False Starts.

I got my delivery of a ton bag of sand and a ton bag of gravel on my day off, as I’d booked it. But the gravel bag was burst so they had to redeliver it the next day when I was at work. Luckily Wendy is off to take the delivery, but it meant I had to come home in the evening and wheelbarrow all the gravel around to the garden in the dark. That was less than ideal.

Yesterday and today I was off work so I finished off the shed foundations, just in time for the delivery on Thursday.

It ain’t pretty but it’s fair flat and functional. I’ve booked Thursday off for the delivery. Job’s a good ‘un.

This morning I got an email from Tiger Sheds. Your provisional revised delivery date is the 26th. Of July!

WHAT?! 4 months?

I rang them straight away for confirmation and they are looking in to it and ringing me back today. More to follow. Update: They’ve just got back to me, still on for this Thursday. I don’t know if they were trying it on, or a genuine mistake, but hopefully that’s sorted now.

Another faux pas was my running. I was off running for 5½ months and I’ve done precisely 11 runs since I started again. Mostly 4 or 5 miles, with one 10 miler and one 13. I was talking to someone on twitter about upcoming races and my May marathon looks a pretty safe bet to be happening. I needed to know what I had in my legs. Yesterday, on a whim, I set out to do a long run. My foot was hurting by 3 miles so there was no point in trying for damage limitation. I decided I might as well test myself for the full distance. I did a (slow, 4 hours and 42 seconds) marathon. Damn those 42 seconds! I was in misery for the last 6 miles but I was determined to stay in the 3’s so kept upping my pace and forcing myself on. Missed it by 42 seconds. After 26.2 miles. That smarts.

The good news is I now know I can go the distance. And credit where it’s due, Trainer Road have maintained my fitness and stamina even when I wasn’t running. That’s good to know. The not so good news is it has destroyed my foot, but I was expecting that. I had a bad night with it last night, but it’s not too bad today. I reckon it should be functional again in a day or so. My plan, recently revised in light of my lame hoof, was to get through this year’s races then rest up for as long as it takes to make a full recovery. Now I know the bike training can keep me at 90% fitness I’m a lot happier about that. My plan now is to go back to flat pedals on my bike (when you clip in you stress that tendon apparently) and stick to light run training (when my foot is better). Try to get my fitness up on the bike and aim for damage limitation training on the runs.

I should be selling my motorbike next week. He’s supposed to be coming to collect it on the Friday. But now that lockdown is easing I’ve been getting more interest. I think it will definitely sell now. I amended my adverts to *DEPOSIT TAKEN*. I’d already stated in the advert that it is a 19 year old bike with a few scratches and signs of wear as you’d expect. Then I got this. I enjoyed replying.

Wendy had her Covid vaccination jab last week. It left her with a sore arm and a bit of plague weakness the next day but it seems to have passed. Lisa had it and has been wiped out with tiredness. I’ve got mine in an hour. Fun times…

Just got back from my jab. We had to nip to St Helens. Got there in plenty of time, despite a bunch of roadworks, found my way in, went to the booking-in desk, “reference number?” Read it out. “That’s next week.”

Hahaha. Eejit!

Wendy has also suddenly got bad pain in her lower back. She gave it three days but it was still there so she rang the doctors. He asked her a bunch of questions over the ‘phone and ruled out kidney infection (her primary concern), sciatica and a side effect of the jab. He told her to slap on some heat rub and neck some Nurofen. The pills and the Volterol have made a huge difference, so that’s a relief. It’s worrying to get sudden, lasting pain.

I’ve put some of that elastic tape stuff on my foot and that seems to be helping a lot.

I am getting used to the job now. I was a bit sad with it because it has a lot of things with which I’m not familiar; local runs, multi-drops and driving class 2/ rigids. Now I’m over my fear of rigids (still prefer an artic) and I’m adjusting my mindset for the multi-drops it seems an OK job. I noticed I was on emergency tax since I went back to work after my broken shoulder. The DWP sent me a P45 when I signed off the sick, but I’d already given the agency my last P45 so I didn’t think they’d need it again. Wrong. I sent them my new P45 but then I got a ‘phone call the other day saying they couldn’t amend my tax code and I’d have to ring HMRC myself. I did, expecting the worst. After a 45 minute wait on hold the advisor was really helpful. Apparently it’s too late in the year to amend my tax code now, but she gave me a 1275L code that will kick in with the new tax year, and sent it to my employer. So April is looking epic. Shed will be up, bike sold, loan paid, pay parity (£5 p/h pay rise) and on a proper tax code. And at some point they will go through my tax for the year and I should get a decent tax rebate.

I am getting 4 or 5 shifts now, if that continues when they are paying me full money we are going to be able to start saving. I still keep looking on Indeed for jobs, but that’s mainly so I can say “I’m not doing that because…” it’s nights, or tramping (live in your truck for a week at a time) or, mostly, it’s terrible money. I saw one for £9 p/h! how I laughed. Unless Home Bargains advertises, and the job is as well paid as I think, I think I’ll stay where I am. It being 2 miles from my doorstep is also nice. I did see one the other day. I think it was £15 p/h, (Royal Mail is £17) trunking (straight to a distant drop, exchange a trailer, come back, go home) and the start times weren’t terrible. But it was a 60 mile a day (round trip) commute to the other side of Manchester. The M62 and M60 are always dodgy, when we come out of lockdown they are going to be horrendous again. Even on a motorbike that would be a nightmare commute. Not to mention adding over an hour to my shift every day. And risking life, limb and license just to go to work. For less money.

Even the really good jobs are not as good as what I’m doing. If only I could get full time. As it is though, we’re in March, still not a busy time, and I said I could only work 4 days this week (I booked a day off for the shed delivery.) They’ve given me all 4 days. Which is planned for 42 hours. Another thing about this job; they give you your bookings for the week at the end of the week prior. They book you in for certain duties. You go in, pick up the duty sheet, and do that duty. I’ve not been swapped around yet. And when you’ve done the jobs on the duty sheet you just walk into the office and hand your keys in. That is huge in lorry driving. At Booker you found out your job for the next day as you finished that day’s shift, when you got to work in the morning half the time you were on a different run, and when you finished your job if there were any runs left they would send you out again. You never knew until you were out of the gate what time you were getting home. I really hated that. I’ll see how it goes, but if I keep getting this much work I just can’t see me finding a better job. The only things I currently have issues with is the nice start times. Starting at 08.50 sounds about perfect. You don’t have to go to bed at stupid o’clock, you’re not tired out, you’re not running into nights. But. Because the shifts are usually a bit long (this week: 11 hours, 9, 12, 12) it means you can’t reasonably train before work because of the noise and associated spouse related murder issues, and it’s too late to make a noise (and frankly you just don’t want to) at 21.00.

I’ll have to work something out with that. Other than that, it’s basically unbeatable.

It’s strange where life leads you. A nice warehouse job that turned into a -18C frozen hellhole job. In a company that was advertising “warehouse to wheels -W2W-” . A job I hated, offering an easy, better paid job. So I went that way. Then, after we’d maxxed out the credit card getting my licences, Iceland wouldn’t let me drive on W2W as I didn’t have 2 years experience (still bitter about that!) so I had to go on the agency. I did a load of jobs, (Booker being the best of them) and realised Iceland was way too hard a job, with too long hours, for too little money. If they’d have let me drive I’d never have known and would probably still be there now. So I got in at Booker. Then Booker got bought out by Tesco and was going downhill, but I lacked the drive or courage to find a better job until they sacked me. Now I’ve ended up taking an agency job, for which I would never have left a full time job. And, as long as the work keeps coming in, it looks like the best move I could have made. Odd.

Or, to summarise: life, eh?

I think that’s my doings. I’m over my twitter sadness. So that’s good.

After the police brutalised a bunch of women holding a vigil for a woman allegedly murdered by a serving copper last week, (on covid health and safety grounds) they let a bunch gammons hold a no-mask mass rally in London this week.

A genius bit of photoshop commentary on Priti Patel’s new fascist police state bill

That footballer who keeps making the government back down each time they say they are about to starve school kids again had got his own bit of graffiti

A frankly stunning bird. (Temminck’s Tragopan, obvs!)

And a baby sloth that happens to look smiley but is probably planning someone’s early death for draping him over a branch.

Also, to prove anything can look cute, a baby platypus

Right, out of here.

Stay safe people.