The life of a freelancer can be a solitary one, but this year I’ve been out and about more than usual for my careers pieces for The Times’ At the Coalface. It kicked off last September with a fascinating morning spent at Tetley’s, where I met two tea tasters who introduced me to the incredibly complex job that they do. Did you know there are 40 blends of tea in every Tetley’s tea bag, but the actual teas in each batch vary? Their job is to ensure that, in spite of that, the end taste, colour and quality are consistent.
Other highlights have included visits to the Virgin Atlantic maintenance hangar at Heathrow, where I got up close and personal with a jumbo jet, the National Air Traffic Control’s nerve centre at Swanwick, and Airbus Defence and Space’s Mars Yard, a mockup of the surface of the red planet, where I interviewed Abbie Hutty, a spacecraft structures engineer.