Tag: Driving

Panic when I do…, PANIC!

Oh my. Went for my hour’s assessment in an artic today. They are spiffy. It’s like the flight deck of the Enterprise in the cab. Big computer to run everything, an air sprung seat that weighs you then sets itself to your weight, half gears (where if you change up and it’s a bit much for the engine, or hit a hill and start to lose momentum you just flick a switch, dip the clutch and you’re away again). Even cruise control, you just flick it on and the engine carry’s on without driver input. This leaves you free to rest your foot and play on your laptop (or something). The downside is it’s weird as hell to drive. It’s massive for a start. It’s like taking Wales for a joyride. Then the aforementioned air sprung seat, which is doubtless the last word in comfort, bounces you up and down like a yo-yo making your foot bob up and down on the accelerator. Weird, and not a little nerve wracking. Then there’s the location of the training place; Manchester for a start, (I had a minor panic attack trying to find the damn place, the flashback to my abortive attempt to become a despatch rider round there was only too vivid.) and in a yard with a normal sized gate at right angles to a titchy little back street, to boot. Just being in the cab with the guy driving it out of there put years on me.

I had a go at a driving, (in more or less a straight line) pulling over and setting off again, a U turn (you start driving more or less at your own trailer. So weird) and a quick reverse in the yard. The reverse seems easy enough.

Long and short of which is; I’ve signed up for 20 hours driving and a test. Starting the 9th of March, test on Friday the 13th.

The panic thing in the title, is I then had to pay for it. £809.  That leaves me with about £1,000 available credit. Or to put it another way: about another three tests, if I fail the first time. Then I’m out of credit. God knows what happens then. Selling my bottom around town when the fleet is in, I suppose.

So, no pressure there then. As those new aerodynamic, allegedly tree hugging, planet saving Marks and Sparks trailers proclaim, "because there is no plan B". This has to work. I have to pass within available credit. I have to get a job and earn vast amounts of money. And it all has to happen within the next few months.

If this was just me I wouldn’t worry. Run up the credit then let them try and take from me what I don’t have. However, the card I have been running up is in Wendy’s name. She would take it amiss if she were brought to book for it. She’s like that. When (not if) I do get a job out of this I expect to be working a 60 hour week, so I will soon be able to extricate us from the mountain of pooh beneath which I am currently burying us. But right now it’s looking decidedly like a gamble. If I pass and get work, it will all be worth it. If I can’t pass, or pass and then can’t find work… .

Have to try and get a franchise in the rapidly expanding selling-crack-to-schoolkids market. Woe onto Bucky.



PS one moment of cheer today; some numpty doing telephone sales. He was trying to sell me BT broadband. The joy of it was I was only looking at it the other day so I was up on my facts. He asked me who my IP was, said AOL, he asked if I  was on a contract and when it ran out would I be interested in changing to BT? The joy was this gave me the opportunity to say "No. The line here is crap so I can’t download any faster, AOL is cheaper than BT and has unlimited downloads. Why would I want to pay more for less?" He said "Oh, goodbye then" and hung up! That was lovely. The amount of unsolicited calls we’ve had and you have to be really assertive/ downright rude or hang up to get rid of them. He gave up and went crying for mummy. MWAHAHAHA

Happy Bucky

Hi again. I say I’m happy in the title, and indeedy I am. Tired (as ever on 6-2) but I’m off tomorrow, so big lie-in for the Buckster. So that is spiffy. Taekwondo tomorrow night, (more goodness) in work on Friday then off on Saturday to take my TKD grading. Yay!

Also, on the good news from work front, I had put in a holiday form so I could take the last of my holidays in March. I wanted a week off to take the artic course and test. I wanted to wait till March so if I fail it would not be too long a wait before the new holiday year starts in April. As I said I put the form in only to have it returned with "denied. 16 hours holiday remaining.", on it. This in itself was something of a mystery. Our holidays are expressed in hours, but are in reality an allotted number of days. Our working day is seven and a half hours, so that meant I had two days and one hour of holiday left to book.

I’m still in the process of trying to get a resolution to that pay dispute from the 20th of December through my useless manager so my expectation of getting a happy result from this situation was not great.,  When I pointed out the impossible nature of the hours remaining to me to my manager (as per chain of command) he just told me to submit another holiday form and see what they said.

Instead I went to the manager responsible for holidays and he sorted it out in a couple of minutes. I actually had three and a half days holiday left. So he took my holiday form off me again, then returned it the next day, approved. Big yay!

Tomorrow I can ring up Enterprise, a truck training place in Manchester strongly recommended to me by one of our drivers, and hopefully arrange for a course starting Monday the 9th of March. The not so good news (for the superstitious) is that will put my test date on Friday the 13th! I am not superstitious, touch wood.

More good news is we finally have something good to watch on telly. ‘Being Human’. It’s about a bunch of housemates and the darkly humorous nature of their affairs. The twist that makes it interesting is that one of the housemates is a vampire, another a werewolf, and the third a ghost. It’s witty, subversive, intelligent, and everyone should watch it to make sure they make another series.

The black cloud that surrounds the silver lining at work is that one of the main managers was walking a gaggle of agency bosses around our department today, so it looks like it’s only a matter of time before one of them puts in a cheap enough bid. Then they get to run De-Kit, and we get thrown out. I wouldn’t mind if I could avoid going back into the freezer, but that was the rumoured destination for us when the agency were rumoured to be bidding on the contract. The latter is looking definite which would seem to lend weight to the verity of the former. Come on that driving course.

Lots to do on the morrow, bed now,



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.