Tag: Life

What I did on my holidays.

Hi all, not posted for ages as I didn’t have anything definite to say.

I was trying to get into the T.A., but had many doubts as to whether I’d make it. I have had encouraging noises from several driving agencies, but as is the law with agencies, nothing has come of it.

I’ve applied for Tesco’s as a warehouseman, just to escape the crapness of my current job, not heard from that either.

So nothing actually happening to blog about it.

Well, nothing changing. I was still being sent to the freezer to work in these conditions;

Thus engendering happiness of this order;

My Kung Fu has been progressing apace. I took my first assessment and passed it, though not with any elan. Not without a bit of commitment either, for that matter;

But as for any change for the better in my driving career, nada.

This weekend it all changed. I had my assessment for the T.A.

As I say I really doubted whether I could get in, right on the limit for age (too old in 27 days, that’s how on the limit I actually am!) medical record from last time I served stating ‘temperamentally unsuited for military service’ or words to that effect. No actual driving experience, being a codger therefore too old to meet the fitness requirements, etc.

I booked some holidays (hence the title of this entry) and trotted off.

Bloody hell! The first night there, me and about fifteen other lads (and they were lads, most teens and early twenties) in one room, bunk beds, army horse blankets. It was a total flashback to twenty years ago in basic training. I hated it then, and I was hating it from memory straight away.

To add to my misery we were all marched (I say ‘marched’, they weren’t allowed to march us anywhere, we were put into three ranks and ‘ambled’) to the NAAFI bar. I don’t drink any more, so that was a trial in itself.

Obviously I didn’t get much sleep, everyone tossing and turning, snoring, and all the kids getting texts and such on their mobiles in the middle of the night. Then, being newbies, they were getting up at 5.45, when we didn’t have to get up until 6.15.

Had about three hours kip.

Less than loving it on the Saturday then.

From 5.45 until end of last lesson at 8pm. Bollocksed.

Anyway, we did team building exercises and such and I was a lot happier by the end of the day, back in army mode.

We did lots of test, and I was the second highest (that I know of) scoring person. The highest scorer was an A&E doctor, so not too shabby from me.

It was all hanging on the 1½ mile run, which I had to complete in under 14 minutes. Not too harrowing. Just a matter of focusing your chi and putting one foot in front of the other. So I thought. The uncertainty lay in the fact that I’d used google maps and a bit of string to guesstimate my training distance.

Not the most accurate of methods. I’d done a dozen or so runs on grass (harder on the leg muscles, easier on the knees) and thought my time was about 13 or so minutes.

When we did the run it was on a tarmac road.

We went out in a gaggle, then he set us off. We weren’t allowed watches so I was looking for anyone who had been regularly achieving 12s. Nobody had.

Set off at my own pace and found, to my dismay, that I was in the front group of five lads. I kept with them for the first half mile, but was worrying about my stamina so I ignored them and set my own pace. I had an ex Gurkha Infantryman just behind me, so I thought if I keep in front of him I’ll easily pass.

I turned the last corner, onto a 200 yard straight, the first four had spread out and the lead guy had already finished, when some young lad came charging past me.

I considered giving chase, but apparently when you finish your basic you have to match or beat your initial time, so their was no incentive (other than competitive pride) to do so. So I came in 6th out of 20, with a time of 10m 41s! Or, to put it in perspective, better than 13 younger people (turns out the Ex Gurkha was 44) and better than I did in my basic training 20 years ago!

In passing got to mention the doctor. She was determined. Apparently she was a bit of a porker, the army said she had to lose weight before they’d even let her apply, so she’d lost five stones! On the run it was clear her fitness was no great shakes, but through sheer force of will she managed to get across the line in 13m 40s. She was absolutely twatted after it. She just collapsed. They  ordered her to stand up, and she tried, but she just couldn’t. I don’t think I ever seen such force of will!

In conclusion, by the end of the weekend I was had done enough to be eligible for any job in the Royal Logistics Corps. I stuck with ‘driver’, it’s what I need right now. It seems that it’s easy to transfer regiments when you are ‘in’.

I got sworn in on the Sunday and as well as my Oath Of Allegiance got this;

Oh yes! Who needs a hoody for street cred?

Suppose it will look more suitable when I get all my hair chopped off. *sighs*

Oh, final note, there was another Nepalese geezer there, son of (and uncle of, brother of, grandson of etc) a Gurkha, who was dying of throat infection and cold (still passed his run) and he gave me his lurgy. Dammit, never free from infection, me.

Slept like a brick last night, and apart from the shittiness of this new bug, am all refreshed and back to civvy mode.

Things are happening.

Buck.

PS, forgot to mention, there has been a total change of function of the T.A. since I was a regular. S.T.A.B.’s they used to be called (Stupid T.A. Bastards), probably still are. In those days though, you did T.A. at the weekends, and were never going to be mobilised except as a last resort. Now they train you and mobilise you when you are needed. They said they can’t force you to mobilise in the first three years of T.A. service, but that is your job. If you’re not willing to go to war you are in the wrong job, really. I would do a tour. Just one. Fair’s fair. I’m getting what I want out of it, it’s only fair I do the job for which I am being paid. Also the guy said all drivers get HazMat (hazardous materials) training which I would cost over £400 in civvy street, and for the learning of I will be paid! Bonus!

PPS, whilst I was away for the weekend I have been eating meat again! Not only because I have got back into the killing game, thereby abandoning all pretence of morals or ethics, but out of practical considerations. It has been my experience that in the army if you don’t eat what you are given, you don’t eat.

Bad Bucky.

Finally!

..You know I’ve been trying to get into the T.A. ? The Royal Logistics Corps, to be specific. To be more specific, re-enlist, was their term.

Anywho, been at that since near the end of last year.

I applied, they sent me a load of forms, I returned them, they had to dig up my previous army record and get a reference off my employer.

Then I heard nothing for about three months. I thought that they’d decided they’d had enough of me last time.

Out of the blue, I got a ‘phone call about two weeks ago from the T.A., they said they’d faxed a reference request through to my employer in January, heard nothing so tried again in February, still no reply. Could they have a personal reference?

I gave them my mate, Jo, as a referee, and went in to HR to raise merry hell. Their excuse was; as I wasn’t leaving the company they couldn’t give me a reference. Apparently they’d passed the request up and down the chain of command, and basically sat on it.

Bastards.

When I was first thinking this would probably be my best bet for kick starting my driving career one of the senior managers I approached about the company policy on the T.A., mentioned that if I get mobilised the government sends them a letter to force them to release me for the duration, and they have to keep paying me!

Hence their wilful delaying/ blocking tactics.

Bastards.

They T.A. immediately contacted Jo, who did me proud (I asked her to put ‘lover of women, slayer of men, driver of trucks’) and a week later I got another call saying all was well, they’d got my records back, come for a medical assessment on the 23rd of April!

Woo- hoo!

This could be just right. I don’t have to risk leaving a secure job, I get experience and possibly more training in a really professional environment, and they don’t quibble over you running the natives over!

Also, I get to screw my works over! Deep joy.

They asked if I felt confident about the fitness side of it, having to run a mile and a half in fourteen minutes, said ‘yeah, I keep fit with martial arts’.

Went out this morning for my first run in years. Previously when I’ve done stuff like that I’ve at least had a base of fitness and stamina from push-biking.

I worked out a course, approximately 1.8 miles long.

I have been working through a really nasty enervating cold as well, in my defence.

Anyway, I set off and within the first minute I thought I was going to have to give up and collapse gasping for breath.

I didn’t. I looked at the patch of dirt in front of me, tried to breathe and carried on.

It took me fourteen and a half minutes. So, by my (distance) calculations I’m within tolerance.

I staggered back to the car, lungs burning, spit in strings, feeling sick as a dog. It took me a good five minutes of coughing and spitting before I was well enough to drive home.

I did it though. If I do it every day until the assessment I should be able to do it without them following me around the course with  paramedics and an oxygen tent.

In other news, that wobbly front tooth forced me to rejoin the dentists. I went today.

I lay there with my eyes shut, trying to find my happy place whilst doing deep breathing and other Jedi mind tricks.

I was a tad miffed anyway, even excepting the terror. It had a price chart in the reception area, check up £16.50, root canal £46, cap £198! Damn the getting my front teeth shot and nutted out!

The dentist did a check, said my teeth were fine, wiggled my cap off, glued it and stuck it back in there and then, That’ll be £16.50, please!

Big yay!

Other super-duper news is that yesterday at my sax lesson, sax-sensei Pete showed me the fingerings for the last few notes. I now have the set! From F#, which is somewhere in the dog-whistle range, through to low C#, the sound of earthquakes.

Now it’s simply a matter of practising until I can use them!

To round it all off, I’ve got four days off work, and the garden is coming to life in the sudden promise of Spring. All is peachy.

Well, apart from with Wendy who is not entering into the adventurous spirit of armed high-jinks.

Women, eh? 😉

I will be driving a truck. Worst case, I’ll be away for six months. In all likelihood I’ll be back in one piece, duty done, experience gained.

A year from now the world will be our oyster.

Later,

Buck.

Work.

….It’s been another rum old week.

I was sent on that fork lift training course at work. That should have been a skive and another skill gained.

Alas!

They are having an overhaul at work. The Assistant General Manager has (jumped/pushed?) left. The General Manager’s prospects don’t seem much brighter. They are having a massive crack down on mistakes made in the picks for the stores, and time off sick and accidents.

So instead of our on-site trainer taking us we had a crazed Jock!

He is re-testing all the current fork lift drivers in an attempt to weed out those that might be an accident risk, and being harsh on those being trained, ie, me!

Our on-site trainer gave the lads time to practice so they would be ready for the test, allegedly helped with the written part, and let one lad have ten attempts at the test until he passed it! Others have told me they failed and were told to go away and get their heads together then come back the next day.

Not so with the crazy Scot! He gave us two goes at each exercise, most of the course was spent in the canteen drinking coffee whilst he went for fags, Bollocking each mistake like you were in the army (instead of pointing out how to rectify the error)  no dummy run, straight in to the test.

I was well on top, I’d done the hard moves. I thought I had cracked it so I started to relax. I got myself into a challenging position, managed to get myself out of it, was dead chuffed, reversed out ready for my last move….’Park up and get off the truck’.

What? In my haste and relief I’d forgotten to retract the forks before I backed the truck up.

FAIL!

He was such a crap instructor I wasn’t that bothered. I’d already overcome the urge to beat the crap out of him after one of his screaming harangues, and after he’d threatened to cut me from the course I had started to get off the truck to go home. He stopped me, but I was ready to walk right then.

In the end I was just glad to have it over and done with, either way.

So that was less than fun.

Yesterday at work the new AGM came and asked me how I’d failed, I told him about relaxing and being forgetful, didn’t mention the crapness of the trainer as it would have sounded like sour grapes, he said that they would put me back in for it.

Then I saw the trainer again and he said that he’d told them to put me on a three day one to one course with the manager they are sending away to become a trainer.

Tesco’s opening a big warehouse has scared the crap out of them, it seems. HA!

Then I noticed that there was a missed call on my ‘phone. An event in itself as I don’t give out my number. I got home and tracked it down as the number for that agency driving job, the car transporter one.

I rang it this morning and the guy said he had been ringing around letting everyone know that he would have work for them in the next two to three weeks!

This is good news, but somewhat scary.

I have a full time, not too poorly paid job in the middle of a recession.

I quizzed him, and he reiterated that it was a full job, no experience necessary, with two weeks training given. All the things I need to hear really.

An agency guy’s word being only second to a politicians in veracity I am cautiously optimistic. Why would he be ringing me if he didn’t have work coming up?

The down side is; it would be a bit of a pay cut on basic pay, (but there are bonuses) I would possibly have to be away from home for five nights a week, possibly sleeping in my cab, and I have to risk losing my permanent job to take an agency one. And it’s based in Skelmersdale, thirty miles away.

The only other thing of note is my front tooth cap is coming loose so I’m going to have to go to the dentists. Hate going to the dentists! Can’t remember if that was the tooth that was shot out or the one that was nutted out. Either way, growing up was shite!

Buck.