Posts Tagged ‘Transportation’

White Xmas my arse!

What larks! Snow, ice, and Rage Against The Machine.

I seem to be getting sent into the freezer every shift now, hopefully just until the xmas rush is over. On Sunday it was miserable in there, I was on a bit of a downer. 2-10 on a Sunday, in the freezer. Glum was I.

Then I got home and Wendy told me that Rage had beaten Simon Cowell’s karaoke clone to the xmas number 1! I was buzzing! What Yuletide frolics we shall have. Best xmas No 1EVER!

That was definitely the best 99p I’ve ever spent.

Bill Bailey was triumphant on Twitter that night. A success for real music, he thought. As he so rightly said "Hey Cowell, F+++ you I won’t do what you tell me!"

Might be an anthem for me next year, "Killing in the name."

Then there was the snow. All very pretty until it freezes over night. Then you have the mard-arse want-to-live-for-ever types who think that a slightly damp road means you should do 6mph (literally. For about three miles through town.) That was later though, in the morning I ran Wendy to church, then on the way home hit the brakes too hard.

Not so much fun. Locked up (obviously) lost all control, and started sliding towards that open roadworks you see.

Shit, shit, shit, shit!

And that will be another new bumper, please.

Wendy was so much less than pleased.

When I got home I spotted this, which has to be the most optimistic bit of clothes hanging in the history of laundry:

That amused me. It’s not a brilliant quality photo’, but you can see the sitting snow, and it was actually snowing at the time. Respect!

I think I have already mentioned (was it on here or on Twitter?) that after me telling one of the bosses (after he asked how my driving was going) that ‘it isn’t they are fucking me over’ the next day a senior manager pulled me up and said that they were still on about getting me on the road with the warehouse-to-wheels scheme, but at the moment they had a desperate shortage of pickers and a surfeit of drivers. Come the new year…

Yeah, right. When they hand me the keys I’ll start to believe them. Still now I’ve stopped pestering them over it, there was no reason for him to start me off again. There are no jobs out there, I’m trapped until well into the new year.

It’s a possibility, but if I see another job I will be applying for it.

Also in the news, yesterday the neighbourhood urchins were pelting the front room windows and car with snow/ice balls. Wendy told them to stop, as did I, so they went behind a garden fence and carried on.

I lost my rag.

Not this time.

I stormed over to the offending wretch’s house and banged on. The dad is bloody huge. He would be the same size as every bugger else lay down with broken legs (4lb’s pressure, applied to a not-bent knee joint).

He wasn’t in so I went to the other kids’ house, ready to take it as far as necessary. He however brought his brood to heel.

I know, I know, massive over-reaction.

Plus side, I’m motivated to return to my martial arts just as soon as possible.

Anywho, merry non-denominational winter holiday to one and all!

Killing in the name of…


Give them the vote…

I was driving home from work today. It’s only a twenty minute drive whatever route you take. On the way home I prefer to take the longer route by the motorway which affords the illusion of haste. I pulled out of our works onto a single carriageway, behind a car with a huge boy-racer red stripe over it. It shot off, and I tootled after. The road became a dual carriageway after the next island, and I caught up with the boy racer who was staying in the inside lane. As I drew closer I considered overtaking, then fell back when the car swerved half into the outside lane, then just as precipitously pulled back in again. I gave the crash-waiting-to-happen a big gap. The same happened again.

The situation stabilised so I ventured an overtake. As I drew level it was a woman lighting her fag! She’d obviously been routing in her handbag.

A mere two islands later I still hadn’t made it to the motorway, but as I pulled across the island the car to my left drove straight out in front of me! I was standing on the brakes and sliding to a stop before I’d properly realised what was going on. The car pulling out in front of me stopped and I slid to a halt an inch or two from hitting it. I stared at the driver, a bit stunned at the stupidity, and it was a woman holding her hands up in a ‘sorry, can’t be helped’ sort of way! I mouthed ‘you stupid bitch’ but more incredulously than angrily.

I made it to the motorway and was chugging along minding my own business when I noticed the traffic was slowing ahead. Everyone was queueing to get into the outside lane, as a National Express coach was holding up the middle lane. This struck me as odd as they are usually barrelling along. As I got closer I saw it was being held up by an artic lorry. Now I know the lorry isn’t allowed in the outside lane, but I also know they are limited to 56mph, and this one was on and off his brakes.

As I in turn cleared the lorry there was a car, about five feet in front of this honking great lorry, doing an apparent speed of less than 56mph in the (which by this point had become) third lane, with two empty lanes to the left of it, being driven- obliviously-,  by, you guessed it, a woman with an older woman in the passenger seat!

Fuck me! It’s only a twenty minute drive and I saw three life threatening situations, all by women drivers!

OK, today was exceptional, I don’t normally see anything, or if I do it’s me doing it, but goddamn!

Unbelievable. Those who know me know I’m all for equality in every sphere and am a liberal that is always ready to see the other chaps point of view, holding no contentious beliefs (with the possible exception of the belief in the mass sterilisation of the religious, fascists, chavs and ugly people) but woman should stick to buses, and I don’t mean driving them.


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.



Bad Bucky!

Believe nothing that you hear…

…and only half of what you see. As they said in the army.

That union rep I said about a few weeks back, the one who spontaneously announced that he’d been in the office and sorted out a training programme for me, is full of shit. I went into the transport managers office today and whilst I was waiting for some drivers to sort out their business (so I could get to see one of the managers) Nick (the rep) walked in. I collared him and asked what to do next, and basically he told me to go and get some experience elsewhere, then apply for our place. Thanks for nothing, Nick.

Why, though? I didn’t stress him, or even ask, he said to me he’d been in and sorted it out. Did he think my license would never get back from Swansea so I’d never realise he is nothing but a bullshit merchant?

I just don’t get it. If he can’t do anything for me that’s just the way it is, but why get my hopes up? What purpose did it serve? I do not understand why he would do that.

So I’ve been scouring the interweb looking for work. Surprisingly I may have found some.

There were about five jobs that didn’t categorically state ‘no new drivers’ and one that actually said ‘new drivers welcome’! OK, so it’s all agency work, crap pay, and two of the jobs state that it’s only for thirteen weeks, but I’ve got to get the experience somewhere.

The two thirteen weeks one will be my last option, that would mean they are just wanting agency cover until xmas, then I would be on the dole in January, when there is no agency work.

Wendy pointed out that I will have to take a chance at some point. If I end up taking one of those it will be with a goal to secure other work ASAP, well before the thirteen weeks is up. Once I’m up and running, already a driver, surely it will be easier to convince other prospective employers to give me a go.

Off my own back I have been in and seen HR at work, to see if there is anything they can do for me, I’ve filled in an online application for Eddie Stobart’s, and I will be ringing about those jobs tomorrow.

Also I will be tracking down all the local supermarket distribution centres to put in speculative application forms. Th’Asda, th’Safeways etc.


Anyway…, other stuff.

It wasn’t just that I’m fat and old and lazy, it was also that damned mountain bike! (I KNEW IT!) Tried out my spiffy racing bike this morning and it was so much easier. The riding position is right, you’re not sat upright with all your weight squashing down on the saddle, your nethers are more or less in the air, and instead of having a contact patch of about three inches of soggy tyre, I have a little tyre with an even smaller ridge (about a quarter of an inch or less) that stands proud in the centre. So minimal contact and good riding position, I flew. I took a slightly different route, but even so I knocked about six minutes off my previous time and didn’t arrive lathered in a muck sweat. It was cool.

The not so good news is that when I went for that first run the other day I did so on the spur of the moment, just threw my trainers on and set off. I didn’t bother with socks. Mistake.

My feet blistered and then the blisters burst. This was not a problem while I was off, I wasn’t doing that much. Today has been a different story.  I think they may have got a bit infected, they’ve swelled up around the blister patches and have been really sore. I’ve been rubbing salt into them (to teach them a lesson if nothing else) and have been barefoot since I got in to try and dry them out.  I’ve dug out some plasters for tomorrow but I’ve got a feeling this is going to be an uncomfortable week.

I can’t make any off the TKD lessons next week (2-10) so I wanted to get as many as possible in this week, with my feet all manky it may not be so easy. I missed tonight’s lesson because of it, hopefully I can sort it out a bit for tomorrow. 

In conclusion, racer: good, socks: excellent, Nick: tosser.



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,



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!

Hot. Damn hot!

Hi there.

This beastly weather we are suffering is killing me. Work, though better than being in de-kit, is still a non-stop sweat-fest. I put in four hours overtime on Monday. The manager asked me if I could do any overtime quite early on in the shift. I’d just had the weekend off and was feeling fresh and lively, so I said I would. By 1pm I was done-in, soaked in sweat, had no food, and another five hours in front of me. That was fun.

Sweatier yet is Taekwondo. Sah bum nimh reckons she’s joined flab-fighters, so were are all getting exercised to death (as misery loves company). The last two nights have been so humid, then on top of that having Sah bum nim cracking the whip. You could literally wring my dobok (gi, fighting suit) out. She had us all lined up doing one kick, step, one kick. Then one kick, foot down, straight into second kick. Then three kicks, then five, then ten. This wasn’t three kicks, rest. It was kick, kick, kick, again! Kick, kick, kick, faster! etc. Then doing mad kicks backwards across the hall. Then we were split into groups (I was with the black belts/ one below black belts, and me! Yeah, see my trumpet. Observe me blowing.) Doing turning kick, into 360 degree kick, into spinning back kick. Not easy, but I was 80% there. One chick who was the grade below black belt (red belt with black tag) and was obviously surprised at my attempts, said I shouldn’t worry about not getting it dead right as this was an advanced exercise for her grade and that I was excellent. Yeah, she wants me.

In other news the Warrington coppers show an alarming alacrity in dealing with motoring offences. An indecent haste some might say, given their response time to real crimes. Anywho, Wendy posted that confirmation of details thingy back to them on Sunday, I had the reply on Tuesday! £60 fine and three points. Bastards.

The Wendster is moaning about me typing so I’d better sign off while I dig a shallow grave in the garden.



Irony. Bitter ain’t it?

Goddamn it!

I have a grading at Taekwondo tomorrow so I went to my club last night to get in some much needed practise. I found, by chance, something of a short cut on the way there. On the return journey I was knackered (it’s a 6-2 week and it was about ten at night), stressing about my grading tomorrow, looking for the new found short cut, and though I saw the speed camera I just didn’t register it until I suddenly had FLASH! FLASH! in my mirror.

Bloody, bloody hell!

I was reading that new drivers now have a probationary period of two years on their license, within which time amassing six points or above automatically leads to disqualification. From what I can gather it is new drivers per se. I became a driver (well, rider) back in ’85, and passed my car test in ’05, so I’m hoping one of those will be the one that it is reckoned from. I only passed my class II in January though (gulp) and am still striving for my artic license.

If I can’t get a job for the three years that (I think) the points stay on my license I am going to be gutted. If they take away my HGV license (and I’ve wasted the worst part of five grand) I am going to be suicidal.

This time tomorrow the grading will be over and I’ll be a lot less stressed. Then I can work up to a new fever of stresed-ness for my next test, then sit around waiting to see if I have picked up the points and the fines and how that will bugger my job prospects.

I have no idea how long the fines take to come through, so I’ll be on tender hooks whenever the post arrives, for as long as it takes.


Buck. 🙁

PS, Day after, done my grading. I made one embarrassing mistake. Grand Master Loh

(the head of the whole of the U.K., eighth dan, so, no pressure) told me to go into sitting stance with a punch. Those were not his exact words (his accent makes understanding him difficult, and I flap under pressure so I’m not sure exactly what he did say) but instead of widening my stance and dropping down a little, I stepped back into a fighting stance. I knew I’d done something wrong but couldn’t think what I should be doing. Sah bum nim Caroline (who was standing next to Grand master Loh at the front of the hall) had to say it again and do it herself before I got over my flap and carried on. Also I went down onto my knuckles for press-ups, but had my hands in a vertical plane not the horizontal. Like my knuckles cared.

Hey ho, done now for another few months. Seventeenth of October to be precise.

Hopefully I will have passed. My poomse (kata in Karate; a sequence of set moves) was right, and showed good spirit, my kicks were higher than some of the most senior grades there (which is more to their detriment than my credit to be honest) and apart from the two simple mistakes above I thought I did alright.

Grand master Loh was not in a good mood though.

Lots of people were told to sit down before they had even completed their moves. It was quite brutal. If all of them failed there will not be many people getting new belts from this grading.

On the bright side, when a pair of the senior grades were grading, they were told to execute Kwon moves (fist, or punch) and some of the blocks and counter attacks were actually good, effective moves. Very reminiscent of the Karate from which Taekwondo is alleged by some to have originated (though not by anyone from Korea, and not within hearing range of anyone who is, I would suggest). Stick at it then. I have always maintained that a black belt in any martial art is more than a match for your average untrained lager lout, but I was concerned that being virtually solely kick based TKD was purely a sport form of a martial art. Looks like it just appears that way to us junior grades. Cool.

Done now. The driving stuff is a distant threat, so I can relax for today.

By the by, I forgot to mention; since I’ve been back from my jolly hols I’ve been trying to set up Freenet, a P2P network that is secure and censorship (and government spying)  resistant. In doing so I have successfully forwarded a port all by my little ol’ self. I don’t know what that means, and I was following instructions from a specialist site, but I did it! Go I.T. techie me!

Still not got the Freemail (secure email section of the site) up and running, and to be honest unless you want to overthrow the government in bloody jihad, or join the Animal Liberation Front’s sabotage campaign, it doesn’t seem that good a network.

I approve of the principle though, so I’ll try it out for a while. Damn the government and their control of information. Rise up, you have nothing to lose but your chains!



Day off, huzzah!

Finally got a weekend off. It’s been six weeks since my last proper one. (My last actual one, three weeks ago, I was dying with that cold and had the sinus pain issues. I would have preferred to have been working and well, than off and in that state.)  I had lots of vague plans about what I was going to do, i.e. gardening and generally pottery about having a good time. Not a bleeding bit of it.

I had a few chores to do; shopping, nipping to town to the bank (while I was there I wanted to nip to Wilkinson’s to spend my £10 voucher that I got off Iceland for Xmas on lovely plants), and nip my sisters to drop off a (day late) card for her youngest.

I went to do the shopping at about half past ten. Half past ten, mind you. Not dinner time, not after work on a Friday, not Saturday or Sunday. Half past ten on a week day. It was chocker. Every doddering idiot, coffin dodger, and work-shy chav was in Asda. Why? They were out in force, all determined to stroll around and stop and chat in the middle of the narrowest isles, blocking my  passage (ooer, Mrs.!). Don’t let my attempts to shop interrupt your conversation you bovine, slack-jawed, ignorant, embodiment of the argument for compulsory euthanasia.

So that went well.

Then there was the ‘nip’ to town. Some fool in the council has decided it would be a fun idea to block of one of the main roads through Warrington. The joy just keeps coming. It had a knock-on effect of stopping dead all the roads that stray vaguely near the closed one.

So I aborted the card dropping off mission. I got home to find a letter on my mat from some debt collection agency saying I owe them £80. Apparently the DVLA had passed them the bill for collection after I had repeatedly ignored their letters about registering my Bandit. The last time I did the paperwork for the Bandit I informed them that it was SORN, and that I  had moved address. Sorn declarations are free, but only when the DVLA send the damn reminder to the right address. Oh yes indeed, that lifted my mood still further. I ran upstairs, went online to the thrice damned DVLA, and their website says ‘when changing address you have to send your registration document back to have the address changed.’

I changed my license details (with the DVLA. A pox on them) and assumed that all my driving details would be updated. Or at least that they would have the wit to check if my license details had changed before hitting me with an £80 bill and handing it over to a debt recovery agency. Especially as SORN is free. A curse on the DVLA and all who sail on her.

When the rage had subsided, after I’d had time to realise they had me and all I could do was bend over and take it like a man, I moped off to my garden, a broken and beaten man. The sun had moved round, the garden was in shadow and it was cold. Of course.

I did manage to get the washing done and dry, strangely satisfying. Also I went to Wilkinson’s and got some flowers (mainly dahlias). I went to B&Q as well. It being such a pleasant week I was expecting both places to be chocker block with lovely plants, a cornucopia of colour, a smorgasbord of scents.


Bulbs, pansies, trees. Bugger.

I got some seeds whilst there, and some ‘blood, fish and bone’ plant food for my trees. (And me a veggie, Buddhist-wannabe!) It was a three kilo box, opened it up and shook some around my four fruit trees and put the remainder on my acers. Then, as I was throwing the box away I noticed it said you should sprinkle two ounces per square yard! Damn and blast! I know there are twenty eight grams to an ounce, so in three kilos there are a bloody lot of ounces.

Don’t know how many grams there are in a kilo. If it’s a thousand, as I suspect, I’ve just put enough food out for fifty one square yards of orchard or whatever. Bugger. If it doesn’t kill them they should be like Jack’s beanstalk by the end of the season.

The silver lining to this particular dark and lowering cloud of a blog entry is that when talking to one of the night shunters at work I said about that lad putting in his license and being ignored. He said "bald lad, from the freezer, nights?" I said it was he. Phil (the shunter) said he had been banned, and had applied for a job as a shunter whilst disqualified! He has only just got his license back and he still has points. That is why he has been so comprehensively ignored. Phew! Hope renewed. Also today I got the cheque in the post for our holiday in Scotland. Then posted off my V5 for the Bandit. Now I’m going to dye my hair.


Because I’m worth it.



And there’s more…

Goddamn! That Autoglass thing turned into a farce. I was thinking originally of paying for it myself to keep the insurance out of it. To save money I arranged to drop it off at the nearest centre rather than have them come out and do it. After the horror of the £405 quote I promptly changed my mind and put it through the insurance. Then I was told it would be an hour to fit, another hour for the glue to set before it could be driven away. Having no option, I accepted.

Then later on I thought about it, if the insurance were paying for it, why not get it done at home? So I rang their call centre back to ask if would be possible. The guy actually laughed at me! Went on to tell me how the weather was too cold for the glue to set on a call out, that the light would be failing at my appointment time of 4.30, and in essence, not his problem but it wasn’t happening.

Again, lacking any option I had to acquiesce.

Thinking about it on Sunday morning I decided against going to my IAM meeting. Thought they would probably have strong views about driving a vehicle that was one jolt away from having the windscreen fall out.

So, biting the bullet, I threw my pushbike into the Micra and drove down to the centre. In the snow. When I got there they had no idea who I was, or that I was booked in at all. 15 minutes on the ‘phone later, the guy confirms that I am booked in, and asks me to come back in hour to pick it up. I replied that I thought it needed an hour to set after fitting. He told me it did, but their chap had another appointment (a call out. In the same cold and dark that had made it impossible for me to change my arrangements to a call out!) so wouldn’t be on site. If I could just come back in an hour he’d give me the keys to the Micra, bugger off on call and leave me sat in the car park for an hour waiting for the glue to set! Imagine my delight!

In the event when I returned to start my vigil the fitter was still at work, and allowed me to stay on the premises while the glue set (for half an hour. He gave me some blag about it not needing the full hour because I only had one airbag.) and then tried to explain how they had cocked up and apologised repeatedly. This soothed my rage, but it was still extremely shoddy service.

The other news is after talking about my finances the other day I did some sums. The two martial arts I am currently doing, if you add the insurance from both clubs, lessons and gradings, come to £990 a year! That’s without the £100 worth of kit I have to but if I want to compete in TKD, or the £50 for a Wing Chun uniform. So, sadly, I am going to have to suspend the dearer of the two, the Wing Chun Kung Fu, and just do the basic lessons and grading at Taekwondo. Still, as soon as our circumstances change (when Wendy gets her job, or when I get my artic license and a driving job, or preferably both) I’ll go back. I’m not sure whether to go to the club and tell them I will be leaving for a while, or just explain when I go back and flop my wad on the counter demanding the complete package. (That is not a euphemism!)

Big bummer, but money is getting tighter, and a thousand pound a year is too much of an indulgence. 🙁

Ho hum, I’ll get there in the end. I can’t help but think that time is against me in this though. I could cut out the years of sweat, struggle and payment for lessons and just invest in an automatic pistol. Or a sawn off shotgun. I’ll go and have a look on eBay.



Cars suck bottom

Hi ya’ll,

I’ve got to go for an appraisal drive and arrange to do the training with the Institute of Advanced Motorists tomorrow, so I’ve spent the last few days ‘pimping’ my Micra. I’ve serviced it; oil, oil filter, air filter and spark plugs (which I’ve already done once in the three years I’ve had it. Talk about overkill!) I’ve put air in the tyres, washed the damned thing, (which I did in 2007) and put the rear-view mirror back up. I had taken it off to get used to using my wing mirrors for my truck training. It says in the literature for IAM that you must have at least two mirrors fitted, one of which must be inside the car. I was thinking of trying to get away with taking it literally ( I had two wing mirrors fitted, and one internal mirror, just it was in the glove compartment) but thought it was probably not wise to start off on that note.

Now then, when I first started my truck training I just turned the rear-view mirror around, but one time it just popped off in my hand. Thought no more of it, just stuck it in the glove compartment. So today I had a bit of a flap when after freezing my hands off washing the mighty Micra off with a hosepipe (and proving the adage ‘you can’t polish a turd’) I couldn’t find the mirror. It wasn’t in the glove compartment. It wasn’t there, Richard! (Virgin complaint letter reference there. How funny was that letter?) Anywho, after taking the tapes out three times, checking under the seats, in the boot and asking Wendy if she’d had it off it still wasn’t there. In desperation I took to fumbling around above the compartment, and there it was!

Job’s a good ‘un. Just pop it back on like…,  hmm, really stiff. Shove a little harder…, ‘CRACK’!  The windscreen had cracked. Boundless joy.

So I rang Autoglass for a quote, as their advert says they can repair or replace. Repair, cheaply please. Nope, that’s for chips. Cracks are a new windscreen which leaves you paying the £75 excess on your insurance. I said "hold on a minute, how much is the windscreen? I don’t want to lose my no claims bonus."


"Screw that. The insurance can sort it."

So I was less than happy. Wendy, who has come down with a virulent form of Woman-flu, was a tad grumpy. "What you should have done was just black the mirror out"

"Hindsight is 20/20. You learn from your mistakes."

"You should be brilliant then."

Very droll. She’d better watch she doesn’t ‘fall’ down the stairs again! (Joke!)

So the pimped Buck-mobile is going to roll up to the IAM place tomorrow with a cracked windscreen.  Bleeding marvellous.

What else of note has transpired? Well, the word at work is that the new manager of our depot wants to turf De-Kit out and replace us with agency workers. We have a contract on site that is proving a money spinner and is manned (and womaned) entirely by agency. Apparently the Agency geezer was in for a whole shift sizing the job up and was supposed to have put a bid in for the contract a week or so ago. Nothing else was heard, so we thought it had fell through. However, the boss said on Thursday that the agency chap had an appointment with the main manager on Friday. It’s my weekend off so I don’t know if we know how that went. I do know that with Iceland buying those 51 Woolies stores they are having to spend two million quid expanding the frozen section at our site. So they will need a whole lot more frozen staff. It was into the freezer we were supposed to being thrown, if the agency took over our department.

I will be getting another job ASAP, should that transpire.

I wouldn’t mind going back into ambient as a picker. In point of fact I might prefer that. I have come to realise that I either need to cut back on expenditure or get more money. There is overtime going in ambient, but none in de-kit. De-kit is unpredictable as well. Some days you are fresh as a daisy after the shift, others you haven’t stopped grafting and are fit to drop. This makes arranging overtime for after a shift a daunting prospect. Which only leaves working 6 days.

Ho hum.

Things are getting so tight I’m considering suspending the Kung Fu training. I really don’t want to, but I’ve been going for a while now and still haven’t paid the £30/ £70 pound joining uniform fee.

Gotta go, tea’s up!