Posts Tagged ‘Driving’

Finally!

..You know I’ve been trying to get into the T.A. ? The Royal Logistics Corps, to be specific. To be more specific, re-enlist, was their term.

Anywho, been at that since near the end of last year.

I applied, they sent me a load of forms, I returned them, they had to dig up my previous army record and get a reference off my employer.

Then I heard nothing for about three months. I thought that they’d decided they’d had enough of me last time.

Out of the blue, I got a ‘phone call about two weeks ago from the T.A., they said they’d faxed a reference request through to my employer in January, heard nothing so tried again in February, still no reply. Could they have a personal reference?

I gave them my mate, Jo, as a referee, and went in to HR to raise merry hell. Their excuse was; as I wasn’t leaving the company they couldn’t give me a reference. Apparently they’d passed the request up and down the chain of command, and basically sat on it.

Bastards.

When I was first thinking this would probably be my best bet for kick starting my driving career one of the senior managers I approached about the company policy on the T.A., mentioned that if I get mobilised the government sends them a letter to force them to release me for the duration, and they have to keep paying me!

Hence their wilful delaying/ blocking tactics.

Bastards.

They T.A. immediately contacted Jo, who did me proud (I asked her to put ‘lover of women, slayer of men, driver of trucks’) and a week later I got another call saying all was well, they’d got my records back, come for a medical assessment on the 23rd of April!

Woo- hoo!

This could be just right. I don’t have to risk leaving a secure job, I get experience and possibly more training in a really professional environment, and they don’t quibble over you running the natives over!

Also, I get to screw my works over! Deep joy.

They asked if I felt confident about the fitness side of it, having to run a mile and a half in fourteen minutes, said ‘yeah, I keep fit with martial arts’.

Went out this morning for my first run in years. Previously when I’ve done stuff like that I’ve at least had a base of fitness and stamina from push-biking.

I worked out a course, approximately 1.8 miles long.

I have been working through a really nasty enervating cold as well, in my defence.

Anyway, I set off and within the first minute I thought I was going to have to give up and collapse gasping for breath.

I didn’t. I looked at the patch of dirt in front of me, tried to breathe and carried on.

It took me fourteen and a half minutes. So, by my (distance) calculations I’m within tolerance.

I staggered back to the car, lungs burning, spit in strings, feeling sick as a dog. It took me a good five minutes of coughing and spitting before I was well enough to drive home.

I did it though. If I do it every day until the assessment I should be able to do it without them following me around the course with  paramedics and an oxygen tent.

In other news, that wobbly front tooth forced me to rejoin the dentists. I went today.

I lay there with my eyes shut, trying to find my happy place whilst doing deep breathing and other Jedi mind tricks.

I was a tad miffed anyway, even excepting the terror. It had a price chart in the reception area, check up £16.50, root canal £46, cap £198! Damn the getting my front teeth shot and nutted out!

The dentist did a check, said my teeth were fine, wiggled my cap off, glued it and stuck it back in there and then, That’ll be £16.50, please!

Big yay!

Other super-duper news is that yesterday at my sax lesson, sax-sensei Pete showed me the fingerings for the last few notes. I now have the set! From F#, which is somewhere in the dog-whistle range, through to low C#, the sound of earthquakes.

Now it’s simply a matter of practising until I can use them!

To round it all off, I’ve got four days off work, and the garden is coming to life in the sudden promise of Spring. All is peachy.

Well, apart from with Wendy who is not entering into the adventurous spirit of armed high-jinks.

Women, eh? 😉

I will be driving a truck. Worst case, I’ll be away for six months. In all likelihood I’ll be back in one piece, duty done, experience gained.

A year from now the world will be our oyster.

Later,

Buck.

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

At work some coffin-dodging bastard has switched to Gold. Allegedly all the best songs from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Actually all rock ‘n’ roll, and a few pop songs from the latter decades. Apparently there was no hippy era, no punk, no new wave British heavy metal, no gothic. Just saccharin 60’s and the odd inoffensive mainstream pop song.

Which brings me to my point, spleen vented.

They have played Cindy Lauper’s ‘Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun’ a few times. Each time I hear it I feel a bittersweet pain.

I am suffused with a nostalgic melancholy for a loss I can’t quite pinpoint.

It’s not the song, which I like in an off-hand way. It’s not exactly the time in my life when it was in the charts.

I  have been thinking about it. O.K., so I was getting drunk but I was still working full time and my standard of living, due to the above, was considerably poorer than now.

It seems to be some sort of product of the milieu, the zeitgeist and my own age of innocence.

Girls just want to have fun.

We were young, all the fun was new and thrilling (not the dependencies they would become) life was innocent and hopeful, and we were all just kids. Trying to live the dream of the day, which was to be totally ‘right-on’, (which later became ‘Politically Correct’ and a stick with which to beat the dream to death.)

You weren’t a man, woman, black, white, atheist, Muslim, whatever, you were all people, and it could all work out.

I’m getting choked up looking back on that.

‘So young, so dumb’, as a later songstress would say.

Sorry about that, I was trying to capture a feeling and explain it. Wendy objects strongly to me writing it, so if it was too much…, well, tough tits, we ain’t in the 80’s no more!

…..And, we’re back in the room. Senior moment over with.

What has been happening with your quest for a driving job? I hear you cry. Potentially good news, at last!

For months every job I’ve seen is either advertised as ‘must have extensive previous experience’ or it turns out to be a prerequisite when I have applied.

Out of nowhere, like the proverbial bus, three come along at once that state ‘previous experience preferred, but not essential’.

Woo-hoo!

I’ve applied for two of them, (the third was 20-50 hours, I need to be sure of more than 20 hours).

One of them is for a car transporter driver. Not great in many ways, I’d have to take a pay cut on my basic, might be away from home for a week at a time, and it’s at Ellsmere Port (about 25 miles away, so petrol money would be more). However, when I rang them (turns out it’s an agency fielding the contract) they said that the jobs were full at the mo, ring them back every fortnight on a Friday and they would get me in. No experience necessary as two weeks training given!

That will do me!

Gotta go, boss says it’s bed time.

Buck.

Just musing.

Hi! I’ve just noticed that I’ve had 1,000 views of my blog! I’m a celebrity!

However, this will be my 103rd post, so I’m an unknown. 🙁

If you don’t follow me on Twitter let me tell you I’m loving my Kung Fu class. I’ve got my kit and I’m not afraid to pose in it!

It’s a pity the Beth couldn’t keep it up, it’s really spiffy. Don’t know that she’d have loved the last class though, swapping punches so your arm collides in defence/attack with your partner’s. It soon starts hurting and doesn’t stop!

Grin and bear it, it’s good for practice and it toughens you up.

I’m aching still though. And I’ve got bloody friction burns on my arse from all the sit ups! Again! All good though.

My sax lesson has had a positive turn around as well. When I went this week I had a few of the things that I have been struggling with come together. Then he turned the page to a new chapter and it was a checkpoint. Instead of learning something new it is three set pieces supposed to consolidate your learning to date.

As usual sax-sensei Pete pointed me at the new stuff and told me to have a go. It was for a complete change, a lot easier than the previous exercises. I didn’t do it perfectly, but for a first time, sight reading as I went along, it wasn’t too shabby.

I was quite pleased with myself, then he told me that the pieces were from a grade 4 exam! (Or level 4, I forget.)

The point being, these are pieces on which the student would train for months before an exam and I did a reasonable attempt first time out of the bag!

Not trying to blow my own trumpet here (if anything, my own sax) just saying how surprised and delighted I was.

Then he said now we’re at chapter 17 you can move on to ‘100 best tunes book’ or some such. Learning by playing songs, some of which I will already know, rather than by bending my mind around hideous exercises. If you recall, that was what I said I was going to leave my lessons to do in my last blog. So that it going swimmingly.

Here is something I found that seemed to be begging for the title ‘Ships Of The Desert’

Also on the pictures front, here is that Sisters of Mercy/ Merciful Release logo that I want as a tattoo

Groovy, or what?

Perhaps you have to love the band.

I’m currently enjoying a long weekend. I was off Thursday, in Friday, now off Saturday, Sunday and Monday! Bloody lovely.

On the subject of work, I have been moaning lately about being sent into the freezer all of the time. The place at which I work has the contract picking and delivering to the Iceland stores, so it’s not too unexpected that I would work in the freezer now and then. In point of fact I’ve been in there that often that I don’t even mind it that much.

However, what does piss me off is all the other pickers from grocery getting out of doing it by bringing in a sick note. This means the few of us who haven’t got a medical exclusion are always being sent in, whilst the others laugh at us. Everyone knows the job is for Iceland, that part of your job is working in the freezer and that most of the sick notes are bullshit, but nothing was being done about it.

Apparently if you are not fit to do your job that is reasonable grounds for dismissal, yet the company let it slide.

Anyway, because of it, I was in the freezer all but three days out of six weeks.

In the end I’d had enough. I went storming into the office and had about four different managers, up and down the chain of command, over it. (When I said I’d been moaning about it above, I meant at home and on t’internet, I’d just gotten on with it at work.)

They said that there was a review of the sick note situation coming up and the people who were laughing at me would be laughing on the other sides of their faces! And for once it looks like they may have been telling the truth!

The union rep said yesterday that they were going to refer all the sickies to the company medical review people and if they were found to be medically incapable of working in the freezer they would be given four weeks notice! HAH!

Yes, I am gloating.

They’ve all been keen enough to take the piss out of me and let me do the dirty work for them. As I said to one of the managers, I don’t want special treatment, I just want fair treatment.

There are an awful lot of sphincter’s twitching at work now. There is about to be the biggest incidence of miraculous recovery since the bible stories!

On the down side to this week, I’ve tried to register with the driving agencies around town and they don’t want to know!

Bugger.

If I haven’t escaped before, I’ll risk taking a temporary job in August. That will give me a few months experience.

Still, overall, it’s been a good week.

Later

Buck.

The resolutions are go!

Finally I’m getting my resolutions going.

I’ve bloated out in the two months I’ve not been working out at martial arts. I’ve only gone from ten stone six to eleven stone one, but I think I must have lost a lot of very heavy muscle and replaced it with acres of relatively light fat. I’m hanging over my trousers in a way that bears no resemblance to such a small increase in weight.

It’s a distressing thought that I am going to have to spend the rest of my life sweating the flab off.

Damn middle age!

I used to be able to stay slim without trying when I was young.I had a bloater phase about five years age, but then I gave up drinking and dropped three stones so I thought I had it cracked. Apparently not. My work is no longer physically demanding enough and I have been on the road (now I’ve got a car license) for over three years. Previously, with the bikes, I either got banned or crashed them. The longest (by a long way) that I was on the road continuously was fifteen months. That was the only time I ever renewed an insurance policy on a bike! The upshot of that being that I spent most of my life on a push-bike.

Long story slightly shorter than interminable, it turns out that it only the exercise of martial arts training that has stopped me looking like a space-hopper.

Which is preamble to saying I have started my training again. I’ve given up on the Taekwondo as flash but impractical, and gone back to Wing Chun Kung Fu, famously the style of Bruce Lee.

The lineage is impressive as well. The Sifu (Chinese for master) at the club was taught in Hong Kong by the sons of the legendary Yip Man (the guy who taught Bruce Lee, and about whom they made a film last year).

I’ve got the money to do it this time and I have an abundance of desire.

Also in the merits column, I am taking my niece who has been having a bit of trouble with her self confidence and has been avoiding going out of the house because of it. This will do her a power of good. Just getting out is a major step.

She braved it last night and came with me.

Kudos.

She met a load of new people and found them all to be a laugh, encouraging and supportive.

The exercise is it’s own reward (and punishment!) and, in time, she will be confident that she can handle herself if things should kick off. At the moment she seems to be in the worrying phase where she won’t go out because someone might see her, they then might make a comment, they then might give her abuse, they then might start a fight, they might, they might…

It’s all worry feeding on itself. When you don’t feel threatened by people taking the piss out of you (because you don’t sport chav chic) the abuse is like water off a ducks back.

This is the voice of experience here. See my pics. I wear that for everything, going to town, doing the shopping, it’s what I wear.

Anyway, if she sticks to it there is no bad. She was buzzing off it when we finished our first lesson on Tuesday. When I dropped her off at her mam and dad’s, they (her sister included) burst into a song and dance rendition of ‘Kung Fu Fighting’. That was funny.

That was one/ two items on my resolutions list. Exercise and back to martial arts.

The other big thing is back to my saxophone lessons tomorrow.

I can’t say I enjoy them. I want to know all the basics then I’m going to stop the lessons while I take my own time to practise everything. Get back at it though, that’s the main thing. I can’t run until I can walk.

The same with the Kung Fu. I was really nervous about going back. I’ve already quit that club twice (once because I was drinking too much to keep at it, once because I just couldn’t afford it.) Now I’ve been once, got over that nervous hurdle, I can just get on with getting on. Paying for my years membership and uniform tomorrow, just to show I’m committing. Which has not impressed Wendy overly. ‘Are you collecting them?’ sort of comments. (In fairness I’ve only got two, the Karate one and the Taekwondo one.)

The only thing I can’t seem to get moving is my driving career. That seems to be out of my hands. I keep applying, keep hearing nothing.

Ho hum.

Chin up, keep trying.

Getting there,

Buck.

It is what it is…

, well what the hell else could it be? Redundant? A tautology? A waste of two seconds of my life listening to inane drivel?

Sorry, just carrying on the thought from the ‘subject’ box. I am very tired and a tad cranky in case you hadn’t noticed.

Just to say after spending nearly a quarter of my annual take home pay on driver training and after all the prevarication and promises, when I again asked today if there was any sign of me ever getting on to the final bit of warehouse to wheels, a manager said to me "in a word, no."

As I have long suspected.

Bunch of bastards.

Months they have been stringing me along, always with plausible plans, and finally, ‘no’.

On the bright side, it’s not like I have turned any work down on the off chance they would come through. I’ve been applying for every job that’s advertised, and many that aren’t, and always it comes down to experience.

Two jobs I’ve seen since passing my test that were OK, about not having experience, both agency. The last said he would ring me when he had something more definite, never got back to me, and one today. £7 per hour, class II driver, but only until Jan/Feb.

I’m tempted, even so. There will be no work at all at the end of January though. It would be nice to drop my works in the shit for xmas and start building up experience, even if it would be a drop in hourly pay.

Wendy’s out painting the town red tomorrow with her hell-raising crew from C.A.B.. Well, going for a meal, at any rate. I think I’ll do the maths then. Could we afford to take the pay cut, and how long could we last with me out of work.

The army said they have received my application to ‘re-enlist’ (gulp) but it will take several weeks to process as I’m an ex soldier. Presumably they will have to track down my records from previous service. I will be a driver, I will, I will.

Wendy’s still not happy about the thought of me being mobilised. She’s got me down as dead, wounded, or loony. A dude’s got to (try) to do what a dude’s got to do. I have grave doubts as to whether I’ll even get in. Got to keep as many irons in the fire as possible though.

Right, well tired me,

later,

Buck.

Ennui kills!

Oh my! I’ve been sat at home now for a week, scared to do much online shopping because I don’t know if I have a job or not, and getting more and more bored. I have been window shopping for jobs the last couple of days, but I can’t really commit until I am definitely sacked, as they are all crap in one way or another. There is one advertising in Manchester, Trafford Park, which is just down the motorway. He’s willing to take on new drivers, but the traffic into Manchester is a nightmare, it would involve nights out, and the pay is £7.25 and hour! So, spend five and a half grand to take a twenty percent pay cut!

Obviously if I am sacked I would have to apply.

Just now I was looking again for jobs, and, through a link to another job site, came across an advert for drivers, 19-43 years old, to go and get blown up in some godforsaken corner of the globe. So I’ve applied!

Military Driver, Royal Logistics Corps, Territorial Army.

Larf!

It says you have to be able to put in at least nineteen days a year, but as soon as they’ve got you doubtless you’ll be sent out on tours of duty. Wendy was OK with it until I suggested that it might involve active duty.

I really do have a lethally low boredom threshold. 

We’ll see, I might not even get an answer. If I’m not sacked, work would have to be cool about it as well.

My fitness is tolerable, I have the mental where-with-all to be able to take army life now, and it would be a sterling commendation on any driving CV. And if it was only for short bursts, and I don’t get blown up, could be quite fun.

Things you do!

Buck.

It’s all about now.

Hi. I’m nervous now. Today is supposed to be the day. I have to go in and see the site manager, my bezzie mate/ total bastard, Tony Simpson today. This is it. My future hangs in the balance. If he says I can go driving then I’ll be ecstatic but terrified, if he says I can’t I’ll start applying for jobs in earnest. The third, and worst, option is that he says ‘I’ll get back to you’ (again).

So far this has been a happening week; Wendy and I compromised on the sax, I’m initially renting it for four months to see if I can take to it and stick to it, but I now have a sax! (Pictures to follow, got to go to work in a bit.)

I even got a noise out of it! I wouldn’t go so far as to claim it was a note, but it was better than the breathless wheeze I seem to remember achieving the last time I owned one.

My shoes finally arrived today, six days too late for the do to which I intended to wear them, but stunning none the less. Hand made to order, which explains the delay, but not the claim of a ten day turn around made by the website.

My 0% interest credit card came yesterday, I’ve transferred that huge debt I ran up for my driving lessons (for which they had recently upped the interest repayment to ninety pounds a month!) and we will easily be able to settle that before we start incurring interest again.

So now it’s just the job. I’m scared if he says ‘yes’, as when I said I would like to go out with a driver for a week to build up my experience safely, he changed it to ‘an assessor, yes’. If that is the case I’d feel like I was on my driving test for a whole week!

If he says ‘no’, then the panic subsides until such times as I can actually get someone to give me an interview, never mind a job.

If, as I’m expecting, he says ‘I’ll get back to you’, I’ll be miffed, but I have no choice but to hang in there.

Well, good, bad or indifferent, I’ll let you know tomorrow. Also I’ll post pictures of my eBay bargain suit, so-cool shoes, and unspeakably cool sax. 

Fingers crossed,

Buck.

Hurry up and wait

I’ve calmed down after my last impotent rant. When I returned to the Independent’s story later on the problem had been cleared and there were several cynical and informed replies posted. The story is getting out, and people are aware that want to be aware. If one chooses to subscribe to the evil Murdoch’s promulgation pawns that is a choice. Less of a choice when you consider how many local radio stations all cut to Sky for their news updates, and the unadulterated propaganda that is Sky telly. Enough!

Was it one of those ‘use this word in a sentence’ deliberate misunderstandings on the word ‘horticulture’ that ran: you can lead a whore to culture, but you can’t make her think.

Not independently valid on any level when you break it down, but if you accept that reality is objective, its interpretation subjective, and its reporting selective, it follows that a person who fails to question probably just wants a simple answer.

As they say of being a biker ‘if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.’

Not you, imagined and implicitly clever reader, but the Sun reading herd. Not even that broad a category, Sun believing herd.

Anywho, believe it or not I have actually calmed down. All the above was just a way of saying that I probably won’t be writing up my manifesto piecemeal, defining myself by what I oppose. People believe what they want. The evidence that informs my views is equally available to all. To think that only I can extrapolate the truth is verging on megalomania, and is at best patronising. You are all spared. Do your own thinking and don’t blame me when you get it wrong! (Joke!)

Over myself now.

Now we’ve thrashed that one out lets move on.

Potentially good news about my driving, I went in to see the HR chick yet again on Friday (the latest date when everything would be resolved, obviously it wasn’t, again!) but this time the main woman wasn’t there so her minion said she’d go and see her. I waited a few minutes then out came the site manager. I ignored him, thinking he was about his business and it wouldn’t relate to mine. He came up to me, sat me down, and had a five minute chat with me. Perhaps I should mention in passing that the perception is that he is more than just the site manager (although that is at the top of the food chain as far as everyone on site is concerned), the feeling is that he is a troubleshooter. Sent to sort out sites, then move on. He is, it’s felt, a company hit-man.

Since he took over there have been lots of changes (such as we de-kit lads being chucked out of our department and Eastern European agency lads being given our jobs). So when I say he was talking to me, I mean a chap with some clout.

He said he was still looking into it, trying to find out why, if Warehouse-to-wheels was a success, it wasn’t an ongoing concern. If it was not a success what was wrong with it, etc.

He explained that Iceland own the fleet of trucks, but DHL (for whom we work) insure them. That because they are high street stores to which we deliver, the access is often torturous, across car-parks, and into tight yards. He asked how I saw it proceeding. I said that I would like to go out with a driver, me driving, him watching, for a week until I got my confidence up and learned the job.

He said he would get back to me on Wednesday, with an answer, but in principle how would I feel about night trunking? (Working nights, obviously, picking up a trailer from our big, wagon-friendly yard, driving along one or two major roads, with hardly any traffic on them, straight onto the motorway then the same again at the destination. Drop that trailer off, pick up another, then drive home.) I said that would be ideal.

All of which implies that he has been taking an interest, no just stringing me along. He’s talked to the transport manager, got an assessment of the difficulties a new driver would face and how to minimise them. This could be for real. He also said that as he would be sending me out with a driver for a week that would cost him £400 wages, how would I feel about staying on my current pay rate until I’d made that back? YES, goddammit! Give me the truck keys and lets go!

So now we wait, again. Hopefully Wednesday will be the day.

I’ll be sure to post whatever the outcome, for now I have to get ready for work.

Later,

Buck.

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.

The Device and other achievements.

I’ve been trying out my purchases whilst I’ve been off. I went for a run (my first run in months, prior to that, years) and decided to try out my ankle weights!

Can anybody guess how that went?

First run in ages, with a kilo strapped to each ankle.

Not well is the answer, in case you were wondering.

I managed to miss the road I was aiming for so went on a much longer circuit, I completely outpaced myself and by the time I got back (only twenty minutes or so later) I thought I was going to throw up.

Not an unqualified success then.

We are supposed to be starting training sessions on Sundays now the TKD classes have been cancelled so I thought I’d get a head start. Apparently you need to be able to run a mile in under twelve minutes (OK, stroll a mile in under twelve minutes) before you can qualify for black belt. I could do that now. But to do it with élan I really need the practise.

So I got back, tried to get my breath back, then carried on with the rest of my work-out. When I’d finished I tried out my latest invention: The Device!

As you can see it’s just two home-made ankle loops attached to a length of rope that passes between two eyed screws. The pulley does the rest. Pop your feet in those loops, pull the cord on the pulley, then weep like a little girl.

It’s a home-made substitute for a £150 device you can buy. Mine cost about £20 or so, and I have enough rope and screws to build another.

That’s the crowing over, the question was: will it work?

Oh my sweet lord, yes.

I tried it out yesterday after my work-out, when theoretically I’m as stretched as I get, and it stretched me further.

Today I was so stiff, with the leg weights and the stretching, that I had to do a quick work-out. This promptly turned into another run in weights (much better this time, thanks for your concern) a work-out and back to The Device! This time I managed to pull another nine inches or so through the pulley. (I marked the pulley cord to give me a record of my progress.) This is not as impressive as it sounds, my feet did not go nine inches further back, there is a 6:1 ratio on the pulley. I’m here to tell you that when you feel at full stretch, then pull another nine inches of cord through, it feels like you are being torn in half, however insignificant the actual improvement is in inches.

I have placed it behind where my kick/punch bag usually hangs (I only took it down for the sake of clarity on the photo’s) usually it looks like this:

The benefits are many. It hides most of the mess, and more importantly my girly, sobbing face when it is in use and when I have become more flexible I can use the bag as a backrest, thus increasing the angle of stretch possible.

I’m having a splendid few days off, what with the extremes of pain and exertion. It don’t get any better than this.

I was outbid on that really nice touring push-bike. I was willing to go up to £76, (though in the heat of the moment I did bid up to £82!) it sold for £125. Bum.

However, I have finally got myself a racer, for £40. It has long mudguards, a rack, and ten gears. I’m going to pick it up after tea, if everything works as it aught, that will do me nicely.

I’ll take it for a spin tomorrow, if all is well use it for work during the week, then next week maybe go for a ride for fun. Seems an odd concept, but I used to do it all the time.

Oh and as an added bonus, my license got back from Swansea yesterday. Sunday today, Bank Holiday tomorrow, so there will be none of the top brass managers in work until I return on Tuesday, so I’ll take it in then. Hopefully get the ball rolling in my driving.

All is peachy, time for tea,

later,

Buck.

PS, just picked the racer up. It rocks, I’ll elaborate tomorrow but I went for a quick spin to the top of our street and back, and she flies! Have to adjust the seat height, the angle of the handlebars, tighten the headstock, and swap reflector and lights from my mountain bike to the new beast, but I think I’m going to like this one!

Archives