Month: March 2009

Deja vu

It’s that time again. Test tomorrow. I went for another four hours training today; I spent two hours practising my reverse, still only about 60/40, maybe 70/30. I got it in a quite a few times without him having to stop me, but I also had to have him stop me twice or three times, and had to take three shunts on one go. If you consider all the times he had to stop and correct me, the once I had to stop and start from scratch, and the three shunt fail, it’s probably more like 50/50. I have an hour tomorrow to try again before driving to the test centre.

The other two hours were spent with me driving around without any real need for instruction. I brushed one kerb (not a fail) then pulling into the last street (the one which my training placed is based on!) mounted the pavement (fail).


Still, unless they actually take me to that street I think I should be alright on the road. The first few minutes were a bit hairy; it’s a massively tight turn onto the street from the yard and some clown had parked a van just where you have to drive the cab to make the turn, which was focusing. Then I fumbled a gear change but after that I was chatting away whilst doing the business.

I was a lot nervous again. I was all buoyed up after my fail, knowing that I had it in me to pass on the road, but three weeks off and it had grown into a big scary monster again. Two minutes in the cab and I was a happy bunny again. Well, two minutes on the road anyway, pissed off with myself in the yard trying to suss that reverse out.

It’s a bigger course tomorrow, if I keep my head and make tiny corrections I think I could do it. Not will, but could. That is another issue I have with my reversing, I want to swing the trailer around, so I put loads of turn on the unit, get it in the right position and straighten up to come straight back, but because I had so much turn on by the time I’ve got the cab back behind the trailer, the trailer has carried on turning and gone too far. I really have not got my head around it. It will be the luck of the draw tomorrow. I could do it, but I only get one go at it (well, you could consider it three goes as I get two shunts, but it’s been taking me those and more in practise). If I understood what I was doing and how to do it I would be laughing. As it is I just keep steering one way and then another, then give up and take a shunt, and hope for the best.

Still, I feel reassured about my driving ability on the road part of the test. Take it steady, don’t do anything daft, and I reckon I can do that. I feel so much better in that than the rigid.

More on that story later…

The other news is my starring role on Gardeners World. I’ve already bemoaned my fate, being cast as the villain of the piece, but in case anyone missed it here is the link Luke helpfully sent me:

Here’s the episode in question: Is this the episode: 

Go to 25 mins 51 seconds 😉

.. Infamy, notoriety and calumny. ..

..Here’s to destroying the planet with a big truck after tomorrow!  Which reminds me, apparently that lad who was saying he had a license but our works wouldn’t entertain him, not only was he banned, but now he has his license back he still has nine points on it!  A speeding ticket away from another ban. That will probably be why they’ve not given him a job!..

……Anywho, to bed, hopefully to get a restful sleep. I don’t feel terrified this time, I either nail the reverse or fail, I’m not scared about taking it out on the road…

..Fingers crossed,..


Kicking arse!

I’m back! Back blogging, but more importantly back at Taekwondo.

I missed the grading weeks back, had a week off sulking, then I was working or in pain from a headache or being inconvenienced by marriages. The longer I left it the harder it was to go back. There is my obsessive but transient interest in things, the fact that it is so much easier to say ‘Nah, I can’t be bothered tonight’ than go and sweat and suffer pain, and my worrying. The longer I left it the more nervous I was about returning. I was all uptight thinking they were going to say ‘What are you doing here? You quit’.

Stupid I know, I am paying good money to be put through such trials, but a real concern none the less. I was thinking the night before going ‘This time tomorrow I’ll be going TKD’ and getting stressed out.

Not as worry free as I keep trying to tell myself.

Anywho, I went and all was well. Nobody even commented on my absence. To get us used to moving with the blow Sah bum nim had us shove one of the target pads up the front of our chest protector/ body armour jobby. Then we were to take turns kicking each other with enough force to teach our bodies not to stand still when a blow was coming. You can be told, and indeed understand and agree with, something without implementing it in the heat of the moment. Once you’ve had your solar plexus knocked through the small of your back once or twice your body reacts to what your brain has already accepted. Incoming kick = pain and injury. Therefore, if you can’t dodge it, move with it to absorb the impact.

To be honest I think the training pad made it worse. The chest protector covers the whole of your chest (hence the name) therefore would have spread the blow over the whole of your stomach/ chest. With the ‘P’ shaped pad under it the blow was solidly on your solars. Well, the first guy I had was determined to do his worst. He was letting it rip with all he had. His right leg kicks were really hurting and battering my solars. Then he swapped to his left, which is his gay leg, and I could actually breath. Then it was my turn. He wasn’t loving my right leg kicks, then I swapped over to my left, which due to my right being the stiffer of the two is actually my better leg. Oh yes, he knew suffering!

Still it did what it was supposed to; trained our bodies to move to avoid the pain. If I’d have been with the guy I had when we swapped partners I probably wouldn’t have got it. He was tapping me in a way that didn’t instil pain, fear, or reaction.

Also it made me realise that what I know is enough to seriously ruin someone’s day. As Sah bum nim said, you are trying to kick them in the solar plexus so they double up, then you can finish them off with an easy head kick. I hadn’t realised how powerful the kicks actually were until last night.

That really hurt, my stomach is still sore. To be on the receiving end of a kick launched in earnest would be a deeply unpleasant experience.

One bad thing about going back to class is the lack of dojo discipline. Sah bum nim was trying to teach us stuff and (perhaps because she’s a female of the opposite sex) the lads there were talking over here and trying to correct her. She’s a second dan black belt, some poxy green belt was trying to correct her!She was trying to make some point at the end of the class but due to the interruptions she had to be reminded twice what she was saying and forgot her point by the time she had it half out.

I don’t know if it’s due to the army, or Karate, or basic manners, but when your superior speaks you shut up and listen. That’s either my basic belief or it has been instilled in me so utterly that it’s indistinguishable from my own nature. I was cringing with contact embarrassment every time some gobshite spoke. If I was her I would have everyone stood to silent attention while I instructed. In Karate the times for chatting and banter were before the lesson, a bit in warm up, then after the lesson. If there was talking he would say ‘More Karate, less chatter’. Hmm, notice the pronoun.

So that’s good.

Today I paid off that stupid fine, did the shopping, then sorted out my garden.

Seeing as Wendy (the Mrs, heheheh) wants the top end to be a flower garden, I was left with a relatively small area for veg. I had put that barrel pond in when we moved in, and it was right in the centre of the space at the bottom of garden. Yesterday I had a moment of epiphany; screw the barrel pond! The frogs all died or deserted, I’ve not seen that newt but the once and it’s just a breeding ground for gnats. I removed it today, filled the hole with the household waste from the green bin, went and got a load of horse manure from a local farm to top it off and dug it all over.

Now I have tons of room for veggies! Huzzah!

Planted out my red onion seedlings and have loads of room for cauli’s when they sprout.

Today is a good day.



PS, forgot to mention, I was headache free until this morning. Today I woke up with the pressure in my right temple. It wasn’t killer, and I noticed my nose did feel blocked. I hammered the spray all day and it has gone off, without ever developing into a serious headache. Perhaps with time the spray will work it’s magic and I will stop having headaches all together. Here’s hoping.

PPS, Wendy has been a year and five months without a seizure, if she makes it to two years she can apply for her provisional license and learn how to drive. I keep telling her it would be a good thing to have the license even if she never used it. She could drive herself to church (as I work two out of three Sundays), could nip and see Emma (her sister-in-law) if she was bored while I’m out, could come and pick me and the bike up next time I crash, etc, etc. There is no bad. She, however is not very adventurous. ‘I can’t do it. I’ve left it too late to learn.’ and other such nonsense. So, being the kind and responsible person I am, I took her for an introduction to driving starter today. On an empty car park (on private land, m’lud) I gave her a go. I figured if she could have half a dozen goes, and finally got the hang of setting off without kangarooing or stalling, she would realise she could learn this car driving lark. So I took her through it; gear stick in neutral, clutch depressed, start the engine, release the handbrake, up the revs, bring up the clutch and…, off she went. First time! Slight juddering, but I’ve done worse. She was a nervous wreck after the few minutes she had playing at it, but I was most impressed. It’s not like the mighty Micra has the power to compensate for poor clutch control. Go Wendy!

Day off, huzzah!

Finally got a weekend off. It’s been six weeks since my last proper one. (My last actual one, three weeks ago, I was dying with that cold and had the sinus pain issues. I would have preferred to have been working and well, than off and in that state.)  I had lots of vague plans about what I was going to do, i.e. gardening and generally pottery about having a good time. Not a bleeding bit of it.

I had a few chores to do; shopping, nipping to town to the bank (while I was there I wanted to nip to Wilkinson’s to spend my £10 voucher that I got off Iceland for Xmas on lovely plants), and nip my sisters to drop off a (day late) card for her youngest.

I went to do the shopping at about half past ten. Half past ten, mind you. Not dinner time, not after work on a Friday, not Saturday or Sunday. Half past ten on a week day. It was chocker. Every doddering idiot, coffin dodger, and work-shy chav was in Asda. Why? They were out in force, all determined to stroll around and stop and chat in the middle of the narrowest isles, blocking my  passage (ooer, Mrs.!). Don’t let my attempts to shop interrupt your conversation you bovine, slack-jawed, ignorant, embodiment of the argument for compulsory euthanasia.

So that went well.

Then there was the ‘nip’ to town. Some fool in the council has decided it would be a fun idea to block of one of the main roads through Warrington. The joy just keeps coming. It had a knock-on effect of stopping dead all the roads that stray vaguely near the closed one.

So I aborted the card dropping off mission. I got home to find a letter on my mat from some debt collection agency saying I owe them £80. Apparently the DVLA had passed them the bill for collection after I had repeatedly ignored their letters about registering my Bandit. The last time I did the paperwork for the Bandit I informed them that it was SORN, and that I  had moved address. Sorn declarations are free, but only when the DVLA send the damn reminder to the right address. Oh yes indeed, that lifted my mood still further. I ran upstairs, went online to the thrice damned DVLA, and their website says ‘when changing address you have to send your registration document back to have the address changed.’

I changed my license details (with the DVLA. A pox on them) and assumed that all my driving details would be updated. Or at least that they would have the wit to check if my license details had changed before hitting me with an £80 bill and handing it over to a debt recovery agency. Especially as SORN is free. A curse on the DVLA and all who sail on her.

When the rage had subsided, after I’d had time to realise they had me and all I could do was bend over and take it like a man, I moped off to my garden, a broken and beaten man. The sun had moved round, the garden was in shadow and it was cold. Of course.

I did manage to get the washing done and dry, strangely satisfying. Also I went to Wilkinson’s and got some flowers (mainly dahlias). I went to B&Q as well. It being such a pleasant week I was expecting both places to be chocker block with lovely plants, a cornucopia of colour, a smorgasbord of scents.


Bulbs, pansies, trees. Bugger.

I got some seeds whilst there, and some ‘blood, fish and bone’ plant food for my trees. (And me a veggie, Buddhist-wannabe!) It was a three kilo box, opened it up and shook some around my four fruit trees and put the remainder on my acers. Then, as I was throwing the box away I noticed it said you should sprinkle two ounces per square yard! Damn and blast! I know there are twenty eight grams to an ounce, so in three kilos there are a bloody lot of ounces.

Don’t know how many grams there are in a kilo. If it’s a thousand, as I suspect, I’ve just put enough food out for fifty one square yards of orchard or whatever. Bugger. If it doesn’t kill them they should be like Jack’s beanstalk by the end of the season.

The silver lining to this particular dark and lowering cloud of a blog entry is that when talking to one of the night shunters at work I said about that lad putting in his license and being ignored. He said "bald lad, from the freezer, nights?" I said it was he. Phil (the shunter) said he had been banned, and had applied for a job as a shunter whilst disqualified! He has only just got his license back and he still has points. That is why he has been so comprehensively ignored. Phew! Hope renewed. Also today I got the cheque in the post for our holiday in Scotland. Then posted off my V5 for the Bandit. Now I’m going to dye my hair.


Because I’m worth it.