Archive for September, 2011

Be careful what you wish for…

Not loving the occasional work of Driver Hire I had started looking on the Jobcentre plus website again. Oddly, all of a sudden, there seemed to be jobs to which I could apply. I did so. The difference it makes to your confidence, having actually done the job is amazing. I applied, saying I’d been driving. Two agencies arranged for me to register. Judging by the agency I was with, I thought I’d get on both of their books, that way between them all, I might be able to get enough work.

I went to the first agency to register. The appointment was for one o’clock. I spent an hour filling in forms. As I was finishing them off (two o’clock) they asked if I could work that night. I said I could. They told me to be at Stobarts for four o’clock!

Good start.

Then to carry on doing evening/ night shifts until next week, have my statutory two days off, then go on to morning/ day shift.

And that was that. I am now working every day at Stobarts.

 

So, it was two weeks in the wilderness, now I’m having to fight for days off.

Today was my first day off since Wednesday. I’ve been working nights (start at eight o’clock work through until at least eight in the morning). Already I’ve twice worked the legal maximum of a fifteen hour shift. In my first week I worked eighty two hours. Eighty two hours! Count them! 

I’ve been swilling coffee, popping caffeine pills and guzzling generic Red Bull. The trouble is, of course, that it takes a few weeks to adjust to sleeping in the day. I’ve been getting about five hours disturbed sleep. I’ve been knackered starting the shift. Even with all the stimulants listed above, by five in the morning, when you are on a long, boring motorway there is no way you can stop from nodding.

I’ve been driving with the heater on cold air, the windows open, freezing for hours and still drifting off. I’ve had to resort to literally slapping myself every few minutes.

Hopefully that is a thing of the past now. I had a glorious three hour kip today, I’m getting to sleep in my own bed tonight (YAY!) so I should be refreshed for tomorrow. After that it should be morning starts. Even if I’m up at ungodly o’clock at least I should be able to sleep at night.

 

Working for the same firm each time has it’s advantages. I’m getting to know the truck and how to work it, rather than getting in a different vehicle each time and not knowing how to switch things on or work the onboard computer. Also, so far, the work has been easy. Last night was a quick nip to Trafford Park, pick up a trailer and run it down to Essex, get unloaded, drive back. Job done.

That Truck-Nav, let me say in passing, is the best £355 I have ever spent. Pop in the post code and you are away. It tells you when the motorway is about to split, which lane to be in, when there are speed cameras about, what speed you should be doing through average speed cameras, etc, etc. If it was any better I would be out of a job.

 

Everything I wanted then. A steady driving job, loads of money (I reckon I should be bringing home at least £633 for last week) and out of DHL / Iceland.

The down side is I have no idea how I’m supposed to do anything other than work and sleep. I wanted to do the Ironman Bolton next year but I just don’t know how I can fit in the training. I’ll give it a few weeks, see how it works out. It might seem different on days.

Already I’m getting fatter!  🙁

 

That’s where I am. Getting there. The Master-plan has been initiated. Finally. Truck driving, then on to petrol tankers, then world domination. And maybe some sleep, now and then. Plan!

 

Later,

Buck.

Stuff.

This has been a dynamic couple of weeks. I handed in my notice at work then had the statutory two days rest I should have been having every week whilst driving. The agency rang me three times on my last week, so I was worried I was going to have to fight for my days off. Then nothing. They rang me with a job driving a Transit van to Essex for two days. Not what I wanted, but I said OK, then they said it was minimum wage. I was less than chuffed, but they said ‘could you do it as a favour to us?’ I’m not here to do favours, I’m here to earn a living. Grrrr. Anyway, I was going to do it as they’d caught me off guard, then be prepared to refuse if they tried to get me to do it again. They rang back and cancelled the gig. Which was fine by me. I’d earned brownie points by taking the crap job, then not had to do it. Super.

Then nothing. No calls, no work. They tried to get me a week’s work driving a low-loader with tipper trucks on it.They asked if I’d ever driven a tipper truck. I haven’t. I said I’d be willing to give it a go, though. They were happy enough with that, but apparently the client wanted someone who could actually do the job. Fussy buggers.

I finally got a job on the bin wagons for Friday. I didn’t like my first go on them a few weeks ago. Very tight situations and you have to reverse in to them. Very difficult. And it’s class 2 work, so not what I’m after and less pay.

I want class 1 work. Where it’s virtually all driving forward and just the occasional reverse to worry about. You can take your time and make sure it’s all spot on then. When half of your time is spent reversing into situations that are too tight to be able to drive straight into, and you’re a newbie, mistakes are going to happen.

 

In other news, I’ve just ran the Warrington Half Marathon again. It was my first ever half, last year. This year, being the nearly superhuman triathlete that I am I treated it with contempt. I’ve just bought someone’s place in the Liverpool Marathon for next month, as they can’t make it. Because of a nagging minor leg injury (and laziness) I’ve only done three, ten mile runs since the Outlaw, six weeks ago. When I heard of the place on the Liverpool Marathon I thought I’d better get back to training. I was torn as the week or so before a race you are supposed to taper your training. Just enough to keep you from setting really. On the other hand I wanted to up my miles quickly and prove to myself I was still capable of a marathon. With the above mentioned contempt in mind (‘it’s only a half!’) I did a 13 mile ride to warm my leg up, then a 20 mile run, carrying  a water backpack, on Wednesday. Damn the contempt, but I thought I’d be fine by today.

Not so. I was trying to improve on my time of last year (1.43) and expecting to bring it in around 1.30. I ran the first mile at 7.30 minute/ mile pace whilst I warmed up. Then instead of speeding up I just kept dropping off the pace. My legs were like lead. I had the breath and the energy, but I just couldn’t make my legs work. It turned into an act of endurance just to grind the miles out. I finally finished (without the picking up of pace over the last mile and the sprint for the line of last year) in 1.47! And that was bloody hard going. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

 

Ho hum, give it a few days then start training for some distance running. Try and redeem myself.

 

Whilst I’ve had free time on my hands I’ve started painting the place. That’s a shitty job only to attempted when you are desperately bored! I’ve done the kitchen, loo, and adjoining little space. Now it’s the stairs and the bedrooms. When I get stir crazy again. Nothing too different, just to make the place look clean again.

 

I also spent an afternoon down my allotment harvesting spuds, and digging over and weeding half of it. The other half is threatening.

 

Still, I’m not working at DHL anymore. Yay!

Later,

Buck.