A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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26 October 2013

With Cook To The Seaside.

I mentioned that I'd be in Norfolk for the rest of the week, both working and playing, so progress on the car would be restricted to getting the templates for the cockpit braces delivered to the laser cutting people. This I did.

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The main event at work was the testing of the mechanics of the textile printing table. Both my brother and I have printed textiles and wallpaper for many years - starting out in some converted chicken sheds in Potters Bar in the late 70's....

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The table we've just completed is about the sixth we've built and certainly the longest and most ambitious in that we've incorporated a screen carriage which allows the whole setup to be operated by one person. Just like the Hillman, the devil's in the detail and the amount of fettling to get the operation exactly how we wanted it seemed endless but, I'm pleased to say that the first test went very smoothly and 30 metres of test cloth was printed successfully.

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The cylindrical shape running the length of the table is part of the air drying system. There are valves at the centre of the run which allow the first half of the table to be drying following printing, whilst the second half is in still air, during printing. The carriage mechanism worked faultlessly - a great relief as it was the most complicated part of the whole shebang - and, barring some minor adjustments, the table can now be considered to be fully commissioned.

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(A Fulmar would have been more poetic).

The seaside. Sheringham, to be precise. Sheringham is where the North Norfolk Railway terminates. The whistles of the trains that I mentioned hearing from the scullery at Voewood, stop here. A walk along the front, flapjack and coffee in 'The Funky Mackerel Cafe' and an unusually warm October sun, celebrated 25 years (almost to the day) of working with Cook in her various kitchens. I wrote about our introduction in 'A Standard Pilot's Notes': '...... [Cook] entertained us with her plans for opening a restaurant in Bury St Edmunds. Somewhere in the back of my mind was lodged the memory of a Russian film about a Moscow restaurant and ever afterwards, the idea of being a waiter had intrigued me. Ignorant of the reality of waiting.........I volunteered to help should the need arise.'

As it turned out, waiting was not my thing. I remember on one occasion in replying to a couple who'd asked me where they should sit, that I tried to say, 'the choice is yours' and, 'it's up to you' at the same time. In contracting the two phrases I heard them emerge from my lips as, 'up yours' - not a good start to anyone's evening. I fled to the kitchen only to sink to the floor shaking and crying with laughter. I don't think I ever trusted myself to go 'out front' again.

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We drove on to Cromer where, after a toasted cheese sandwich, we completed our entertainment with a trip to the cinema.

It's the sort of thing that kitchen staff do on their day off.

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