Over the years working on beamlines on different facilities watching other people working on beamlines at erm different facilities I’ve built an astute knowledge that to get the best from your beamtime you need to work in shifts. This statement is by far the most annoying thing in the world. Why? Well you know it to be true but in order for it to work you need to enforce it. So someone has to be a “grown-up” and say - this is the law. I am the law - BED now young lady/man/lion.

Somehow this always ends up being me which is rubbish because by default you may love your parents but as a rule you do not like the fact that they send you to bed when you want to stay up and watch street hawk.

How does this translate?

At somepoint now you’ve been reading this you are going to wonder how this translates to my blog. I will now enlighten you as I have done on so many occasions in the past.

German Logic - best shifts ever My first trip ever to ALS was great because I was not the parent instead it was Steffi. She had worked out the shifts and well her super Germanic efficiency meant they were perfect. Things were helped a lot by having five bodies and well in short the whole thing just worked well. Even doubling the rooms it still worked.

The next ALS trip I was the parent and my attempts to get people to obey a shift pattern at DLS normally resulted in “but I won’t sleep” comments and well lots of stupid things like that. This normally meant I ended up very tired and or stressed. So for ALS I worked out a shift pattern - we arrived and due various peoples, job interviews, “I won’t sleep”, and general excitement the shift system was out the window and replaced with a rolling 8 hour shift. This is the worse thing EVER!

Arrh’ but by now you’ve learnt no? So cometh the next beamtime and ignoring the DLS shifts in between - you can do this because 1) no one ever listens to my shift suggestions & 2) its DLS so nothing of any relevance will happen there - I sent out a shift pattern written down in a PDF weeks before the beamtime. This is our shift pattern - any objections? NO ok. On arriving here of course there was an instant “but I won’t sleep” comment but to be far this had been allowed for in my plan by using a random selection technique for who worked with whom etc.

But of course by the end of the beamtime there was a comment or two that the system was rubbish and that we should have 2x3 not 3x2 slots, etc, etc. So this brings me on to now….

Now So armed with all this knowledge and experience I thought “you know what this trip - someone else can be the parent”. It made sense at the time. Unfortunately it appears to now have become a game of dare and or brinkmanship. Who can NOT set a time for when their shift starts.

“No what time is good for you”

“well, what time is good for you”

“I will just sleep and come when I wakeup”

“whenever is good for you”

etc, etc, until blood comes out of every orifice.

I mean the start is always bad because it needs us all to be there but then it should sync and should sort itself out. So end of day one I sent out the old shift pattern after the newest team member (who had also had this shit at DLS and it meant we worked a 25 hour shift) lost his nerve at playing chicken with sleep and asked for a shift. The usual suspects did the “done know”, “whenever you want” crap and well I just refused to get involved. This didn’t really help. I then slept-in on the first shift start at 02:00-03:00 arrival time. The next or is it that day - I’m not certain - confusion over lunch. Then shifts ended and one body not two arrived - then two - then food and well bed and now I am back on shift that should finish at 16:00 tomorrow/today/yesterday? Whether anyone turns up to relieve me and team MJR we will wait and see.

O’did-I mention that the beam dropped about 10 minutes into the start of my shift and is still down? I guess you can plan, fail to plan but at the end of the day the machine is the one with all the power and she is fickle in how she uses it.