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."

"£405."

"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!

Later,

Buck.

Jam tomorrow

I remember!

I sat down to update my blog yesterday with the intention of setting down the running tally for this bleeding driving malarkey. To get my class C (rigid/ class 2) license it cost me £2,163! Two thousand, one hundred and sixty three of Her Majesty’s pounds!

The original course (20 hours driving and a test, with medical, theory test and paperwork) was £849.

I’ve just paid out another £99 for this IAM course. So the running tally is £2,262.

I think I’ll wait until I’ve finished and passed my Advanced Motorist course before I go in for the C+E (artic/ class 1) course. If I could pass that first time it would ‘only’ be about another £850. Then I might need a digital tachometer course, a mere £35, and I would like an ADR course (hazardous materials handling course) which is about £500.

So, best case would be about £3,500. The word from the drivers at work is that Eddie Stobbarts pay their artic drivers less than £8 per hour!

However, get my C+E, get any driving job for the experience, then look (with the ADR certificate, which is valid for five years) for a job as a petrol tanker driver. This is the game plan.

I have printed off an advert from jobcentre plus. It’s for C+E driver, experience not essential, with ADR certificate for tankers. Agency work for six months, but it is £14.80 – £15.93 an hour!

I’ll have a slice of that pie, thank you very much.

I’m keeping the advert, and when I have the licenses, the ADR, and preferably a bit of experience with any artic I’ll be pestering them. Even if it is only a temporary contract with an agency, once I’ve got tanker experience on my CV, I’ll be pestering all the firms. I’m fair sure that at the end of that strike last year the government caved in and made it possible for the drivers to have big pay rises. I think the unions were saying it would put their members on £38,000 p.a., but the employers were saying it was more like £45,000. There are a bunch of oil refineries dotted all around here. Ellesmere port and Liverpool are both within commuting distance. For that kind of cash the Scottish off-shore oil fields are commutable.

Then maybe get my license for helicopters. How hard can it be? Bike, car, truck. Damn, missed a trick there, if only I’d have taken my cycling proficiency.

So that was one thing; setting up a running tally, and desperately hoping I can get a job that will pay for all the debt into which the training is putting us.

What else?

Well, I’ve been off for my long weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). It comes around every three weeks, but with the six day working it is the first I’ve had in ages. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

We nipped around Wendy’s brothers’ yesterday (Addo, on ‘my friends’). Wendy was talking to the Beth (Black Rose, ‘my friends’) who is a gothy like us, and Beth was saying she was glad she had gothy people around her when she was growing up to inform her taste. Wendy pointed out that Beths sister (Loretta, ‘my friends’) had us and her mum around her as well, but she’d grown up into playboy pink outfits. To which Beth sagely replied "Yes, but she went over to the light side." Lol!

That’s about it really. I must admit that in putting it down on ‘paper’ that stuff about how much this is all costing has me a little nervous. However, as I consoled myself in my nervous doubt about ever passing my class 2 with the thought of the driver at work’s lad taking five attempts to pass his test, I have to think that I tried a few years back to become an I.T. trained geezer.  I couldn’t get a career development loan so I couldn’t do it, but that was for about £3,000. Then last year at my Karate club one of the chaps who was a career I.T. geezer said he’d lost his job and couldn’t get another in the economic climate so was training to be a plumber.

This must be about my fourth (at least) attempt to better my job prospects (abortive I.T. training, ditto electrician, as above plumber, training to be a C.A.B. advisor with a view to a career, joining Asda as they were going to put me on management training, and now the driving) but having gained the class 2 license I have already succeeded in this one. Now I just need to keep going.

I’m going to ask that driver at work to get his lad to get me an application form for the class 2 job, I’ll keep my eye on the t’interweb for driving jobs to pay the bills and get experience, but in the meantime just stay at work, do my advanced driving, and take the artic when I can. I’m not looking forward to this year. It’s going to be more expense, the stress of the test (s) -an hour and a half test for artics-, then the hassle of interviews and blagging why they should give me the job when I have no experience, then the actually sitting in the cab, on my own, and setting off for the first time! Not looking forward to that with any sense of joy. But hopefully this time next year all of the above stress will be behind me, I’ll be wondering what all the fuss was about, and I’ll be raking in a decent wage.

Right, bed-time. Back to the toil tomorrow.

Live long and prosper,

Buck.

IAM, I’m me

Hello, I’m back. I’ve finally come down off my ‘pass’ high, well, a bit. I’ve got the paperwork through for that IAM (Institute of Advanced Motoring) jobby, with the accompanying ‘How not to drive like a muppet’ book. Apparently it’s to teach you how to drive like a copper. I’m not up to the chapter on mastering a Masonic handshake whilst drunk, but most of what I have read so far is fairly obvious. Common sense and the basics you were taught in driving lessons. Just a matter of applying it at all times. So that’s looking promising. Doubtless my next blog will be entitled ‘101 things I didn’t know about driving’, after I take my assessment.

I’ve posted a new photo’ of Wendy’s new kit from the Dark Angel. Which reminds me; (as in the photo’ she’s stood on the new flags I had to lay) my bloody kick bag! I got it for about £20 off th’eBay but she who must be obeyed wouldn’t let me hang it in the spare room. So I had to buy a big bracket, (which doubled the price, with P&P) and hang it outside. Did that, as I mentioned in an earlier blog. When it stopped raining I went into the garden to kick the crap out of it. Only to find that for the correct kicking distance I had to stand with my back foot off the flags and on the muddy garden. Also if I did a front or back kick the bag hit the very abrasive brick wall. So I had to put that on hold whilst I went and got some flags, sand, and a smooth back plate for the bag (tripling the price of the bag!). Laid and fitted them yesterday, then kicked seven bells out the bag. Oh indeedy yes! That was fun, did some more today. My feet are all bruised and battered, and my hands a bit scraped and swollen, but it feels good.

I’m sure I’ve not mentioned what I came on here to say, but I can’t think what it could be, it’s midnight and the Wendster has to go god-bothering in the morning so will be making ‘STOP TYPING, NOW!’. sounds any second. So it’s beddy bo’s for Bucky.

Later,

Buck.