. The tram system was really good and the regularity of the trams just made it better.
We wandered through the town taking photos and had lunch in the main square. We took a horse drawn carriage around the city and had a really nice day.
Towards evening we took a tour of the Ghetto district, saw where the Jews took the train from Ghetto to Auschwitz. We saw the Square of the Heros, with its chairs, each representing 1000 Jews murdered.
We also saw the factory of Schindler and the Pharmacy and the remaining part of the Ghetto wall.
It was a sobering day.
The following day we visited Auschwitz one and two and it was a really big shock. Auschwitz one, where the famous sign is, was bad enough. With cells where people were suffocated, hanging posts made of railway track, purpose built walls where people where shot and the first industrial gas chamber. The big shock came with the gas chamber and crematoria at the back of the site close to the soldiers bar. The gas chamber was bad, but the crematoria smelt of soot, even after 70 years. It was awful.
Auschwitz two was a shock. The size was mind numbing. To hear that there were three main sites, plus 40 other sites in the area was a real and total stunning shock.
A piece of information was was both horrifying and repulsive was that the paths we were walking on were partially made from human ash.
We walked the length of the rail tracks that lead from the main gate down to the gas chambers and crematoria. We looked at the memorial and we then walked through the accomodation blocks. The moment of greatest horror was to enter block 28, the death house. This was the place the murdered people would spend their last night. They slept on wooden shelves, 7 per shelf, stacked three high, with a total of 1008 people in that one shed.
It was horrible.
The following day we wandered around the town of Kracow and tried not to think of what happened 70 years ago.
The city was great, the people where really friendly and I would go again.
What I would like to say is, everyone needs to go to Auschwitz.

Job Interview in Oxford

I went down and attended the interview for a job as the Section Leader on the ISIS project at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell for the Science and Technology Facilities Council. I felt I did OK on most questions, but I did feel I fell down on two areas. One was the theory of an IOT thermionic valve, the other one was a question on a klystron drift tube. I felt I did not give them the answer they were looking for.
I hope I did enough.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Job interview

I have a job interview on Monday. It is at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell near Oxford. I am going for a position as RF Section Leader on a Linear Accelerator project. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 28 August 2015

A bit of back ground

While I was away from this blog, a few things happened in my life.
First I started working at the Fugro Survey Ltd in Aberdeen in the office on 17th December 2012 as the Operations Supervisor. In June 2015 I was made redundant. I am now looking for work, so if you have anything in Aberdeenshire offering £50k, let me know.
Second, I stopped dating my old Girlfriend in December 2013. It was not working, I had not seen her for three years and I was not seeing a future where we were together.
On 1st January 2015 I started dating a new lady and we are now engaged. I have known her for a few years and she is great as I can just sit and talk to her and she does not find me very geeky. The has three degrees, one in physics, one in GIS and the last in Surveying, so that might explain it. She is German and has lived in the UK for the last 12 years and is 15 years my junior.
I have also changed car a few times, when I was last on here I had the Astra. Well she died and has been recycled. I then had a Ford Ka, which was tiny and I got rid of that and got a Saab 93 2 ltr Turbo with heated leather seats, oh and it was a convertible. I was then made redundant so I swapped it for a Renult Kangoo, which I am already filling with radios.

My Mum's ginger cat

I have been working on an updated version of my mum's ginger cat. The original book had about 15000 words and was not too bad. I am expanding it to closer to 30000 and then will publish it again, on both Kindle and via createspace as a paperback.
I am working on two other books at the moment as well. One is a survey book, it is a fictionalisd account of a survey. The events are all real, but have been taken from a life time of working with people and condensed into one story. When you read it, please be aware that the story lines are all true, you won't always believe it, but they are.
The other book is closer to my heart, it is fully fact based and is a study of a very simple antenna. I am writting about the mono pole, or also know as a Marconi pole. A vertical antenna of the simplest type.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Horror of being a Zombie

OK. I have not been on for a long time and there are many reasons for this. However, I am now back with a new book on Amazon called The Horror of being a Zombie. It is a re write of sad to be a zombie including a lot of critisism that was received.
I have also released several articles on LinkedIn and you may want to take a quick look at these.
Since I last filled out a post, both my mother and father have passed away, I have split up with my long term girlfriend and no longer live in Northamptonshire.
I now have a new long term girlfriend, who I have asked to marry me and we are getting married on November 14th this year. Oh, and I now live in North East Scotland.
I am no longer a surveyor, I have spent the last two and a half years being an Operations Supervisor and I am now redundant.
I am re writting my mum's ginger cat and am half way through a fictional story on my job as a surveyor. In addition I am working on a long term project, writting a book about a mono pole antenna.