Things are weird at the minute. I’m on the new shift pattern, three core days, flex up (optional working if there’s any work going) on two other days, with two days off. Which is my shift pattern if they have taken me on to the books. But I’ve not had an interview (formality), signed a contract, or been given uniform. Also the agency texted me this week. The amount of involvement the agency have they probably don’t know either.
I’ve started doing store deliveries now. The first day they gave me the keys, new paperwork, and basically left me to it. And it was a rigid. Straight away you know it’s going to be tricky, if the store had half decent access they would send a proper artic. Then, as I’d never driven these rigids before, I had to work out how to use the tail lift. It’s the same as on the artics, but instead of a separate power lead they are obviously already wired up. The bastard things have an isolator switch in the cab that I couldn’t find. And you have to remove the keys before it will operate. And I was having issues with the scanner/ terminal thing.
So that was a great start. The store loading area was inside a multi storey car park which I drove straight past looking for the store. It was a a bit of a nightmare as they are timed deliveries, if you miss the window it sets of a chain reaction of arse kicking up and down the chain of command.
I scraped into my two time slots.
Today was my second go at stores, in an artic. Loads less stress.
Last week, my first on my new hours, I only got my three core days. This week, now they know what my hours are, they’ve already asked me to work today (flex up) and tomorrow (day off) on top of my 3 core days. It seems the work is there for the taking.
My stretching, after my initial, wildly optimistic pulled–from-the-hat guess of a month to attain side splits, is now progressing slowly, with massive pain, but surely. After my first go I didn’t really get any further for a week or so. I’ve now come up with an improved system. I’ve rigged up a restraining stirrup for my less stretchy leg then just force the other one down to a level. I’ve been trying to get Wendy to help but due the amount of pain it puts me through she’s not much use. I’ve made pretty good gains the last two days. And held the stretch for full minute holds (as opposed to the recommended 30 seconds.) I’m not sure if the pain is getting any more bearable or if I’m getting better at accepting it. Either way I’ve been able to reach maximum stretch then increase it the last two days. I’m thinking of improvising a pulley system to drag my feet down. That way I could accurately force them further apart and keep them in position. And easily increase the stretch.
It’s taking over an hour, often more like two, to do my stretches. I’ve balled up a tea towel on a piece of string in the kitchen. It lives in the cupboard, but after I’ve done lots of reps of front, back and side swings to warm my legs up, I tie the string to another cupboard with the tea towel at head height as a target for side and turning kicks. I put it a few inches above head height to practise front kicks. That’s the second part of the warm up. Then I do 8 x 12 legs splits, on my back, legs (with weights on ankles) against the wall. *Then*, I can do the proper stretches. All the rest is steadily increasing pain and effort, once I put the restraining stirrup on things get serious.
I will bloody well get there.
Missed my second Karate lesson last week. We’ve got a new pressure cooker, the last was knackered for ages, never had any pressure. I changed into my gi (karate suit) then, just before I went out, I was worried my stew would boil dry. I let out a load of steam then opened the lid.
The clue was in the word ‘pressure’ cooker.
All over my gi, burnt my hand and foot, clarted the kitchen.
So I missed that lesson.
Also my running has taken a big hit. Stretching is taking so much time, and *has* to be done every day, they say, to be effective.
I didn’t get around to posting the above as I was going to slap on a roundup of the Twitter highlights, but I never got around to it.
Now everything has changed again.
I was sent out to do a store delivery, but the map was for a different store, same area. I got there, finally found it, (they put tiny signs on the back door of the stores) and was told I was at the wrong store. No problem, ignore the map and trust my satnav. My satnav took me out on to the main road then wanted me to go back into the same place. Bugger. So I pulled off the main road into a big side street, pulled up in the bus stop and ‘phoned work. Seems they have two stores in the same shopping centre. OK then. Then I realised there was too much traffic down the side street for me to spin it around. Satnav said I was OK to carry on so I did, looking for a roundabout of big enough place to swing. The road got narrower, not wider. Cars parked up, not good. At the end of the road was a mini island, with a lamppost tight to my right, bollards to the front and a dividing island in the road to the right into which I had to drive.
I had no choice but to go for it. The lamppost and the light on the dividing island were battered and covered in paint, so lots of people had run foul of it. I got quite close to pulling it off but just couldn’t quite make it. Which left me stuck like this
The bit with my unit right up on the pavement is accurate.
This meant I had to reverse out. As you can see I had to keep it really tight to avoid hitting the lamppost, in doing so I lost sight of the bollards.
Reversed into one.
All I did was break the lense (about £15 to replace).
I eventually managed to wriggle it back and forwards and get out through the oncoming lane side of the island. I was sweating buckets, I thought I was stuck there. In the end all the cars that were waiting gave me a round of applause, in an encouraging way, not taking the piss, which was nice.
Work sacked me.
At least it cleared up the above questions. I was still agency, I’m now not.
So there goes my chance at a cushy ‘real’ job.
There are jobs going, I’m not worried, but that would have been a real job, not agency, and their idea of a long shift was 10 hours. That suited me, you can fit in a life around it. When you are working 12+ hours all you do is sleep and work.
Now I’m looking at trying to get in at Asda, through the agency. They are opening their new Distribution Centre (DC) on the M62/ Burtonwood (about 2 miles from our house) but I expect that to be long shifts and comparatively hard work. There’s always Hermes, they are constantly recruiting. But there’s a reason for that.
Anyway, that’s as may be.
On the plus side I’m getting on with my Karate. The main sensei guy was at the last two training sessions I could make. He took me aside and showed me the katas I need for the next three grades. That’s splendid, loads of time to practice. I went to a lesson last night at Culcheth, virtually everyone was a black belt there. I asked if it was a senior grade only session but sensei said it wasn’t. Later though, as we were putting this sequence of kicks, punches, blocks, a choke and a take-down together (which I was really enjoying) he came over to me and said “normally I wouldn’t recommend a white belt come to this lesson, they just wouldn’t fit in. You fit straight in, though.”
Which was nice to hear. Though it made me think that perhaps it wasn’t an accident after-all that everyone there was a senior grade.
Anyway, if they’ll have me, training with the big boys (and girls) is the best way to learn.
I laid off the stretching for a few days as my knee was paining me and keeping me awake at night. Back to it with a vengeance today, knee immediately sore. I think it’s because I have the ankle weights on and am pulling that leg down by my Kung Fu trouser bottoms. It’s maximum leverage but I think it must be straining my knee joint to the side. May have to look into some form of splint device to keep my leg straight and take the pressure off my knee. Bugger. Nothing is ever easy. Not to mention the hideous amounts of pain you have to endure.
I’m taking this weekend off, well, I’ve applied for two new agency jobs but I’m not really getting the ball rolling until Monday.
I might pop down in person to the Asda DC tomorrow, see if I can find out their agency of choice. What I really don’t want is the Hermes model of 5 days/ 6 days, all evenings. I need to carry on with my Karate.
Right, bedtime. Had enough of today.