Month: August 2009

Killing time

Hi again, it’s been a funny old week and no mistake. I’ve hardly done anything really, just been off, got back in to my Taekwondo, read books and waited on the thrice damned postman.

A week off work is not to be sniffed at. It’s been nice just relaxing. The weather has been consistently appalling, so I’ve not been out doing stuff, but it’s been lovely not working, dossing around and sharpening my ninja skills by outwitting the postman.

I was off last weekend, in Monday, and then off until next Tuesday. On Monday I went into HR to see where my warehouse to wheels thing was up to, as they said they’d have an answer for me this week. I wasn’t expecting an answer on Monday, and in that respect I wasn’t disappointed. I went in prepared for such an eventuality. I had a piece of paper with my name, what it was about (warehouse to wheels) my landline and mobile numbers and my email address, which I handed in. I said I was off this week, but if they wanted me to go out with the drivers as part of my training I would be happy to come in.

Not a word. Not a sausage. Jack.

I’ve been ringing around some of the jobs advertised on jobcentre plus, but in a half-hearted way. They are mostly agency, and those that don’t turn me down flat are saying it wouldn’t be worth me leaving a full time job. It would still be best if I could get trained at my works then work for them, but failing that a ‘no’ would be better than this.

At least then I could throw myself into getting some work. I was told yesterday that although as a new driver the agency wouldn’t be able to insure me as an artic driver they could get me work on rigids. But not enough to make it worth my while leaving a full time job. The good news there being them willing to give me a class II job, in principle.

Tomorrow I have somehow agreed to go to Manchester, to see a fight, I think. I was at my TKD class last night and Sah bum nim asked me if I was doing anything on Saturday. I thought she had arranged an extra lesson, or a fitness session, as I’m on 2-10 next week so might not be able to make class I jumped at the chance. Said I wasn’t doing anything, she said something about do you want to come, I said OK, so she said ‘right, you can get a lift with Jim, it’s £10 for the ticket, we’ll split the petrol money.’

What?

I asked Jim what we were going to see (he’s a black belt, and second in command) he didn’t know. I asked when, again he didn’t know.

So we had both agreed to do something, for some money, at some point, somewhere.

I managed to find out that we are going to see a fight in Manchester. It had better at least be a TKD fight. If it’s boxing I’m going to be a bit miffed. A bit more miffed that is. Not how I wanted to spend my weekend off. I will ask questions in future, and await comprehensible replies but committing to anything.

The other theme running through this week off has been my battle of wits with the postman. I wait around for ages then the minute I nip the shop he strikes. I get back to find a note saying ‘pick up your own parcel, fatboy! PS, LOSER!’ Then the other day I went up town to do the damned postman’s job for him, got there at 9.30 and he told me I would have to come back at 10.00! Just too long to make hanging around up town a viable option, and just about long enough to drive home, not quite have a brew, then drive back. So I did my shopping then went back at about 10.30. They’d closed off Cromwell Ave for roadworks! I was sat for over ten minutes in one spot, a few hundred yards off my turning. Then I had to double my distance and treble my time on the way back to get home another way. That was all for a parcel that he couldn’t get through my letter box. It didn’t have to be signed for, he could have just left it in the blue bin, but then I wouldn’t have had to traipse to town and back, and again, and tour all around Warrington. Bastard!

The last parcel I missed was at 11.20, this one was 1.20, today I had to wait in until 2.45 before I fooled him into thinking I’d gone out so he attempted to post it. Any later and it will be the next day. I am thinking of hiding in the freezer like Kato (in The Pink Panther) to fool him into coming earlier. I tell you, standards have dropped since I left the Royal Mail. I thought at the time that it was only me keeping the place going!

The good news being that I did outwit him today and now have a rather natty pinstripe suit! When my funky shoes arrive (after I’ve been up town to pick them up, doubtless) I’ll put a picture up of the ensemble. Tres bloody chic, I trust you’ll agree.

Toodles,

Buck.

PS, it turns out the event was something on the lines of a qualifying event, or ranking event, for the Olympics. To sort out how good everyone was to see how they would be ranked for the Olympics. Hmm, now I try and write it down I realise I’m still not exactly sure what it was. Six fighting areas, loads of judges, electronic body armour to score powerful contacts in target areas, and teams from all over the world. Korea, France, Netherlands, Poland, Canada, even Scotland! All black belts, on their national teams I think, and pretty damned good. Those guys were fast as lighting, to quote from Shakespeare (or some such). The chicks too. A bit too fast; trying to watch two or three fights at once, nothing happening, nothing happening, glance at the next door fight and bang! Someone’s just got a head kick right in the chops. I enjoyed it, but it would have been better if it was on telly, so I could have watched the good bits in the replay. Human eyes are crap; no zoom, slo-mo or replay.

Apparently Warrington won in the rugby final as well. Big up those rugger chaps, or whatever it is they shout on the terraces.

Whilst I was out the postman failed to come with my shoes. Damn his eyes. Bank Holiday Monday so now it’s going to be Tuesday before I get them. Luckily Wendy is off on Tuesday (she only works Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Alright for some!) so I shouldn’t have to go and pick them up. Unless the wily posty hangs on to them until Wednesday of course. I can’t get too mad at the shoe shop, they said they make have to make them, which could take up to ten days. The way they are shaping up I think they are currently waiting for a cow to die of old age.

Two more glorious days off. Tomorrow I am going to have to start training in earnest. The one thing I noticed today was that everyone started each three minute round full of fight, then after a minute they were knackered and catching their breath. I’ll have to set up some training scheme where I do three minutes of constant kicking, (whilst moving forwards and back) rest for a minute, then repeat. There are three, three minute rounds in a fight, with a minute’s rest between each. Even those potential Olympiads were knackered doing it!  It’s one of the many prerequisites for black belt grading that you have to have competed. I don’t want to make an arse of myself when I do. The people who were going in and launching a massive attack of kicks were scoring heavily, the ones who were just trying to land a single kick then catch their breath were not doing so well. Every time they scored a point it seemed their opponent was scoring one back. So, fitness and practise stringing together lots of combinations of kicks. Ideally, I want another martial art as well.

Well, that’s for later.

For right now, another drink of lime, and chill with one of my new books, then sleep. Simple pleasures.

Toodles again,

Buck.

New Kit (Buddha’s got me bang to rights)

Hi y’all, we had an eventful time of late.

In a spree of uncontrolled consumerism I’ve been virtually shopping until I virtually dropped.

The push-bike I mentioned previously:

with it’s narrow tyres and raised ridge thereupon to decrease the contact patch with the road still further:

and I mentioned my new hat:

here modelled with another recent acquisition, a Chinese Kung Fu / Tai Chi top from Hong Kong.

Then from the States we have some new ‘cat eye’ sunglasses for Wendy

They really are some bad-arse sunglasses!

Here’s the handsome couple;

Now then, I put captions on these photo’s when I uploaded them, but in case they were missed I’m going to reiterate a few points here; the first being that that is a loose fitting, kind of stiff, linen top I’m wearing that naturally hangs loose at the bottom. (The camera adds ten pounds! How many camera’s were on you? As the saying goes.) I am actually at my lightest weight for, well possibly years. This damned ‘no sweet stuff’ diet is doing the trick, I’m down to ten stone five pounds (with five to go).

I suppose I should also mention that Wendy has lost a bit as well. Three stone two pounds, to be exact. She been hanging on to that dress for years and years, vainly hoping that some consumptive illness would make her slim enough to wear it again.

Now she’s done it all by herself (by starving for half a year).

Respect is due.

Kudos to the Wendster.

As though all of the above spending wasn’t enough I then filled in the gaps (well three of them) in my Sci-Fi Masterworks collection, and I’ve ordered a pair of shoes!

Also today, as Wendy finally got her first pay packet last Thursday, I acted on an idea I had the other day. We’ve been living here for about three and a half years. We have a bath with mixer taps and a shower pipe jobby. It wasn’t until last week that I realised that the shower kept flowing at Full strength even at head height. Therefore, if I just got the attachment that holds it up, and a shower curtain and rail, we could have a functioning shower. For buttons!

Then I thought we’d better paint the bathroom as well. Then it turns out you have an adjuster pole the shower head hangs from, a matching shower head, and it costs ninety nine pounds ninety five pence! One hundred bloody pounds! So much for cheap and cheerful!

OK, I expect all you rich people are laughing at a mere hundred quid, but it nearly broke my heart at the checkout. I was envisioning a thirty or at most, forty, pound project.

Then we had Luke returning to the nest like some six foot cuckoo after a domestic at home. (Domestic at home. Tautology? Discuss.) That appears to have been a storm in a teacup as a day later he’s back with his chick.

I’ll have to do this anon, Wendy is wanting her bed, and apart from food, nothing makes her angrier than the lack of sleep.

Toodles,

Buck.

Bad Bucky!

Turn and about.

Well, it’s all change again. I went into Human Resources again today, but the HR chick I spoke to a few days ago had been off for two days and by all appearance had forgotten about me. She took my name and number and said she would see the main manager then contact me. This was in relation to my request to have a bit of help in my  driving progression.

The company boasts of it’s initiatives for its employees, one of which being the ‘warehouse to wheels’ scheme. It’s on a big board as you walk into the main building, yet when I’ve asked the transport hierarchy all they’ve done is provide excuses why our site doesn’t run the scheme.

So I asked the HR bint the other day if, now I’ve paid for the expensive bit out of my own pocket (getting the training and licenses) if the company could put me on the final part of the scheme.

I wasn’t placing any great hopes on getting a reply, but as I was having a shower (typically!) she rang me. She said she’d talked to the MD of the site and he’d told her to contact the site that does run the W-T-W scheme to find out if it was practical for it to be implemented on our site for me!

Apparently the person responsible at the other site is on holiday until Monday, but my new best-mate has sent them an email and has told me to get back to her Monday dinner time, when she can tell me more.

That’s not a no.

Hope springs eternal.

We have qualified driver assessors on site, a whole fleet of trucks and the truckers to man them, what more do they need to get me up to scratch? I’ve passed the bloody test, all that’s left is experience.

Yesterday at work, at 13.50 hrs, ten minutes before my shift ended and I was due to speed home with a glad heart and start making ‘phone calls about the jobs advertised on the interweb, a siren went off at work. As is common practise, everyone ignored it.

However this time it was for real. We had a major ammonia leak from the cooling system in the freezer. Apparently that’s bad in a terminal way. The fire service and police were on site in minutes, they closed off main roads around the site and banned us from returning to the building until we weren’t going to die.

17.54 they finally let me go back inside to get my keys out of my locker so I could go home. My sinuses had kicked in again so I was suffering from a progressively worsening headache, I was sat outside for the four hours, with no idea when I was going to be allowed to go home.

Less than fun.

Today, as soon as I got home (without headache, hurray!) I set to ‘phoning around. One of the jobs was a flat out ‘no’ (needed two years experience, not stated in the advert) another was supposed to get back to me but hasn’t yet, and the third was the surprise; an apparently honest agency!

The chap asked me if I was in full time work, I confirmed I was, then he told me he couldn’t in all conscience get someone to give up a full time job for what he had to offer. He said that his agency were still working there way into this new contract and the work they had at the moment wasn’t  sufficient or sufficiently reliable to warrant leaving full time employment. He took my name and number and told me he would let me know if anything worthwhile turned up. He reckoned that contract should have stabilised in a few weeks.

It’s the first time that has ever happened to me though. Usually the agency tell you they have a ten pound an hour job but before they can give you the details you have to register with them. Then when you’re on their books they say "that job doesn’t start for another few weeks, so will you do this minimum wage job for now?" The good job doesn’t turn up because it never existed, but now they have another body on their books if they have a position to fill.

Also I was talking to a Stobart’s driver today, he confirmed that they do take on newly qualified drivers, said they preferred them, as they like to mould them into their way of doing things.  I said I was mould-able. Malleable R us, that’s me.  Anyway, he said that Tesco’s are building a distribution centre in Warrington, that Stobart’s have most of Tesco’s contracts, and that therefore Stobart’s will need more drivers presently.

in conclusion then, I have potential irons in the fire, my works first and foremost. If they could come through for me it would be perfect. Train at the job, whilst in a job, to get the job.

Also the joy of being able to walk up to that union rep and say "There. If you ask they will train you. Off my own back I’ve sorted this. What use are you, you tosser, and why have I been paying union subs?" (OK, so I’m not about to say any of that, but I can think it!)

Second place would be Stobart’s giving me a full time job, and better than a kick a teeth with a steel toe-cap would be that agency letting me drive and getting my experience for a real job that way.

All of this plus not being dead from ammonia and not in pain from my sinuses. Good day! Now if only my foot would go down (it feels stretched to capacity around those popped blisters) and stop hurting all would be rosy!

Later,

Buck.