Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services
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Blog for April


Ok Folks, here we are now at the end of April. If you have read my article “When a Young(ish) man’s thought turn to” on Linkedin, you will know where I’ve been spending my money lately, ooh and of course about my links to the mafia.

Speaking of the mafia (la cosa nostra) and crime reminds me that quite a large part of my working life was taken up with security systems working for Royal Mail and Securicor. It probably goes without saying that this was a very exciting business to be involved with in the 1970’s. I still can’t reveal what exactly I worked on but it was an almost daily battle trying to keep ahead of terrorists and organised crime. However, nowadays I begin to question why I worked so hard to beat the bad guys when I struggle to see the difference between politicians and the bad guys.

During the course of April I set about refurbishing some of my training rigs. Now, to me it is really important that when training for ring circuits and lighting circuits etc that these circuits have resistance values similar to those found in real life. In order to achieve this I have resistors connected in my rigs. The problem is that this kit does tend to get a bashing (physically and electrically) and the resistors either break or go way off spec’. When repairing these boards and re-testing them I concluded that “Resistance is a fickle mistress” (Quote Ted Barrett April 2019).

When looking at values down to 0.15 of an Ohm, readings can vary according to: surface discolouration on copper wire, discolouration on brass socket contacts (remedy - plug and unplug a few times to “clean” up), temperature and/or humidity change, MFT drifting out of spec, next door’s dog passing wind or any amount of reasons. My advice is have several instruments and take several readings. But I can happily state that my boards are once more spot-on (for the moment anyway). The beauty of this line of work though is that the trainees are expected to spot problems!

With regard to my travels this month I have spent a whole week and a few days in Witney (does that count as the Cotswolds? it sounds more romantic). Also been to Ebbw Vale, Chard (in Somerset), Richmond, and Oxford (right on my doorstep, which is always handy). Most enjoyable was Christchurch College, Oxford, to deliver a PAT course. When the sun shines on an Oxford college it brings out a golden glow in the Cotswold stone used for their construction. The view across the quad and old tom tower was fantastic.

Whilst in Ebbw Vale I was near to Pen Y Fan. When I looked this up on Google Maps, I noticed Pen Y Fan is near Big Y Fan (which sounded a bit scary) so I consulted my old mate Prof Griffiths (Welsh reader at the University of Carterton) who said this kind of delineation was perfectly normal in the valleys. Which came as a bit of a relief as I thought it might be some kind of large cat at wild.

Oh, also paid a visit to “Electric Mountain” at Dinorwic accompanied by the above-mentioned Mr Griffiths (at this rate I shall be eligible to apply for Welsh citizenship). This was something that had been on my “Bucket-list” for some time and I was not disappointed. This is the system that boosts voltage to the national grid when everyone puts on the kettle at half-time during the cup final or some similar event. It does this by releasing trillions of gallons of water pumped up to the top of the mountain through massive pipes and hydro-generators. For comparison, from “Standby” a regular power station (Gas, Oil or electric etc) takes 45 minutes to feed into the grid. Dinorwic can respond within 6 seconds.

So as not to disappoint my readers here is my gripe of the month: Frigging politicians, I am sure we are now all completely pissed off with them. If they would only stop taking notice of the PR people and just go down their local pub they would have a much better idea of what “the common people” really want.

My son celebrated his birthday in April and we have a few more coming up in May (No 1 Daughter and my Cousin Deb). Something else happening around the 29th but can’t quite remember unless somebody gives me a reminder.

Hopefully off for our first visit to Spain of this year soon with my CO. Will we pack up and retire there? Not sure, I love the country, the people, we have many friends there and I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the UK so Inshallah. And this is mostly how I view life – if God is willing, it will happen. Hold on. STOP, Scratch that. I have learnt that sometimes God needs a nudge.

Unless persuaded otherwise though, I fully support freedom for Catalunya. I don’t see why they should be the workhouse for Spain and their taxes taken by Madrid. Viva la revolution I say.

So if I don’t see you on the ferry down to Spain, I’ll catch up with you at Pepe’s in Santa Susanna (and if you start talking about BS7671, be prepared to be struck round the head with a copy).

Adios por ahora mi amigos.


17 Comments to Blog for April:

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