My Jobs from 1988-2002

Cherry Picking My Travels in South Africa (1989) My Travels in Canada (1990) Apple Picking Hops Processing Raspberry Picking
Making Infra-Red Handdriers Warehouse Development Engineer Gas Detectors Battery Monitors Psion Palmtops
Penlon Medical Ventilators Confidence Pill RM Patersons School Cleaner

I'm probably over educated but enjoyed my OND and HND courses, due to not being a great communicator which is really required for professional jobs especially programming. I didn't enjoy University the workload was to heavy, and I didn't have a great interest in much of the subject. But I did get some Friends who made a pleasant of interesting conversation, and went to the cafeteria together. I have had a number of lesser jobs that don't fully use my intellect.
My first Job was Washing Up in a Hotel in a Whitby, North Yorkshire when 17. It was for Christian holidays, and had a Gong for Dinner.

Cherry Picking near Niagara Falls, Canada (1990)

When in Canada for a 3 Month Holiday in 1990 I got a job near Niagara Falls Picking Cherries for Mr. Honsberger. Near the Niagara River: the boarder between the Province of Ontario, Canada and New York State. With Fort George (United Empire Loyalist), and Fort Niagara (Upstate New York). The River runs from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. There are five Great Lakes. There is also an early Hydro-Electric Plant on the River.

Southern Ontario is surprisingly Warm. The ladders were about 9 feet tall. The term Cherry Picking derives from it being easy to pick 90% of Cherries, but the remaining 10% are in difficult to get to or out of the way places. They have a machine that shakes the Cherry trees base to collect them, but it only gets 90% of them, and the tree dies a lot sooner because it's roots get disturbed. I didn't make much money, but got a free bed in the barn and enjoyed the fresh air and sun. I also got to go round with the boss at times picking up the full Cherry Baskets and putting them in boxes of water about 1 metre per side. They were then processed in a factory on site and taken away in a big Juggernaut (from the Ancient Middle Eastern Hittite Empire, 2nd millennium B.C., wheeled chariots with spearmen, the cutting edge of military technology for it's day).

If you have a Backpack, Thermal Sleeping Bag, and Bedroll you can sleep out - the Star Light Hotel. DON'T Hitchhike, use the Bus or Train. My advice: if you land in Toronto, go East to Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, New Brunswick... I stayed in some Salvation Army Hostel which are cheap, and have good food. The distances in the Canadian West are too great, and you might get stuck on the road with no lift at all!!!!

My Travels in South Africa (1989)

I visited South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland in 1989, for 3 months. Backpacking around, with thermal sleeping bag, and bedrole to insulate against the cold on the ground. I went to many Museums (house of muse), a few Colonial Forts, and every big city in the Country. They had quite a few YMCA (Young Man's Christian Assoiation) Hostels in South Africa which were safe, and cheap. They also serve good food.

Crime is a particular problem in Durban, Zwazulu-Natal on the Indian Ocean. Durban Town Hall, ZwaZulu-Natal is an exact copy of Belfasts. Most White houses in South Africa have bars on their windows, and an iron-gate outer door, in case of crime. Apart from that it was Safe.

The country is about five times the size of the United Kingdom, and very fertile, with working Farms. They farm Ostriches as well, for meat and feathers for hats. That was a big business in Victoria times. The Gold mines are almost worked out now after over 100 years and more. I even got a tour of Western Deeps Gold Mine run by the Anglo-American Company. From some friends of people known to my Father in Whitby. And we had a brier - Bar-b-que. The Mine is the Deepest in the World.

The Mines use African and White Labour in the Mine. Speaking a Pigeon African Language. It even had two underground Classrooms. South Africa also had a good Railway Network, and Airline: SAA (South African Airways). It now exports Minerals, Lemons, and Wine. And has productive Farms, as it is five times bigger than Britian.

There are about a dozen Tribes in South Africa, with their own Languages. The main Tribes are the Kgatla, Ndebele, Sotho, Zulu, and Xosa. Plus the Afrikaaner (1/5 have left due to crime and a weak economy), and the ethnically English (only 1/3 remain) - some went to Britian and became Teachers, or even Dentist's and Pharmacists.

My Travels in Canada (1990)

I also went to the following Canadian Provinces: Toronto, Ontario; Montréal & Québec; St. John, New Brunswick - which has a Park in the Shape of the Union Jack; Prince Edward Island; Halifax, Nova Scotia (with the Citadel Fortress) & Cape Breton Island; and Newfoundland and Labrador - on the ferry from Northern Nova Scotia to Port-aux-Basques. And came back via St. Johns, the Province Capital (with it's own Coastal Fortress), and Placentia Bay Port. There is a bus that goes all the way round. Placentia Bay also has a US Naval Base from the Lend-lease program during the Second World War. There was also a Conference between Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt (8-11 August 1941) there.

  • There is a small Viking Settlement at L'anse aux meadows, in Northern Newfoundland. Founded in circa. 1000 A.D. leading to the legendry Vinland, a place of Wine for the Norse who only got Beer in their Hall. It was established by Leif Ericson. Son of Eric the Red who discovered Greenland. They are recited in the Norse Sagas. The Norse Longboats just got there as it is very cold in the icy north in open boats. The Micmac Indians drove out, or slaughted the Vikings, as they had only Longswords, and Axes and no Muskets.
  • Fruit Picking in Kent - the Garden of England

    During University holidays in 2003 I did piece work fruit picking, Apples and Strawberries (though on your back) near Maidstone, Kent (the Garden of England). That paid about £2/hour if you were lucky going at my rather sedate pace. You also had to live in a camp site, which I didn't mind but I didn't get on with some of the characters there. Some were OK. The Ukrainians worked at double my speed and never bruised an Apple unlike me, you have to pick them with the palm of your hand not your fingers but I couldn't get the knack of it.

    There were a lot of veggies there and they liked their wacky-backy. I only tried it twice, and all it gave me was the munchies and lathery. You also have to smoke tobacco with it. One up for Colonization! One guy there Ross was 1/2 Jewish (his Father) and 1/2 Catholic. His Father owned a Pig Farm in Boulder, Colorado. A town whose water supply is derived from a Glacier. Consequently he became a vegetarian, and switched me over from using lard to vegetable oil for cooking. The veggies got very upset when I used their frying pan for cooking meat. You can find these types of Jobs in the Summer Jobs UK from the Youth Hostel Shop or on the Internet. Most of them continued to claim unemployment benefit. A lot more difficult now as you have to fill out a book of the jobs you have applied for each week.

    Hop Processing Plant near Maidstone, Kent

    After I got fired for bruising Apples (Spartans to be precise, Macintosh after which the Apple Macintosh is named after a fruit picking job by Steve Jobs) so went to a near by farm factory that was processing hop vines. Most of the loaders (a heavy lifting job) were on Hash (Cannabis). You can't get the staff! One's Mother didn't mind the drug but objected to him taking it with Tobacco. The Hop Vines are grown on great telephone type poles and our 12 feet long. Once on the hooks, a conveyor took then to be shaken by a machine so the hops would come of the vines. They then came out onto a conveyor of rollers with gaps in them for the hops to fall through. My job was to use a wooden stick to stop the vines winding round the rollers, and cut them off with a knife while the machine was still working if I could. If not I had to stop the machine and cut the vine or string myself. The vines then went out to be cut up, and the hops were feed into sacks. I got very tired at the end of a shift and had to live in a tent. I would recommend buying a light tent as they are much easier to carry. One of the workers had be in prison for thieving, but was still a vegetarian - doggey Roman Blood.

    Raspberry Picking near Colchester, Essex

    After University, 2004, I went on a Raspberry picking holiday near Colchester, Essex. The Capitol of Queen Boudicca's Kingdom which lead a rebellion to the Roman's in 61 A.D. (the Year of our Lord) and burnt Londinium (London) to the ground as it was left unprotected. The rebellion was crushed and the Kingdom put under total Roman Rule. A statue of Boudicca remains just round the corner from Parliament by the Thames. Colchester was later a Roman Colonia, a home for retired Veteran Legionaries ready to be called up in the event of a Rebellion, and given a plot of land each. Raspberry picking leaves little holes in you fingers. Most of the workers were foreign students over to learn English. I went mainly to get away from the grotty Housing Estate in Oxford I had to live in.

    Making Infra-Red Handdriers (Christmas 1994-95)

    Just before Christmas I got a job in a factory that made Infra-Red Hand-driers, and door edge detectors. My job was to the straighten or add components like Capacitors and Infra-Red LED's using a soldering iron. I used blue-tac to hold the components in place and this was often returned to me by the ATM test machine operator as I forgot to remove it. We had a fan that took away the soldering fumes. I also checked returned boards. The boss insisted on us listening to BBC Radio 1 at full blast so it was too noisy to talk to anyone. you also had to share a bench which I didn't like. And worked 10 hours a day, 4 days a week. I never saw the Sun for half the week as it was the winter. And commuting time on two buses meant I only had about 2 hours free time a day. I went in a Saturday Mornings which were a lot more mellow. I didn't really have any friends there so left. The pay was OK. I worked down stairs as well making springs and wiring up the hand-dryer.

    Warehouse Work (1995)

    I then signed up with an employment agency and got a terrible job in a Warehouse. Well I didn't mind the job it was the people I had to work with. They only paid £3/hour, at least now they have to pay the minimum wage. Forklift drivers got £6/hour. Basically they made up special offers for supermarkets like two Coffees for the price of one, of a Milkshake package, or lunch boxes with Cheese (someone once cut their finger and left blood on it) and the one where the real Neanderthals (many former criminals, and illegal immigrants, that's what keep supermarket and ready meal prices down) worked putting four bottles in a cardboard collar. I'm sure a Robot or Industrial machine could be developed to do this. All they did all day was put four bottles in the collar and put it on the conveyor belt. 'Abandon Hope All Yee Who Enter Here'. You could see it in the eyes of some of them. The Boss was always coming alone telling you to work faster, and you had to take a note of how many boxes you had processed each hour. There was also a machine to shrink wrap plastic packaging onto products.

    They also sent me to a better warehouse were I worked with a Welsh guy taking a welding course and telescopic forklifts. They had a stock of alcohol cans that reached the roof and went all the way back in the warehouse. There must have been millions of cans there.

    And one where you put stickers on catalogues, assembled different sheets of paper together, packed computer games, made up little bottles of alcohol (I had to cut open each individual alcohol packet at speed), and a machine for putting the metal middles in ring binders. Some of this was done on a conveyor belt. You have to keep up with the machine, thanks to Henry Ford, mass production reduces prices but doesn't make for a fun job. I took one empty box and but it in the recycle bin and it turned out it was needed to repackage the games, by this time it was 2/3 of the way down.

    Development Engineer, West Oxfordshire (1995)

    I also worked as a development engineer. I wasn't much good a PCB design, being a bit dyslexic. I looked up the components on a CD and made a component list. The plotter used a see through pen which couldn't produce line dark enough so the PCB's wouldn't develop. So that bit wasn't my fault. I worked next to another development engineer also called David, who said he was a Whonatic - that was before Doctor Who went Bad.

    Crowcon Detection Instruments, the Business Park, Abingdon-on-Thames (1995-97)

    Mechanical and PCB (Printed Circuit Board) assembly and soldering of Gas Detectors, for the Oil, Mining, and Water Industry.

    I used to walk into work along the Ock River, which flaws into Old Father Thames, and into the Industrial Estate. Most people drove in and ate in their cars. Some used Bicycles. Cars are becoming prohibitively expensive to run. If you don't live near the shops you have to drive to the supper market, and work. In the old days the house wife used to go to the shops in the centre of the town or village three times a week and carry the food back. "Armoured Towns" are springing up by train stations, and you can travel by train and dispense with the car. Like Radley Train Station near Abingdon. I had a bit luggage type bag to put the weeks shopping in and carried it back learning on my side.

    There may be a shortage of Technicians as the pay is low, people are over qualified, or no one has heard of the job. Soldering is easy but somewhat boring, and doesn't use your brain. Soldering is easy to learn. It is better to keep the work in this country as we keep the Foreign Exchange, and the money goes round the local economy. Also quality may be better.

    They have a good Pension Scheme, that you get after 1 Years Service, and you pay a little in, as does the Company, and possibly the Government.

    A few staff walk to work, and some bicycle to work. There is a bicycle good shed.

    The Sub-Assemblies Section

    The Sub-Assembly Section Job paid about £10,500 + holidays + pension. The job involved making batches of about 20, 50 or 100 circuits from templates some where very complicated and took days to complete. I didn't mind the job but didn't really get on with most of the people in the factory although some were very kind and decent. There was guy I particularly hated for quite legitimate reasons I won't go into who came each and every day to have lunch with us even though he knew he was in the wrong. I had to put up with him as there was no where else to eat not even any benches in the Industrial Park due to Thatcherism false economies which make for bigger turn over of labour due to poor working environments.

    Some jigs had been made by workers to increase productivity e.g. like wiring a connector and holding it in place, by Soldering. Solder in made from a mix of lead and tin, with flux in it.

    My Section had the following Production Technicians: Peter Wilder my Friend (who knows how to make music amplifiers for people he knows in Oxford, and likes Ice Skating), Derek (who had a HND in Electronics, a Girlfriend, and played Darts at his local Pub), Tracy Stunnel (half-German, and Junior Supervisor), Teresa, and William (a young but keen worker who said the wage was a bit low).

    We had a good selection of tools. And a supply cupboard for masking tap, solder reels etc...

    Test and Repair

    Malcolm Spinks gave out the computerised order sheets which you took to Stores. It listed the Components and you put them in a rotating caracel to pick and insert for each board, and component place. He also did 'Test and Repair', and knows the circuit board has to be 'Certified' passed, and how to bias a Transistor. Chumbawamba is a Junior Test and Repair Technician which paid £13,000 and helps Malcolm. He probably has Children now. He like a Drink in the Club with his Drinking Mates. Malcolm knows a few fixes he isn't telling, which Chris (his real name) needs to save boards being thrown out.

    I tried a bit of Test and repair but was too slow. You put the boards in a frame and run a computer programme. Every board tested needs a number typed in, repeatedly for no reason when the software programme could have set it itself as a constant. This cost 12% of time for no reason.


    Crowcon make Gas Detectors for the Oil, Mining, and Water industry. Two people work in Calibration. One guy there called Alan bought old Amstrad Computers and Sold them to Mombasa, Kenya for a prohit, as he had a Kenyan Wife, and one Son. He copied some of my disks, and got 16Mbytes? of extra RAM for my newer PC to run my Computer Game with moving Ambassadors, or Leaders.

    Amstrad stands for Alan M. Sugar Trading. My Amstrad had 512Kbytes of RAM (Random access Memory), two 330Kbyte 5.25 Inch Disk Disk Drives, a Monochrome Monitor, three expansion slots which I used to build my Input/Output card (See:, and a cheap dot matrix printer.

    Software included Wordstar Word Processing with Dictionary, SuperCalc_4, DBase_3, Turbo Pascal (Eligent Teaching Programming Language), COBOL (Commercial Programming Language), Chess, and Elite (Space Fighter, and Interstellar Trading Game - it's very difficult to Dock without a Docking Computer).

    The Racking System

    Big Tony (part Norse) also enjoyed a conversation, and wit at the Lunch Table. His Job was to put Cards (Electronic Boards) in a Rack with some others, for the Electronic Gas Detection Main Monitoring Unit. He left because he was unhappy with his wage £12,000 / Year, and ended up getting a worse Job. Being Big, he eats a lot of Meat. He couldn't afford it so stole the 'Meat Only' from the Shop because he was very Hungry. He was warned a dozen times, and put in Hell in Prison.

    The Lunch Table

    We did the crossword at Lunchtime. The workers at the Lunch table included Jack an Electronic Quality Inspector who used to repair Videos. Apparently all you need to do is check them bits and replace them from the van. The power supply always works. Someone put a sandwich in one. Jack had a good sense of humer and got on with everyone. Nicko was also there, he was from Southern Italy, he wanted to go to America but couldn't get in. He worked as a Quality Inspector from £13,000. And Teresa, an Old English Catholic who was pleasant, and enjoyed a good conversation. She also had a Friend from her Church there the didn't say that much; and there was also an Irish Woman who didn't come to the our Lunch table (there were another 3) who worked in the Wiring Section, with her a Geordie Woman Friend; also called Newcastle, Gateshead, and Sunderland: they fought for King George.

    There is a Tea and Coffee Machine of course. It's always too hot. I've seen a machine that makes half cups, and then you top it up from the Water Fountain. We got 1 hour for Lunch, and 2 15 minute breaks.

    Mark and his Friend Justin were also at the Lunch Table. I think Justin is half Saxon and half Celtic. A long haired lay about, who worked a bit then left. Came back for a Year and left again. And was out after two fails. He's in financial difficulties how. The cost of living is too expensive.

    Mark is predominately Anglo-Saxon (South Oxfordshire was part of the Kingdom of Wessex + Berkshire & Hampshire of King) of King Alfred who famously Burnt his Cakes.

    The Wiring Section

    There was also Darren Rogers who isn't liked in his section because always coming in, saying nothing, and putting his headphones on. I did like him until he told me his secret. He gave me a clue for the Monkey Island Commodore Amiga Computer Game: mix the condiment with the meat to put the guard dog to sleep at the Governor's Mansion. The game is set in the West Indies in the time of Pirates: Hearty Lads. They even had some Black Pirates. He also lent my the Commodore Amiga Game X-Com Interceptor, about fighting UFO's on Earth. He believes in UFO's.

    Justin left the Wiring Section because he was lazy, twice, and now is short of money. Mark his best Friend (from Technical College, studying an OND in Electronics) says "Once more to the Breach dear Friends" for Star Trek which both Mark and Justin like. It has the majic formulae about seven main characters with different abilities, and a "Front Man" on the View Screen to negotiate with, and a New Adventure every week. It is had a Mobile Filming Lot mainly in Southern California, as the set was quite big. I particularly liked Star Trek Deep Space Nine as it is a bit like the "Master of Orion 2" Space Empire Computer Game, or "Civilization 2". They also liked listening to REM's 'Man on the Moon' CD in Wantage and Grove apparently. Gene Roddenberry invented and directed/produced Star Trek. He was born on August 19, 1921, in El Paso, Texas.

    Justin, and Darren helped make the wire (a job for simple people). A machine cuts the wire to length off the rell by typing in the size, and then in is striped of insulation, twisted by hand, and put in the solder pot. They is also a crimping machine for small crimps. And a powered foot operated crimping machine for large crimps, which are difficult to do by hand.

    The Robotic Pick-and_place Machine

    The Robotic Pick-and-Place Machine makes Circuit boards, using a X-Y Axis Picker of very Small Electronic Components. He put the reels of components in, and the Machine collects and places them.


    Storemen get £17,000 / Year because they are always on their feet, work fast, and must get every order correct. You can put in a form for 1 or 2 missing components if needs be. This is rare. Pam runs Stores booking in the kit on a custom made computer system. she gets £25,000 / Year.

    The Offices

    There were several Office around the edge of the floor for Engineers, and Managers. Production Engineers compile the Component List for a Circuit Board, from Electronics Catalogues, and Component Reps.; Test Engineers test the product to ensure it works correctly. It must be certified or it can't go to market.

    Managers pay the payroll, and compile a list of orders from the Sales Department to go to Stores.

    The people in the office get lots more money, and don't always do much work. One got £30,000 (£40,000 in today's Money) a Year for writting the same three quality reports three times over and over again. He has two degrees. He won't stay for less money as he sites around all the time doing nothing, and gets very bored. Gas Detectors have to be certified or they won't sell. They are used in mines and on oil rigs. There are also specialist gas detectors for School Science Departments incase a gas tap is left on.

    There's also a receptionist, and employment officer. And they advertise in the Newspaper.

    Research & Development Department, on the First Floor

    The Development Engineers got £30,000 - £50,000 today, even though there's less work. most products have reached their final perfect end development. They have to work fast, and with near perfect accuracy. They consulted the Chemical Scientific Laboratory in Birmingham. And were lead, and driven by the Chief Development Scientist / Engineer. Who had had two degrees, and authority. He got £60,000 a year.

    Design or Research Engineers / Chemistry Scientist's Design the Circuit on a Computer, and the Circuit Board, and Silk Layer (drawings of Components). There is now a considerable surplus of R&D Engineers. And they're only good for two Projects, then go on Unemployment for a Year (without claiming), and might get one other Job. The Circuit Boards are made from fibre glass, with silk layer image of components, well drilled, tinned, with re-inforced PCB (printed circuit board) component holes.


    The Sales Team work hard, on the Telephone, and Computer. And get £30,000 a Year for bringing in the Orders.

    The Director

    Peter Wilder has been known to talk to the Director. The Director got £70,000 a Year (now negotiated down to £60,000). He gave back of course: £20,000 to Charity. He had a Office Helper who double checked the hours. Every jobs time was written on a sheet by the Production Technicians.

    The Production Manager didn't want me back, and some of my Friends would have

    He turned away three workers who would have been satisfactory. So the work went to Germany at £20,000 per Year. The previous Manager was more friendly, and would have given them a fair go.

    I stayed there 1 1/2 years, but the environment made me rather nervous especially at break time when I was trying to work with everyone staring in my direction, there were three separate 15 minute breaks in a row as there was very little canteen space. There was one guy who I worked next to who couldn't read due to problems with his brain but who could read a circuit diagram very easily and made money on the side making and selling Music Amplifiers. He also had a computer that could speak text for him, and a milling machine in his flat! He was very fast at his job but kept his bench in a very dirty state. They brought in one device that I nick-named the iron-maiden. It shone a light on the next component to be inserted, and then went immediately on to the next one. Built to infuriate the user. The boss of our department left and was replaced by someone I hadn't got on with, so I was unable to go back or get a proper reference.

    Newport Data Systems - Battery Monitoring Equipment

    Newport Data System (1997). I programmed a Psion Computer to read data from a battery monitoring circuit. Made up of two microcontrollers per battery (one to transmit data down a fibre optic link, and the other to read the data). The Y2K bug has not yet hit Psion as their clock measures from the time the first computer went on line about 1980 I think in seconds. So will crash about 2046. I also installed a unit for a bank battery back-up system in Manchester. And tested the individual units which were made elsewhere. The job description was very fuzzy and I didn't get on very well with the boss, due to deference. It paid £10,500/Year,

    Psion Palmtop Computers

    Which can run Interactive Fiction Text Adventures.
    Check: - I programmed 'spacestation' for 1 1/2 Year between Jobs. Unemployment Benefit may have paid for a few interesting projects in Computing.

    I've tested and reworked Psion Palmtop computers using a 400 degree C hot air gun which I had to share. SMT is tiny components that drive you mad trying to solder, assembled by robot pick-and-place machines, which always seem to leave a few loose components. It generally meant replaced the MAX233 chip which blew-up very easily. I also used a ATE (Automatic Test Equipment) machine, which ID'ed bad components which you simply had to change. Also there is no Psion 4, only 3 and 5 as 4 is unlucky in China. The factory was designed by some sadistic bastard in such a way as to have some one staring at you no matter what direction you looked. With a big glass partition between areas and open plan everywhere. If it had been divided into offices I would have been a lot more comfortable. But the company obviously preferred a extremely high turn over of labour which cost them a fortune in Agency fees. Only paying me £4.50/hour for technical work. The Agency probably got paid £9/hour + a bonus when the worker went permanent. This meant only the most unpleasant workers tended to stay. The boards may have gone un-repaired after I left, leading to big looses for the company, and un-environmentalism. One test and repair guy also filled the flux pot with the wrong type of flux from the pick-and-place machine which made me ill. There was also a shortage a chairs and soldering irons. And the industrial estate again had no where to sit to have your lunch, and you only got 1/2 hour anyway.

    Penlon Medical Ventilators

    I also worked in factory making Medical Ventilators using a Microcontroller (I did this as my University Final Year Project), a lot of Pneumatic equipment, some SMT and normal soldering (the boards were assembled by another company as was some of the wiring but needed ), and some wiring up (using hand crimp tools which really hurt, they should have got a mechanical operated by a foot peddle). I assembled and tested the units on Pneumatic, Electrical and Soak Test. I've built an electronic test set for this and another job. This job paid £13,300 + holidays + pension. But no one talked to each other which made for a very uncomfortable environment; and I wanted to work on a Text Adventure game, so I left.

    I worked with Doug a Scot who had left RAF Abingdon (with Helicopters) being he didn't like bitherwake (camping with the Men). He was a good Electronic / Mechanical Technician, but couldn't afford to pay for the mortgage, and his Wife and Son. He liked Football. Doug DID talk, about the RAF, Work, and Football. That's all.

    The games called "Spacestation" (Comp98)- spacest2.z5 - a working version of Infocom's Planetfall Educational Transcript game that comes with the game Packaging and Manual.
    This took a Year to write on and off, plus looking after my allotment. It requires a lot of digging to make vegetables. Rhubarb once established grows endlessly, and required no cultivation.
    I programmed 'spacestation' for 1 1/2 Year between Jobs. Unemployment Benefit may have paid for a few interesting projects in Computing.

    Medicine to Improve self Confidence and Stop Panic Attacks

    After this I went on the Drug to improve my Self Confidence, and stop Panic Attacks called Seroxat. It generates more Omega-3's in the Brain makes the Synapses between east Brain Cell fire faster. It also increases mood, making you happier. This medication me a lot more employable. Unfortunately I had few good references, and had either worked or gone to interviews at just about every Electronics Company in my part of Oxfordshire.

    Working the Line at Research Machines (1999)

    I found a temporary job at RM (Research Machines) who make (school) PC's on a production line making computers - you had to work fast but they did have a good canteen. I put in network, graphics, modem and other cards; and putting on their stickers. I also plugged in connectors for a computer test of the base unit. I had to stand all the time which got to the legs after a bit. Many of the workers were University students on their holidays. They also had flexi-time for working Mothers. They through away a lot of stuff including anti-static bags which I collected and sold on the internet for 10p each. They gave us a video on not dropping base units as it might damage the Hard disk drive. I wasn't fast enough to keep up with the line. Other people took apart the PC's to remove broken components and repair them. I also worked on the line to put the PC's into boxes. They had a mechanical arm to load them but it was broken, so they just put them on four bit of circular tape as a make do including an £8,000 server.

    Most of RM's Computers go to Schools. The Scotish Woman who ran the line sacked endless people for being slightly slow. They may now run out of Labour as every one in South Oxfordshire has given it a go.

    Paterson's Employment Agency (1999)

    They pay £4.50 / Hour, instead of £5.00 / Hour (for Champion recruitment) but give you 'a fair go', for people who want to pay their way.

    They sent me on Warehouse Work, Washing-Up and Cleaning. You go where they send you, and if it works out you stay if you find it enjoyable / comfortable, and if not you try somewhere else. There was this one warehouse where they expected you to work really fast, and if you didn't you were fired a the end of the day. Some African Immigrant worked his guts out, probably because it was the only work he could get, wouldn't be entitled to benefits, and had no work in his home country.

    Fitzharries School, Abingdon-on-Thames (1999-2001)

    Cleaning the Science Department and other areas of a local School. It was a custom built building with 4 four laboratories and two floors each, two technicians rooms, and a staff room. One Technician was a retired RAF technician that ran a flight simulator (you have to retire at 55 in the RAF), and the other was a retired Scientist. From the Oxfordshire Harwell, Culham, or Rutherford Appleton Laboratories. The Technicians were paid a lower hourly rate than me but they got more hours, and an intellectually stimulating job. They had two Biology Teachers, two Physics Teachers, a Chemistry Teacher, and a Combined Science Teacher.

    I worked with the Site Manager Neil Moon, who was Senior Caretaker at Fitzharries School, Abingdon-on-Thames. He was half Texan, and half Wantage, Oxfordshire - an Anglo-Saxon: Yellow Hair, with courage, and a bit fat because Angles used to like the cakes; and Religious. He also signed for the Electricity, a Cleaners wages - with the Headmaster.

    There was also the Caretaker, now retired who was decent and hard working. He is in financial difficulties now as he didn't take out a Council Pension while working, and only got £13,000 / Year. And my Friend Morris, another Cleaner. Some of the other Cleaners talked or not a they felt like. And I passed a couple of words with the Teachers; generally marking as I could only clean a Classroom when Class was out.

    I had little money but was happy, and doing my bit. The Job was vert Meticulous which is in my nature. I walked to work as well.

    I have had jobs in the electronics industry. PCB (Printed Circuit Board) assembly jobs are easy to do by anyone with a modicum of intelligence. This is better paid better and had a pension and days off. Agencies have now been forced to give days off. I didn't mind doing the job. I have a meticulous suitable to the job, you just sorted and put the components in a carasol under your workbench, they came in little re sealable bags, place them on the spot indicated by silk screen layout and take them to the cropping machine. Why they couldn't make components with short leads and save component wire and cropping I don't. When I did my computer job form at school where you tick all the boxes saying what you like and are good at it recommended I should be a type setter, so this was a very similar job really. The circuit board with components was then put through the flow soldering machine, a skilled job and came back for re-work. Straightening any off components with a Soldering Iron. It's easy to learn soldering all you have to do is hold the iron against the wire for 5 seconds then apply the solder, made of a tin-lead-flux compound. You need to know how to read a component list and recognise a component but basic Electronics at school can teach you this. IC's had to go through a hand forming machine otherwise they wouldn't fit. Again why can't they make formed at the right angle already? Resistors also went through a hand forming machine which you clamped to your desk. Mechanical forming machine are available for large quantises of components which our attached together by something similar to masking tape which falls off with the cut leads. Electrolytic Capacitors and Resistors are generally the only components treated in this way. Most PCB assemblers are Women yet no Girls never seem to study Electronics which would have helped them learn the Job.

    I had to do a computerised questionnaire while at school that advised you on the job you where most suitable for. It came up with type-setting (now done by computers but once manual) which is similar to PCB assembly.

    If you are at all interested in electronics check out the Website I maintained for the now defunct British Amateur Electronics Club. Before computers and the internet everyone made simple electronics circuits. They sure like their Microcontrollers: a miny single chip programmable computers of which my final year University project was about. The code was OK (a term Billy Bunter questions coming from America now in very popular use, thanks party to Windows, but once regarded as rather vulgar). But I couldn't get it to work I either staticed it or didn't programme the lock-up address for the first line of Machine Code correctly, I used an interface in BASIC attached to a PC to drive a little slotted wheel driven by a stepper motor and SAA1024 stepper motor driver chip, an infra-red send-receive LED-transceiver-transistor which slotted in between the wheel and some debounced buttons using a Schmitt Trigger Chip also invented by Bell Labs.