29 July 2011 (Friday) - Work and Play
I didn’t sleep at all well last night: spending most of the night awake with indigestion. I thought it was probably caused by a combination of pork scratchings with too much ale, but I got to work this morning to find others with iffy innards too. The consensus of opinion is that we were fed dodgy prawns last night: I just wolfed mine down, but others said their starters were still raw. If ever any of my loyal readers find themselves in Willesborough, I can’t recommend avoiding the Hooden on the Hill strongly enough.
Six months ago this place was one of my favourite pubs. Six months ago over seventy of my colleagues had the works Xmas do there. Today we were finding somewhere else for the works Xmas bash.
Today was rather successful at work: another of my trainees had a successful qualification examination. The principle of the examination is that over a period of time I set the student loads of tasks and the student produces a portfolio of evidence (which represents the experiences of about one thousand hour’s lab time). I then say whether or not the student has passed. Our professional body then sends another senior lab bod to look through the portfolio to see if they agree with me.
That’s six that have passed in the last year, and twenty two altogether. And today’s twenty-second was every bit as nerve wracking for me as the first was (all those years ago). Mind you, I wasn’t impressed with the examiner. When I assess a portfolio I arrive at the lab at 9am. And if the lab is a long way away, then I get up early. I’ve done some assessments which have had me on trains before 6am before. Today’s verifier came from London (which is forty minutes on the Javelin train) and didn’t get to us until 11.30am.
He was pleasant enough on the verification process, but when delivering his verdict to us he seemed to delight in dragging out what he had to say; slowly going through pages of his report, word for word. When I’m verifying I tell them pass or fail straight away. (I did fail one student once…)
And I don’t think the bloke’s grasp of conversational English was quite what it might have been.
We also said goodbye to a colleague today – one of our number is moving to North London to sell spirometers. Pete’s only been with us for a few months, but in that time he’s become quite a character. We shall miss him.
This evening was astro club. The news section featured something about Trojan asteroids which I suspect might have been shamelessly blagged form yesterday’s blog entry.
We’d dragooned one of our members to give the main talk at short notice, and he spoke on what sorts of astronomical thingies the amateur astronomer could spot without too much effort. Whilst I don’t think I learned anything new, the talk brought together a lot of things I’d not considered before, and gave me some targets for when I get the telescope out next.
After I hawked the raffle we had a Stellarium show on the summer sky. We covered retrograde motion and epicycles: when you see it on the PC it’s painfully obvious that planets orbit the sun and not the Earth.
And I found out that the swan in Cygnus is flying the other way to how I thought it would be flying. One lives and learns…