My name is Andrew Scott and I am writing this column on things that begin with the letter S. Me and my girlfriend, Vivien Leigh, had arrived at Lytton High School which is my old high school I went to when I was growing up in Gisborne, New Zealand.
Vivien was an Afrikaner woman with long wavy red hair and a medium build and she had just recovered from her diabetes. That's not the topic of this story so lets move on then.
We had arrived at the school. Principle Peter Hodgsen took us on a tour of the school and decided that we should sit in on Mr Phillip Sweet’s physics class. Phillip was originally from Sri Lanka and had a tall, medium build.
“Today we are doing some kinematic equations” said Mr Sweet “Here are some equations that I want you to solve”.
The initial velocity is 27 metres per second, time 37 seconds and the acceleration is 26 metres per second square. What is the displacement of the object?
Right, s is the displacement, t is for time, u the initial velocity, v the velocity after time t and a is the acceleration. Ok. So how would we solve this equation? I couldn't remember these bastard equations so I looked it up in the 7th form physics txt book. There are four of them. Which one shall we choose? Here's a good one.
S = UT + ½ AT2
= (27m/s * 37s) + ½ (26*372)
= 999 + ½ (26*1,369)
= 999 + 35,594/2
= 999 + 17,797 = 18,796 metres
Right. Let's say the initial velocity is 37 metres per second, the acceleration is 7 meters per second squared and the displacement is 18 metres. What is the velocity after time T?
So V2 = U2 + 2AS
= (37*37) + 2(7*18)
= 1,369 + 2*126
= 1,369 + 252 = 1,621
So V = √1,621 = 40.26 metres per second
OK now. If the initial velocity is 15 metres per second, the velocity after time t is 43 metres per second and the time is 29 seconds, then what is the displacement?
So S = ½ T(U+V)
= ½ * 29 (43 + 15)
= 14.5 * 58 = 841 metres
If the initial velocity is 8 metres per second, the acceleration is 18 metres per second squared and the time is 86 second, what is the final velocity.
V = U + AT
= 8 + 18*86
= 8 + 1,548 = 1,556 metres per second.
* * *
The first period was over and Mr Hodgson took me over to the wood shop class in second period. During that period Mr Tony Watchrim was teaching his class how to make the wooden tool boxes and me and Vivien went around inspecting their progress. Mr Watchrim introduced us to the class before we started going round the class and looking at their progress.
Some of the students had placed part of their tool boxes in a vice and were sanding off parts of their tool boxes until the surface was nice and smooth. One of the students asked me to feel the surface and I did. It felt nice and smooth to the touch and Vivien felt it too.
“Smooth,” I said “Well done”.
“Yeah, it is smooth”.
We watched as the students glued the pieces of wood together with the PVC glue and put them in clamps until the glue dried. Otherwise the wooden tool boxes would fall apart.
* * *
During the interval me and Vivien sat under the tree with a group of students, enjoying the sunshine and eating our morning tea. We had chocolate cake from the canteen and Vivien had coke zero while I had mountain dew.
“I attended this school when I was a teenager” I said “The kids would pick on me and no one really liked me much. No one wanted to be my lab partner during my physics classes”.
“How did that make you feel?” asked Vivien.
“Sad” I replied “Like no one liked me”.
* * *
During third period Mr Hodgsen took us to the PE class to watch the students learn how to play softball which is one of my favourite sports. We went out onto the sports field and me and Vivien joined the game. We were split up into two teams. Me and Vivien were in the batting team. It bought back memories of when I stood there thinking up stories when I was supposed to play baseball.
We watched the kids get up one by one as they took turns at hitting the ball with the bat. Some of them missed three strikes. Others got a home run or made it onto first base. Vivien went up before me. She missed two strikes but hit the third and scored home run. We all cheered as she bought the other two team mates home. I got up and gave Vivien a big hug. Then it was my turn at the bat. I missed the first strike but hit it the second time and made it onto second base . I waited as the next player missed four balls. I walked over to the third base. The last player hit the first strike and I ran to home base just in time.
Eventually it was time to change over and so my team became the fielding team while the other team batted. Vivien guarded the second base while I was out in the right field. Sometimes I went and retrieved the ball and threw it to Vivien who would catch the batter out. Me and Vivien make a great team together. There was this one time where I didn't get the ball to the pitcher in time and one of the batters made it to home base. Vivien wasn't impressed but, hey, its just a game, right.
Well the game was finally over and our team got the most innings. Me and Vivien hugged each other and kissed each other on the lips.
* * *
We were at the school assembly that they have before lunch everyday and the principle had invited us to speak to the whole school. We were sitting on the seats behind the podium on the stage.
“Good morning school” said Principle Peter Hodgsen “This is a good day today. Some of you may have seen the famous reporter Andrew Scot and his girlfriend, Vivian Leigh. They have sat in some off you're classes. Andrew Scott grew up in this fine city of Gisborne. He went to this very high school and I would like to invite the famous Andrew Scot to talk to you. Give it up to Andrew Scott!”
The assembly clapped and cheered and I walked up to the podium and looked around the assembly.
“Boys and girls” I said on the microphone “I had grown up in Gisborne and had spent my years as a teenager at this fine high school. I remember my old teachers Mr Webb, Mr MacDonald, Mr Sharp and all our fabulous teachers. I have many fond memories of this school. Of the special sports events, athletics, cross country and swimming competitions. I remember my friend's skateboard broke and he said 'why didn't you tell me my skateboard was going to break?' I was not observing the thing. How was I supposed to know the skateboard would break?” The students laughed. “Just because I'm quiet does not mean I'm more observant then anybody else.
“I used to walk around the school everyday thinking up stories in my head. Until I made a friend in fifth form. I wasn't attracted to her and she was moderately retarded. It was not until I was eighteen until I became interested in girls. By then my self esteem was low and I was worried about what women would think of me. There was this time when one of my classmates threw a sandwich out the window and nearly hit the guy.
“I starred in a school play in my last year at Lytton. It was called Mabel and it was about the first woman to enter cabinet in New Zealand. The play was to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the women’s' right to vote in New Zealand. It was a minor role and I decided to pursue journalism despite not being good at English. I got picked on at school which led to my lack of self esteem. But then I've got a girlfriend now and that's good. But I enjoyed my time here and made lots of good friends. Have a nice day and enjoy your afternoon”.
I waved out to them and the assembly clapped as I returned to my seat. The principle dismissed the assembly and we had lunch in the staff room before we walked around the school talking to the students and answering their questions. They asked me how long me and Vivien had been together and who is doing the next article.
* * *
After me and Vivien had left the school grounds I took her over to the Olympic Swimming Pools which was just across the road from Awapuni Beach. But why have a swimming pool so close to the beach? Pointless don't you think, considering that you can go swimming at the beach!
Anyhow we entered the Olympic Swimming Pools and there were loads of activities we could do at the pools. We went to the changing rooms which was to our left and got changed into our togs and left our bags in the changing room. We thought we'd swim in the Olympic sized swimming pool which was at the southern end of the pools. We had a race to see who could get to the other end of the pool and back the fastest. The water was cool and refreshing and it smelt like chlorine as pools do. We did the free stroke, my arms splashing through the water. Vivien beat me first despite the diabetes.
We went to the next pool over where the water went up to my chest. This pool was more for families and me and Vivien splashed each other and laughed and giggled. We wrestled in the water as I tried to throw her into the water. As you get to the middle of the pool there is a ramp where the water gets shallower. There were children playing on the tyres and some of them used body boards to learn how to swim.
Next to the changing sheds was a kiddie pool where the water went up to the ankles and kids younger then three could wade in the pool. There was a large ceramic turtle in the middle of the kiddie pool.
Me and Vivian hugged and kissed in the swimming pool. Her lips felt good against mine. We climbed out of the swimming pool and saw the kids wading in the kiddie pool.
Vivien wanted to go on the diving board but I refused as the water would have been at least five metres deep and I am petrified of the deep. Always have been as I could drown and if I didn't surface I would die from drowning. I explained that to Vivien.
“You sissy” laughed Vivien and so we got ourselves a foam mat each and went up to the top of the water slide.
There was a man guarding the water slide. We stood in the shallow water and as it came our turn we went down the hydro slide. It was like a tube and as the hydro slide turned left and right I felt the adrenaline rushing through my veins. We swerved left and right before we went through the left hand spiral. Then we swerved left, right, left before we came out into the shallow pool with a massive SPLASH!!! We went back up to the top of the hydro slide and went down it many times. It was fun and exhilarating.
At the end of the day me and Vivien kissed at the bottom of the hydro slide before we returned to the changing rooms to dry our selves off and get back into our clothes. At the northern end of the property were a playground and a skateboard ramp. We came out of the changing sheds and exited the pools.
* * *
The next day we travelled to Auckland where Vivien went along with the salesman while I went and met a couple of security officers that were guarding Fonterra Takanini not far from Papakura, Auckland.
“Hi, how you doing?” said one of the security officers “You must be Andrew Scott. Come on in”. I entered the guardhouse. “I'm Michael Canthrum and this is Sarah Falcrim”.
“Hi, nice to meet you” she said.
“It's a pleasure” I said “Andrew Scott by the way”.
They showed me around the guardhouse. There was a CCTV screen with some controls, some forms in a folder, a kitchenette at the back of the guardhouse and a door that led to the toilet. Michael decided to take me out on patrol to see how he patrols the site.
We walked past the warehouse and across the car park to where the administration building was. There was a portacom next to the accounting offices around the back of the admin centre. There was no one there and so the guard locked all the windows and doors and switched off the lights. We entered the main admin building and turned right past the reception. We checked all the offices and there were still some staff in the sales area. We walked over to the other end of the building checking all the buildings, turning off all the lights, to where the managers worked. Some of the offices had workers still in them though. He switched off some of the lights.
We walked out the back of the admin building and entered the accounting building. There were a few workers left in the reception area but the rest of the building had been empty. We went around turning off all the lights and making sure the door and windows were locked. There was a small building across the grass from the main admin and accounting buildings which Michael referred to as the Lockwood building. It was the size of a small house and the guard checked that the doors and windows were looked.
We patrolled around the perimeter of the fence around the back of the Lockwood building, the carpark and behind the water treatment plant and around the blow moulding building where they made the plastic bottles for the milk. We patrolled the fence to the front of the factory, behind the engineers shed and around the front before Michael got a call through the RT telling him to lock the Accounting and Admin buildings and set the alarms.
We walked through the loading bay where the trucks were parked, past the cafe and across the carpark. We made sure the admin and accounting buildings were empty and the doors locked before we set the alarm. Michael showed me how to set the alarm. I pressed the four digit number before pressing the enter and arm buttons. After the alarm beeped five times to confirm it was set, we locked the door, crossed the carpark and entered the beverage factory.
We went up to the top of the stairs and walked along the corridor that looked out at the factory floor below. The machines automatically filled up the milk bottles and primo bottles and the workers tended to the machines, stopping the machine if something went wrong. They wore protective clothing, hair nets and booties to protect the milk from bacteria. The factory contained a few vats of milk and primo. The corridor turned left at the end of the building and we walked past some offices where the managers worked.
One of the walls had some Gary Larson cartoons on it. One of the sketches showed a leopard saying to another leopard “Watch the expression on their faces. It's quite interesting” as they were about to scare some humans. Another showed a boy dangling a barby doll out the window and saying to his sister “Your dolls about to commit suicide”.
We went down the stairs and walked into the cafeteria where we bought some dinner. I bought myself a mince and cheese pie, a cup of chips and a coke zero. Michael bought himself some nachos and strawberry primo.
We went up some stairs, through the over bridge to the food factory where we watched the pots being filled up with yoghurt by a machine and the pots being sealed by another machine. We exited the building and walked around the building at the front of the premises which was being leased out to a Christmas store and a bargain clothing store. There was another staff carpark on the other side of the fence from the small building. Then we walked towards the back of the warehouse where we saw a freight truck picking up a carton of freight from the warehouse. We went back to the guard house where we had our dinner while Sarah walked over to the cafeteria. Michael showed me the ropes.
He taught me how to operate the CCTV cameras using the joystick to move the cameras and zooming in and out. The screen showed black and white images that were formed from infrared light. Every time a milk tanker entered the site we had to enter the registration number and what time he entered the site. If a contractor came in we had to write down the rego and get the contractor’s details as to his name and what company he worked for and what time he entered the site. Every time a milk tanker or contractor left the sight, we had to write down what time he left. We had to check the boot of every car that left the sight in case somebody tried to steal the products. And the staff had to provide proof that they bought the products at the cafe. If someone didn't comply with the procedure we wrote down their name and registration number and reported it to the manager.
I arrived there at 7pm and had to help Michael patrol the factory till 7 in the morning. I was tired by then and we had a few coffees during the night. I was starting to fall asleep while walking around the factory. That's how tired I was.
* * *
While I was with the security guard patrolling Fonterra Takanini Vivien was with a salesman in Auckland City Centre. They went around all the businesses together, trying to sell water coolers for Water Empire. This is what she reported to me.
“Today Vivien” said Brian Mackintosh “We are going to sell water coolers. This is how it works”.
This is based on what Vivien had told me. The Water Empire water coolers have a touch screen feature in which you can operate the thermostat thereby controlling the water temperature. You can have either cold refrigerated water or warm water for your coffee say and the technician will come in and replace the water immediately. You can hand out business cards to the potential customer but you'd have to write your name and telephone number on the business cards. And if you make a sale then you write down your customer's details on the form and give them a credit check.
“As easy as that” said Brian who was originally from Saudi Arabia.
They tried Glasson. They went up to the counter and Brian asked if they wanted a water cooler and told her all the features. She referred them to the manager who was a young woman no older then twenty and she said no. Well they tried many shops along the street and some shop keepers accepted the business card and some said no.
Sometimes they would go up the stairs and into the offices. They tried lawyers, doctors, architecture firms, art studios, clothing factories, tailors, all sorts of shops and they gave away business cards or they said no but they did not manage to sell a single water cooler. And worst, they were working on commission. This meant they did not make any money. I felt sorry for Vivien. What a stupid job. I should have put her in a clothing store or Kmart or something. At least she would have earned some money!
* * *
While I spent the next day sleeping because I was so tired from observing the security officers the previous night, Vivien was attending a strike that was happening outside Cerebros Greggs. Apparently the workers wanted a 5% pay rise but the company only offered them a 2.3% pay rise and the pay negotiations broke down. So the workers voted to go on strike.
So they stayed outside the factory with their picket signs saying we want a pay rise or pay us what we're worth. The union delegate said “What do we want?”
The union members replied “Pay rise! Pay us what we're worth!”
So the union members waved their picket signs and chanted out their slogans all day. The company called in extra security to man the gates so the regular security officer could do his job and the scabs could enter the factory. The motorists tooted their support as they drove past the unionists. I sent in Sam Nelson to observe the pay negotiations for the next column because trade union begins with T. Vivien just had to attend the Strike.
By the end of the day the unionists broke off the strike and went home. It will be another couple of weeks or so before I ever find out if the workers get the pay rise they wanted. So I can't tell you how it went. Sorry.
* * *
The next day we went to the Auckland City branch of the Salvation Army where a young teenage girl was getting some counselling. Paul McKenna was our guide for the day and he was giving her some counselling.
“This pour girl tried to commit suicide last night,” explained Paul who had a Scottish accent “her names Stacy Whitram. Ahh Stacy, Mr and Mrs Whitram. This is Andrew Scott and Vivien Leigh”. They got up and shook our hands.
“Nice to meet you” said Mr Whitram.
“Nice to meet you too” I said.
Paul McKenna explained the whole situation with us. Apparently Stacy had been spending a long time in the bathroom and the Whitrams were starting to get worried. They tried knocking on the door but Stacy wasn't answering. So Mr Whitram knocked down the bathroom door to find Stacy lying on the floor. She had slit her rests in the basin.
“So why did you try and kill yourself, lass?” asked Brian McKenna.
“Everybody picks on me” sobbed Stacy “The boys don't like me”.
Tears were streaming down her eyes. The pour girl had tried to kill herself because she had self esteem issues.
“Let me talk to her” I said.
“OK, laddy” agreed Brian.
“I was picked on at school too. And because of that I had self esteem issues. You see, I had been hanging out with a semi retarted girl and when I became interested in girls I was worried about how women would react if they found I hanged out with mentally handicap people. So I kept her a secret.
“When I was in my second year at uni I had thought of committing suicide because my uni mates picked on me and I felt worthless. I had spent over a decade telling myself that women would never go out with me. Until I met Vivien I had never thought that I would ever get a girlfriend.
“You see, Stacy, you will find a boy who will love you for who you are. OK? So don't give up on life. Not all boys are the same. Will you do that for me?”
“She's going to need a lot of counselling this lass,” said Paul “But you've done wonders. Thank you”.
“No, biggy” I said.
Me and Paul shook hands and hugged and we left the Salvation Army building. You see, self esteem and suicide are very important topics for me.
* * *
Mary Carich, who was the manager of Eden Park, showed us round the Eden Park Stadium. We met her where the workers would usually assemble and she led us through the alleyway between the two grand stands. We walked along the western side of the stadium. We entered through the tunnel and up the stairs onto the western stand. We saw there were temporary seats built onto the eastern and western stands and that the southern stand had been added.
Me and Vivien walked down one of the aisles and down the steps onto the rugby field in the middle of the stadium. We looked around at the stadium. Vivien kicked off her jandals and felt the grass between her toes.
“This is amazing, honey” said Vivien.
She turned around, stood on her tippy toes and kissed me on the lips. Her lips felt nice and wet. We kissed for a while and we smiled as we looked around the stadium.