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» School Projects

Hand axe
I was 11, at the very beginning of the very first term of 'big school' in Mr Creichton's history class. We were warned that he was a cantankerous old cunt and for our very first homework project we were told to make a neolithic hand axe. WTF I thought, how am I going to do that? My mind was so welling up with fear of not being able to complete this task and the inevitable punishment that would ensue that my whole weekend was drowned in complete worry until my dad saw me looking down in the dumps during Sunday lunch.

I poured forth a sorry tale of woe and worry and I confess there may have been some watering of the eyes, but my Dad just told me to cheer up, got the car keys and off we went to the local gravel pits. After about an hour of searching we found a fearsome looking lump of flint that was just the right size. We then found a small branch and hacked it off a tree. With our raw materials in hand we returned home and I was instructed to cross the street to see George the cobbler. Mr Smith was an undiagnosed tourrettes in denial who promptly bombarded me with a stream of vitreol but nonetheless gave me a load of 1/4 inch strips of leather and refused any efforts to pay for said leather.

With the leather soaking in water I set about cutting the branch to the right length. I then split the newly-fashioned axe handle carefully and inserted the flint in to the y-shape. After wrapping the soaked leather around the flint and handle and burring the cut end and charring it over a naked flame for authenticity the axe was ready to dry.

The next morning I ventured in to the garage to see my finished project. It was incredible. the leather had shrunk so tight that the flint was held securely within the axe handle. I imagined roaming the neolithic plains, dispatching anyone and anything foolish to mess with me and my hand axe.

I had to wait until first period after lunch until double history with creichton. I looked around the class and was elated to see that my axe pissed all over the competition. A few had no axe at all and were promptly awarded with black marks. The rest of the class ranged from a sorry looking pebble to a piece of sawn timber with an apologetic stone sellotaped on. Creichton just prowled the classroom picking up the pitiful offerings and disdainfully throwing them back down to the desk. Scores of 3, 5 and 4 were spat out towards the pupils.

My axe was next and I remember it was the only time I ever saw him smile. He was obviously impressed and held the axe for the rest of the class to see and proclaimed it to be very nearly almost authentic, detailing the use of the almost correct materials and methods. My mind was rushing with the spinal-tapesque score I would be awarded, when the smile evaporated, the axe thrown on to the desk and 'seven' uttered from the old bastard's grey old lips.

Seven? Ignoring the fact that it was the best score in the class I could not get round the injustice of it all. What in the name of god would you have to do to get an 8 or a 9? He then picked up my exercise book and drew a red star in the bottom corner. I had done it. I got my first merit mark (first of very few, it would transpire), and was the only one out of the class to receive one. This happily tempered my disappointment at being awarded a stingy seven.

My Dad was (and is) not one for sentimental nice shit and we didn't spend huge amounts of time together when I was young as he doesn't like sports or running around, but this was one of the few times that we did something together and it was great. He didn't do any of the work for me, but gave me some directions, including letting me use his saws and a blowtorch. Thanks dad.

Length? It was 14 inches long, with a head 5 inches wide.
(Tue 18th Aug 2009, 13:51, More)

» Tightwads

This is a good one
I once worked on a 12 month placement at a large agrochemicals plant in Huddersfield. I loved Yorkshire, it was so much more friendly than 'darn sarf' where I hail from, but they had a capacity for tightness up there which would put the Scots to shame. This one is the pick of the lot:

A couple of blokes from two adjoining labs wanted to go to the Top Gear show one year. Thing is, neither of them knew the other one was going. So it was someone's bright idea to bring them both together. They decided they would share a car with bloke A driving and bloke B offering to 'help with petrol'.

Both had a good day at, to my mind the most arse-clenchingly tedious day out ever, and were travelling home when B asked A how much money he thought was reasonable for the journey. 'I'll have a think about it and let you know tomorrow' was the reply.

The next day B comes in to our bay in the lab brandishing an 'invoice' from A whereupon he had broken down all the costs associated with the journey.

It was all there, starting and finishing mileage and estimate of cost of fuel -halved of course. Then half of 1/366th of car tax, insurance, MOT, estimated wear and tear and of course half of 1/366th of AA membership. Some wag said 'give him some credit, at least he accounted for the leap year'.

I shit you not...
(Fri 24th Oct 2008, 13:19, More)

» Irrational Hatred

Grown adults who won't eat crusts on sandwiches
Fucking babies.
(Tue 5th Apr 2011, 12:35, More)

» Things to do before you die


(Fri 15th Oct 2010, 13:06, More)

» The Best / Worst thing I've ever eaten

Best and Worst in one foodstuff
A long time ago when we were both studes the missus cooked me some biscuits to include in my lunch. The biscuits were uncharacteristically delicious. It has been a long time since I enjoyed biscuits as good. Upon tasting these delights I resolved to eat many of them the next day.

At breakfast I scoffed a cheeky one (she had already left) and stuffed a load in to my rucksack to enjoy at regular intervals during the day.

I had a couple for elevenses then went back to my labwork. After a couple of hours, I felt a nagging hunger pang, so availed to the write up area to enjoy my lunch. Sandwiches, crisps, chocolate bar etc and more biscuits. Three in fact.

Mid afternoon I get the same hunger pang, only this time its painful. 'Better eat something' was the brain's response to this unwelcome stimulus. As I eat two more biscuits the pain grows until I experience what I can only describe as having a cat try and eat its way out of my abdomen. At one point I was lying on a desk sweating like a rapist and shaking like a shitting dog, while some co-workers plied me with water.

After a seemingly interminable period of 'observation' where the first aiders basically did fuck all and just watch with faces flitting between pity, indifference and inconvenience I started, slowly, to feel better.

Around 6pm I had risen Lazarus-like and was ready to cycle home. I decided that seeing as I had consumed a fair few of those biscuits it would be prudent to investigate to see if I had some sort of problem with the ingredients used.

After it was decided that the ingredients used presented no issues I had to drill down in to the method of preparation. 'I cleaned the counter with Jif and then rolled out the dough and then put them in to the oven' was the rather defensive rely to my questioning.

Sensing the problem I asked her to demonstrate her cleaning technique. Viola. She squirted a shit load of Jif on to the counter, gave it ONE wipe with the cloth and then declared the counter safe for food preparation. Unbelievable. The streaks of corrosive stomach stripping general purpose cleaner were there for all too see.

Its called 'Cif' now, why is that?
(Thu 26th May 2011, 16:05, More)
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