Month: February 2011

It’s over.

Finally got the definitive answer today.


It all started after I saw this (Initiatives, second one down)

Which, incidentally, was still up in the freezer rest room until a month or so ago.

I went through hell to get my licenses.I paid £5,000. I have been bullshitted for 19 months with promises and lies. I have been in on my day’s off, unpaid, just to show willing.

I went in today, after the latest buck-passing and prevarication, and Claire said “We’ve had the period review, and because of the damage and the cost of the insurance, we can’t let you drive for us without having two years experience.”


And that is that. She said as soon as she hears anything else I will be the first to know, but they are not going to say ‘ooh, we’ve not had much damage this quarter, lets get some newbies out there and really run the bill up’.

So I can’t drive for them to get experience, and without two years experience I can’t drive for them.



That’s over then.

I’ve already downloaded and printed off an application form for a class II driver. I’ll get that off tomorrow. Also I’ll have to get back in touch with the army, get that ball rolling again.


The tour is back on the table as possibly the only route to experience. Shit.


Bit bloody miffed, me.



Good news at last!

After the trauma of that 20 mile run my confidence was badly shaken. Two days later, in better weather conditions I set out to a do a long run again. I couldn’t face the whole 20 miles so I set myself a ‘there and back’ target. Run out for 1:15, then turn around and run back. The first half of the 20 mile course being the flatter, therefore easier.


I set off at an easy pace and just kept going, by the time I got to my half way point I was still feeling pretty fresh so I just carried on. I did the full circuit in one attempt, no stopping for breathers, and I knocked 14 minutes of my previous time.

It was still a poor time, but the point is; it’s 14 minutes faster, and I now know I can do 20 miles. Next time I won’t even think about quitting. That is the odd thing, when you’ve done it once and know you can do it, the next time you have to do at least as well.


A major worry I’ve been having is the swimming. It is my weakest discipline and if you don’t make the time in the swim you’ve failed the whole race.

Now I have my funky Ironman watch I’ve been using it to count lengths. Or rather, 4 length blocks, which is 100m.

The time before last I failed by 4 lengths (to reach the half IM goal of 1.2 miles in an hour). When I first did it I was working off an incorrect calculation of lengths required so I thought I was there or there abouts. Turns out I was way out. I’ve been chipping little bits off the time but nothing substantial.Like I said, the swim before last I was still 4 lengths (just over 3 minutes) short of the standard. My best block (4 lengths/ 100m) being 3 minutes, most being 3.16- 3.26.

Yesterday I set out and was pulling strong.

I am still weak and slow, don’t get me wrong, I do get overtaken by people doing breast-stroke. But not as many, and not as quickly.

For me, I was pulling strong. I got to 40 minutes and although I was knackered I realized I still had the strength to keep going, so I forced the pace for the last 20 minutes. I came home and worked out my blocks and time, and I’d done it!

You need 77.25 lengths for 1.2 miles, I’d done 78! Scraped in, but I was chuffed to bits. A few swims ago some of my blocks had been 3.42, now I was doing 3.06’s regularly. I said to Wendy that now I know I can maintain the pace I’ll try and get each block under 3 minutes. Went for a swim this morning and had one block of 3.0, all the rest were under!

That was supposed to be a short-ish term goal! Achieved the next swim!

Well chuffed. That put me 5 lengths clear of my target for the hour.

I can’t begin to describe how much of a relief that is. When you start from where I was a few months ago knocking off a half Ironman standard swim is…, well, thrilling! Now I know I can improve and build up my strength, speed and stamina. I don’t have to worry about being so shit that entering would be pointless.


I’ve been out for a few more rides on my fancy pants new bike. The only shit bit on the bike is the feeble duffer on the saddle. I’ve fallen off a few more times. Sometimes you just can’t get your feet out of those cleats! I’ve worked out a local circuit of 40 miles. It will be a good one when I can find my way around it without getting lost. Mostly B roads. It’s got hills and open sections for plenty of wind. All the good things.

Today I got lost again, so thought I’d follow the road signs back to Warrington. I saw pointing down a dual carriageway that said M6/ A49 Warrington, so I thought I’d follow that. I was riding along, enjoying having a whole lane to myself, when I realized that it actually was the M6, and I was on the hard shoulder! Big oops!

I had to turn around and ride back out again. Again on the hard shoulder, this time facing the oncoming traffic. That was a spectacular fail.

The front derailleur has set today so I’ve taken it back to Halfords so they can sort it out under warranty. Still loving the bike though, it’s ace.


In other news, the mighty Micra has astounded me. You snap parts off inside the engine you assume that is it. Dead engine, too much hassle to replace a whole engine, scrap the car.

I was actually getting around to scrapping it about a week before the Megane failed so expensively. It takes me time to get around to doing stuff, luckily. I put a new bit in the engine (from the scrap yard, £40) charged the battery and away it went.

I tried, as an experiment, swapping the batteries from the two cars. They wouldn’t fit so I put them back. The next morning the Micra was flat again. Nothing. So I tracked down a battery online, ordered it for £45 free P&P (£72 at Halfords!) .

When it arrived I went to take the leads off the old battery and one lifted off in my hand. I hadn’t tightened it. Did so and it started first time.

*embarrassed face*

I put it through an MOT to see which car would cost least to make roadworthy, it passed first time with them just replacing two worn indicator bulbs!



I’m really tired, but dead chuffed. It was looking like maybe I’d bitten off more than I could chew (and survive!) but now I reckon I’m back on track.




Ah sussed it! Couldn’t figure out how to amend a posted article, but cracked it. So; PS, I’ve just found a swim time from two weeks ago which was 66 lengths in 55 minutes, which equates to 71 lengths in an hour. Yesterday I did 82 lengths in an hour! 🙂


I went in to arrange the next step on my scheme to get me driving at my works today. I finally tracked down Claire, the manager who set up the arrangement. She confirmed where I was up to; I’d been out with the drivers on my days off, now I was going for another assessment.

Which in itself was a change of plan. I have done an assessment, been out with the drivers, the next step was supposed to be some reversing practice in the yard with the assessor and going out with a driver with him doing the delivery and me driving the truck back.

I’m not in a position to argue the toss so I said ‘yes, assessment it is’.

She got on the ‘phone to one of the other managers. A lengthy conversation later she said ‘as you’ve not fulfilled our usual recruitment criteria, (ie having two years driving experience) we will have to talk to the customer (Iceland) and see if they will let you drive our trucks.’


1, They used to run a ‘warehouse-to-wheels’ scheme so should of already ironed all this out.

2, As they haven’t they should have realised they would have to sort it out.

3 They should have sorted it out before having me come in on my days off, unpaid.


The conclusion was; she is going to have to bring it up in the period review (when Iceland bosses and my DHL mangers get together). There to agree a policy and ‘set it in stone’ so it is not an ad hoc affair, with decisions being taken on the hoof.

That is four weeks away.

So I have to wait four weeks until I get a decision as to whether I can drive for DHL or not.

If I can, the assessment is going to be a ‘live review’.

Which is to say, I won’t be driving around a test course or practising in the yard, I will take a truck out and make a delivery with the assessor watching me. And, again without any sort of practise, back it through parked cars and into the delivery area.

No pressure there then.

I couldn’t even reverse it in to an open bay on my first assessment, and that was in the yard.


No point in worrying about that yet. I may not even get the chance to try.


In other news, disaster has struck with my training.

About two weeks ago I went out with a driver who was recovering from a nasty bug, which I duly and promptly caught. It was totally enervating so I didn’t train for a week.

When I got back to it I realised I should be doing a twenty mile run, to keep up with my training schedule for the Welsh marathon in eight weeks. Also I’d received the latest edition of Triathletes World, in which they stated that to train properly on a treadmill you should set it at one degree. I tried to do so on my run. That one degree makes a massive difference!

No wonder I thought I was getting so much quicker! I gave up after eight miles because I was dying of overheating.

So I went out the next day (admittedly it was blowing a gale) to run the twenty miles. At an ‘easy’ pace it should have taken me two and a half hours.

I did get lost, it was beastly windy,  and my feet got soaked in the first mile so I quickly developed blisters which duly popped. Still. It took me two hours fifty five minutes!

I had to stop for a quick breather three times!

For shame!

I think I’ll have another go tomorrow. Now I know the course, know what to expect, and if it’s not blowing a gale I should do better. I seem to have lost a lot of road running capability while I’ve been training in the gym.

Who knew? You’d think that when you run on the flat it is flat. Bugger.

That has left me a bit shaken. It was such hard work for such a crap time and I really didn’t have anything left to give for six more miles. There are no hills on treadmills. Or strong winds. Back to road running I think.



PS My orchid has just opened its first new flowers after I cut the dead ones back and ‘forced’ it by chilling it! Green finger success!