Month: July 2012

Mixed fortunes.

After the hols last week I thought the works or the agency had got rid of me but it turned out they had just lost my number (along with their mobile.)

Sunday evening they ‘phoned me on the landline and ruined my chi. I was quite looking forward to having Monday off. C’est la vie.

Bright side being, A: it gave me some wages, B: it got me back into driving. You wouldn’t think I’d need a refresher after doing it daily for six months, but at the first island driving away from my works I found I was approaching at car speeds. Not good in a truck. Then on Wednesday I backed into a barrier. Total bummer.

It was a bay tight against a wall with a barrier running alongside it. I’ve backed into it when there was a truck parked in the next bay, making it REALLY tight, no problem. This time I had about three empty bays to drive across then swing it in. The barrier goes in for a spell, then stupidly, comes out again. I caught it on the come out bit. Totally gutted.

My confidence has taken a battering. I have to refocus, regroup and go back to basics. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

If you can’t see where your arse end is, get out and look. Don’t think you can judge off the visible side. Stupid.

I’ll see how it goes. Give it another week at least to get over my nerves then maybe apply for another job.

I am really torn about that now. I want to go to a better job because, well, it’s better, but I don’t want to make any mistakes while I’m new. But that is two accidents here (turning that mirror around was hardly a major incident, but it counts as an accident). I don’t like it. I’d prefer to run away.

Yes, I am freaking out. 

Not a happy bunny at all. Wishing I had a job that used my brain. Trucking is a great job when all is well but the slightest error and things go ‘SMASH’ and there is no undoing it. Why didn’t I study to be a heart surgeon? A job where you don’t get any complaints if you do it wrong.

 

In other news, the fitness side of things is really looking up. It was only five weeks ago (four weeks of cycling) that I started riding in to work. Admittedly it was with a bloody great painful rucksack, but my time was 45 minutes. I broke the 35 minute barrier twice last week! Chuffed.

I only managed four days riding last week. I found I had a flat as I was about to set off for work on Friday. I did a (relatively) quick inner tube change only to find the brand name (Raleigh) dearer tube I’d bought from a sports supermarket had a poxy small valve stem. It didn’t even poke through the wheel rim far enough for me to attach the pump. I was less than thrilled. I had to go in the car. In retrospect I am so glad it happened at home. If I’d have had an irreparable puncture on a long ride out and then found out the replacement tube didn’t work I’d have spat my dummy with some vigour.

Anywho, the important part about that tale is my minutes per mile stat has come down from 4 m/m last year when I was at my fittest, to 3m15s per mile. It’s only a sprint course, with no big hills but it’s undeniably quicker. Last year I settled for endurance, this year I want to build the speed as well. I remember as a teen that I rode everywhere in tenth gear, pumping the whole time, even up Frodsham hill. I recall my calf muscles were actually split into two distinct muscles. If I can keep pushing it, day in, day out, then I should be able to recover those honking great muscles. Get the muscles, piss the speed. That’s the plan.

 

Whilst I was on holiday gorging on clotted cream, pasties and rat poison I managed to put on five pounds. I’ve lost four and a half of them already. Yay!

 

Also I have had a hair cut today! At a proper hair cutting place. Go me! I think it’s about 30 years since I last did. I’ve shaved it off myself, had family to trim it, or just left it. They gave me a loyalty card. After I’ve had nine cuts the tenth is free. Unfortunately at this rate  I will be 315 years old before I can claim my free cut. Still, at that age a chap wants to look his best for the ladies. Here’s the result anyway. The same but shorter.

Excuse the squinty, cock-eyed photo’, the flash on my ‘phone is fierce.

The tan, regrettably, is if anything, understated. Running in Cornwall and riding to and from work have ruined my undead street cred.

 

Talking of running, my final bit of fitness news is awesome! Though I do (modestly) say so myself. You know how I buggered my leg with those ‘natural running’ trainers and basically couldn’t run for six months? Before the holiday I did four, 10  mile runs. One of them I couldn’t complete, I had to stop and have a breather. The other three were the very limit of my endurance and willpower just to keep moving after 6 or so miles. The times were disgraceful. The three I completed averaged at 9m 16s per mile. They started off, the first mile or so, around the 8m/m mark, but petered off to a Peter Kay ‘dad-run’ by the end.

After the week of running every day up and down the coastal hills of Cornwall I did my first flat Warrington run today. I felt epic! I could feel that I could push it. I ended up doing the 10.3 miles in 1h 20m. That used to be my OK pace before I knackered myself. Or to put it another way, my very best time for 10 miles was 1h 15m. Today’s run was an average of 7m 50s per mile!  That’s nearly a minute and a half faster per mile than pre-hols!

Honestly, I am really, really happy about that.

The gods had to mock me a bit on the run thing though. My new trainers came on Friday whilst we were at work. The delivery guy didn’t leave them at a neighbours or in the blue bin or anything, just took them away with him, said he’d redeliver on Monday (presumably when we are safely at work) so I had to run in really old trainers. The pair I bought before the cowshit pair. Not a problem, they still work, just not as well. I decided to run down by the canal as it’s scenic and off road. Also because the cinder and dirt path had been baked for a week so would be nice and dry. About four miles into the run, at the point when there’s really no point in turning back, it suddenly started to bucket it down. Ace. I was soaked. The dusty dry path turned into a puddle-fest. My trainers were soaked and heavy in no time. Then it started to thunder. Whilst I was alone in the middle of nowhere. Super.  Still, a good run.

The way forward is try to run often, include lots of hills where possible.

 

As ever I’m sure there were loads of things I thought of during the week to include on here, but I’m damned if I can think of them now. Again. I’ll have to start taking notes.

Well, that’s all for now.

Later,

Buck.

Quick update

Turns out work haven’t got rid of me, the agency lost their mobile ‘phone and with it my mobile number. They rang me on the landline tonight, I’m back in as usual all week. Bugger. I was looking forward to a few days indolence.

It’s good in several ways though; it pays the bills while I apply for another job and it keeps my hand in so I’m confident for any assessment. Also it looks better applying for a job whilst in work, especially applying for a trunking driving job whilst you are doing a trunking driving job.

 

While I’m here I forgot to mention we saw a lizard/ newt/ whatever scurrying about in the road in Cornwall. About 3” long and black. It was quite exciting. I really need to get out more.

 

Also, last night I had just finished my blog. I was calling Wendy up to look at it before I posted to make sure she was OK about that one picture with her on it. Before she could look she asked me to sort the fuse box out as the downstairs lights had tripped. I did it in the dark. And turned off the circuit with the PC on. Lost the (completed) lot. I had to do it all again today. Tres miffed.

 

Anyway, Wendy’s trying to get to sleep and we are both in work tomorrow. Bum.

Later,

Buck.

Jollies.

Well, what a time we had and no mistake.

As I said last time, we booked a cheap week away in a caravan in Cornwall months ago, in anticipation of the glorious British Summer. Then it pissed it down continuously for three months. Hopes were not high.

By some strange miracle we actually had nice weather! Huzzah!

Cornwall doesn’t have a lot going for it in the rain. We had one day with a bit of drizzle, some wind, but the rest was sunny and lovely. We also had reservations about the site I’d booked. When we got the brochure that featured a bench as a selling point we were a tad concerned. We were looking forward at least to taking out pictures on the bench. There was no bench!

What is the number for the Trades Description Act people?

Devastated.

However, the site itself was small, well spaced caravans, under-occupied and the caravan was clean and fine. As opposed to one site we had to drive through where they were crammed together, looked old and dirty and had loads of riff-raff. And the view from the big window at the end of the caravan:

Wowsers!

We were a seven minutes run down a steep wooded path from the beach.

A fact I took daily advantage of with my runs. It was fantastic running down from the caravan, across a beach or two (depending on if the tide was out) then up the coast path over the hills. The best part of the running for me was the two days when I met extreme hikers. They were all togged out in stout hiking boots, serious trousers, all weather coats, rucksacks, etc. I was going the other way in trainers, shorts and a sleeveless top. At a run.

Well, it made me smile anyway.

The beach just below the caravan was good for swimming too. Not many tourists (damn their eyes!) a gradual deepening of the water and a lifeguard. Ideal. I only did one swim, but it was nice to have it there. I was putting it off as it’s my weakest discipline in triathlon. Well, in the top three of my weakest disciplines.

I took a holiday from my diet as well. I’ve put on 4 pounds but it was worth it! We found an excellent Cantonese/ Chinese restaurant (that by luck was also cheap) and an Italian restaurant that was sublime.

The downside to our culinary adventure was the Rat Poison episode. Wendy doesn’t believe it, but I think so.

We went to a local pub for our tea, and to be fair the meal was nice. Fish and chips. Cornish fish is always better than up here, but they had an really tasty herby batter for it. Very nice. However, I made some quip about the service being slow (that they must be catching the fish) that was overheard. When I ordered pudding the barman went into the back and brought it out. He went back into the kitchen then we heard (presumably) the chef saying “Oh my god! No!” The chap came out and tried to take the pudding back, saying it was treacle pudding, not sticky toffee pudding. I thought it was a massive over-reaction and ate it anyway.

Then I started to feel ill. I had to go to bed early as I was feeling so sick. Then I had to get up in the night to be sick. You’ll recall I don’t drink, so it wasn’t that.

I think the guy thought he’d sort out the gobby Northener with the addition of a soupcon of rat poison. It only makes you throw up, so no harm done. Wendy disagrees.  Either way, we didn’t return to The Rat Poisoner’s Arms.

The other thing about that place was a car parked outside. Look at this for cool:

Crank handle at the front and everything! It was fully legal and functional as it drove off shortly after we arrived. Presumably so the driver could go and get his stomach pumped.

We did some touristy stuff, such as visit St Michael Mount. When I did my (failed) Cornish triathlon last year we were based in Marazion, just across the causeway from it, but never went. This time I thought we should make the effort.

It was lovely.

 

We had such a nice, quiet, relaxing time that Wendy is actually entertaining the idea of us moving back there. I’ve always wanted to move back, but Wendy has her job that she won’t be able to move with (mostly small, volunteer based C.A.B.’s in Cornwall) and her church that has loads of her family in it, so was reluctant.

It would mean me realizing an earlier ambition, that of getting a driving job with a national employer, such as the Royal Mail, then getting a transfer. I did a quick search on the jobsite for HGV drivers in Cornwall. Of the three that actually state a wage (as opposed to ‘meets minimum wage’, ‘dependent on experience’, ‘to be discussed’) there were two day jobs at £8 per hour, and one nights job at £400 per week (best case £8.33 per hour as it was 48 hours or more as needed!)

That was for now, in all of Cornwall. Given that your native Cornishman would probably give preference to a local lad/ lass that is not encouraging. I changed to location to Warrington, days £9-£12 per hour, nights £12-£16 per hour.

Talking of which, because I had the audacity to have a week’s holiday after my six months, five days a week, for my latest job the company or agency have not got me back in next week.

Sod ‘em.

The good news is that the job for which I was going to apply upon my return from our holiday is currently recruiting! Yay!  That is the £9-£12 per hour job (£9 p/h for the first 8 hours each day, £12 thereafter, typical 10-12 hour days. Sundays all at £12 p/h etc.)

So I’ll be applying for that on Monday. I’m tempted by the money on that nights trunking job though. The trouble with that is; 1, I never see Wendy as it is, 2, there is a massive increase in the number of driver fatalities due to RTA’s amongst night drivers. Trying to sleep during the day around here, with the yappy dog and yappy kids about to start their Summer holidays, in sunlight… Then going in to work knackered and driving all night. Not good. But a lot of cash. Say £13 p/h average, 55 hours a week… that’s £715 per week.  The day job would be about £540. Minus four hours, fifteen minutes for breaks, usually.

Well, I’ll apply for the day job first, but if not immediately successful I think I’ll have to go for the nights job. Bloody hell that’s a lot of cash. I’d have to put the rest of my life on hold, it would just be work and sleep, but that is serious money.

I’d guess, at say 20% stoppages, take home £430 days, £570 nights. Shit.

Well, we’ll see. 

 

BTW,the reason there are no pictures of Wendy is ‘cos she has forbidden me to post pictures of her to the internet until she’s wretched and skinny again. If that’s what makes her happy. Belson chic.

I just look the same;

Or even more windblown bad hair day:

So that’s life as is. Great break, want to move back, currently unemployed, fatter and more rat poison resistant. Oh, and all the running and damnable, unrelenting sunshine has made my face all red and peeling. Ace. And the running through mud and cowshit has ruined my trainers. Good. They have been crippling me since I got them. Finally I can justify buying a new pair.

That’s all folks.

Later,

Buck.