Life at the coal face

Thursday morning

How sad am I? I think I must be the geek here, actually I already know I’m a bit of a geek. The reason I know is because when I was sat watching Jamie’s Ministry of Food and he went down the mine for a look see, all I could do was try and see what gas detectors they were using! That would be because I used to be a design engineer working on mainly portable gas detectors in the dim and distant past, oh well, I suppose we all have one of those. Unfortunately I couldn’t see what they were using because everything was coated in a layer of black coal dust, even Jamie! and there was me thinking that he’d smeared it on his face for effect, so as he’d look the part. Actually come to think of it he did look rather different with his eyes peering out. But boy, what an awful place to work, I have so much admiration for those that do, and such sadness when I think about how things used to be hundreds of years ago when children were forced to work down there and other equally awful places.

We all whinge about Health and Safety, and how we’re getting wrapped in cotton wool, and I’d have to agree that it’s all gone way too far, but thank goodness that people started thinking about these things. Jobs and pastimes have got so much safer, the really nasty chemicals we could easily use are restricted, this in itself has to be a good thing, and many people work really hard on safety systems that come into play in an emergency, this is something else I was involved with, Emergency Shut Down systems (or ESD) for oil rigs and gas refineries. Actually I have to confess that most of my time in industry was spent working in Health and Safety, so I am a supporter, but not of the extreme silly stuff.

Kids should be kids, and grow up playing on the street, riding bikes around, and getting into silly scrapes, isn’t that what growing up is about? There’s going to be some pretty boring tales or lack of childhood tales to tell grandchildren if we carry on protecting everyone from what should be everyday experiances.

Ah well, I better get back to the grindstone, it was 6.9 deg C in my studio when I popped out to switch on the kiln, lets hope it warms up a bit today or I’ll have to get the union in….

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