Friday, 25 January 2008

How to mill steel and cats that smell

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You have a block of steel and the idea is to make something as in the picture. A request from a customer probably to be used as a form for something. Then you have to decide how to mill the material that the milling tool produces a perfect result, doesn't break or burn etc. etc. I have been working for a company making milling tools for the last 28 years, in the export department, but over the years you do learn a bit about milling tools, even the company trains you from time to time.

This morning I had an invitation. We had our Bavarian salesmen in the office for the past week training with our milling tools. Today each gave a small talk on the best way to mill steel with our milling tools. I was invited along with others, as I am the key person that organises the shipment of their orders to Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxonia. A sort of new system in the company where instead of delivering to the agents you deliver direct to the customers. It started last year and believe me I now know every village from M√ľnich to parts of Saxonia (one time East German sort of Dresden and area) and Thuringia (area around Erfurt, also one time East Germany). Well, at least my geographical knowledge has expanded in the last few months. All I need now is an invite for a trip to Bavaria, although I would rather pay a visit to King Ludwigs various castles and M√ľnchen than engineering factories. I have been working in the milling business for so many years that you do gather a bit of knowledge about these things. When someone has to use an application on Inconel or Titan my ears pick up, although all I know about that sort of metal is that it is used in the aircraft and rocket industry. Sounds exotic in any case.

Meanwhile back at home there was a little bit of cat trouble. My big black fat cat called Nera has problems with her long fur sometimes after a visit to the litter box, or in some secret place in the garden. She was quite annoyed. Her sister Tabby and adopted brother Fluffy were talking to her.

Tabby: Nera, what’s the problem?
Nera: Don’t ask me, hisssss
Fluffy: I think she is annoyed with Mr. Human
Nera: I am not annoyed with Mr. Human, I have a distinct dislike towards Mr. Human at the moment.
Tabby: It can’t be that bad. Tell us about it.
Nera: No, it is too personal
Fluffy: Well I did notice that Nera was smelling a bit this morning, but now it’s better.
Tabby: Nera is it time to cut your fur again?
Fluffy: I think it is, it will soon be Summer and you know what happens in her long fur when Summer comes.
Tabby: You mean the dried up snails and other creepy things she has.
Fluffy: Yes, and now and again things sort of stick to her fur under her tail
Nera: SO THAT IS ENOUGH. It’s me you two happen to be talking about. I do not stink and I have nothing in my fur.
Tabby: Well, not now, but I did see that Mr. Human was annoyed when he was trying to clean you up.
Nera: He grabbed hold of me and started, well he started to – oh you know what I mean
Fluffy: He cut some of your fur off because he couldn’t clean it and you started to scratch him.
Tabby: Looks like it is time for another haircut Nera
Nera: No, it doesn’t come into the question. Anyhow I heard that Mrs. Human said she wouldn’t have me put to sleep again for a haircut. Even she respects me and my wishes.
Fluffy: I heard that she said it was too expensive to have your hair cut at the vets.
Nera: Fluffy, mind your own business. Anyhow I am nice and clean now and my wonderful silky fur looks as beautiful as ever.
Tabby: Oh dear, just listen to madame. Better be careful tomorrow Nera. Take your time in the litter box and don’t rush.
Fluffy: Yes, otherwise you might drag something with you to make your wonderful fur not so shiny and sweet smelling.
Nera: I think it would be a good idea if you two housecats disappear in a quiet corner otherwise we might have a cat fight.

When I got home things had quietened down in the cat world, each cat in his own place, distributed through 3 rooms. My husband said he only got glares from Nera all day and she just ignored him. Cats just have their own way of dealing with problems.

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