Month: March 2012


I was called a few weeks ago at 1600, and asked if I could cover a shift starting at 1700. I dropped everything and got there. I was desperate for work, one shift is better than none.

Since then I’ve been in every available night (they only work from Monday to Friday). I’ve already done three weeks, and they’ve asked me to go back in again Monday to Thursday next week as well. ( I told them I can’t work Friday as it’s my mam and dad’s retirement ‘do’ before they bugger off to darkest Wales and thence to Bulgaria.)

If they then ask me back the next week I think I may have landed this job.


It has a few negatives; it isn’t very long shifts (hence not massive wages), it’s an awkward shift 1700- 0130 to 0230, so you can’t do anything at night and all day is just waiting to go to work.

The positives are considerable though; it’s the same job every night (pick up a unit and trailer in Irlam, run up to Aspatria –right at the top of the Lake District-, do a trailer swap and come back), weekends off, and it’s easy driving. I have a bit of a job on manoeuvring in the Irlam yard, but it’s not too serious and the Aspatria yard can be pretty damn awkward, but there is no-one else there and I have all the time in the world. I can take as long as I like to get it right without pressure or rushing into a mistake. (For ‘mistake’ read ‘crash’.) So I’m gaining lots of good experience in some quite tough situations, without freaking out or being forced into errors. Ideal in that respect. And, the job will continue to need doing. If they have me back after having Friday off (I’ve given them over a week’s notice, if they get funny over that, sod ‘em!) I can’t see why they won’t keep me.


There is an unnerving bay in the yard at Irlam, that even the shunters (people who do nothing but reverse trailers around the yard and put them on bays and such all day, every day) don’t like using. You have to reverse into it with a bend on your blind side, which runs next to a wall. In other words, you are leaning out of your window looking down the drivers side of the trailer whilst backing it in. The other side, which you can’t see, is next to a wall. Obviously, if you overcook it a little on that side harsh words will be exchanged and job offers withdrawn.

The thing is, I don’t mind it. There are lines painted on floor to show where the trailer should end up when parked. I just stick tight to the drivers side one, which means you shouldn’t hit the wall. It’s the stupid tight gaps they leave between random trailers that scare me. There are no lines to follow, as soon as you put the bend on you are going to lose sight of one side or the other. What I’m doing at Aspatria is wriggling the trailer up to the gap then trying to get it straight before I back in. Not a luxury you are afforded in many places, but theirs is a big yard.

So although the money isn’t Tory and the hours aren’t ideal, I would happily stick with this one. I’ve noticed I’m a shit-load better at lots of things already.

There are some fun times to be had driving through Cumbria as well. Even though it’s the same route every night, there are still some… interesting moments. There is one corner particularly, in the middle of Carlisle that is focusing. A right hand turn at some lights, you have to swing it really wide to get around the island in the middle of the road, then quick as you can drag it right over into the oncoming lane to stop your trailer from pranging the trees that lean out from the pavement. (Or seem to. It’s bloody tight, either way.) That never ceases to be fun. As when the road disappears as it’s twisting on the brook of a hill. Or your cab gets pushed on by the weight of the trailer when you try to brake before a corner in the rain.

When I say that’s fun, by the way, I mean it. I’m grinning like a fool in those situations.

It’s the reversing into blind situations that I hate.


So, that’s work. I’ve gone from freaking out and worrying I wasn’t getting any work to being settled into a regular job. For now.


I’ve not really been training. Due to tiredness and laziness. I’ve had to get a grip though. I’ve gone from ten stone four of muscle, last year, to eleven and half stone of quivering blubber now. Today I took my leg for a test run (literally). It’s been three weeks or so since my last gym run, so I thought my calf should have healed. I set off for a ten mile run. I set off way too fast (about 7 minutes for my first mile, as opposed to ‘good’ 7.5 when I was fit, or a ‘steady’ 8 minutes for endurance running) so nearly killed myself. I tried to slow the second mile down to catch my breath, but my lungs were on fire and my mental toughness was totally absent. I turned around at just over 2 miles and stopped to get my breath!

It was a humiliating wake up call. By the time I’d ‘run’ back (with two more stops!) I thought I was going to throw up.


Wendy is dying with the lurgy and was so ill she had to ‘phone in sick on Thursday and Friday, and I’ve been feeling chesty and a bit weak. I’m hoping that was a factor. I fear it’s just Winter training in the gym. And being a fat old duffer.

The only bright side was my calf was fine for the run. It’s feeling a bit funny now, but hopefully it will be OK again tomorrow. 

That was a serious injury. It’s taken months to heal. If indeed it now has.


The Ka is still impressing me. I think the little bugger would roll before you could get it to slide. Don’t think I haven’t tried. I want to know how far I can push it, so I have a line not to cross. So far my nerve is failing before it’s grip. Sterling job, Mr Ford.


My other current obsession (sax, clarinet and Russian) have taken a hammering as well. I need to sort out a training plan.


Apropos to nothing, if I’m doing 40mph down a single lane in my truck it’s not without a reason. In fact my reasons are fourfold. Firstly, it’s the law. Yeah, I know. But, secondly I get paid by the hour. So to go faster is to take a pay cut whilst running the risk of threatening my job with points on my license. Thirdly, should I prang it, for whatever reason, the first thing they will do is look at my digital tachograph, whereupon will be written indelibly ‘went into a ditch at 50mph’ on a 40mph road. So sacked. And lastly, I’ll give you shit loads of room to overtake on the empty straight bits, if you refrain it’s your own stupid fault.


In other news, I have found a genre clothing look that is stylish. An offshoot of Goth, Steampunk. It’s like a Victorian era imagining of sci-fi. Very cool. here are some sunglasses:


I’ll buy them if someone wants to buy me an inexpensive coat to go with them, say, this one:


Only £1,285. Snip at the price.


Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to this sleep all week,



Motivation. Anyone got some?

I need to enter some races or something. I had four nights work last week and I’m supposed to have another five next week. This left me with this weekend to get everything done. I’ve done nothing.

The work thing is good, mind. Not the best money as it’s quite short shifts, starting at 1700 finish around 0200 hrs. Once you’ve taken off the 45 minute break that’s not a lot of hours. For a lorry driver. At Stobarts you were lucky to finish before 13 hours. However, it’s was the same run (to Aspitaria, in Cumbria) each time. Same company as before. Just run an empty trailer up there, drop it, pick up a full trailer and run back to Irlam (outskirts of Manchester.) Once I’d got over the trauma of the first night (blindly following the satnav off the motorway two junctions before the written notes, and consequently having to drive a 13 metre trailer-ed truck right across the Lake District on B roads!) I was OK. That first run was terrifying though. Pitch black B roads, twisty and hilly as buggery, so your headlights are not showing you where the road is going, no passing spaces, over a single track, right angled bridge… I was shaking by the time I got there.

Anyway, my point was; I should have seized the weekend off and made hay. Tons of cycling, sort the garden, more cycling, get to the gym and cancel my membership now it’s warm enough to train outside…

Done jack.


I went for one ride last week. Just a quick 28 miles, twice up Frodsham hill. I was thinking that that was somewhere I could really pick up the pace this year, maybe knock an hour off my time by putting some effort into it and not cruising. To this end I went out with my heart rate monitor on. For Winter training they recommend you keep your Beats Per Minute (BPM) at 60-75% of your maximum. As you move closer to the race you can up it to the peak band of 75-90% of maximum. (max for my age is 160 bpm.)

As I say, I thought I could pick the pace up this year, so I thought I’d try and keep it at about 140 bpm.

I set off up the gentle but insistent incline of Walton Drag and my bpm was in the 150’s. Oh. Going up Frodsham hill I peaked at 176 bpm. The only time I was not tempting a heart attack was when I was free-wheeling downhill, hanging off the brakes.

So the heart rate monitor was a bit of a waste of money. It tells me I’m about to die when I run and now the same when I’m riding. I thought I could use it as a clinical motivator; ‘only at 60% max bpm, shake the lead out lard-arse’.

Instead it just tells me I need to take up knitting.



On the bright side I have made some elementary discoveries about cycling; It seems that all cycling shorts are not equal. The cheapo pair I bought for £15 last year, with the glorified foam insert are, it transpires, a cheapo pair. The dear ones have multiple layer chamois inserts. These wick sweat away and cushion the undercarriage so you are not in intense misery the whole time. Who knew? Also, because you are not an idiot and have invested in a decent chamois insert pair of shorts you don’t wear undies as they chafe painfully and hold the sweat. And you apply a chamois cream, ie vaseline.

The word is, if you do these things you can ride all day without being in pain.


I did not know this. I was in such unutterable pain and discomfort I used to look forward to the stupid long runs afterwards just to get me off the saddle. Balls.


Anywho, I tried the greased up, no undies tactic with my cheapo shorts and after two hours wasn’t even wincing. With proper shorts I think it may be possible to get away with just the pain of the pedalling. That would be like all my birthdays and xmas’ in one.

If it is the case, and I endured all that misery last year through training and the race not knowing there was an option… *sobs*

Well, I’ve ordered some decent-ish shorts, now I just need to enter some races to motivate me to train.

Oops, Wendy’s going to sleep, have to stop typing.



Frank exchange of views.

As you know, I love Twitter. You get to follow just the people who interest and entertain you. Facebook is a shite site for people you’ve actually met, in my opinion. Just because I once did a course with you doesn’t mean I want to hear you bang on about little Johnny’s bowel movements. Screw little Johnny, and screw you. You were a boring offensive fuckwit then and nothing’s changed. Unless your Facebook status update currently reads ‘Goodbye cruel world’ I have no interest.


Well, that was an unexpected diversion. I only started out to say that I love Twitter. Moving swiftly on; (which I think is a split infinitive, sorry) the joy of Twitter is you can follow really clever and witty people. This makes for fun conversations. However, occasionally you stray over to the dark side.

The Sunday they launched the Sun On Sunday (SOS), was one such time. I won’t have anything to do with Murdoch or his evil empire. He embodies the corruption at the heart of politics to me. Vetting successive prime ministers (at his evil lair) before putting his media empire behind them. It was your Sun wot won it. Feck right off!

Lying and distorting every news story to his own Machiavellian ends. More annoyingly, people believing the disgusting lies they are spoon fed. The EU demanding straight bananas was a Sun story that sank into the collective subconscious before the issued a tiny little apology saying ‘oops, that was totally groundless lies.’ Does anyone remember the apology? I don’t. I read about it elsewhere. Big lie, spun and spun, tiny, un-noticed retraction.


Again with the digression. I was just saying I don’t like Murdoch, therefore would never buy his vile products. Papers, Sky, none of it. So when a freelance journalist I follow said he was getting some stick for buying the SOS I replied; ‘For shame.’

That was it.’For shame.’  then I went out to start on my allotment.


I came back and he’d replied ‘Seriously? Get to fuck’.

Ho ho. Challenge accepted.


Me ‘I think I touched a nerve there. Sun readers, huh?’

Him ‘I buy one copy to write about it and suddenly I’m a ‘Sun reader’? It touched a nerve because it’s culture war bollocks!’


There then followed about five hours of lively debate. By the end of which the lad was frothing at the mouth and apoplectic with rage. His followers got in on the act, a friend of mine jumped in and ripped him to shreds, he and his lot attacked her.

I ended up summarising my position by saying ‘Apparently buying the Sun, like kiddie porn, is OK if it’s only for “research”’.’ And ‘He’s gone off to punch some kittens in the face, but don’t worry it’s for research so it’s OK’.

By which I was showing by analogy that if something is too objectionable to own, calling it research doesn’t make owning it any less so. Given the limit of 140 characters per tweet, some ideas have to be brutally condensed.

That was possibly an analogy too far. But I enjoyed it. He did not. He blocked me (so I couldn’t tweet him, and he couldn’t see my tweets) then wrote the following. I laughed.




And Jesus came to just The Guardian readers: the Sun on Sunday and my enduring evil

I purchased a copy of the Sun on Sunday yesterday. I directly contributed to Rupert Murdoch’s army of evil robot assassins. From a tube in his volcano hideout, my €1 dropped into a vast treasure chest where he swims like Scrooge McDuck, cackling to himself while grimly masturbating over pictures of exploded Polly Toynbee heads. I am just another goon in his squad of solid grade-A bastards. I fund his emotional terrorism. I am Bin Laden in bad pyjamas.

Yes, horrified liberal readers of the blogosphere, clutch your lattes close to your chest and join me here in the shitsphere from within which I apologise for Murdoch over and over again, chanting his name like a mantra found within the Necronomicon. I am the Murdoch apologist. Stare at my grizzled visage with the fascination of a truck driver confused at how Keeley, 21 from Wandsworth is able to talk so knowledgeably about the balance of international trade. Soon Keeley will be in Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet, explaining to him why Blockbusters and Blackbusters are quite different things.

I have written for The Sunday Times on a few occasions. I even wrote some things for the Money pages of The Times for a brief period when I toiled in the tedium mines at Pensions World magazine. To a certain sort of rabid, batshit mental, google-eyed Twitter trawler that makes me worse than Idi Amin playing football with the severed heads of puppies while throwing free child pornography to an audience of sweating nonces.

You think my analogies are over-the-top? One guy on Twitter yesterday actually compared me buying the Sun on Sunday to analyse what it was up to with kicking kittens or purchasing child p0rn for research. The point at which someone brings up child p0rn to make their points is the point at which they are blocked with such force that I hope I am able to physically throw them back from the keyboard.

Ed Miliband ensured that Labour peer Maurice Glasman withdrew his column from The Sun on Sunday. Why not? Who cares if Labour’s message has an outpost in the most popular newspaper in Britain? We’ll just hope that those millions just have a sudden attack of conscience and suddenly all subscribe to The Independent and buy themselves a Labour Party membership.

The phone hacking, the police corruption, the sheer unpleasantness of some of News International’s journalism is without question but the problem is a vast tranche of the population enjoy what The Sun produces and Leveson isn’t stopping that.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, stuck to his guns and his column appeared in the first edition of The Sun on Sunday (though not in Ireland where I was also spared the churning idiocy of Toby Young).

Numerous Christian groups and non-Christians alike lined up to criticise Sentamu. Because Jesus spoke only to those he agreed with politically. Is it not written that Jesus came only to The Guardian readers and damned Sun readers to the eternal pit? It isn’t? Well, this bible I bought from Alan Rusbridger is rubbish.




In the comments section I put ‘It sound like he has a valid point. Kitten puncher.’

Anyway, we’ve kissed and made up now. It was a fun couple of days though.