Sunday, 21 November 2010

P A S T memories

This is something that came to mind a couple of weeks ago and has been quietly brewing away at the back of my mind. I don't know why it suddenly came back to me, or why I felt so compelled to do anything about it, but when I saw this week's colours on the Play Date Cafe it suddenly came together.

A little bit of Real Life™ me. I joined the army when I was 16 and spent the next 23 years serving as a vehicle mechanic, working on everything from chainsaws to tank transporters. I spent many years working on armoured vehicles, and one of my favourites was the FV432 which has been around as long as me and is still going strong.
It's good old Cold War technology which can be fixed with just basic tools, and the controls don't come any simpler. There's a throttle pedal, and two tillers which are used for steering and braking; and that's it. To ensure it goes in a straight line there are 4 checks and adjustments that need to be done on a regular basis and they are known as PAST; Protrusion, Adjustment, Suspension, Tillers. Amazingly, even though I've been a civvie for 10 years, and haven't worked on one for about 15 I can still remember the settings and could probably go and adjust one tomorrow if needed. The drawings are done from memory, so may not be 100% accurate.

So, how does it tie in with the Play Date Cafe? Well all combat vehicles were painted in a shade of green known as 'Olive Drab', and the mechanical bits (engine, gearbox, etc) were a shade of turquoise known as "Paint, Finishing, Heat Resisting, High Gloss, Sky Blue" aka "Duck Egg Blue". The red? Well, when we did our training, the training manuals had a red cover.

I have to admit, this has been a real trip down memory lane; memories of people and places, the feel of the glossy painted steering box covers, the smell of hot steering oil, and the wariness of dropping something inside the box and having to explain to the boss why you wanted to do a steering box lift :D


  1. It's nice to have nostalgic moments and to capture them in a creative project. Interesting to learn more about your history too. Great job with the colours. Px

  2. Wonderful journal page, great story to go along with it. Thanks for playing at the PDCC.

  3. Loved learning about the inspiration behind your journal page. Great use of the colors in your journalling. Thanks for joining us again this week at the PDCC!

  4. Hi Nigel

    I really loved reading your "A little bit of Real Life™ me." It is always so interesting how memories of the past can still be part of the present and what was an every day job for you has now inspired you to create this amazing journal.

    My Father was an Aircraft mechanic in the RAF and like you he can still remember the drill!


  5. For me this is EXACTLY what a journal is about (apart from sheer fun of course).....sharing snd storing those memories from the past,and those being made today......this reminds me of my DAd to, he was a maintenance engineer and often talks of such things!!

  6. love the journal and it was good to read about you :)

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by on my blog!! I truly appreciate it!!

  7. I think the things we make say alot about us and this certainly tells us a story about your life. Love it !!!
    Sue xx

  8. Hi Nigel! Thanks for dropping by again. I'm not like you, having to fit in time to 'play' when you can. I can play all day if I like !!

    I loved your story about the memories of working on all those vehicles. Great to know something about you.
    When I left school I worked in a garage in the Stores and I loved the smell of all the new tyres.
    If I smell new rubber now it takes me back too.xx

  9. What a fascinating story! It was great to be taken down memory lane with you and learn about your past! ;) Great journal page, the colours fit the story/subject perfectly. I have a friend who works in the army in heavy duty guns or similar things. I used to hear about all the mechanical secrets all the time, which for a girl it was absolutely mesmerising, as you might expect ;) ha ha ha! Again, you are full of surprises! x

  10. What a fab story--just love looking at your page and learning more about you! I love your idea and just the memories this page will bring to you every time you look at it! FAB! Thanks so much for playing along with us and joining in the fun over at the PDCC!! We appreciate and love our players:}

  11. Super how you tied all that together Nigel...also very interesting to learn a bit more about you :)

  12. really unique interpretation! well done!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.