Memories of Finland
In 1977 Eric Hayward was based in Finland to assist Valmet Oy who were building the Hawk Mk 51 for the Ilmavoimat or Finnish Air Force. This was a large, valuable and important order for fifty aircraft, and to ensure that all ran smoothly, Hawker Siddeley managers from Kingston made all-too-frequent visits to those who were based there. Eric was inspired by these visits to write the following poem. Anyone who has been an overseas representative will recognise the scene with sympathy.
Editors note. When I became Hawk Project Manager I'm afraid I was guilty of many visits to Valmet. I did try to restrict my activities to the Valmet management, but nevertheless, I recognise much of what Eric has written about with such feeling. Ouch!
They Are Coming
They are coming in the morning with a smile upon their face,
To tell us what we're doing wrong and run the bleeding place.
They will tell us where the mods go and what we should inspect,
And how we should administer, the contract to protect,
With DOIs and DDIs and STIs as well
And other strange phraseology which none but they can tell.
We shall see them here on Wednesday at some unearthly hour,
They'll overfill the office, the whole bleeding shower!
They'll drink up all our coffee, and some may ask for tea
And push off for a sauna in the afternoon, at three.
They'll tell us where the cables go, and what we have done wrong.
We'll do our best to humour them and hope they won't stay long.
We will have many meetings, and some will talk for days
Of 'force majeure' and 'delay claims' and many devious ways.
Then when it all is over and they're back where they've begun,
They'll pat eachother's backs and say 'A good job, mate, well done!"
And then all, in the evening, return to their hotel,
And drink of vodka, gin and booze, and get as pissed as hell!
They are going back on Friday, it cannot be too soon!
If they leave the time they say they will they should be home by noon,
With all the booze and duty-free that they can safely carry
The cold out here will drive them back, we don't think they will tarry.