concorde 3

Something Hedgewitch said last night about finding an old glass bottle reminded me. When I was at college they sent me for a few weeks work experience at Pilkington Glass.

The photographic section was in a separate buildling to the main factory with three very nice and professional blokes running it. I learnt a lot about glass. I didn't know it was a liquid. If you wait a hundred years or so you'll find your windowpanes are thicker at the bottom than at the top. Not that modern PVC windowframes are going to last a hundred years.

And 'builon' glass (or some word like that). It means 'bullseye' and it comes in small panes. Looks like somebodys' dropped a pebble in the glass while it was still molten. They had glass blowers in those days but it's probably all done by machines now.

They didn't just do glass though. They had these pre-formed eight sided grey coloured bricks with slots and flanges on them. They had holes running all the way through them. You could build a wall by slotting them all together like Lego bricks and then just pour some sort of glue in the top so it didn't fall over.

The proper photographer, with me trailing along behind, went off to photograph one of these amazing walls. For some reason they'd built the wonderful wall in the middle of a field two hours drive away. It was about fifteen feet long. I had to wear a hard hat before I could go into the field and I wondered if they were expecting meteorites. I kept looking up to see if there was a fiery ball falling from the sky onto my head.

Lord Pilkington liked Concorde. When there was nothing better to do we'd print loads of B/W pictures of Concorde. Which, in effect, meant I was doing it since I was the work experience bloke. I've grown to detest bloody Concorde. Since the pictures were copied (and, yes, I copied the pictures) this was actually a criminal offence. A breach of the 1986 copyright act. I reckoned if we got caught I'd just turn Queens Evidence and get away with a fine.

I still don't know what he did with all those pictures of Concorde.

Some years later when I was working at the hospital they wheeled Lord Pilkington in. He had some sort of tumour on his face and I needed to see him before he went up to theatre. We chatted. He was a very pleasant man.........he was also developing altzeimers.

A few weeks later I get a 'phone call at home. Lord Pilkington was under the impression that I was engaged to be married to his daughter and wanted me to come over for dinner. I tried to turn it down but it didn't make any difference and this limo turned up to collect me.

It was a weird meal. Lord Pilkington at the head of the table and this girl I'd never seen before sittng opposite me. There was very little conversation.

Afterwards we went to a nice big room with an open fire and sat there drinking brandy. Nobody said a word. We just stared at each other. After about an hour Lord Pilkington fell asleep so I went home.

I've no idea who the girl was. Don't even know if he had a daughter. For all I know she was some nurse he'd taken a fancy to and she'd been in the same boat as me.

There's one of those pictures I copied of Concorde at the top of this blog...........Bloody Concorde.