Moving on.

Things were just about becoming serious. I was getting a bit stir crazy being at home all the time. I was getting more and more nervous about the thought of driving. I needed work to get over it, but just applying for it was freaking me out with nerves.The money was running out, the car needed M.O.T.–ing, Wendy was starting to get worried.

Things were, as I say, getting serious. I’d only had one day’s work in about five weeks. No other income. So not good. I had started looking at warehouse work, advertised at £6.08 per hour for shift work! Robbing bastards. I applied to about six or seven agencies for driving work without getting any work.

Wendy got me to ring up about signing on the dole on Wednesday. I wasn’t keen for lots of reasons; the hassle, the contempt in which they hold you, the bullying to take a minimum wage job or lose benefits, etc. (*looks at Beth, accusingly*) (By the way, Beth is a relative who the dole made work for them.) I rang them Wednesday afternoon and arranged an interview for Friday morning, and booked the car in for an MOT Thursday morning.

Obviously that sounded the irony klaxon, so early Thursday morning the agency rang with work for that day and Friday. Had to rush straight from the MOT to the job. I rang the dole and cancelled my Friday appointment while the car was being MOT’d.

It was a straightforward job, pick up a truck and trailer in Irlam (outskirts of Manchester), drive to Bracknell (sort of level with London) get the trailer emptied and reloaded and drive back. Easy. Except not so.

Virtually everywhere I’ve been there have been reams of prissy health and safety rules and procedures. All of which I have despised and ignored. Stuff about one way systems in the yard, always parking the trailers in one area, pointing one way, units (trucks) in another, rights of way, all sorts of bollocks.

At this place there is none of that. It is organized chaos. Without the organization. Yesterday I had to pick up a unit and trailer. The unit was locked, no-one could find the keys. The trailer hadn’t been backed into the parking slot, so the bit I was supposed to drive the unit under was inaccessible. And they’d left a different unit under it. In other words someone had finished with the truck and trailer, thought ‘screw that’ and just driven into a slot and left it there. Not even reversed it in.


This meant before I could start my job I had to find the keys to my unit, do the pre-op checks, then go back and get the keys for the other unit, then reverse out, blind, into a yard full of dickheads going in all directions, spin it around, do a blind side reverse back into the slot, uncouple the trailer from the unit, move the unit somewhere else, couple my unit to the trailer, return the other unit’s keys then I was ready to start.

This is on a time-sensitive job. That lot took me best part of an hour and I hadn’t even left the yard.

Time-wise the majority of the job is cushy. Hours of just sitting there in a nice comfy truck tootling down the motorway. But the bits at each end are …focusing. That was through the Drivers Direct agency, who were getting me all the work before xmas. The irony klaxon obviously woke some others though because a different agency tried to get me working the same Friday and asked if I could work Saturday morning. I couldn’t do either, because of the working time directive for rest periods. Bloody typical one day’s work in five weeks then two agencies offering me work on the same days.


Anyway, on Friday Drivers Direct texted me with work for the same company on Monday and Friday for next week (“we’ll try and get you the days in between”). This is all to the good. I’m thinking the post New Year draught is coming to an end.

Well timed it is too. Another week or two and it would have been grim.


Wendy had a bit of a rough patch but she is feeling splendid now and all is well again. This is grand.

My sax-ing has come on great guns whilst I was living the (non-dole claiming) doley dream. Possibly because the ‘Gershwin for sax’ books aren’t that hard (classed as intermediate) but I actually had a session the other day where I thought ‘I’m going to be able to play this’. Maybe another year or two, but actually play it. Not just be learning it, if you know what I mean. Probably just a delusion brought on by the comparative ease of the books and mind alteringly strong cheese.

I managed to play ‘Summertime’ (and the living is eeeeassssssyyyyyyyy) on the clarinet out of the book as well. So it can’t be that hard.Still, it’s a nice sound on the sax, hitting a good tune.


The only downside to my news is the car. The mighty Micra murdered by MOT. Bought two new tyres for it, put it in for it’s MOT, and it failed, epically. At least £500 of repairs, then there’s labour, and he thought there were further problems he’s need to strip the engine to get at. About 5 *DANGEROUS* items. The engine is literally about to fall out. The cross beam (?) –the arm the front wheel is attached to- is rusted through and about to snap, etc. Trivial matters, but costly. It’s PC gone mad.


Need a new car, ASAP. I’ve spotted a Ford KA with a 12 month MOT for £790 or nearest offer. That’ll do. Give me a year’s cheap, hassle free motoring, hopefully. Should be getting it tomorrow, if it’s as good as it looks. What I don’t want is the coppers pulling me in an un-MOT’d car and giving me points. I’ve got 3 (…ooh, I think they come off in July! Huzzah!) if I get more than another 3 I’m virtually unemployable as a driver.


Things are looking up again. Apart from still not being able to run because I did my leg in so badly by macho-ing those new trainers. Bollocks. Getting fat again. Hard to motivate myself to go to the gym just for a ride on the bike machine.

Ho hum, suppose it will burn off some of the blubber.

Oh, forgot to say, I’ve started back on my Russian language studies again. Found a really good introductory audio course and a very good free online course, and a free online kids tv streaming site. Talking of which, you have to watch this. It’s Russian (with English subtitles) but it is so funny. Disney really ruined it. Pooh Bear-ski. 

Can’t get the bloody video to embed on here and it’s too late to be messing about. Just follow the link, it’s worth it.