Usually heavy work, but in between always time for a chat and a newspaper …

People who perform heavy work know it … you have to know exactly what is your weakest link and ensure that it does not break.

So it is important to eat and drink on time and take a pause. Only in this way will you be able to “survive” until your retirement.

What we did not know at the time was that the tamping mass we used to form the gutters (with which liquid iron and slag is removed) contained an enormous amount of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.

I and many colleagues thought it smelled nice when the first liquid iron flowed through the freshly crushed gutters and the tamping mass started to “bake” … a nice tar smell. Of course I realized many years later why it is called “aromatic” …

But always take time for a chat and a newspaper …

And make time for some food and drink …

Of course times have changed and especially working conditions have been adapted and improved! Yet I often think back with pleasant thoughts to the days when production methods were harsh on employees and disastrous for the natural environment.

Comradeship, humor, conviviality, group spirit, a social employer and cooperation make up for a lot, but the late realization that a lot has gone wrong with regard to the environment is important.


With our hands we have contributed a small part to the current prosperity of Western Europe, so that the richest 10% of the 1980s became the richest 1% in 2021.


Now is the time to make sure that mistakes are recognized and the natural environment is allowed to recover.
We did that after the recognition of “acid rain” and also once after the recognition of the “hole” in the ozone layer in the 90’s and we can do it again …

Operators on the photos : Roel Wolters, Peter Floresse, Kees Hoogesteeger, Ton Witte, Simon Mosselman, Karel Duys en Erik v Veen.

Published by wim harwig

too old to die young, but still making love and not war

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