Saturday, September 02, 2006

Brave

My friend Jed has been trying not to make matters worse as usual. This time he appears to have surpassd himself and done things I am in awe of. Making matters better for just $7 an hour after tax? People, go and admire the things he does. The Jeds of this world make it good for the rest of us and don't get the thanks they deserve.

His exploits caused me to recall an act of derring-do by my old boss. This may well be an apocryphal story but in an attempt to confirm yay or nay, I am including his real and genuine name should he or his children undertake a vanity search on Google fr. In any event I would love to meet him again because he was an absolute diamond geezer, even for a Frenchman.

I used to "work" (note to self - check definition of that) for the French oil major TOTAL. We were actually a small subsidiary company (with more personnel than our parent) set up to build this, the Alwyn North production platform, right out in the very middle of the North Sea (nearest post office: Bergen). We ended up building more things but none quite so exotic. Lucien Lallier was the second MD of the company and was an absolutely charming man. Universally popular, with dead good English and a great sense of humour, he was the perfect boss. He was a bit nervous though and to control his nerves he drank coffee, lots of it. In fact, if he didn't get his caffeine hit he would shake a bit, something he actually demonstrated to me in the kitchen once as I was loading up the coffee machine ("wan extra for me, Reeshar' "). He'd been on an outward-bound weekend; one of those team-building things management loved to send you on in the 80s. Don't think he particularly like it. Poor bloke. His other weakness was heights, which he didn't like at all and I think he may have been subjected to some abseiling over the weekend. No wonder he was still shaking.

Go back and have a look at that picture again. There are two platforms there, NAA the drilling and accommodation platform is the one at the front. It's connected by a 90 metre bridge to NAB, the process and export platform at the back. Each of those platforms is around the size of modest football pitch and sit about 50 metres above sea level so they can withstand a 100 year wave. They are effin' huge bits of engineering. See that flare boom at the back, the big angled structure sticking out from NAB with the flames coming out the top? It's in excess of 90 metres long and is about 300' above sea level at the tip. When the field was inaugurated in 1987, it is said that the personnel on board, by way of celebration, made Lucien climb out to the end of the boom. Evil, evil buggers.

2 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

Oh, we don't bother with all that here in Brussels. We just feed all our Johnny Foreigner colleagues Marmite sandwiches.

Their faces are a joy to watch.

7:13 pm  
Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

Oh, we don't bother with all that here in Brussels. We just feed all our Johnny Foreigner colleagues Marmite sandwiches.

Their faces are a joy to watch.

7:18 pm  

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