b3ta.com user Oil Slick
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» Blood

This is making me retch as I type.......
One summer in the early 1990's I was working on a decrepit oil platform about 130 miles to the North East of Aberdeen as part of a crew that were bringing some of the knackered drilling equipment out of 'mothballs' prior to it being upgraded or written off, I forget. This rustbucket had been built in the mid 70's and now was in such a dangerous state that a whole new accommodation platform had been built alongside at huge expense seperated by a 100m long bridge, they'd condemned the office space due to it being built almost entirely of asbestos and the pipework was in such a state that we had to wear breathing apparatus escape sets at all times when on the old platform in case of a gas leak - the methane from below the sea around there comes up laced with a pretty high concentration of hydrogen sulphide mixed in - take a look here at what it can do to you:


It all sounds pretty horrific, but in fact this was an easy job, there were about eight of us, all on dayshift for three weeks. No-one was really hassling us, the sun, for once had been shining for the entire trip, most of the work was out on deck with the sea sparkling below and there was only the background noise of the generators as everything else was shut down for this period of work.

One day we had to test that the foam fire fighting system was working for one part of the platform that hadn't required covering for a couple of years. This consists of nozzles placed at various locations around the area that would pump foam into an area and (supposedly) buy a little time for everyone to escape and maybe suppress or contain any fire while the source of fuel is shut off.

Skinny Jimmy noticed that an important valve was closed and would need to be opened before we could proceed (Jimmy was not the luckiest man around - the trip before he'd fallen asleep in his cabin mid tug and was discovered still sat in the chair with the porn on, cock in hand by the Cabin Stewardess the following morning - naturally she called us all in to gather 'round before we woke him with a clap and cheer....six months later he somehow managed to twist his testicles around one another stepping down out of a shipping container, I can still hear the screams as we stretchered him up to the helideck).

I digress, sorry. The job shut down, Jimmy toddled off to fetch a large pipe wrench to assist with opening the rusty valve, comes back with it, attaches it to the valve and hangs off it with all of his seven stone wieght to get it turning.

The whole rusty four inch diameter pipe sheared off, jimmy falling to the deck and landing on his back as a couple of hundred gallons of FFFP (Film Forming Fluoroprotein Foam) concentrate washed over him. What's so bad about that? I hear you ask...foamy bubbles? Some sort of detergent base perhaps....? No, FFFP is a euphemism for slaughterhouse waste - blood if you will that's treated to stop it clotting and partially going off, in a nutshell it then mixes with a chemical that makes it foam up when mixed with water and gives you the nice foam blanket for blocking the oxygen to your fire. It's been superceded pretty much all over now by other stuff due to the risk of BSE 'prions' that might be in it.

So poor old Jimmy is getting covered in this, unable to get up as he's been winded by the fall, gasping for breath, its in his mouth, eyes, ears nose, clothing, everywhere as we all stand around gawping, not wanting to get too close (and giggling a bit)....it stinks, but there's a breeze blowing and mercifully the floor is steel grating and it's basically running to the sea a hundred feet below.

Except for one thing, the red hot generator exhausts are below too and a fair whack of it is landing on them so a huge cloud of *boke* boiling rotten *boke* years old blood flavoured *retch* steam comes floating up to envelope us all......Barfmongous, you could smell it for weeks.....
(Fri 8th Aug 2008, 11:58, More)

» Thrown away: The stuff you loved and lost.

Probably Not Quite What the Family Built It Up To Be.....
Great Grandfather was Head Gamekeeper to Lord Cardigans Estate in Northamptonshire in the early part of the 20th Century, upon his retirement he was presented with a Cavalry Officers sword that had belonged to his employers family as a token in recognition of years of faithful service. FACT.

The Grandfather of this particular Lord Cardigan was the one that led the Charge of the Light Brigade. FACT.

What becomes a little shaky is the detail that then goes in between then and now...as family legends generally go, there's always embellishment and blame.....the most likely and credible story is that my late Grandmothers Brother, sold it to a passing scrap merchant one day in the 1950s.

The chances of it being the very sword that the legendary Lord had pointed his men into the 'Mouth of Hell' with, from the back of his trusty mount Ronald are, admittedly, slim, but me, my Father and my Uncles like to think that it was, the women of the family are rather more relieved that a razor sharp example of cold steel isn't available for flambouyant brandishing at boozy family gatherings.

A more likely scenario is that Lady Cardigan reminded her husband over breakfast that the gamekeeper was being put out to grass and they'd forgotten to get him a gold watch from H Samuel - why not dust off something from the shed and pretend it's valuable? His Lordship Shuffling off in his slippers and plucking one of hundreds of knackered dress swords from a selection of elephant foot umbrella stands dotted about the place.

There are a couple of other cool(ish) things that have been misplaced of the firearm/explosive munitions variety that I could tell you about if anyones interested?

Length? 32.5 to 33 inches with a pronounced curve.
(Sat 16th Aug 2008, 16:26, More)

» The Credit Crunch

After twelve months in the semi employed hand to mouth, penniless jobless wilderness, just had my contract extended for another 12 months on a job I still can't believe I got that pays well into six figures in GBP tax free and I love every minute of.......however, I'm working in Africa where I get looked after very nicely thankyou - relatively anyway - I have a driver, get my meals and healthcare and really manage to bank everything every month that I take home..Yay me. What's coming, and what few people are seeing while they fret over their impending bad credit rating or having to give up the lease payments on the car is that a proportionally large section of the worlds population lives on the edge - they don't worry about the superficial stuff but they scrape by on subsistence. They basically feed themselves and their families through their emplyment and that's about it - in the cities it's drivers, street hawkers and cleaners and in the rural areas it's subsitence farmwrs but they all rely on their staple foodstuffs. Basically the price of these (rice for example) is at some point going to proportionally rocket and a lot of people are about to suddenly going to be unable to afford to eat...and that my friends, is where the global wheels are going to fall off for a while. Should what I've said sound a little confusing, go back to your plasma screen, sit on your unpaid for sofa and hope someone else'll come along and sort it out...because if they don't, there's going to be slaughter and famine on an unprecedented scale in what we call the Developing World as they all start scrapping over what they can get.
(Thu 22nd Jan 2009, 20:47, More)

» Faking it

The King of Albania
.....is a nickname that a poor guy I met at Uni acquired.

Not a sexy or exciting story but something

Gavin was a nice guy, friendly, a bit loud at times but not necessarily as secure in himself as might have first appeared....he was a long way from home this being a Northern University and him being Cornish and there was no point of reference from home to keep him grounded. I don't think there's anyone that hasn't embellished a story for a bit of dramatic effect is there? Maybe I'm doing it a bit here as well, you get the drift....for this fella however it got a bit out of hand.

During the excesses of the fresher term and living in a halls of residence with lots of new people around Gavin started to bullshit and didn't know or most likely couldn't stop. First off was that he'd broken a vertebrae previously in a sporting accident and had to spend a long period of time in hospital - not beyond the realms of possibility at all, this then over the coming years then snowballed into recieving a huge whack of money through medical insurance, his late Grandfather had left him and his brother a huge sum of money in trust until their 21st birthdays and so on it went in a spiral, each untruth feeding off the other until people started to call him out about it and goad him into more outlandish gilding of each story.

Unable to make the step towards salvation and own up to a bit of bullshitting he went on and on - it was really painful to watch - I and several others having tried very hard to offer him a way out of the falsehoods on numerous occassions - he was a fantastically kind and generous guy and great to be around and probably still is, but it had gone on too long. Eventually he started to drift away and just isolated himself, got a bedsit on the other side of town, the last time I set eyes on him he looked like he was in the middle of a breakdown, a proper mess, avoiding eye contact he scarpered off and that was it. I worried for a while but had my own stuff to deal with at the time....

You might recognise Gavin as I've seen a few more of his type in my time and often they're just dreamers with low self esteem.

I caught up with him the other week through the wonders of Facebook......

He's making a mint running his own business, happily married and knows full well what a tit he made of himself, he says he just couldn't stop at the time. I've been invited over to stay with him and go out on his yacht......I'm pretty sure it actually belongs to him this time anyway.

Bullshitting - don't do it kids! (well, at least know when to stop)
(Thu 10th Jul 2008, 16:33, More)

» Common

The BBC in general and Blue Peter in particular were in the late seventies and early eighties, viewing fodder that the genteel sensibilities of a young Oil Slick would not be offended by. Their nice presenters and state funded solid educational programming presented the core values required to set my moral compass. The exception to the rule was Grange Hill - frightfully common, anything on ITV may as well have been penned by Beelzebub himself and lawks - Sesame Street!?! The sort of people that watched that were in need of a good wash and the use of "Zee" instead of "Zed" has perhaps been partially responsible for the breakdown of the moral fabric of society on this Sceptred Isle ever since.*

*If you were to ask my mother.
(Thu 16th Oct 2008, 16:51, More)
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