Friday, March 23, 2007

Monday 16th April 1934

A thrilling rumour in the Making Shop – I shall soon be going to another department!
This morning I ran a gum unaided. Arthur, Jack and Foreman Ellis stood by with solemn, anxious faces as I did it.

Tea at the coffee stall (lunchtime) Sitting on a stile, I had a pleasant talk with the new lab-assistant, a boy from Chertsey.

Afternoon, exciting. Experiment with a run of Madagascar gum, watched by Mr. Randall, Mr. Lever – and myself. The former explained it all to me. At run point, they did not add the linseed (600f) quick enough and so in a moment, I saw my first fired pot. Flames leapt up and set the chimney on fire at once. They pulled off the pot; blazing fiercely; all agitated, including myself, except Arthur, who ran forward and smothered the flames with a lid. They ran it outside and again tried to add oil. Bump! It fired again, Jack and Mr. Ellis were scorched and I, less startled now, covered the pot as before. They beat it in the end – put in the oil and cooled and thinned it. And people say there’s no thrill or adventure in paint making!

A nice letter from Pilot Halsall, fair mindedly seeing my point of view and explaining his. Yet, it may still be, I shall leave for the sake of my invisible code. I shall see.

I felt sure this would be a happy day, when I set forth the morning. As I walked along Richmond Road a sweet fragrance of orange blossom came to me. And I was not late for work: all was well. Mr.Randall inquired about my progress and was told I was OK and could be passed out. I believe the decent old foreman would say I was OK in any case. Jack said they’d be sorry if I went and offered me a cigarette (Weights) lit it at one of the fires with a big chunk of kerosene soaked wood. Curious taper!

New digger at no. 19, sharing my room. He is sitting on the other side of the bedroom now. Fred Clarke, racing motor mechanic, from Birmingham.


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