Friday, 26 March 2010

Engines that Fall Off Planes

This happened to a plane in our airspace recently and caused a great hoo-haa in the press.
There is always a lot of media hype when this type of thing happens and as my husband was an aircraft technician once I always ask him about it. He doesn’t find an engine ‘falling off’ anything to worry about as he agrees with the explanation offered by this local airline, that it is designed to do so in the event of a foreign object being drawn into it. As he points out, imagine the effect of a non-functioning 2-3 ton dead weight hanging on one side of the plane. (I for one have visions of it turning upside down!) He is also not over-impressed with the pilot’s correct handling of the plane thereafter as they spend many many hours on the simulators practising for just such an event. We should also be reassured by the number of back-up systems that exist on all planes. My husband is an old-school trained technician when the apprenticeship was 5 years, and you should have seen the mountain of manuals he had to know for the exams. In those days, technicians were expected to know how to fix every single system on the plane. One year he flew ‘flying spanner’ 12 times to London and back. All he took with him was a multi-grips, a Phillips screwdriver, a common screwdriver, a torch and a roll of high-speed aluminium tape. You could fix almost any problem with this kit he maintains. Just one thing more - I remind him - a couple of towels from first class. I remember the story of when a hole developed in the fuselage of one of the leading flaps. He stuffed this with some of the afore-mentioned sturdy towels and patched the hole with the tape much to the horror of an old lady sitting watching through a cabin window. Not only did the plane get home safely on that trip - it flew another 4 long haul trips to London before it was permanently repaired!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Silent Night

Last night we had a most surreal evening. We are tiling….. plodding off to the gym for our half an hour mandatory exercise (well, 20 minutes - we’re still getting there), and after a quick supper, my husband decided to experiment with the latest product I brought home today - “Grout Off”. For once here is something that lives up to its name and I spent a happy and relaxed hour or two watching him sitting cross-legged on the floor of the TV room, gently applying this stuff with a toothbrush along the tile edges and wiping it off immediately with a wet cloth. I was going to work in sympathy but my iron produced a terrible smell so I couldn’t. The results are amazing - it looks as if we have had a new floor put in! Unfortunately, once you’ve started you can’t stop, so now we have to do the kitchen as well. I suddenly noticed that for once we had not put the TV on and all I could hear was the soft “Shssss, shsss” of the toothbrush, very soothing. The last time we had such pleasant quiet was during a power cut. Of course, had I been here on my own the quiet would have felt menacing, but not last night. I only came down to earth when my husband decided he had had enough of that activity and went off to bring in the heavy artillery to tackle the stubborn tiles in the shower. Shattering noise of the angle grinder. I protested that the neighbours might complain so he reluctantly abandoned that and stripped my iron instead. And so to bed.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Temp Jobs for Small Son

12th November, 2007

Continuing my family history....... in order to catch up to the present one of these days

During a holiday period, my husband is now petrified that our son will make a habit of ‘lazing around the house’ and continually comes up with entertaining job ideas for him. The first was vetoed by me - on the grounds that it might be dangerous on several counts for it comprised an offer from a family member to drive a pick-up truck to the vegetable market at 4.00 a.m. daily and deliver same around town until 2.00 p.m. This would not fit in with son’s biological clock at all and I could not see him lasting a week never mind being able to select fresh vegetables - as he doesn’t know a fresh veg from a rotten one as he avoids eating them whenever he can. Another idea is for him to go out on a tuna fishing boat as crew - sounds like fun, but I know that is also very early, long hours and not just a walk in the park (as it were). I feel that an untutored youth needs to start with something more menial, like waiting tables. Both my elder children did this, from around 15 years old - as they keep reminding me. Let’s face it - this last one is just spoilt. He’s going to need a wake-up call e.g. no more pocket money. Period. Another idea suggested by me has been to kick him out of the house but my husband is adamant on that one: he believes firmly that your child must always be able to regard his home as a sanctuary and that there will always be place for him there. Wonder if he would still say that if said son is still at home in 10 years time? Not unheard of theses days. Still, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves. Matric exam results first - on 28th December. Thank goodness we’ll be able to enjoy Christmas!