Comms Maintenance stories

Bob Spenceley
Harry Zimmermann

Direct link to stories of Ivan in the workshop

Alan Baukham - while giving names for the 'Stannard picture' says:-

I think 73 is Fred… and 93 Freda…    helpers of Bob Spencley. Their names were given to the two ADX computers i.e.” Fred and Freda” Freda was in to writing. I took her to Swains Lane when I was responsible for the PCM link there. Explaining to her the system and about locking to X or Y chains she came up with some pros on my leaving do with all the info. I had mentioned about Swains Lane!

Posted 24th October 18:14

Alan Baukham tells of an expensive accident:-

When I was in the SIS base maintenance room I sent the technical cleaner over to BH dispatch to collect a new set of SIS gear which we had to check
out before sending off to the user. These were duly fetched and left on the trolley until we got round to looking at them. When we did it became clear
that they had fallen off the trolley on route from dispatch as all the card runners were dislodged and chassis a bit bent. I think they use to cost
about £2000 at the time

More of 'Bill' from Tony Hoskin

Talking of Little Bill...

 Bill used to go in and out of Maintenance with trolley loads of stuff,  VDUs, Fax machines, monitors, etc, on a daily basis.  Always puffing,  cursing and swearing.

 One day he paused between his huffing and puffing to complain to anyone who might be listening about having to stay in the Langham 'hostel'  because of some domestic crisis.  But it seemed that this temporary move had played havoc with his digestion as he was "bunged up somefin' rotten"  (his actual words were likely more colourful).  Always wanting to be helpful, muggins suggested he try a mild laxative from the chemist in Regent Street.  And off he went.

 On his next visit - it might have been after a weekend - his effing and blinding was rather more aggressive than usual.  Of course I had to ask.
 "Effin' stuff, up all bleedin' night, no effin' sleep..." - a venomous tirade. 

I was puzzled - what could have happened?  "Went dahn the chemist, gotta chocolate exlax bar."  Realisation dawned. "How much did you eat?"  "All of it mate!"

 A whole new meaning to "It's all right leaving me"...

Stories of Ivan in the Comms Maintenance Workshop opposite Switching Centre

From Graham Bentley:-

Does anyone remember the guy from teleprinter maintenance who ran the tea kitty? I remember he was super mean and chared around 3p a cup at '71 prices. There was a rumour going around that he was so mean that he avoided a trip to the dentist by drilling one of his own teeth and filling it with araldite!

Reply from John Bowyer:-

It was Ivan........can't remember the surname, and didn't he re-use the tea bags?

Graham Bentley replies:-

Ivan - that's him! I remember the tea bags drying on a line!

Steve Redburn adds:-

I remember that he once came into Comms Maintenance and spun a tail that his little old mother's TV had gone wrong. He asked if we could test the valves in the AVO valve tester.  Dave Buttle realised at once that he was on the make and was trying to mend someone's telly for a fast buck.  Dave thought for a few seconds and said

"Ok...hum... Tuppence a valve".  Ivan became incandescent and began to rant "Well don't come to me and ask for any favours in future!" and stormed out.

And John Davis continues thus:-

I seem to remember one year Ivan was on weekly conditions of service, and someone offered him Monthly conditions.  Ivan worked out this was worth
about a shilling a week more so opted for monthly.  Sadly that was the year of the pay freeze, which occured between the weekly pay settlement (which
was paid) and the monthly (which was not), so he got nothing.... which upset him greatly until the next event: he worked out that if he put all his savings into his wife's name he could avoid tax on any intetrest because she wasn't a tax-payer.  Shortly afterwards she wasn't his wife either - she ran off with the milkman!!

Greetings to al you townies, by the way, from unspoilt Herefordshire.

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MJ 201006