General ramblings

Hi, today has been a taxing one.

I crashed a pallet truck last week (they don’t have a brake, just a forward or reverse. If you want to brake you switch to reverse. I shot on to a wet trailer, put it into reverse, no grip so no brake, meaning the truck crashed to a stop and I  slammed into the corner of the steering column. Just on one rib it feels like.)

So that was less than fun. However after the initial staggering about like a shot hero’s death scene, it wasn’t too bad. If anything though, it seems to be getting worse. Silly things like lifting on my right hand side, bending over, sneezing or breathing deeply are to be avoided. This makes a physically demanding job all the more enjoyable.

However, after me slagging off the shunters at work they finally came good. On Sunday one of them took me for a bit of a spin in one of the works trucks, showing me how to use and position it. As a bit of a bonus he took me around some of the assessment course the works examiners use. Then we went back to the yard and he showed me a few reverses and talked me through a bunch of goes. The main thing I took from it was a realisation of how to make the trailer do what I wanted in reverse. Not that I can make it work yet, but that horrible moment when the trailer is pointing one way, the cab the other, and I know where I want the trailer to go but get totally confused as to how to make it happen, should be behind me.

The instructors have a trick; if one side of your trailer comes out and you want to be straight just steer towards the side you can see. Alas, when I am half way through a move and don’t want to go straight, I can waste lots of valuable room going the wrong way then having to correct the error. Not forgetting that as soon as you run out of room and have to pull forward, that is a minor fault on your test, and one of the two you are allowed. Three, as I know all too well, is a fail.

It really is simple; get halfway through my move, think ‘fine, now I want the trailer to start turning right’ put left hand down.

The other thing I learned, before my last test, was how to steer the trailer. You’ve got trailer turning towards your target area, but if you leave it it will carry on steering and go too far, so you have to get the cab straight behind the trailer to make it reverse in a straight line. This I was doing, but by the time I’d got behind it the trailer had steered too far. Simple again; BIG steers. I was shuffling the wheel round and taking too long to straighten up. Small bends, quick straighten, before the trailer’s had time to move.

Armed with these two gems I should be able to nail the reverse again.Those four hours I’m taking should get me back in truck/road mode. Hopefully pass this time.

While we were having a coffee break today I had a funny turn. One of our trucks was going out and one of the shunters must have noticed one of the assessors in it. He noted ‘someone going out for an assessment’ and my current boss said  ‘your turn next, Steve’ ( I go by many names, it’s complicated!)

That was the funny turn. My stomach turned over. Imagining going out with the assessor, everything hanging on that one drive. If they say no, they are probably not going to give me another go until something changes, i.e. me getting experience.

It can’t be any worse than going out for my driving test, and I do that with boring regularity, but it seemed really scary. I have issues enough just getting this bloody thing passed, but that would be the next big, and sadly unavoidable, step.

Positive Bucky. I can, I will, and if not I will elsewhere.

Hmm, not 100% successful in the positivity there. Positive but with caveat and a not very optimistic appraisal of chances.

In other news, the garden is going mad! I have masses of gooseberries plumping up already, loads of tiny pears swelling, and the apple trees are covered in blossom. Also the blue pine is doing mad things. I thought the little brown lumps on it’s branches were pine cones, but they are opening and there are a bunch of tiny green pine-leaves-looking things inside. More on that story as we have it.

I’m off for two days now, rest my rib and get over it hopefully. Time for dicking about in the garden and chilling.

Forgot to mention, our trucks at work are automatic. I’ve never driven one before. It is so weird! Slowing down and trying to find a clutch pedal that isn’t there, to stop a stall that doesn’t happen. That will take some getting used to!

There, end positively. Will take some getting used to.