Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services

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Blog for October

Ok Folks, so here we are at the end of October.

Halloween has been and gone, thank God. I hate to be a spoilsport, hold on a minute, no I don’t.

Anyway, I don’t really like this American import, but I wouldn’t want to take the fun away from the kids. I suppose its safer than Bonfire Night but a part of me will always miss the bonfire, fireworks, sparklers and potatoes in their jackets.

So where has Ted been this month? Well, I started off at Witney (Oxfordshire) and then went on to Lymington, Camberley, Exeter and Truro (and just in case you're wondering, I do go home between assignments as well!)

For my electrically-centred chums PAT Edition 5 is being rolled out and yes, I know we let out a yawn at the mention of PAT, and I know I’ve mentioned it before but it is an area that contractors and even trainers can underestimate if we are not careful. If a job’s worth doing etc. 

Nevertheless, it can be a thankless task. Professional testing companies are looking to test around 350 items per day. Well, Mr Slow here could help you out with about 35 a day. But can you imagine doing that every day of your working life? If you are, and you are doing it properly, I salute you.

With further regard to PAT Edition 5, I can give you a brief update: the changes are significant and not to be taken lightly. I will publish a summary before the year end but I am having to completely revise my training material. For example; The term “PAT” itself has gone, it should now be referred to as COPISITEE. It clearly defines ALL equipment, not just portable appliances and that’s just for starters.

I hope you enjoyed my investigation of the Ashmoleum art theft last month. I have plenty more. I could mention the extremely well-planned job in Antwerp that went off the rails due to a very simple mistake. Or did it? I might investigate it for your entertainment in a future blog.

In case you’re wondering, my interest in a well-executed heist is entirely professional and stems from my working background, that for many years of my life I was involved in security systems. If ever I publish my memoirs - I would probably get locked up in the tower.

Now then, thinking of being locked up, I didn’t think I would miss not going to Spain this year but we all have to make sacrifices…

Ted Voice Number 2: You greedy bleeding git. You went round the Caribbean for 5 weeks at the beginning of the year!

Ted Voice 1: Well, yes I know but that was educational.

Ted Voice 2: What, to see how many rums it took to render you insensible?

Ted Voice 1: No. Look, I’ll have you know I was undertaking a review of socio-economic development in relation to a result-oriented electrical engineering infrastructure approach

Ted Voice 2: So what was your conclusion?

Ted Voice 1: Umm, well, probably that most electrical contractors have extremely long liquid lunches and leave lots of wires on poles. Oh look, just bugger off and get on with your latest get rich quick scheme whatever that is.

Ted Voice 2: Huh, well I’m not staying where I’m not welcome. I was prepared to cut you in seeing as I’ve just come into possession of a map of a lost gold mine in Montana.

Ted Voice 1: Thank heavens for that. Bloody map! That bloke has had more maps of lost treasure than I don’t know what. Still, I suppose one day he might get lucky.

Anyway, now he’s gone we can crack on.

While teaching at Oxford, I once said that to a class whilst having a lesson observation. The “dyke on a bike” who was the observer said that was not an appropriate comment for a class. She obviously had cracks on her mind.

She then went on to downgrade me because I did not get any aspect of “multiculturalism” into the lesson. For background, this was a lesson on electro-magnetism. When I queried this, she said I could have mentioned the effects of pumping water into African villages. You might be surprised at this, but I really would have liked to have double-tapped her with the Glock but realised at that point all was lost. The hippies had won. I handed in my notice a few weeks later.

It was then I decided to go freelance, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Now, I need to confess that I was always moderately good at Science and Technology so it was never that difficult for me to keep up with latest developments, but sometimes, and more out of cussedness, I have buried my head in the sand. For instance “Twitter”. I think David Cameron actually had it right when he was overheard talking about “Twittering Twats”.

Facebook has proved really useful to me in linking up with old friends, and in one very sad case I found an old friend from college only to lose him again. I still mourn his loss. Nonetheless, I was privileged to have made contact in that space of time rather than never having made contact again.

However I digress, with regard to all this new-fangled technical stuff I was determined not to cough up for I Tunes. No way. Not me.

But when they start making cars without CD players in them how am I supposed to play my Herb Alpert stuff? As it happens, I have found the whole I Tunes process quite straightforward and very easy to put a playlist of your favourites together. The only thing I would say is do it on your phone not your PC so you can play your stuff anywhere.

So without further ado here is a small sample of my varied Playlist: Rise (Herb Alpert!), Islands in the Stream, Agolo, Walking in Rhythm (just love the Brazilian flute sequence in this), Sweet home Alabama, Orinoco Flow Etc Etc.

Well, that’s my report for October just about complete, if we ignore the eco-nerks and the world doesn’t come to an end next Friday, I hope that November will be about the same as usual with lovely crisp, dry, freezing cold days.

From previous posts you may have guessed by now that I don’t like the rain very much. Here are the first few lines of “You make me feel” (and I like Aretha Franklin’s 1967 version best):

Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired
Now perhaps you’ll get my drift. Come to think of it, add a pinch of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s talking at me” and a twist of “Midnight Cowboy” and you’ve just about got me in a nutshell.

So until next month, happy trails folks.

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