This is not meant to be a very good photo, just a piece of documentary evidence which I took while I was picking up my mobile phone from being fixed, of the back of the factory which I worked in when I first moved to Hull. It was Ross's then, but now it is something else, and seems to be manned by a lot of Poles who have come to this city.
I used to work the night shift, from 6 to 6 and use to have a scooter which I used to whizz across the flyover from where I took the picture.
I quite enjoyed doing this, when I used to put burgers into boxes. It is mindless therapeutic activity, rather like twiddling with worry beads, but is obviously rather more productive than fiddling with beads. I used to like working on the end of the line, and I can make a mean cardboard box. You take a flat piece of cardboard and by means of various dextrous movements transform it into a box. My technique was so fast that the box, to an observer, must have looked like a blur of arms and cardboard, rather in the manner of a magic trick, cardboard and then box in the twinkling of an eye. You had to be quick as the line moved on its inexorable progress, and that rather concentrated the mind, as if you didn't there would be a ever-increasing pile of Ross Beef Burger boxes on the floor.
Inspite of this, some of it was a little boring and you used to live for the tea breaks, of which you had three, of twenty minutes duration. Of course, everyone smoked and drank very sugary tea and had greasy fryups. With jobs like this you need to have something to look forward to. It is a little easier to keep up the healthy regime when your job is a little more intrinsically satisfying. That's why I get a little peeved at the politicans in Westminster for their smoking ban and telling other people, in other circumstances, what to do.
From this job I imbibed an extensive knowledge of early nineties pop music as the radio was always on. I particularly remember Seal and Billy Ray Cyrus, whom all the girls used to love. I remember Norma who spent all her money on the best cosmetic and toileties and who used to feed her dogs potatoes (along with proper food, not quite an RSPCA case) and I hope they are all right.
They used to make Linda McCartney vegetarian foods. I used to watch as an alternate lines bins of meat for the meat pies, and bins of soya for the vegetarian pies were lined up. I thought then that the lads were a little casual in their lining up of the bins. Sure enough, a few years later a vegetarian person complained when he found he was tucking into a meat pie, and they got into a whole lot of trouble. I think there was a court case.
I finished the job just as the sun rose in the morning and came streaming through the windows. It was the best feeling in the world. Then home to bed, which was the best sleep I had ever had.