Tag: Style

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.

Not a ‘no’

Just a quick a update before I trot off to work. I went into the office four times yesterday to try and see Tony (the site manager) and each time he was in a meeting or doing other important stuff. On the fourth attempt I saw a middle manager I know (Murray) and he said he’d go into the meeting and ask Tony what the news was. Tony came straight out and saw me in person.

He said that we are getting new rigid (class II) trucks next month so, subject to them being able to sort out the insurance (which he saw no reason why they couldn’t as they’d run warehouse-to-wheels on other sites with the same insurance) his plan was to send me out in an old rigid to do deliveries. His reasoning being it would get me used to driving a laden truck (up to eighteen tons on the back, as opposed to the empty ones you learn to drive in), get used to the stores and doing the job, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I put the odd scratch on an old truck whilst getting the hang of it.

This is brilliant in several ways; it says that they have been thinking about me and how best to get me trained up, not just saying ‘we don’t know yet, come back again next week’, they are not expecting me to start off perfect, so I don’t have to think that one scrape and I’m sacked, and it would be days! This would be fantastic news for Wendy.

Also the pay is the same whatever I’m driving.

He said that they’d see how I went on, then upgrade me to artic’s in January if I was OK. At which point Murray chipped in that where he was they had w-t-w, and to get the new drivers good at reversing they put them on shunting for a week. That is just picking up trailers from one place in the yard then reversing on to a dock at some other point. Then repeat. For twelve hours a day!

All in all I found his immediate response, and credible plan quite encouraging. I wasn’t just being told what I wanted to hear or being kept in suspense. Hope springs.

In other news here are the promised photo’s:

The suit, twenty or so quid off eBay, perfect fit, natty as a spiv’s ‘tache.

The hand made to order winklepickers! Words cannot express the coolness.

The rented sax (so she thinks! It shall be mine!)

the ensemble! Tres Bleeding chic! Oh yes! Cooler than a penguins chilly bits!

What with being able to blow a C already (apparently that is the note you produce if you blow down it without depressing any of the keys) I only have seven more notes to learn and I’m fluent! End of the week I’m predicting.

Gotta go,

Buck.

Killing time

Hi again, it’s been a funny old week and no mistake. I’ve hardly done anything really, just been off, got back in to my Taekwondo, read books and waited on the thrice damned postman.

A week off work is not to be sniffed at. It’s been nice just relaxing. The weather has been consistently appalling, so I’ve not been out doing stuff, but it’s been lovely not working, dossing around and sharpening my ninja skills by outwitting the postman.

I was off last weekend, in Monday, and then off until next Tuesday. On Monday I went into HR to see where my warehouse to wheels thing was up to, as they said they’d have an answer for me this week. I wasn’t expecting an answer on Monday, and in that respect I wasn’t disappointed. I went in prepared for such an eventuality. I had a piece of paper with my name, what it was about (warehouse to wheels) my landline and mobile numbers and my email address, which I handed in. I said I was off this week, but if they wanted me to go out with the drivers as part of my training I would be happy to come in.

Not a word. Not a sausage. Jack.

I’ve been ringing around some of the jobs advertised on jobcentre plus, but in a half-hearted way. They are mostly agency, and those that don’t turn me down flat are saying it wouldn’t be worth me leaving a full time job. It would still be best if I could get trained at my works then work for them, but failing that a ‘no’ would be better than this.

At least then I could throw myself into getting some work. I was told yesterday that although as a new driver the agency wouldn’t be able to insure me as an artic driver they could get me work on rigids. But not enough to make it worth my while leaving a full time job. The good news there being them willing to give me a class II job, in principle.

Tomorrow I have somehow agreed to go to Manchester, to see a fight, I think. I was at my TKD class last night and Sah bum nim asked me if I was doing anything on Saturday. I thought she had arranged an extra lesson, or a fitness session, as I’m on 2-10 next week so might not be able to make class I jumped at the chance. Said I wasn’t doing anything, she said something about do you want to come, I said OK, so she said ‘right, you can get a lift with Jim, it’s £10 for the ticket, we’ll split the petrol money.’

What?

I asked Jim what we were going to see (he’s a black belt, and second in command) he didn’t know. I asked when, again he didn’t know.

So we had both agreed to do something, for some money, at some point, somewhere.

I managed to find out that we are going to see a fight in Manchester. It had better at least be a TKD fight. If it’s boxing I’m going to be a bit miffed. A bit more miffed that is. Not how I wanted to spend my weekend off. I will ask questions in future, and await comprehensible replies but committing to anything.

The other theme running through this week off has been my battle of wits with the postman. I wait around for ages then the minute I nip the shop he strikes. I get back to find a note saying ‘pick up your own parcel, fatboy! PS, LOSER!’ Then the other day I went up town to do the damned postman’s job for him, got there at 9.30 and he told me I would have to come back at 10.00! Just too long to make hanging around up town a viable option, and just about long enough to drive home, not quite have a brew, then drive back. So I did my shopping then went back at about 10.30. They’d closed off Cromwell Ave for roadworks! I was sat for over ten minutes in one spot, a few hundred yards off my turning. Then I had to double my distance and treble my time on the way back to get home another way. That was all for a parcel that he couldn’t get through my letter box. It didn’t have to be signed for, he could have just left it in the blue bin, but then I wouldn’t have had to traipse to town and back, and again, and tour all around Warrington. Bastard!

The last parcel I missed was at 11.20, this one was 1.20, today I had to wait in until 2.45 before I fooled him into thinking I’d gone out so he attempted to post it. Any later and it will be the next day. I am thinking of hiding in the freezer like Kato (in The Pink Panther) to fool him into coming earlier. I tell you, standards have dropped since I left the Royal Mail. I thought at the time that it was only me keeping the place going!

The good news being that I did outwit him today and now have a rather natty pinstripe suit! When my funky shoes arrive (after I’ve been up town to pick them up, doubtless) I’ll put a picture up of the ensemble. Tres bloody chic, I trust you’ll agree.

Toodles,

Buck.

PS, it turns out the event was something on the lines of a qualifying event, or ranking event, for the Olympics. To sort out how good everyone was to see how they would be ranked for the Olympics. Hmm, now I try and write it down I realise I’m still not exactly sure what it was. Six fighting areas, loads of judges, electronic body armour to score powerful contacts in target areas, and teams from all over the world. Korea, France, Netherlands, Poland, Canada, even Scotland! All black belts, on their national teams I think, and pretty damned good. Those guys were fast as lighting, to quote from Shakespeare (or some such). The chicks too. A bit too fast; trying to watch two or three fights at once, nothing happening, nothing happening, glance at the next door fight and bang! Someone’s just got a head kick right in the chops. I enjoyed it, but it would have been better if it was on telly, so I could have watched the good bits in the replay. Human eyes are crap; no zoom, slo-mo or replay.

Apparently Warrington won in the rugby final as well. Big up those rugger chaps, or whatever it is they shout on the terraces.

Whilst I was out the postman failed to come with my shoes. Damn his eyes. Bank Holiday Monday so now it’s going to be Tuesday before I get them. Luckily Wendy is off on Tuesday (she only works Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Alright for some!) so I shouldn’t have to go and pick them up. Unless the wily posty hangs on to them until Wednesday of course. I can’t get too mad at the shoe shop, they said they make have to make them, which could take up to ten days. The way they are shaping up I think they are currently waiting for a cow to die of old age.

Two more glorious days off. Tomorrow I am going to have to start training in earnest. The one thing I noticed today was that everyone started each three minute round full of fight, then after a minute they were knackered and catching their breath. I’ll have to set up some training scheme where I do three minutes of constant kicking, (whilst moving forwards and back) rest for a minute, then repeat. There are three, three minute rounds in a fight, with a minute’s rest between each. Even those potential Olympiads were knackered doing it!  It’s one of the many prerequisites for black belt grading that you have to have competed. I don’t want to make an arse of myself when I do. The people who were going in and launching a massive attack of kicks were scoring heavily, the ones who were just trying to land a single kick then catch their breath were not doing so well. Every time they scored a point it seemed their opponent was scoring one back. So, fitness and practise stringing together lots of combinations of kicks. Ideally, I want another martial art as well.

Well, that’s for later.

For right now, another drink of lime, and chill with one of my new books, then sleep. Simple pleasures.

Toodles again,

Buck.