Monday, December 31, 2007

Direction in life, slave to a trade.

Well, after a brief discussion with my father, one sided ,I was told that I must get a job or get out. So I did both. it was the beginnings of the seventies, strikes and a down turn in the economy made finding a job with training and prospects almost a hopeless pursuit. Not having the option of a government training scheme, due to my health and being now regarded as disabled from the accident. I spent 6 months in fill in jobs, having to work 3 jobs to stay afloat. Eventually landing a toolmaker apprenticeship. Now up until then I had never ever been near a machine shop, not even at school. I had signed on for 5 years, my first salary was £5 80p, my board was £5 a week, bus fare to technicon £1. So it was sit and work weekends as a selfservice automated petrol attendant in St Paul Bristol, a nice quiet neighbourhood, I think not. Drugs , muggings , rapes and prostitution the usual daily past time. Sounds like Cape Town inner city surrounds, today. A place of Georgian and early Victorian tenements. Waste building sites,empty derelict houses and the usual misfits of rampant urban decay.  Wednesdays was grab a granny night at the local locarno dance room, another place to make a few bucks.
The most urgent need was transport, my first vehicle was an ancient clapped out Ford Anglia,tyres , spares, etc. midnight spares over the wall at local scrap yards. Petrol supplies, siphons, gallon can and a can with the side cut out for the six inch nail petrol extraction method. I got by with my innocent looking face and my ability to think on my feet to keep out of the laws hands. I'm not proud of it ,but it was what was done and would feel very p..d if it was done to me today. We change hopefully as we age and grow. In some respects I had a good apprenticeship, having to work to fine tolerances on first world war machines made you be innovative. How do I know they predated the first world war, easy consider a steam powered, shaft to belt driven machines with the ministry of war plaque certifying that they were up to standard and certified for war production. Lucky for me I was not thick and applied myself at tech, passing my exams with either a credit or more usual distinctions, I also found that I had the ready ability to visualise a 2d drawing in 3d, could problem solve and had a natural instinct of how to do things. More useful than any degree with no experience and no ability. My life altered in these years, I fitted in I sounded English , I looked British and had a way with the girls , also I could dance. My next post is about my dancing years.

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