(Copyright May 2001, Brian Blandford)

It was thirty years ago now, almost to the day,
I left the university and took the Gong-Man's pay.
On Marchant calculators we traced the rays by hand
For lenses carefully crafted in ways Newton’d understand.
Problems still were plenty, with tolerances in doubt;
The castings all were porous - but the lenses still went out.
But now it’s all so different, the market’s not the same;
The Berlin Wall has crumbled, we’re playing a different game.
The glass shop now lies empty, the hot pitch has gone cold,
To a factory down-under the spindles have been sold.
The craftsmen who once worked there have gone their various ways,
We’ve lost the meanings of the words we used in former days:
Now, DIGS are for allotments, CHIPS fry in the fat,
SCRATCHES are for fleabites, SLEEK describes the cat,
A DOME’s for sale in Greenwich, REFLECTORS on your car,
And if you want to see some OPTICS, then just look behind the bar.

But the one thing most important, that I will hold most dear:
It isn’t all the memories, but the friends that I’ve made here.


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