Those were the days... Those were the days...
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  1. #1

    The beerded one

    EternalOptimist is NOT a disguised employee

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    Castle Saburac

    Default Those were the days...

    Years and years ago, when I was a young shaver, the same age as you lot, I worked for BT. The GPO(General Post Office) as it was known then. There were three main areas of work, and we were trained in each of them, phone installation, exchange maintenance, field cabling and pole maintenance. I must say, the training was excellent and they were happy days.

    Until, one day, they teamed me up with Bill.

    Bill was a grumpy old scouser, a Liverpool fan, he hated the fact that I supported Everton, he made my life a misery. He was ancient and craggy, probably 45 years old, which is ancient to an 18 year old.

    He also tried to kill me.

    As you walk along the pavement today, consider the fact that right under your feet are electric cables, phone cables, gas pipes, sewage pipes, traffic control cables, it’s a right dogs breakfast. Now sometimes natural gas can build up, or domestic gas pipes can leak, and this gas is lethal and accumulates in any cavity it finds, often it is heavier than air, so its difficult to ventilate. Those big GPO manholes, for cable maintenance, are very risky places. The GPO used to supply us with a gas detector device , which was supposedly reliable, but Bill needed to be sure, so he always sent me down the hole first. He used to ask me to check this and that, then find something for him, then after five minutes he would come down and start work. It wasn’t until years later I realised the b@stard was using me as a canary, as a gas-detector-supplement.

    If it was ever raining, he would sit in the van, reading the paper while I had to do the outside work and get soaked. It was always me who had to go to the chippy for our dinner, always me who had to face the customer if they were stroppy, or do the inside work if the house stunk. He was not a fair man. Plus he used to take the p1ss out of me something rotten.

    You are probably wondering about stinky houses. We had to do an installation in an upstairs flat in Toxteth one day. So we went up the pole, made the connection, went into the flat to work out where the phone would be sited, and how the cable would come in. The place was heaving, it smelled like a sumo wrestlers jock strap. We went outside and attached the clamp to the window frame, ran the cable from the pole, give it six twists to make sure the snow doesn’t settle on it causing it to break, connected it to the clamp.
    Bill says to me ‘you are getting good now, you go in and run the cable around the skirting board, behind the bed and connect the phone’
    He clearly didn’t want to go back in there. So I went back in, gagging, and started the job. When I came to pull the bed out, it wouldn’t move, I checked the castors. The bed was on bricks. So I went to get Bill and we lifted the bed so I could get to the skirting board. Under the bed there were about 50 used condoms. The dirty b@stard flat owner had been taking them off and flinging them under the bed. He didn’t even have the common decency to tie a knot in the top.

    I got my own back on Bill. One fine summers day I discovered the chink in his armour. We were doing a phone install and the customer had a large Alsatian dog. He made me go and explain that we could not do the install until the dog was secured. I realised he was terrified of dogs. At lunch time, the customer (or user,as we called them) came out, she said ‘I have to go out I will be back in an hour. I have let the dog into the back garden’ Of course she hadn’t realised, Bill was up the ladder in the back garden connecting the wire. I went to the back gate, big doggie over there, big ladder over there, big phobia stuck on top of ladder. His face was white, his knuckles were white, his tools were scattered on the floor where he had dropped them. ‘Just going to the chippy Bill, back in ten minutes’ ‘ggnnrrggoowww’. I came back half an hour later and let him down , while the big softie allie drooled and dribbled all over my face.

    And that’s probably why I was transferred to exchange maintenance duty two days later. The point of the story - . In those days, telephone exchanges were electro mechanical centres, there were no computers. Primary selectors, secondary selectors, uni selectors and great big battery rooms. One day I wandered into the meter room. Everyone in the country who had a phone, had their very own solenoid meter, that used to click over when a call was made. Then someone would come round once a quarter and read the numbers from the front of the meter. It didn’t take me long to find my mothers solenoid, get my soldering iron and whiz one of the two wires from the back, put a bit of masking tape in, and press the wire back on. Hey presto, free calls for my mum. A few weeks later I was transferred to pole duties, then, shortly afterwards, I resigned and joined the British army.

    After serving my time in the forces, I left and was at a family wedding one day. My mother was complaining loudly about BT. ‘When it was the GPO it was great, standing charges were high, but phone calls were dirt cheap, I was on the phone for five hours a day. Now it’s BT phone charges have gone through the roof, my last bill was over six hundred pounds. I’ve complained, I’ve written to my MP. I’ve had to draw me life savings out of the bank. I’m not happy’. The telephone exchange has just been re-equipped with the latest technology, for the first time in ten years she was paying for her calls……

    I kept me gob shut and beat a hasty.

    ("")("") Born to Drink. Forced to Work

  2. #2

    Respect my authoritah!

    NotAllThere is always on top

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  3. #3

    Fingers like lightning

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  4. #4

    Super Tramp

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    I'm glad you've started posting these stories again.

  5. #5

    Better than AtW

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  6. #6

    Should post faster

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  7. #7

    Ministry of Love

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    Keep it coming EO - these are brilliant.

  8. #8

    Dirty kapitalist spekulant

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    Top story EO!

  9. #9

    My post count is Majestic

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    Come Friendly Bombs

    Default TV repairs were as bad

    Two stories come to mind.

    Customer had a Thorn 1500 most common fault was the mains dropper and you normally could smell if it failed it was like dog doo-doos and stunk the place out. Went to this flat with an old guy and it smelt like a gent's loo couldn't figure out what the problem was until I got the meter out poor beggar it stank in there.

    Big Phillips 26 inch in a posh house with a nice looking customer (think Sting's missus Trudie) she said its in the Den, in we go hundreds of cats living ever disgusting facet of maltreated cat's lives covering the Den. In proper Tabloid fashion we took the evidence, made our excuses and left. The set spent 3 weeks in the warhouse until the smell of cat puke died down.

    Sad how people live.

  10. #10

    Jedi Like

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    I read this earlier but didn't have time to comment, thanks for making me smile on an otherwise crappy day.
    Science isn't about why, it's about why not. You ask: why is so much of our science dangerous? I say: why not marry safe science if you love it so much. In fact, why not invent a special safety door that won't hit you in the butt on the way out, because you are fired. - Cave Johnson

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