New beginning.

I’ve finally taken the plunge. I don’t know if you remember I was looking at driving for Hermes 2 years ago. I went for the interview but was too nervous on the assessment. At the time I really wanted the job; straight trunking, no messing with the load, there and back, job’s a good ‘un. It was £9.75 ish then time and a third after 8 hours. Supposed to be the easiest driving job going.

Anyway, after the last time Ceva got rid of me (a few weeks ago) I kept my eyes open for Hermes jobs. A different agency to mine advertised the job so I applied. Ceva found me a different job and I’ve been doing 4 days a week doing crappy local deliveries of unstable loads of newspapers and magazines. Typically the new agency announced that Hermes were having an induction on one of my working days.

I was considering blagging the agency, so I could check out Hermes but then I realised I’d have to use my digicard in any driving assessment so Ceva would know what I’d been doing. Bugger.

Called the agency and told them I wouldn’t be available. You’ll recall I am a ‘self-employed sub-contractor’ when it suits, ie, I am my own boss in theory, so it’s up to me when I want to work.


Got loads of attitude. First off “Why can’t you work tomorrow?” (None of your damn business, see ‘self-employed’ dickhead!) Quick backtrack when I said I was trying for another job.

Then he rang his boss, who called me.

“I thought you were happy at Ceva? They’ve tried really hard to find you work, etc” The job needed doing, I was just someone they could trust to do it. I’ve been there nearly two years and I’m still a de facto agency worker, I’ve been binned three or four times. The deal is solely in their favour.

“Who are you working for? Is it through another agency? They are just taking you on for xmas, you’ll be binned in new year. How long is the induction? Why are you not getting paid for it?”

I said that I did that 8+ hours induction at Iceland on the understanding I would get paid for it, not got a penny. *bluster, bluster* “Yes you did, errr, I’ll check it out and get back to you tomorrow.” I didn’t. He hasn’t.


So that was all fun and games before I’d even been to the induction. I turned up at 11.30 as per agency instructions, sat around for a bit, then the HR woman (Paula) showed up. I said I was early. She agreed. “The induction’s not until 14.30. Come back later. Btw, can you drive tonight?” Errrr, ok.

Back home, try again later.

Second time I went and did the induction. They’ve changed the criteria and the process. It used to be ‘driving license, some experience’ and a driving assessment.  Now it’s two years driving experience and being buddied up for a day with an existing driver. They show you the ropes and presumably give a quiet word on whether you’re up to scratch.

I was OK on the induction, I got home,  and Paula rang me, “You’ve driven before, right? Good, can you start tomorrow?”

No buddy, here’s the keys, get on with it. Suits me.

I rang my old agency after the induction, btw, to tell them the score. I asked if they wanted me to finish the week at Ceva. “No. They don’t want you back.”  *sigh* Divas.

My first day was just doing local runs from Appleton Warrington to the new base (that is not quite operational yet) at Burtonwood Warrington. This is something else in this job’s favour. They are moving into the new base in March. It’s across the motorway from Ikea/ other side of the slip from the services. Which is to say, just under 2½ miles from our house! Epic win!

My second day was a run to Crewe and back, then Sheffield and back. Easy life.

Sunday they wanted me in at 1630. Bah. Not keen but I want to keep my head above the parapet so when the January lull starts I am at the top of the list. They assure me that there is no lull in their operation and they can keep me in work, but it does no harm.  I got in and they gave me the paperwork.


In Kent. 

The far side of London.

234 miles.

In a truck that does 54 mph.

When you’ve only got 4½ hours driving time by law.

OK, no pressure.

You have a spare hour by law, but after 4½ hours you have to take a 45 minute break. They wanted me there by 2200. I got my truck, found my trailer and set off by 1710. The M6 was slow for the first 4 or 5 junctions, but I thought I might just scrape in. Then some Southern crashy bastards closed the M1. Ace. It took me nearly an hour to do 2 miles. Then I had to take my break. I didn’t get in to Maidstone until 2355. Then I had to take another 45 minutes break to clear the clock for a desperate race back. I started off at 0105 on Sunday night/ Monday morning (no traffic at all) went through the Dartford toll and the M6 toll to keep it as quick as possible and made it back in 4 hours 26.

Bloody hell, I hope I don’t get that run too often. I was talking to another driver before I left the yard, he said he’d done it twice and both times had run out of hours and had needed rescuing.

All in all it meant I got to bed at 0815 on Monday, then I woke up 4½ hours later feeling like death. I spent the rest of the day doing a thousand yard stare and waiting for bedtime. That was my day off. Today I’m off again and can actually enjoy it.

The other thing with this job, I’m back on PAYE! Holiday pay, no need for an accountant, paying my taxes like a good Socialist.

I was talking to a driver at the induction, he has his own truck, he was saying as self-employed I should pay £80 and turn myself into a limited company, that way the first £34K is tax deductible, or something. The Ltd Co (BucktheTruck Ltd)  makes the money, then pays me, the director, a wage that is a tax break, after paying me, the shareholder, a tax deductible dividend. Not sure how it works, but it seems that taxes are optional for even the poorer tory bastard.

This leaves me with the moral quandary: do I want more money or to pay tax? Obviously no-one wants to pay tax, but as a good Socialist I have to recognise that that there are shitloads of people who are worse off than me who need the state’s safety net, and someone has to pay for it. Look at Wendy’s ongoing drain on the NHS coffers. She’s a productive and worthy contributor to the state and society in her work, but we would be totally screwed if we had to pay for her MRI and surgery. You could cite the American system of private health insurance, but apparently they won’t insure people with pre-existing medical conditions. 

In other words, do I do what’s right or what’s profitable?

For now at least I’m happy to do what’s right, but the temptation is there.


I joined that running club, btw. I thought I’d already mentioned that. I’ll have to have a look to see if a blog entry has got saved to drafts instead of published.

Anyway, assuming it got lost, running club.

I finally got to go 3 weeks ago. (I’m sure I’ve blogged since then, where is it?)

They had us doing silly warm up exercises, skipping and such, I felt my tendon tightening straight away, the one that buggered up when I tried to swap to those natural running trainers. Worrying. Then we were doing sprint intervals. I put myself in the middle ability group. I don’t think they are going to stretch me, tbh.

The first week I wasn’t sure, the second week we were doing hill sprints. I ended up lapping some of the back markers, then leading the field. This is not what I want, I want to be struggling to match my betters. Again, it’s about pushing the envelope of what’s comfortable.  A point of note, I’ve done a 50 mile race and limped away without injury. I did the first night with my running club and got ‘runner’s knee’. Which is a pain in the side of the knee, usually caused by over-training, over-pronation and/ or hill work. Typical.

Also (again), I’ve found myself sounding like a bragger. I just assumed in a running club everyone would be full-on runners. Some guys were talking about a hilly 10k run, so I asked if they’d done the Bolton Hill Marathon. Frosty “no”.

It seems the level seems to be about half marathon from the few race t-shirts. I honestly didn’t think a marathon was a big deal, it’s just running. That is what you expect people at run clubs to do. It’s kind of their raison d’etre.

I always think that if  I can do it, any able bodied person can. I am constantly surprised that people haven’t done so, better. I’m just a fat old duffer who has a bit of grit.

Partly that’s because of Twitter. There you get to meet people who are fanatics and who would shame me at any race. I no longer think the achievement is in completing any given distance, it’s the getting a good time that is impressive. I can see, thinking about it, how that would piss someone off if they were killing themselves trying to complete a 10k.

However, my glorious plans are shattering like china before the onslaught of the bull of reality. I’ve still not managed the 3 miles at 6 m/m. And my training is getting more infrequent with this new gig. It might be partly the stress of the transition, and the getting up at 0455, but I’ve had nothing in me at night.

Just got a text, back in work tomorrow, 1200. Not ideal, but at least I won’t be knackered.

Had a quick break and tried to do a fast 3 miles. Well, fast for me, to equal my PB time for the distance, 6.15 m/m. I managed 7.44 minutes then cracked like an egg. Shockingly bad. I think it must be down to mental toughness. My pulse was 163, my legs were OK, my breathing was ragged and I was dying from the heat in the house, but I think physically I could have carried on. It’s just down to me listening to the voice that is screaming “STOP, FFS!” I have to ignore it and man up.

Whilst in the shower I’ve formulated a new plan. I’m going to set it at 6.30 and do a minimum of 5 miles, more if possible. Then keep upping the distance. If I can run 10 miles at 6.30, surely I can do 3 at 6.00. Also, this is the one thing that is holding up my training plan, getting the 3 miles at 6 m/m. If I can run a consistent marathon at 6.30 that would be 2.50:18, which would be better than awesome.

Right, can’t wait to get stuck into that. I have my running club tonight, so it will have to wait, but that doesn’t seem as downright impossible as the 3x 6 m/m is proving. I did the beastly training run off the schedule, 10 minutes warm up, 3 minutes rest, (1 mile sprint, 3 min rest) x 4 , 10 minute warm down. I thought it was going to be hellish. How wrong I was. Hell is where you go for your holidays after that.

I managed some reasonable times though, about 6.18 –6.28. I thought my watch automatically paused when you did, turns out that’s an opt-in feature. So my figures were taken from the graph it provides online, hence a bit rough. It was taking the 3 minutes rests into my m/m times. One thing that made me laugh, heart rate peaked at 189 bpm, or 102% of max. No lack of effort, but a serious maths fail.


Yes, that’s the way forward. I can manage 6.30 m/m, build up the distance at that pace, try and slot in what training I can from the plan around it. And aim for a 20+ mile run each weekend.

Watch this space for boring details.


Wendy is in for her MRI next Tuesday. So it’s going to be the New Year before she gets her guts chopped out. Assuming they get their shit together and decide to operate.


Right, enough waffle, time to rob everyone else’s wit to liven my blog, hello Twitter.


As ever we start with the DMreporter:

RELIGION: ‘The Church could be extinct within a generation’ warns ex-Archbishop ‘now that Google have banned all our popular search terms…’

HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY: Suspect in slavery case has leftwing history, thus proving everything we’ve ever suspected about the socialist threat.

PRESS: Daily Mail Australia to launch in 2014. Expect extensive coverage on the plight of the bullied British ex-pat by racist natives.

BREAKING Sectarianism & Homophobia immediately cease in Glasgow as city unites against Westboro Baptist Church.


Then (boo hiss) it’s politics/ Tory scum:

The PM will host a "hunger summit" at 10 Downing Street, with African leaders, While 500,000 people are being fed by the Red Cross in the UK

If we needed a Thatcher museum the private sector would have provided one

Maggie Thatcher’s £12m mansion was registered in a tax haven to avoid inheritance tax – God she loved this country.

£1 a week off my energy bill and on my tax bill. Haven’t been so excited about a new govt policy since the cones hotline


And finally, everyone’s favourite, General:

So it’s International Men’s Day, eh? HOW COME THERE’S NO INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY?? #misandry #confused

Men’s Day, so I’m off to be manly. Mainly checking my privilege and being condescending to the little ladies. (That means to talk down to.)

due to its popularity International Men’s Day has been extended indefinitely and will be renamed "human history"

The Sun admits ‘600,000 benefit tourists’ story was ‘not accurate’ & ‘has no evidence’, prints correction (on p.2)

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James Arthur isn’t homophobic, it was just part of rap dissing. Does he use racism when dissing? No. That would be racist.

No, no, no the position is all wrong. Seats too high!  <<No helmet. Yoof of today.


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Undeniably accurate

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We’ve hired Craig David to do some interviews for us. He met this girl on Monday. She’s filed an official complaint today.

This could be my favourite lecture slide ever. If male avatars were designed like the worst female examples

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Arnold Schwarzenegger taking ballet lessons, c. 1977

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Facebook eejits.

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I’m still rubbish at Venn diagrams. I really don’t get them. :/

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#VIRGO: People should know how you feel. And considering that actions speak louder than words, KILL THEM! KILL THEM ALL!

Top tip for newspaper hacks, save money on expensive ink by replacing "killer snowrmageddon death freeze" with "winter". You’re welcome.

Look, my problem with the rich, is they cluster in little communities, won’t integrate & expect us to adapt to their customs.

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“If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room"

Asked on live malaysian TV what I thought about terrorism. Told them at length. Later realised they’d asked me about tourism.

In loud German bar, German asks "Do you like the Fuhrer?" I did finger mustache and salute, "The Fuhrer?" "THE CURE." (Band) *dies*

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Ladies, beware of carrying your beige coloured neck pillow in an unflattering manner

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I’d suggest that a good time for Scottish people to decide how the Union is working for them is while they’re freezing to death this winter

Unfortunate typo of the day..

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Relationship status… Hugging the radiator

Eye 1354, heading for shops and subscribers now

if my dad was Nigel Lawson and I was married to Charles Saatchi, I’d eat ketamine for breakfast

My cat is sad because he is thinking about the tough, weatherbeaten lives of 19th Century Scottish fishermen.

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Energy companies see profits rise by 75% in a year. Increasing profits by pushing more and more people into poverty.

Gunners were the first professional arm of the British Army. This was no place for gentlemen amateurs.

A stunningly honest piece from an ex-friend of Ian Watkins. Remember these things apply to all sex offenders

Jesus. Woman on radio 2, one of the victims of the Catholic church. Slave labour, they sold her baby for US adoption… #fuckinghell

I guess my least favorite author is probably Hitler

The thing they don’t mention about GTA is you don’t HAVE to murder prostitutes (or postmen, cows etc.) You can also do yoga/buy shoes.

remember when ethnic cleansing was bad mt @RaniaKhalek Israeli govt to evict 60,000+Arab citizens to make room for Jewish only neighborhoods

This man..

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RECREATE the excitement of a Grand Prix by painting a wall, watching it dry, then handing Sebastian Vettel some champagne.

I am told that death is the new forty.

Girl: Babe come see me I miss you

Me: Can’t someone broke my bike

Girl: I’m horny


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Dear Santa Yeah I’ve been naughty this year and it was worth it you fat, judgemental bastard

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5yo: Dad, I really really love the Smiths.

Me*wells up*: really?

5yo: ..

Me ..

5yo: ..

Me: you’re talking about the Smurfs, aren’t you.


Tom Daley has a boyfriend

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Avoid the horror of your children’s bedtime, by simply using a condom 6 years before it’s time for them to go to sleep.

And with that, toodles.