Work… at last!

18 10 2008

Well, my inital days of employment have been good so far. The work consists of opening tins of ink, and mixing them in varying amounts to make custom shades and amounts of ink for local customers. Orders are made by customers, put in via a system, and then printed off in the lab, where I work. Each shade of ink (and there are thousands of different shades) all have a different recipe, which I have to follow. To make any particular type of ink, I typically have to go into the warehouse and pick up a couple of boxes of the “base” inks I will be using, then using a giant metal bowl and a set of scales , I have to measure however much of each base ink colour into the bowl and then using a giant food mixer, mix the ink. The ink itself is very thick and sticky, almost like honey. It gets EVERYWHERE, and you have to scoop it out of the tins with spatulas and knives. After the ink is mixed, I have to scoop it out of the bowl and into new tins, and seal them up and label them. Pretty simple really. The really messy bit is cleaning up afterwards. Everything has to be wiped down with kerosene solvent to avoid contamination of future batches.

My boss, a guy called John, is quite a funny guy, pretty easy going and is incredibly skilled at colour matching ( a process whereby a sample of ink is matched with a “standard” sample the company keeps for reference). He can look at 2 batches of seemingly identical ink and tell whether its right or wrong without even testing it, its a skill to behold because my eyes can’t even tell the difference. The ink and printing industry as I have learned in my past few days is quite a competitive market.

My commute to work is also going well, after not having ridden a bicycle for a while to riding long distances every day,  pretty much every muscle in my legs is aching. As my job also requires to be on my feet all day, my legs have taken quite a battering. I am hella unfit. I am glad to have this job as its a chance to regain some fitness, whilst getting paid.

Its currently saturday afternoon here, and its 29 degrees centigrade outside, the breeze is also warm, but refreshing. We went out sunbathing earlier for a couple of hours and now my skin feels hot and papery, think i’m gonna be sore tomorrow. I DID wear sunscreen before I get a barrage of abusive comments….

Things I have noticed about australia in the past week;

– The political correctness that has consumed Britiain as of late doesn’t seem to be as prevalent here, with people having no qualms about calling you a smelly bastard to your face.  Christmas is still christmas, and not “non denominational festive period” like it is in Britain, lest we offend some minority.

– School uniforms here seem to be a throwback to 1920’s Britain. The more upmarket schools make their pupils wear pinstrip blazers, shirts, ties and caps – much akin to the ones “Just William” had to wear. Backpacks are also part of the uniform, and are absolutely massive, sometimes constituting almost 50% of the visible mass of the person wearing it.

– Driving standards are worse than England, people are a lot more aggressive on the road. Intersections between two roads have confusing traffic light signals which often put crossing pedestrians (me) in peril.

– A wifebeater here is the same as a wifebeater in england – a string vest.

– Public transport is hopelessly inadequate, unless you live fairly near the centre of a big city. Cars are a necessity if you live in the suburbs. Cars here are also relatively big compared to european counterparts. There are huge numbers of large fords, holdens and “utes” (utility vehicles) with big engines. The average engine size here seems to be 3 litres for a medium sized car ( ford mondeo ish), all cars seem to use auto gearboxes as well. Australians are going to have to start thinking of downsizing or improving infrastructure for public transport as petrol prices keep creeping up. Prices per litre are at $1.60 for regular unleaded, or $0.70 for LPG, which seems to be readily available in all urban areas. The second hand car market also seems to be smaller here, with even mediocre cars being expensive, on average 30% more than second hand motors in england.

Anyway, I am roasting and need to get a drink quick or face almost certain death by dry mouth. Another update soon…. promise.

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