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Wilkinson Coutts & Matthews Integrity Training


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WILKINSON COUTTS / MATTHEWS INTEGRITY HUB: an up-to-the-minute information mix designed to help you with your lifework and career development in the asset integrity, inspection and NDE industries.

Matthew Petroleum Notes

NDE TRAVEL CLUB

It might seem unlikely to you but one of our ex-NDE contributors at Matthews Integrity Hub: HEAD OFFICE is a long-standing member of one of those London Exclusive clubs, the sort of misguided place that at one time only allowed Gentleman past its hallowed portals.

NDE Travel ClubAnyway, so it was that at supper (that’s what they call it there) one November evening when things were a bit dull that the conversation turned, as it does, to NDE projects on the construction sites of the Gulf states. To those of you used to the numerous silvered skyscrapers of this fairly liberal present-day place, it wasn’t always like that. When our member was a young ex-pat this was one very jealous offshoot of European society. Social class structures amongst ex-pats were rigid and the views and wisdom of lazy locals and immigrant workers not to be trusted, he was told.

As he recalls, this theory was severely tested one day in 1976 when supervising the construction of a power station site. He came across a young local NDE technician collapsed from working for hours in the baking sunshine. Incensed that this guy was asleep on the job he yelled in his face ‘what do you think you are doing sleeping, do you know what we are trying to build here? A power station!’

Waking with a start, the worker slurred ‘Sir, please, we are not only building a power station, made of cold unfeeling metal. Here we are toiling to build opportunity for our desert people, helping our land to be green and fertile for the benefit of all, providing life-saving facilities to the old and weak and the preparation of sweet milk for mothers to feed their tiny babies. This sir, truly is my duty; if I have slept Sir, I have let you, myself and my country down. Forgive me if it is in your heart’.

OUR MEMBER WAS AWESTRUCK; humbled by the humbling vision and sheer humanity of this lowly worker. Wiping a tear from his eye he helped the chap into the shade for a cool drink and resolved never to react like he had again.

Phew…it was something of a story. As I flew across Europe years later en route to The Gulf for (by my calculations) the 18th time, there was time to ponder the wisdom of our contributor and his expansive thinking in his younger years.

The very next day, whilst monitoring NDE work in the burning hear of midday, I found a thin worker comatose-looking under a tent-shade sleeping like a baby with a rolled-up jacket under his neck as a pillow. The voice of our club member returned softly down the years to my ears. Gently I shook him awake. ‘My friend’ I said ‘my friend, you have been in the sun for hours, please, let me know if you are OK, we are truly concerned about you’‘

He awoke; ‘I’m sorry if I was sleeping Sir, I have let myself and my country down; Sir, we are not only building a power station, made of cold unfeeling metal, we are striving at this job to build opportunity for our desert people, helping our land to be green and fertile for the benefit of all, providing life-saving facilities to the old and weak and the preparation of sweet milk for mothers to feed their tiny babies’

We fired him on the spot. We were trying to build a power station.

The TRAVELLER

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