Tag: Army

New Year!

Momentous milestones! We’ve all made it into 2010, it’s my first blog entry of the year and my one hundredth entry on MySpace.

Welcome to the new century!

I thought I’d summarise 2009, as pertains to Wendy and me, but first let me tell about last night.

Our neighbours, who, in fairness, rarely hold parties, told us they were having one on New Years Eve. Fair do’s again, if you can’t party in the new year, when can you?

Then they said they’d hired a DJ! A feckin’ DJ! Ours is a block of three houses, this neighbour is the one in the middle, so to all intents and purposes is in a terraced house. And they were hiring a DJ.

So we expected loud, and as they are into their cocaine, we expected it to go on a bit.

Happily Wendy’s brother, Peter, invited us around to see in the new year. This was welcome as Wendy gets really stressed out about noise nowadays.

We set off to Pete’s and Emma’s (his wife) at about eleven pm. (The ability to jump in the car whenever we feel like and the feeling of moral superiority are the best consolations for not drinking!)

We came home at about half past three, and next door were still at it! We went to bed by four am, and the music was only quiet, but because they were all coked up they were unaware of how loud they were being every time they went outside for a fag.

After a fitful sleep we got up at twelve noon and they were still going!

Respect to the quality of the product, but shit!

They started to disperse before one in the afternoon, now all is quiet.

We are tired and a bit miffed with them, but in the small mercies column, it’s only the fact that my day off happened to fall today that stopped me from having to get up at ten to five this morning.

OK, whinge over, back to the review.

Let me paint a word picture of this time last year; I was working in the De-kit department, I was still paying for training towards my HGV class II license having already failed the test two or three times, I was training in Taekwondo and Kung Fu but was having to decide between them because we were so poor, Wendy was still a volunteer at the Citizens Advice Bureau and we were unmarried.

Phew, how times change!

In January I passed my class II, to the relief and surprise of many. Then over the year I set about the class I (articulated lorry) training and tests. Many tests. There was the moment of high drama when it looked like we had run out of credit and I still hadn’t passed, then miraculously the credit card doubled our limit unbidden. (God bless those unscrupulous bastards!) Finally, in July, I passed.

The relief has never been so great! £ 5,615 to get both licenses. Worth every penny just to be free from the terror of having to take one more bloody test. Then from July to now I have been strung along by work that they would employ me as a driver. Five months!

On the subject of work, in January we in the de-kit department heard a rumour that we were being kicked out and being replaced by agency workers. This was dismissed by the management. We took unofficial industrial action and in the end they came clean that everything we’d heard was true. Thanks for the graft lads and screw you.

Back to order picking then for the rest of the year in ambient and, although they’d sworn it would not be the case, in the freezer.

Our works then is managed by lying bastards who’ll tell you anything to keep you sweet. Which is why I am applying for every driving job I see and not waiting for them to sort me out.

Wendy decided that 13 years was long enough as a trial and wanted to get married, which we duly did. We were still poor (still paying for the driver training, Wendy still unemployed) so it was a cheap and cheerful affair. That was fine by me, but it later transpired that Wendy wanted to make it something of an occasion.

Forgot to mention, Wendy was plump at the beginning of the year. She saw the wedding photo’s above and went on a diet for the best part of the rest of the year, losing three and a half stones! Go Wendy!

This is her now.

We took a week’s holiday in Scotland for a honeymoon, paid for out of everyone’s kind gifts of cash at the wedding. That was lovely.

I had a walk on part as an evil eco-bastard in the Gardeners World peat special. They asked me at the flower show if I used peat based compost, to which I replied that I just  used the cheapest as I am poor. They aired it!

Ho hum. Evil Bucky.

July was a double celebration for us, I finally passed the bloody HGV test and Wendy got a paid job with the C.A.B. as a trainee debt advisor, her favourite subject.

That was bloody splendid. I didn’t have to run up any more debt in the truck training (once you’ve started you can’t afford to stop until you’ve passed and have a means to recoup your outlay) and Wendy was raking in some decent cash. Huzzah! We could start paying off debts rather than accruing them.

Shortly thereafter I ran afoul of a speed camera. Bugger.

In the martial arts sphere I had to give up on the most expensive one (Kung Fu) early on in the year but by November, when money was no longer such an issue, I realised that I’d backed the wrong horse.

I want a martial art that will win fights. At a Taekwondo lesson they said to me that I was supposed to do this spinning whip kick and land it with my back to the opponent so they couldn’t score points off a return kick to my chest armour. Land it with your back to your opponent! That is a quick way to get a knife stuck in your back on the street.

That was the moment I knew that however much I liked kicking people in the head, it wasn’t a serious martial art. I gave it up in November, and will be returning to Wing Chun Kung Fu on the 12th of January.

The other highlight of this year was remembering a teenage ambition of learning to play the sax. The good thing was we were finally in a position where we could afford for me to indulge my whim.

Note also the winklepicker shoes. Suddenly finding yourself with expendable income is such a nice feeling! It took some doing, mind, it wasn’t gifted. A few years back I had to stop drinking, Wendy had to prove herself worthy of a really demanding job. We are reaping the rewards of our effort. By all the people who go on holiday every year, own their own homes, have savings etc, we would still be deemed pretty damn poor, so I’m not boasting, just saying for us this is solvency and bloody welcome it is too!

We are into 2010. Wendy is going great guns, her diet has paid off, she’s up to speed at her job (she’s bagged her man ) and she’s a happy bunny. I’ve got loads of stuff, have cleared a load of debts and am clearing more. I have my licenses and have applied for jobs (including driver in the T.A.) and I reckon this will be the start of it.

2010. By the end of it I will be a professional driver and, with the cash that comes with it, we will be able to be debt free and minted!

This is going to be a great year.

You heard it here first.

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.

It never rains…

but it pours.

I’ve not been blogging much of late because nothing was happening, then, like the proverbial bus, three come along at once.

I bought Wendy a skirt off eBay a few weeks ago from  Lilith’s Gothic Crypt. Take note of the name and tell everyone you know of it. When it finally arrived I thought my troubles were over (getting any communication out of the seller was a problem, then the postal strikes- a pox on the Royal Mail!). A few days later I thought to ask Wendy about it and she admitted that she would never be able to wear it because it was so poorly made. The waistband had been sown twisted in several places, it looked cheap and tacky, and the seem didn’t hang right making the skirt look puckered at the bottom.

I wrote to the thrice damned Lilith’s Gothic Crypt, enclosing photo’s and asking for a refund, and saying if I didn’t receive a reply within a week I would be leaving feedback. I did try to sort it through eBay’s resolution centre, but because the seller had put ‘no returns’ on the advert I got an automatic response saying that a refund wasn’t available.

Which, by the by, is (as I understand it) illegal, anyway. The distance selling regulations say that I am entitled to a refund. Her stating that she doesn’t do refunds does not affect that. That would be a contractual right, which can be added to a statutory right but can never take away from one. I remember that much from my brief stint as a Citizens Advice volunteer.

I was ignored, as I was kind of expecting given the previous level of communication. I left feedback saying ‘Crap comms, worse product, no refund. Waist sown twisted, seams off. DO NOT BUY FROM!’, and left it at that. I thought that was just £25 I’d have to put down to experience, and at least I’d left shitty feedback.

Then I got an email off eBay saying they’d removed my feedback because of it’s offensive content!

No sirree bob! Straight onto them and cancelled my account. Bastards!

Tomorrow Wendy is going to print off the distance selling regulations, then I get to write a letter quoting the regulations and if I’m still ignored I’m then referring  it to the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Ombudsman Service who automatically impose a £250 fine I’ve just found out.

Justice will be mine!

What other news, oh aye, they finally got the new rigid trucks in today at work. Big huzzah’s! Went into the office, said the new rigid’s are here, what about my driving?

To no-one’s surprise they instantly moved the goalposts. Now they are waiting for the volume to pick up then they can send me for an assessment. 

An assessment! That is not Warehouse-to-wheels, there is no training in that. I’ve paid for my training, got my licenses, all I need is a day or two with a driver beside me to show me the job and get my confidence up and they won’t even do that!

An assessment. I could have taken that straight after passing, when the driving was still fresh in my head, but I wanted to make it easier on myself and get the final part of warehouse to wheels.

All that hot air boils down to a vague promise that at some point I can have an assessment. I’ve been waiting for months for fuck all. Thanks for nothing.

I’ve been given a few hot tips for potential employers but they are not recruiting at the moment. Promising though.

I have a day off tomorrow so I will be double checking my T.A. application (didn’t send the attachments back with the last email, oops) and getting that off again. Checking the job centre and a few other sites, and generally trying anything to get me out of my current job. Bastards!

My only other real news is that my attempt to break free from the tyranny of T-mobile (on my ‘phone) has failed! The internet company said they couldn’t get the code (remotely) to unlock it so I am going to try a place in town tomorrow.

Lovely, lovely, lie-in tomorrow!

Later,

Buck.