New gig.

It’s Sunday. It seems like a lifetime ago I was stressing about the induction.

That was Wednesday, I think. On Thursday I was in for my first shift. Surprisingly I slept OK, the problems on the road are are manageable because you are not being watched, so you can just work through them.

That is not quite the case, the trucks all have satellite trackers to monitor your every movement, stop, and speed. All trucks have tachographs which monitor your speed, when you stop, when you take your break, etc. Plus these one are fitted with a forward facing camera which activates every time you brake harshly, go over a bump, or hit anything. Apparently there has been a huge rise in false insurance claims. People pulling in front of trucks then slamming on the brakes. Claiming they had a car full of their mates, all of whom claim for whiplash.

So, in that instance it is good tech, as it protects the lorry driver. However, it also activates if you clip a kerb, or go over a speed bump. So every incident is recorded and can be cross referenced with your speed and location to determine if you were speeding or not paying due care and attention.

You have to just drive like normal, with an eye to the speedo, and try not to think about being monitored every single minute. And hope you don’t get lost.

Anyway, I was OK about it the night before, and fairly relaxed about it on the day. It was a bit of a flap trying to suss out the new paperwork and the correct procedures, but that was to be expected. My main worry was the stores. Iceland bought out half of the Woolworth stores when they went tits up, so it’s loads of town centre, poxy little places.

My first day was two local drops, I forget where, then back to base to take out a second trailer. The stores were less than ideal to access, but within my ability. The second day was just two stores. Harder, but still manageable. I was getting cocky, thinking I had worried over nothing. Then on Saturday they sent me to Salford (a store delivery point on the roof of the complex, loads of really, really tight corners) then Macclesfield.

Up until Macc the combination of satnav and the driver-written notes had got me everywhere perfectly. Not Macc. The satnav took me by a car route. I ended up down a twisty country lane a few hundred feet from a narrow, height restricted bridge. The road signs leading up had said ‘low bridge, 1 mile’ the satnav had seemed to say my turning was just before it. I got there and was totally stuck. I was an inch and three quarters too tall for the bridge. There was an open gate into a farmers field to one side, a mile of twisty B road to reverse down to the last turn off, or a too small bridge to drive into.

I’ll not lie, I was nearly having a break down. I was hyperventilating and very nearly crying. I tried reversing, but could only get a few yards before a car would come and I’d have to stop. I eyed the farmers field but the gate was so tight I’d have had to turn on my back axle and screw it in. This would have put the cab in a tight arc around the trailer and the road just wasn’t wide enough.

Third day on the job and I was imagining I was going to have to ‘phone work and tell them I was stuck, and the police to get them to clear the mile for me to reverse (around some very tight bends) back to the turn off.

In utter desperation I tried dropping the suspension. I measured the trailer height against myself and lowered the air suspension. It dropped by about  two and a half inches. I dropped the back of the trailer by about the same. Then, having nothing to lose I inched forward. The bridge was so low that height restricted vehicles could only get through in the middle of it so if I couldn’t make it through all the cars behind me would have had to reverse out of my way. I got up to the bridge, stopped, got out and checked. I had about three inches! Either the bridge sign was overly cautious or the truck height indicator was, I could have made it with the suspension up! I crawled through and was nearly crying with relief.

I made it to the Macc town centre but there was no sign of the store. The notes were an aerial photo’ of the actual street you needed to be on to do the delivery, no clue as to how to get there. The satnav, not content with its evil height restricted triumph then tried to take me into a pedestrianized zone. I had to back up a side street and turn around. Whilst I was doing that some chap gave me directions. I followed them until I was faced with a tiny side street, bustling with shoppers and crowded with parked cars, that said ‘T’ , a dead end.

I’d already pulled in to it, following the directions, now I was wondering how the hell I was going to get out again. It looked like a reverse into a carpark and out. I got out and asked and some woman said I was on the right road, just go around the corner. I thought she might have been thinking of the front of the store, but someone else said that was the way for deliveries. Whatever else I can say about the shitty little one horse town, double yellow line parking bastards, the were very helpful. So then it was just dodge all the parked cars spin it around and back up a ramp. Past more parked cars. 

Worst. Day. Ever.

A day so bad that I was wishing for it to be Sunday even when I’d finished and got home. I just wanted it done and gone.

This, naturally enough, lead me to a pretty dedicated attempt to set the truck settings on my satnav. I googled all the specifications it wanted, height, length, width, axle weight, star sign, etc. Usually it says it doesn’t recognize the configuration. This time it said something about “truck maps not available reverting to car settings.’”

This irked me a little. After tracking down all the right specifications and all. I googled the fail message and someone had posted it and got the reply that TomTom did that model (7100 pro, Trucknav) in a car OR a truck format. He’d (and seemingly I) bought the car one. A Trucknav. That cost over £300. For cars.

I will be having words as soon as customer services is open. The reply to the guy’s post said you can upgrade the software from TomTom. For £104.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I’m not getting too excited until I’ve actually spoken to them. It may be wrong advice, there might be a simple fix, but if I have to pay an extra £100 for the Trucknav I thought I’d bought… Holy crap am I going to be miffed.


In other news (moving swiftly on) I managed to get my training mojo going this week. On Monday I swam  the full 2.4 miles (in 1.48  Pitiful, but we are allowed 2 hours, so I’ll take it) followed by a 10 mile run. Oh my giddy aunt, that was tough! I’d forgotten just how hard ‘bricks’ are! (A ‘brick’ being combined training, eg ride/ run, swim/ run etc.)  A 10 mile ride after a 2.4 mile swim is really hard and quite slow. Whodda thunk it?

Oh, everyone. Just me who forgot then.


Oddly, after a year or two hiatus I’ve gotten back in to my garden. It was stressing me out as a horrible chore that I just couldn’t be arsed with. I tidied up one bit. Then I went to the garden centre. Then I planted some tomato seeds, today I went and bought some more plants and rearranged the garden. I’ve turned over quite a section of overgrown grass and planted two hardy fuchsia plants with a silver foliage plant between them for contrast. The raised bed is still looking lovely with the tulips but I’ve planted in some dahlias and some other bulb behind them for when they die down. It should  look nice again this summer. The last two summer’s it’s just been whatever survived from the year before.

It’s weird how my interests seems to go in cycles. If I could retain an interest in one subject I could have been a brain surgeon or President of the World by now.

Ho hum. The world is safe. I have the attention span of goldfish with Alzheimer’s.

Amongst the things currently on hold are my sax, French and Kung Fu.

For shame, Bucky, for shame.

To be fair, I don’t have the time to do anything except train and work most of the time. Not that I train as much as I should. It has not failed to register that the sudden interest in gardening might just be a preference to training. Tough tits. Big training again tomorrow.


But enough of my navel gazing, what of Twitter?


The DMreporter had this;

HUBRIS: Are the middle-classes dying out? Explosion in chav population blamed on ‘selfish middle-class women and their career delusions.’

LOCAL ELECTIONS: Nigel Farage prepares for ascension.

NIGEL FARAGE: “No one can stop the Ascension! I built this debate for the demons to feed on and come election day, I’m getting paid.”

LOCAL ELECTIONS: SouthShields to leave the EU with immediate effect.

NICK CLEGG: “Naturally I’m disappointed that we’re less popular than the BNP, which is why I’m launching our new ‘White is Right’ campaign.”

MELANIE PHILLIPS: “Wibble wibble leftwing hate ftang kersplibble destroy society humnumn flapflap only I can defend against lesbians gogoo…”


Politics/ Tory scum

Hey government! Benefit overpaid due to fraud £1.2bn, benefits UNPAID due to error £1.3bn!

#UKIP asking people to "send a message" today. Presumably the message reads "I’m a racist fuckwit"

The problem with the Tories despising UKIP and UKIP despising the Tories is I find I now have common ground with both those parties.

There’s only one reason why you’d focus on the runners-up in a race, whether it’s politics or sport: because you’re on their side.

The thing I miss the most about Tony Blair was the entirely calculated, faux spontaneous faux candour. He was really good at that.

How do you pronounce Farage? Far-ahj, Farridge or toad-faced scumbucket?


Subsection UKIPtips (parody) account:

Demonstrate how right-wing you are by describing the Labour Party as ‘Socialists’

Surprise your UKIP friends by singing ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ and not being arrested. Say the word ‘blackboard’ for added shock value

UKIP Tips! Add the the words ‘sensible’ and ‘common sense’ when saying something ridiculous in an attempt to hide the fact you’re a lunatic

Demonstrate your opposition to the Euro by going into a travel agents and trying to book a holiday to Poundland

Challenge the ‘cosy Westminster consensus’ by setting fire to parliament and blaming it on communists.

Banned from fostering kids because you’re a UKIP member? Why not take your fight to the European Court of Human Rights?

When making soft rock compilation CDs for your UKIP friends, take care to avoid including any tracks by Foreigner or Europe

Highlight how politicians ignore ‘ordinary people’ by messaging parody accounts and asking them to visit the area where you live


General observations:

A man just ran for this train and got his head stuck in the doors. Someone in the carriage shouted ‘TWAT’ at him. #visitlondon

Teenager on train: I’m not a feminist. Mum: Do you want to own things and decide who you sleep with? Teen: Yeah. Mum: You’re a feminist.

LIVEN up your cat’s day by filling its litter tray with Rice Krispies.

Nice letter:

On train. My false eye pops out onto next seat. It’s a British train. Fellow passengers act like they see eyes popping out all the time..

Watermelon carving:


Life is like a box of chocolates. I haven’t had one since Christmas.

Niece just posted this on FB.

TRICK your employer into thinking you’re in good health by calling in sick.

‘SIZE 10 MAX.’ So pleased they put it in capitals as otherwise I wouldn’t have seen it through my fat eyes.

I’m just hope Queen Beatrix has stepped down to take up pottery or else why bother.

ENJOY the sophisticated ambience of a sushi bar by strapping some peeled fish fingers to a Scalextric car.

Today in 1945 Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide after being married for one day.<<Marriage, huh?

The only way you could stop me drinking so much beer is if you made the blue bin transparent. Then again I might take to burying the cans.

@BearGrylls (posted:) our producer suffering from a brutal snake bite


Laziness is the only thing stopping me from attempting to make a fully functioning Iron Man suit for my cat.

What’s the medical name for someone who reads the Daily Mail?

Just gave a false name in Starbucks. Yeah. Me. Sticking it to the man. #rebel

(To which someone replied:) You’re supposed to say "Don’t tell him. Pike" when you’re second in the queue.

‘Mayonnaise’ and ‘mayor’ come from the same Greek root meaning, "Has no place in a sandwich".

Kentucky parents give 5 year old a rifle as a gift. He promptly shoots his two year old sister dead,0,2768797.story …

Testimonials for company that makes rifles for children 4th one from father who bought pink rifle for 4-yr-old girl …

NEWS! Toddler shooting tragedies could be prevented by arming 2 year-olds, insist NRA

So far the "who we’ve lost since last year" video montage for the NRA convention is 74 hours long.


Chef Tip: If someone says "the mackerel eats well", it’s obviously still fucking alive.

Bach on radio. 4yo: "Dad, what’s this music about?" "Sometimes music is about feelings." "I think it’s about a rat eating some flowers."


Think of a sausage. Double it. Now you have two sausages.

My boss told me ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’… Now I’m sitting in a disciplinary meeting wearing my Batman costume

Does anyone know if I can get a half price designer leather sofa with 4 years’ interest-free credit & no deposit this bank holiday weekend?

Are religions unfair to women? Hang on, I’ll just ask all the female bishops,oh wait..

Nigel Evans accused of "gay rape", apparently. I guess that if he’s found gay guilty in gay court, he’ll probably be sent to gay prison.

Wisdom from my youngest: ‘Tony Stark really is the kind of jerk Bruce Wayne pretends to be to hide his identity. I like him though’

I refuse to believe my first (Kindle) edition of Hamlet (digitally signed by Shakespeare) isn’t authentic.

That was me sticking it to the man. In your face, kitten pics!

On that bombshell,