I think I’ve just about been all over England in the last few days for both work and fun stuff.
Yet only appeared to have about 5 minutes of frustration and loads of laughs and twittering along the way. I also accquired about 6 all new HUA awards to give out and will be posting them in due course :)
What else, lost my camera, got it back again, the CofC2 is brilliant – it seems very fast when the speedometer says I’m doing 40 mph, but it got me back from London really quite quickly for that 40mph!
With news that they set fire to the sea in the gulf of Mexico and that trucking friends across the US are all but being blown off the road with the storms they’re having, with just one more run to London tonight – the week is finally over.
Tons to do over the weekend and more importantly a few things to fix and maybe even plaster, which would then mean decorating :(
As it’s the weekend, I’ll leave you with the intros from Fox News anchor Patti Ann Brown
Well last night found me at a political husting in Westminster North…
The event was held in a church on the Harrow Rd and contrary to popular belief, I DID NOT catch fire upon entering the establishment.
Three Candidates from the main parties attended and something from UKIP appeared after she managed to fight her way under the door frame.
And true to form, the UK Independence Party wannabe wasn’t even from the UK… she was a refugee from the Balkan wars and frankly after explaining how she was shot at, is living proof that while the AK47 is the single most reliable assault weapon in the world, it is highly inaccurate even at the closest of ranges.
To be fair, this isn’t my constituency; I was simply an observer and had decided that no matter how I much may support one of these candidates, I would listen with an open mind to the questions asked and the replies given.
Well that worked – NOT!!
I’m not even sure after all the questions that were handed in, how only 4 or 5 got asked through out the whole event
What followed was to me the height of humour, and I was even impressed with some thing’s.
First up the UKIP (Jasna Badzak) and possibly the tallest woman I’ve ever seen decided that we all should give a minutes silence to some bloke I’d never heard of, effectively hijacking the beginning of the meeting. She also used her son as an emotional carrot which was a little dubious to say the least.
Then there was a question about Nuclear power… It truly amazes me that people have no concept of how modern nuclear power works and that it only produces a miniscule amount of waste compared to what it used to do. Furthermore, when Mark Blackburn of the Lib Dem party got up and stated that under the LibDems there would be no new Nuclear power stations. Only a few minutes into the meeting and I realised the man was a freaking imbecile !
Now slowly driving the entire room mad, the UKIP woman with the most unpronounceable name in the world said that dirty ways of making power like this was a necessary evil we would have to bare… I’m not saying these things to be horrid, here let the Lib Dem huge supporter Prof. Brian Cox explain from an interview on Robert Llewellyn’s awesome Carpool web show
Needless to say, 30 minutes into the meeting and I was having trouble staying. I wanted to get up and tell these people what I thought…
Then came to the economic questions… In a road where 4 shops were being refitted, the place bustling was restaurants, bars shops etc the present Labour MP told everyone just how bad the recession is and is going to get. This was then backed up with the Lib Dem guy explaining how he was this awesome businessman who knows just how bad its gonna get… I was stunned… The amount of goods moving around British roads this last few months has been breaking all records and we’re struggling to keep up with it! Quality optomism from the people who should know eh?
The Labour lady, talk about a bad hair day!! I thought my head shaving antics were bad enough but frankly I was searching the web on my phone to find a team or Aussie shearing contractors to come and put us out of our eyesore misery… (seriously, the blister I had on my eye – it was nothing!!)
Then something strange happened… some blond bird stood up and opened her mouth – and from it came the most clear, straight forward and dare I say ‘simplest’ explanation of the economy I’ve ever heard!!
I’m not saying this to be complimentary, I’d never heard it put in such a straight forward way before in my life.
‘Odd’, I thought. She should do this for a living, she’s quite good at it.
At this point someone from the room stated that it was nice to see that Labour was the only party to have people of colour on there leaflets – which was kinda odd. In reality I just thought ‘woo hoo’…
Then the next question was asked and they started giving their answers, just before this blond lass gave her answer, she said “Can I just say to this gentleman who spoke before, I’m not having lies, and I don’t like liars (shame, coz I’m really very good at it. Yeah, we used to talk about it while I served burgers behind the battle lines at Hastings in 1066), she then went on to say that not only had their leaflets got people of all races on, but they’re all people from the constituency itself, not models etc.
At this point I thought ‘fk me! she’s got…., hold on! as I reached below to check I still had any!
Further rebukes (some quite animated) about the conservative party were met head on by her, with clarity, restraint, facts and guts… I sat there thinking, ‘and I thought she was so nice’ - but I was kinda gobsmacked!
At one point a very funny slip of the tongue had everyone laughing when she said she had opened a Crack House, when she was trying to say she had shut down an operational Crack House – no one finding it more funny than Joanne herself – and this is the difference, she can laugh at herself, a seriously lacking strength in modern politics!
Later I spoke with the closest person to her and noted how she wouldn’t back down… Oh, he said, she won’t back down from anything… Well he should know, he married her :) (wonder if he’s a real ale drinker?)
As for what I think in hindsight? While the name of Joanne Cash will change soon, Joanne is a determined individual; not after power, wealth or fame, but someone who so very simply cares. This seat is simply Conservative vs Labour – the other two simply have nothing!
I found it odd that people didn’t attack other parties, just the Conservatives and that these attacks were mainly about actions of a party over 13yrs previously. From the outset, the Conservative candidate the had to defend her party, people simply weren’t listening to the now and very present day’s message which was very strange.
Walking into work yesterday took ages, people were all being friendly and laughing and joking with me… This is concerning! Though WKD was soon on hand to shatter the illusion by saying that I was a little early for the ex-farm shift and I was looking a bit too keen!
Just to explain, I couldn’t bare the thought of doing what WKD does, it takes a very special, no, sorry ‘different’ kind of person to drive like these people have to do, especially in some of the places they have to go. But to me it’s like Multi-Drop deliveries in reverse backed up with having to wade through cow s**t all day… A joy I’m sure…
Yesterday found me at Westbury Dairy yet again, accept this time we (the drivers) were interrogated about the tanks we were pulling. What I mean to say is; this guy pulls out a large ledger with loads of tick boxes on it and started asking about things like “does your trailer have a sticker on it that says ‘Food Stuffs Only’?”. I said what? Why? These can only be used for carry a limited number of fluids. The reply was “Under new EU rules, you must have this sticker or we’ll turn you away and ban you from site until you prove otherwise”… I said I’m sorry mate, I’m British, it’s says ‘Milk’ on the side of it. I don’t know what EU speak for milk is, but I will say yes it has… Is it supposed to be written in Fr**ch or German as well or just English?!
I’m sorry, I have got to the point I no longer care about ANY EU rules anymore… if it’s EU – it aint British!! But then Westbury Dairy is the perfect example of Health and Safety gone mad!! But then I got on the weightbridge to find the truck over weight AGAIN, which no one seems to care about
The new CofC2 (Car of Character) is kinda impressing me more and more. The more I have read about this thing, the more I’m intrigued. If I had the money I might have to clean it up and a bit of tech into it, because it’s amazing just how much tech this car will take. But alas, I might be a little old to be going around pimping my ride. It is nice to have a car that goes like a rocket and holds the corners – even if I don’t know what speed I’m actually doing.
My hair cut was the butt of many jokes yesterday, the trouble is I can’t see all around my head to see how bad it really is, but hey, if it makes people smile, what’s the harm in that. Though they do often ask if I’ve had surgery….
The volcanic ash that was supposed to be at 20,000 feet isn’t !! it’s all over everything! I’m also not the only person to eye issues, several people I know are having trouble and the air feels and tastes dry like being back in Riyadh.
This pic on the left is the Al Faisaliah tower dispearing into the sandstorm. This is where I had my office on the 22nd floor. The one on th eright is of the Kindon Centre and thats one of the tallest building in the Middle East.
This is what they should look like; (click to enlarge)
Last night while settling down for an evening in, the phone rings, the voice asks if I can be in Sparkford in just a little over an hour.
Oddly, I could be and so off begins a series of events that will NOT be changing my life forever.
Arriving before 8pm I’m told that someone would be driving me to Minworth near Birmingham in a van, there I would pick up a truck and take the loaded milk to Westbury Dairy.
Well that was straight forward enough except the person going to take me didn’t turn up until nearly 10pm. Then this guy had a great Idea – why doesn’t he take me half way and get an ex-farm driver take me back to Minworth in his truck…
Except that driver had suffered a blow-out and was several farms behind in his collections! Nevertheless, this plan was hatched and I was dropped in the early hours at a farm in the middle of nowhere.
With another 4 farms to collect from and all some distance apart, we set off with me now realising that I’d be lucky to make Minworth by 5am, we weren’t far off either.
A reluctance by staff to fill out the right paperwork enabled a somewhat obvious oversight of the fact the milk was now over 24hrs old – thus saving me two extra hours of testing later.
The difference with this job? The truck was an artic Bulker…
I set off arriving at Westbury some 3hrs later to be confronted with an issue I was worried about – how to get the milk out of a bulker…
This is normal everyday practice for all ex-farm drivers, but to a guy who does nothing more than open a tap or two – this sucker was as foreign as those pesky Fr**ch..
As it happens, I, you and this blog happens to know an ex-farm driver in the form of ever jolly WKD… (one of the few people I’d trust to give me the right info on this subject).
Now with 5 drivers standing around the back of the truck prodding buttons and slowly disassembling things they shouldn’t, the phone was picked up and the literal call for help was left as a message.
WKD promptly rang me back a few minutes later explaining (well I think this is what she said) that she had vacuumed herself to the bed while cleaning and couldn’t get to the phone (odd, sheer weight does it for me).
Straight away she started giving me clear advice, yet other drivers kept doing the opposite, but then with the sudden call of “I’m in charge here!!” from WKD I managed to get everyone off it.
Thankfully all went well there after and WKD went on to explain how she was taking her mum skateboarding or something.
I of course marvelled at my own superior intelligence to pick up the phone and ring her – if I hadn’t, I’d still be there now :)
Job done in just a little of 15hrs (officially) I headed home.
Arriving back in Honiton I noticed we have a Toyota dealership and in need for a new speed sensor for the CofC2 I popped in to get information and a price. Well I’m aware main dealers charge a little more for parts but was astounded to be hit with £188.92!!!
A quick search of the part number on the old tin-ternet when home revealed this….
Guess which one I’ll buy?
And with that my friends, I must retire as I’ve now been up for 29.5hrs.
So a guy walks in to a bar…
The backbone and transmission equipment has been ready for years and while Apple were quick on the uptake of aesthetically pleasing technology, they were quite behind in the tech in a phone (bless those chaps at Samsung). But then for someone to leave a 4G phone on a bar floor almost begs belief – if of course, it is fully 4G compliant? After all it could be a bit of a red herring. I say this because ALL mobile phone makers have experimental 4G phones, but the benchmarks keep moving and there are real safety issues with this amount of power 4G carries. So, personally I think it’s a ploy to say to the world ‘hey, we’re almost ready’.
The problem with 4G other than a comple MPLS network, is that it is designed to replace convention cable etc with full wireless broadband. So the question is simply – how do you bill for it lets say a family home? Or are you really gonna charge per user?
Well, initially it’ll be for the mobile phone and tablet/laptop and netbook systems etc. But while 4G is up and running in countries like Jordan, it is simply for home/laptop users. But in reality, the phone interfaces aren’t good enough yet and they need to improve a lot – especially regarding typing etc. So, we’ll see.
But i’t also help if the system doesn’t melt you’re head when using it.
Sunday night and I had arranged with my mate Dave across the road to go for a beer…
Now this only happens when his wife Annie either goes up to Sheffield or to see her mother because she doesn’t like this beer business.
Frankly I can’t blame her because we to tend to hit it pretty hard when we do. That said, we seemed to have taken it easy…
We didn’t even complete the whole High St this time and managed to some how leave out 2 or our favourite pubs.
The last three pints were in the Vine where the Landlord turned out to be this awesome local historian, giving us a full and complete run down of the whole of Honiton’s history and in doing so pointed out that we aren’t actually in Honiton.
There after things became sketchy to say the least.
With our stomachs armed predominantly with a local brew called Otter Ale, we headed for the Chinese and food….Followed by the stronger stuff and promptly putting the world to rights.
Dave somehow managed to invite me to help put in a 12ft RSJ this morning and after being woken at 8:45 to go and sort out the paperwork on the old CofC, it took me only seconds to realise I had suffered no ill effects from the night before at all!! (shock!)
So, feeling good I went across the road and help Dave’s builders man handle RSJ’s and support posts into place…
I would like to add there was no sign of Dave at all until the last ½ inch of steel was being hammered into place – really, there is no justice!!
Other than all this, I managed to have a minor disaster…
You know those moments in life when you know you should concentrate, give something you’re undivided attention. Like when you’re cutting your own hair with an electric trimmer – and then the phone rings & it’s JK….
Then some time during the conversation you don’t realise that the guide has fallen off the trimmer and when you put the phone down, you go straight back to trimming… hmmmm
Thankfully I noticed instantly – THEN tried to make it look better….. you know, like a complete moron…LOL
Oh well, gotta laugh sometimes.
Yes, I’ve whinged, I’ve moaned and I have indeed hated and been embarrassed. But the while friends have often asked if I could park the CofC further down the road from their houses, that sucker NEVER failed to start!!
Indeed, I admit it – it looked like something pulled from the rubble of 911, I have never loathed a car more in my life – even my old Fr**ch Renault was loved more (and that’s saying something).
But for the £350 that car cost me, it has been one of the most reliable bags of S**t I’ve ever owned…Until now that is…
The TWBrit CofC has gone, no more will the people of the Devonshire countryside hear the painful sound like that of crashing cymbals rattling about the otherwise quite roads and lanes as it is to be destroyed in a demolition derby type thing and I hope to be able to video it’s death.
In its place is not a newer car by any means, but the Mk2 TWBrit CofC is a Toyota Celica GT from 1994, 2.0 auto. It’s been looked after and maintained by one of the better mechanics I’ve ever known and flogged to me for the princely sum of £500.
It’s basically like driving a fast go-kart. Steering is awesome, it grips the road like glue thanks to a good set of Goodyear F1 tyres and is somewhat powerful to say the least.
Test driven throughout Devon, Somerset, Avon, Gloucestershire, The Cotswolds, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire all last Saturday, as Kev and I drove up to Milton Keynes to buy Kev a bloody great and near immaculate 4.0 Jaguar (whose engine looked better suited to being strapped to the front end of a Messerschmitt 109).
On the way back I took it a lot more easily due the fact the speedometer is a little intermittent and took in a duty call to Witney to see my mother.
I had been suffering from an irritation in my right eye since the night before and after a good look my mother pointed out that I had a blister on my eyeball. (that pic isn’t my eye, mine was a little more aggravated)
With that knowledge I took myself off to Witney’s minor injuries unit (MIU) to have it looked at.
It transpires that I’ve had some kind or reaction to something and was told to take Anti Histamine tablets.
Forgetting just how tired they can make you, I took the said tablets and proceeded to drive back to Devon.
This wasn’t very clever at all!! Because I can’t tell you how I got from Taunton to Honiton!!!
Nevertheless, I slept for 12 hours straight after only having 1.5 hours sleep in the previous 36.
Yes indeed I did, on the very day the UK’s airspace was made a no fly zone I was on my way to London in a truck coming off the M5 at Taunton to go down the A358, when just as I came to a halt at the bottom of the slip road a van of lads pulled up next to me shouting and yelling. Not the usual rowdy terminology or ‘call yourself a truck driver” or “who gave you a licence?” no indeed not… the words were “you’re on FIRE!!”
Now trucks catch fire for a multitude of reasons and in this case it was a binding brake calliper on the trailer rear axle.
Oddly, there are some places you should never drive into in a burning vehicle, but not perturbed by commonsense I got back in the truck and pulled around on to a Petrol station forecourt where oddly, there are fire points and more importantly – water.
Now obviously I’m not a complete nutter and I left the rear of the truck on the road. Never the less, 14 buckets of water later and the fire was finally out and the steel structure of the trailer’s underside had returned to a normal colour.
I reversed back out on the road and parked up on a business park until someone came out to fix the problem.
Only a few days before, I was diverted back up the road I was about to drive down due to a horrific accident on a stretch of road called the Illminster by-pass.
A 3 car accident leaving 7 people with life threatening injuries and most being air lifted to Hospitals in Bristol, Southampton, Taunton and Exeter.
Funny thing is, while you can see where the accident was, it’s only when you drive past in a truck do you get to see the spray painted outlines of body parts. And that friends, is a truckers lot! We see it all and we see a lot of it.
However, going back to my journey to London, or should say more over – back to the day UK air space became a no fly zone. Shortly after passing Stonehenge I heard the dulled tones of was is often called a Wocca Wocca, in other words the deep thumping sound of a Chinook helicopter. A few miles later and something catches my eye and off to my right were a large group of trees that looked as though they were shimmering on top, moments later and AH64 Apache Longbow helicopters started appearing and with the fly past of a C130 Hercules I think it was fair to say that military have a free pass on low level and go anywhere they like flight training seeing as everyone else is grounded. Also there must have been a big exercise on Salisbury Plain. But I have to say this, It’s cool as hell seeing these Apache’s doing their thing but I’m very much aware that they can not only count my freckles at almost ten miles away – but also kill me from that distance – so while I get that lurking behind trees is what they do, they’re a little worrysome when they’re staring right at you.
In all, and interesting day that left me smiling.
My catalytic converter just turned up… But i’ve been refunded for it!
Hmmm, this is all very strange! Just need to get it fitted now I guess.
Last night I receive an email from co-worker and popular commenter of this blog WKD.
Just to recap, WKD is what’s termed as an ‘Ex-Farm Driver’, or as her WKD means – a White Knuckle Driver!!
Basically she collects the milk directly from farms all over Devon and Somerset.
When she isn’t doing that, she and hubby ‘C’ have a reasonable sized farm with around 450 head of sheep.
Well right now is their lambing season and hubby ‘C’ is working flat out as an on the stop man of maternity.
So here are some pictures taken over the last couple of days or so of the their new born lambs.
I know JK is trying to keep right up to speed with WKD about what and how things are progressing with this, and is stunned to learn that baby lambs know whose little plastic mac is whose as they have numbers printed on them.
Also, there was apparently some thing about an unfortunate thing to do with a ram, of which JK managed to confuse me over.
So hopefully WKD could explain in the comments.
So yesterday at 12noon, a nice warm sunny Easter Day, I started work.
The job was straight forward stuff in so much as a straight trunk to Hanworth, swap trailers and race back.
Now, I climbed in the truck and turn the ignition to stage one, I can dabble with the onboard computer to tell me things like oil and other fluid levels. If it was a MAN truck it would test various electrical systems also, but DAF trucks don’t have the best electrics!
All happy, I fire the hired unit up and select a gear. I was a little perturbed by the kangaroo pull away, but this was a 6yr old truck and an automatic.
I soon hitched up to the trailer and was pulling out of the gates.
As I accelerated I could feel a slight vibration in the power train, this normally means a tire issue or a possible unbalanced prop shaft, but having driven the same truck only a week before I wasn’t too worried, especially after I had checked the tires anyway.
Ten miles later and while talking on the phone the truck starts to violently lurch – like on that infamous kangaroo fuel learners tend you use a lot – but at 56mph, this isn’t so funny.
As I let the power off, things calmed down, and accelerating brought it back, but this time I heard it in the drive train.
I phoned the office and told them I was returning.
By the time I was leaving the motorway just around the corner form our yard, things started going very badly wrong.
Now I know enough about certain things to know that I needed to get back quickly and get off high speed route like motorways, so crawling back into the yard, eager mechanics jumped underneath to have a look.
Moments turned into minutes and I started to wonder if they had found anything at all…
Then to see blood drained faces reappear I kinda assumed it wasn’t…
The 1st question “How the hell did you get that back here?” followed quickly by “how did you ever keep it moving?”. Well while this is a good way to inflate my ego – the reality was that the rear differential was destroyed, the prop shaft was literally hanging off and basically, they didn’t hold much hope for using that gear box again!!
At present I believe the truck is too expensive to repair and will drained of fluids and destroyed!
The next truck, another DAF, had wiring issues all of it’s own!
Finally, 3.5hrs after starting work I finally set off for London.
A longer day than I thought it’d be – but must certainly and interesting one!!
A couple of weeks ago I did a few nights running back and forth to Dairy Crest’s Hanworth dairy in South West London.
It’s a simple, easy run/route and for the most part from the moment I get out of my car in the car park and then get back in it, it’s just a little under 8hrs.
This doesn’t lend itself to a great earning potential at all, but never the less, it’s nothing if straight forward for a welcome change.
At 12 noon today I’ll be running up there and then at 11:45pm tomorrow I’ll be running up there until Thursday all through the night when there’s little if any traffic on the roads at all.
However, with it being Easter Sunday, I’m not sure if today will take longer or not.
Hanworth Dairy is one of the very few places left in the UK that actually puts milk into glass milk bottles on any kind of scale. As such The milk that I pick up today is for tomorrows doorstep deliveries across Cornwall.
A year ago last month is when the recession completely hit rock bottom in the UK!
I’m serious, it might not be what the govt say, but what do they really know after all? All their data is months behind at any given time.
So, a year ago I was sent to the shiny new Palletline Hub in Birmingham which is about 3 times the size of the previous site. There were literally no more than a handful of trucks there.
To explain, trucks bring pallets from all over the UK, they’re unloaded very quickly. Each pallet has a bay number on it so the folk lift guy can tell which outgoing bay to take it to straight away.
Once unloaded, we shoot around to our bay and load up everything for our area and return.
During this last Christmas the place was heaving!! The new hub was very much at capacity.
This last Friday was my first time back since then and frankly, I had trouble getting into the site!
Bare in mind that an ordinary truck can carry 26 pallets – we take double-deckers and obviously 52 at a time.
I was stunned, yet thankfully I was one of the last trucks in and by the time I had tipped the other 7 trucks from our place had picked everything up and already returning. But I stopped to get a coffee and the site manager was telling me the night previously was mayhem.
Asking why, he told me they’d off loaded, processed and reloaded around 9700 pallets in less than 5 hours across 350 trucks!! Well it certainly looks like they’ll be moving up from 60 fork lift truck drivers to 80 I guess.
Believe me – the recession is truly over, in fact it’s never ever been this busy that I can recall in the last 4.5yrs…
Wow, what has happened in the world since my last post?
Today I’m sitting here writing several patents, something I’ve been told I should have done about 6 years ago when I first proposed the contents – nothing like being up to date with my admin then.
Easter is upon us and while driving down from Birmingham in the early hours of yesterday, so was the first of this years holiday traffic. For the most part it was well behaved and to be honest people who travel at that time are the people who are more likely to take their driving more seriously.
However, as first light dawned across the English countryside – so did the more worrisome drivers.
Friend Kev and his missus hot tailed up to Inverness the very same night not long after possibly offering a solution to my car issues. 1 x Toyota Celica which presently is his – for a reasonable price.. This may be actually good news, however as Scotland is under several feet of snow right now, there is some question to whether it’ll return in the same state as it left. That said, Kev carries chains and tools and shovels, and grit and a plough and tractor and buoyancy aid and well, what I’m saying is Kev carries everything he needs for any eventuality. So we’ll see.
This last week finally brought with it my newly renewed Passport – after initial and previously mentioned photographic failure of my face.
The new passport is fully RFID chipped and shiny compared to my very battered old one.
But ultimately – world beware… for the next ten years anyway!
This last Friday I hit my 45th year…
Both Twitter and Facebook lit up with Birthday messages and greetings and I must thank all those who did so.
No, I didn’t do cake this year, I didn’t do beer either, what I did do was sleep through most of it in what was by far one of the best sleeps I’ve had in years!
I received three books from my mother by Sheffield author Simon Beckett and ACDC’s Black Ice cd from regular commenter JK
Thankyou all :)
It’s almost shameful to use that word, but if you’re indeed retarded in some small way, then you’ll be please to know that Apple’s new iTampon, no, (terribly sorry) iPad went on sale today in the New York City Apple Store.
Well, there are dozens of tablet pc’s out there, so if you want the one that looks like the child’s super sized toy iPhone that doesn’t do half as much as the most bottom of the range standard tablet, like p**sing money against the wall, then sure! Go get on a plane and you too can also become another I/O and laughing stock of the IT enlightened word and people who know. Apple are years behind in this field – YEARS!! this thing doesnt even come with Flash and can’t multi task beyond the GUI environment. Apple will replace it in 12 months – like they always do.
So please, don’t let commonsense hold you back in any way whatsoever.
Don’t be offended by this, it’s not just you – I think less of everyone who buys one! After all, Apple is the last company to bring a tablet to the market place, so if you think this is something kinda new – just how far behind are you? LOL ;)