And now, in the latest in our series looking at interesting and unusual occupations, we speak to Maurice Pencil, a wind tunnel technician at the Happworth Aeronautical Institute in Gwent.
University of the Bleeding Obvious: Maurice Pencil, you've worked with wind tunnels for over twenty years, both in the public and private sectors. Indeed, you've become something of an expert.
Maurice Pencil: Well, yes, yes. I expect they probably do.
UBO: In fact would I be right in calling you the foremost authority on wind tunnel design in Europe?
Pencil: Oh, easily twice that amount.
UBO: Erm, yes ... I believe that your colleagues often refer to you as 'Mr Wind', is that right?
Pencil: On Tuesdays and Thursdays, and sometimes at the weekend.
UBO: I see... I think...It must give you quite a buzz to be held in such high esteem?
Pencil: I should say so. The lads round here call me 'Mr Wind' you know.
UBO: Quite. Of course, although it would seem to be an interesting and exotic industry, it must have its fair share of difficulties? After all, that's some pretty serious machinery you're working with.
Pencil: Peanuts, everywhere! And there was a thin dusting of cat litter over everything. Urrgh!
UBO: Yes. I should imagine the average wind tunnel is capable of generating gales in excess of...?
Pencil: Oh, two or three of them on a good day.
UBO: And as I understand it, quite often you are required to actually be inside the wind tunnel while it's in operation. I imagine it's quite hazardous?
Pencil: Well that's a fair point and I'll mention it to him when I see him.
UBO: That would, I guess, explain your permanently startled and windswept expression, and also the fact that you have insects stuck all over your face.
Pencil: I'll have two from the top, and three from the bottom, please Carol.
UBO: I'm sure it's no picnic. Indeed, I seem to remember reading about technicians who had experienced problems because of this. After prolonged periods they found that the wind whistling past their ears had rendered them almost totally deaf.
Pencil: Quick Vanessa! The badger's escaped and the vicar will be here at any minute. We never thought we'd have to put up with this sort of thing when we installed that immersion heater.
UBO: So the health aspects of the job don't concern you at all? I suppose someone as experienced as yourself knows how to avoid taking such risks?
Pencil: There were at least half a dozen of them. They came screaming out of the night, all high on lighter fuel and naked as the day they were born. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
UBO: Mr Pencil, you can't actually hear a bloody word I'm saying to you, can you?
Pencil: And then I said to him, "I suppose you think that's funny, do you?" Then before he could reply, I shoved the pole back up - and I haven't seen him since!
UBO: Jesus! You know I'm speaking to you. You can see my lips moving. But you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, have you? All you can hear is the constant ringing in your ears, isn't it, you dozy twat?
Pencil: Four foot six, he was. But he was deadly with a pool cue.
UBO: This has been a complete waste of my time, you irritating little shit.
UBO: Well thank you. Thank you very much, Mr Pencil for agreeing to talk to us today. Frankly, I don't know why you bothered. Now fuck off, you fat-face, wall-eyed prick.
Pencil: Fuck off yourself, you chinless, brown-nosed tosser.
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