Some days….

Yer know… There is a lot going on that I’d like to write about just now. People of finishing up the summer season with mad dash holidays all over the place, and well, good for them really.
Me? I just potter on and then sometimes I do something that makes me smile.
Last Sunday I had an early run up to Severnside dairy at Stonehouse in Gloucestershire. I was tired and for a change I wasn’t driving a tanker, I was going up to drop a fridge trailer and pick up a full one of milk cages for distribution.
The thing is, they park the trailers very close to each other at this site for lack of room and it’s a very busy site at best. As I am aware of how easily fingers get pointed if something gets bent or dented I always take a picture to prove I didn’t damage anything – such is this kind or witch hunting in today’s industry.
These pics I took after pretty much throwing the truck in reverse and shoving it in the available gap and is for Natalie…
Being tired, I took the pic and thought “Hey, 4-6 inches… I should do this for a living, I ain’t so bad at it” lol

Published in: on 31 August, 2010 at 17:22  Comments (7)  

What a weekend

This weekend not only was living proof of not to spend a weekend, but unusual in so many ways…
First up, I finally finished work on Sunday afternoon and after a coffee and short rest I went over to see Dave in the chip shop… All was not well!!
Dave had purchased an Apple TV device… Now this thing simply did not do as required or more to the point – as advertised… Oh, when connected to the TV it’s great, just like all the other media things out there… but as for some of the connectivity – well, half way through getting his family pics on the thing – it stops doing it!! Now Dave is no fool, he’s a tech savvy guy – I however, enjoy acting the fool.
A quick search on the olde Google and low and behold – THOUSANDS of complaints about the same type of things!!
We had beer and decided to take it to the Apple shop in Exeter the following day.
Now those of you who know me know that such an expedition would or at least should require ear defenders, body armour and a blindfold!! We arrived, change the said item and left while I was trying my very best to pretend I hadn’t played with an iPad and found that £700 is hilarious junk for the money…
Poor old Dave had to hear me going on about Apple ALL DAY!! However, I think I’ve found a sharp enough object to delete my eyesight so I simply can’t watch such events I witnessed in that shop!
Returning home, Dave goes to work installing his new kit and guess what – IT STILL DON’T DO STUFF LIKE THEY SAY IT SHOULD!!  Dave’s frustration level must be rising, but thankfully he’s off on holiday in a couple of days, sadly though – to a place I can hardly bring myself to mention. Anyway, enough of this overt apple skull ****ing…

I tried a guitar out, a Chinese Fender Telecaster of all things and get this, it blew me away!! It was far better than the US version too. These Chinese guitar makers are certainly a new force to be reckoned with in the music industry! We had lunch in the place that idiot tried to blow a couple of years back… with me sitting there wearing a Blackwater Worldwide shirt… LOL! The staff looked on nervously

Over in the colonies, Gabby (as in Gabsatrucker) demonstrated how TWBrit will never ever spend a weekend!!
It’s in Texas, it circumnavigates the place known as Wichita Falls… and along with 13,500 others – Gabby got her bicycle out, plonked her butt in the saddle and cycled the Hotter than Hell Hundred – 100 hundred mile cycle ride. In fact I’m not going to talk about it, from her own blog… here is her write-up;

The Big Day – Hotter ‘n Hell 100
The ride

Fortunately the morning started off fairly cool and the breeze had died down so that was a good beginning.  Of course the first 10 miles was spent dodging people and jockeying for position. Lots of near misses with that many people massed up.  Oh, that reminds me, there were several people that fell over in the start line while we were lined up. A guy in a group directly behind me went over taking a total of 3 bikes with him, ouch.

I skipped the first rest stop (rest stops were approximately every 10 miles) due to the crowding, skipped the 2nd one for the same reason, just took a gel and a couple of endurolytes on the roll.

Early on, there was a major accident going up a hill. We were brought to a complete stop and had to walk the bikes up the hill.  I didn’t look over at the guy, moved over as far as possible when passing by, I try not to be a rubber-neck with this stuff. Others were saying that there was blood all over the road and I found out later they closed the road down and had to airlift him out.

I stopped at the 3rd rest stop at 0920, had to pee & get the water bottles topped off.  The lines for the porta-loos were endless    and the food lines weren’t much better.   Since this was my 1st Hotter ‘n Hell, I had no clue that the rest stop lines were just going to get longer.  On the road again and things are peachy-keen although the breeze is starting to pick up (day is warming) right up until mile 35ish and we make a turn right into the wind…still good but no more 20+ mph :-(.  It’s also through here that my sinuses which have been dripping steadily since the day before decides to turn into a full blown flow. Ugh.  Everytime I stop I’m blowing my nose and it’s just not slowing. At one point I start to spit out what’s dripping into the back of my throat while pedaling  and it doesn’t quite go where it’s supposed to, eww!!.

Next rest stop, I ate 1/2 a hotdog, water fill, shoes off, my feet are killing me.  Actually the feet were my only body issues… if it wasn’t for them I’d have been feeling great despite the increasing winds & heat. 

I skipped the rest stop just before Hells Gate, stopped to take a picture of the Hells Gate is open but skipped the actual gate itself too.  Made it with 47 minutes to spare despite the earlier delays.

We cycled through one town where I swear 1/2 the residents were out cheering, kids were giving high fives, and one guy was spraying residents down with water if they wanted. Yes, I wanted that!  Awesome, awesome stuff…too bad we turned and headed out into the middle of nowhere with no trees and stuff immediately after.

After this though things start getting rough, heat & wind, blah, blah, blah.   Lines at the rest stops are getting longer, everybody’s getting slower. Sag wagons are getting FULL.  I had a crosswind catch me at one point, knocked me sideways, it didn’t hit the guys in front of me nor the guy behind me. Guess I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time to catch it, that’s a scary feeling.

Basically, I’m just following a friend’s advice about just keep moving, ride my own ride, etc at this point. Thanks, by the way :-))), I think it was the only thing that kept me going when my feet were cramping so much and the hotspots were starting in.

After the rest stop around mile 75, I passed a guy walking his bike up the hill (incline IMO, lol). I paused and asked if he was ok, thinking it might be cramps or something. Turned out it was a low tire, he’d already used his co2 cartridge and we tried to get my system to work but neither of us could figure it out (grrr). Gonna buy something different this week to replace it.  Anyway that killed 10 minutes or so there.

At the mile 70ish rest stop, I’d picked up some mud in my cleats and for the remainder of the time had a helluva time getting clipped in & out despite me rinsing them out. I’ll lube & clean them when I get back home.

I’m getting some of this slightly out of sequence but to be honest a lot of this was starting to run together through here.   I skipped the mile 90ish rest stop (lines) and stopped at a much less crowded one 3 miles up to get another cold rag & fill up my water bottles..

In the last 15 miles there were another couple of serious accidents with a rider laid out on the shoulder and ambulances being sent out for both.

I had planned on stopping at the free beer rest stop just to say I did but after seeing the accidents I just wanted to get done…after that stop I knew I was close so managed to find an extra burst of energy.  I started cruising in at around 17-19mph even hit 20 for a moment or two, well except for the interstate overpass–I dropped down to 13-15 mph coming up it :-(.  But I did roll in strong so happy about that. 

I lost just under 2 miles on my bike computer (the 100 mile route is actually approx 103 miles according to everybody who has rode it before. Saddle time was 101.14 miles in 6:45:03. Gun time was 8:30:19, chip time was 8:11:10.  Yes I paid the extra $5 for the timing chip.

My thoughts about the Hotter’n Hell….it’s not a pr ride unless you manage to get in the very front to avoid the LONG lines at the rest stops. Way too many cyclists won’t move over to the right when they’re going slow and most won’t give room to those who are looking to get out from behind slower cyclists.  I guess I’m spoiled to the Arkansas tours where everybody is much more friendly. The rest stop volunteers were FANTASTIC.  Pickle juice sport drink rocks big time. Cold wet towels are absolute nirvana.  Getting sprayed down with water is up there on the good things list. Way too many cyclists throw their empty gel packs on the road instead of stuffing them back in their jersey pocket to throw away in the trash at next stop.   The local goodwill (or whatever charity they choose) is gonna be full of lost water bottles on Monday. 

So how do I feel today? My feet hurt, I have to find an alternative pedal I suppose. These aren’t working for me on rides longer than 40-50 miles. Legs are sore but just a good workout sore, nothing unusual. My head is stopped up, throat sore, & I’m spitting out some nasty looking stuff :-(.  I need to start doing core work more regularly, my shoulders were beginning to ache more than usual towards the end due to the winds.

Next up…the Tupelo 14.2 miler next Sunday and the Big Dam Bridge tour (another century) at the end of September.

TWB Editorial note:

Bikes should have a motor so the ladies can ride like this :)

Published in: on 31 August, 2010 at 02:39  Comments (3)  

musical interlude Fleetwood Mac

I noticed a Fleetwood Mac documentry on the BBC iPlayer last night and it amazes me how, with so much pain this band produce such much amazing music, but alas that is the key I guess.  One song they didn’t play is this, one of my faves since hearing a quite an amazing rock version by them a few years ago. Sadly I can’t find it on Youtube, but this one is ok. Stevie Nicks has a hauntingly wonderful voice and when mixed the voice of Christine McVie, something amazing just happens. Searing guitar and great rythem…. But then, check out the 80’s styles!! It’ll put a smile on your face.

Published in: on 29 August, 2010 at 05:57  Leave a Comment  

I think I hate real work ;)


This week I’ve been doing flat bed work (which I know nothing about) for a company I’ve never driven for.
First up;  “just secure you load and take it to meet some other guy who’s broken down and do a drop and swap with him, oh and you’ll need to take this netting“.
So I went down into the yard, found my truck and went in search of the trailer. The trailer was sitting there with two 7 foot tall lumps of pre formed concrete on board…
Strapping it was not fun because after strapping it once, I had to undo it all and feed the straps through these little edge protector things, which in turn meant I had to climb inside them. So imagine; 7ft tall sections, 1x middle aged unfit lard assed trucker – height 6’1” and concrete with razor sharp edges…
Yeah, it took a while to get back out again not to mention sweating like a walking rainstorm!
Finally I meet this guy who is carrying a flat bed full of those 1 ton bags of aggregate. We start netting it to find the net given me is 30ft long… trailer – 45ft… Many, many straps later I return and my day is done… Albeit, can I pop back tomorrow and deliver the what I’d brought back.
This I did and then got sent to pick up rebar and deliver that to Plymouth..
Ah, right… I really don’t know Plymouth, but finally after finding the site and pulling in, they wanted me to do the impossible reverse. Well it looks straight forward to the normal eye, but as any trucker will tell you – you need room to swing the cab about – not 12 inches either side of the truck.
Finally, and after managing to reverse the impossible, I then had a ¼ mile reverse off road through mud – without a diff-lock. Oddly, this bit was almost second nature.
Offloading complete and then I’m told that I can’t drive out the way I came in!!
There was a way to continue the reverse around an opposite blind bend straight out into a main busy road..
With the trailer pointing in the wrong direction a Cat tried to push it around which had all the wheels on one side of the truck lifted off the ground and nearly flipped my clean over. So next up was a quick shout on the radio and from heaven appeared large chains from an overhead crane. Within minutes the trailer is pointing in the right direction and all I had left was this blind reverse into the main street… Why the crane just didn’t put in the street I don’t know!
The reverse went great, didn’t kill anybody and I left the Cat driver with the message that he should at least get a steering wheel for that thing and make an effort ;)
Today and tomorrow I’m shunting at Cullompton 10am til 6pm and Monday I’m going out for a pint with Dave again unless anything more entertaining comes up.

Oh and the other day, the agency asked if would like to go Sh*t kicking (ex-farm milk collections – like WKD does) for 10 whole weeks… I declined this because a) I loath sh*t, I can handle vomit, blood n guts – even sit through an autopsy… but I hate the other stuff and them farms are covered with it! The other thing is that I know the limit of my numerous present driving skills and Ex-Farm far exceeds this, this work is at night and I frankly don’t want to smash a truck up or kill someone. WKD and her crew are for the most part, formidable drivers and the WKD initials meaning White Knuckle Driver are not without a degree of merit. WKD on the other had say that the trucks are now shaped for the lanes, which made me laugh and I’ve seen the damage and she’s right!

Oddly, there is nothing more annoying to me than getting short changed in being paid! Especially when you end up working excessive hours to get a job done and a company will only pay a maximum of 15hrs… Yet they knowingly put you in that predicament in the first place.
I feel I should move to implement more basic archaic rules for this – for every one hour someone does not pay me, is simply one hour I will work on there face… Seems pretty fair to me, especially considering the amount of injuries I’ve suffered in the last few years for them! At my last count over the last few years, they owe for about 86 hrs of work!
If anyone wants a free HGV licence, you can have mine!

Published in: on 28 August, 2010 at 05:42  Comments (2)  

Did I do anything constructive? errr nope, I hope not!

So yesterday I’m sitting in a traffic queue on the M5 near Taunton in Gabby’s most favourite of trucks I drive ‘Buttercup’…
Next to me is a Range Rover pulling a horse box and in the rear seat, hanging out the back window is a very proud looking young lady who is so gonna have a conversation with me whether I like it of not!
It transpires that in the horse box is her pony – also called Buttercup!! I could see the smirks on her parents faces (possibly enjoying the fact they didn’t have to talk to this somewhat bright and enlightened young lady).
She was straight into the name being right or wrong for the type of beast, so I responded with “So you ride a cow then?”
I was trying to think how WKD would handle this and I remember her saying she eats her sandwiches and glares at people (which kinda made me think of a giant hamster nibbling away cupping it’s food – strange), but with no sandwiches to hand I went for the cigarettes – Huge mistake!! Well didn’t I get a lecture?! So I said ” I do hope that trailer has a diff lock”, to which her dad seemed suddenly troubled – lol

I do enjoy (sometimes) how silly people get in the holiday driving season. I was taking a winding hilly road from Mere through a tight village called Maiden Bradley. Following an old VW camper that was towing a caravan. Behind me was an impatient guy driving a large plastic tub of a modern camper. Now Maiden Bradly is ‘so’ tight they have these little give-way things on the road which are basically like a couple of bollards.
The camper in front stops at the first one, while a car comes the other way, I stop, the camper behind hasn’t read the signs and has all on to not drive into the back of me. This resulted with him going a little sideways (there goes the plastic china!). Then he tries to pull around me… Not happening :)
I sit there, laughing, wondering what he’ll try next… or if he was an iPad owner ;)

When I arrived at Staplemead near Frome (pron. Froom) I was a little gobsmacked at how the new (Fr**ch) owners had changed the place, albeit there appeared to be no one there at all. So while I sat contemplating my next move (ie drinking coffee and putting my feet up) I was reminded on an industrial scale that I needed to sort out my decorating.
You know how when we can’t decide on a colour, you can get those little tester pots of paint? Well apparently they do the same when building huge multi million pound industrial complexes too – who knew? (click on the pic)
I also went to a place called Southey Farm the other day and while taking a 44ton truck down roads you’d not want to a take a Mini down, I did gain some odd looks from the local but friendly wilderbeasts…

Hippy Fest

This weekend has been (for the hippies amongst us) the Beautiful  Days festival in Honiton/Ottery St Mary. This happy hippy fest is where WKD takes her annual pilgrimage with the former wild man of rock, her hubby ‘C’. However, unlike the heat and sunshine of last year, this weekend has been little more than dull, dreary and wet… :)

Recently I have put my social networking twitter page @twbrit on a rest. Twitter can be far more time consuming than you realise, infact you can feel some kinda weird withdrawal apparently. Sadly I haven’t.
I have a couple of accounts, both I’ve tried to sort out and think I totally screwed one up but I’m close to decision time on killing @twbrit outright. Then someone reminded me that ‘twbrit’ is like a trademark and I should reconsider doing this. Well I have both enjoyed and hated twitter in equal amounts, I’ve certainly met some interesting people on there, so the jury is out atm.

Work: I am far more comfortable in the tech and net environment. Several people I know are working on some great projects that are very interesting to say the least. But at the moment, unless I get switched on, then I can’t see how I’ll be breaking the cycle I’m presently in – that said, there is scope for a project of my own, just need to work out how to promote it in an oddly ‘quiet’ way.

I think Taw Valley Cheese have a mole who is a wannabe Gofer

Gabby over in the USofA has had me telling her to slow down this week. After having her routine totally screwed up recently and with the mounting pressure to push herself harder and harder with bike riding and marathon training, the early onset of exhaustion were starting to creep up on her. This of course is far, far more detrimental than just about anything and while I never back away from giving this lady a hard time, I indeed found myself asking her to take a weekend off (yes, I said ‘asking’).  I think she knew this anyway and frankly that’s a far better skill that the result of these labours. I hope she got some core rest, albeit that when you’re used to doing something all the time, it’s vary hard to just stop… After all, she’s hardly a lightweight in this area.

This brings me to tomorrow (Monday) and the once every couple of months drinking session with my mate Dave who owns the chip shop on the High St.
We live almost opposite to each other yet literally have to strategically plan our going for a beer like a military operation.
I’m sure I’ll have stories to tell by Tuesday :)

And with that – I rest…. in the memory that on this day in 1987, I got married…

Published in: on 22 August, 2010 at 22:42  Comments (3)  

The Fag Run

This is a follow on from something I started writing in the previous post’s comments section about some of our antics at boarding school. After the emails, comments and even a phone call, I have decided to write the story of how on this occasion we may well have died…

During the bitter winter of 1979, one of the worst in UK history, the school is cut off from the outside world because of the snow drifting into large snow dunes across the flats of Norfolk.
The food was down to rationing and it was cold inside all the time, outside it was -15C…
But we’re out of fags (cigarettes), so we need to do a fag run to a pub and not get seen or leave a trace.
So, me Hammy and Dean decided we can make it to a pub called the Buck 2 miles away in the village of Morley and get back over open countryside plus a hill before it was lights out, 4 miles – what can go wrong?

As soon as darkness fell we slipped out and waded through the snow across the front school field towards a 10 foot deep drainage ditch, the problem was – it was gone… just level snow.
In little more than a whisper we discussed the issue until a muffled, subdued and somewhat echoing voice of Hammy says “I found it”…
Looking around we couldn’t see him anywhere. Eventually I think Hammy lit a match and we raced over and slid down into this darkened hole in the ground.
Hammy said “check this out”. Lighting another match the drainage ditch illuminated into two foot wide tunnels either side of us through the snow, it looked unworldly and very cool.
After some messing about we finally climbed, scrambled and slid our way out of the other side of the trench, got our bearings and continued.

It was a hard slog, even the local farms were snowed in and it was becoming increasingly difficult to know if we were still on the road we had headed for or not as nothing had travelled down them for days.
We were doing alright though, the snow was only 2ft thick in some places and that made the going easier –  it was an adventure after all and as typical teens, we were going get what we wanted or die trying – almost…

As we descended the borderless road towards the village of Morley, we could see the lights of the pub and while noticing the odd snowbound vehicle looking like half buried giant marshmallow cannon balls, the snow started to fall from the darkness again. By the time we reached the pub, the snow flakes were huge and coming down fast as we entered the discussion of who should go in and buy them. In the end that was me and armed with our new acquisitions we strolled to the end of the village and sparked up…
It was then when we realised we couldn’t see where we had come from, our foot prints were already covered over!
As we started our way back up the hill the snow was coming straight at us, it was becoming harder to see where we were or even keep our eyes open.
A short time later we realised we had left the road and for the next 30 mins we were in total whiteout.
We linked arms and kept it together in order not lose anyone and persevered on.
We now knew we were against the clock to get back with less than an hour to go. With snow and wind against us in sub zero temperatures we finally realised we had hit another road. Suddenly the snow stopped and we could see a lone street light way off to our left with a large grain tower.
We knew that was where the location of the cross roads we should be at and started arguing if we should stay on our course or follow the road.
Oddly I can’t remember which we did, but while I will assume we went for the road, I got a feeling we followed a near straight course towards the school.

Another 40 minutes and we were once again looking for the same deep drainage ditch as before, this time I think it was Dean who fell through a far deeper section. And we realised that the previous area we had fallen through was now completely covered again.
Getting back out of the ditch the second time proved much harder and with the lights of the school glowing what seemed like a long way off, but was only a few hundred yards, the heavy snow started falling again.

Finally all three of us cleared the ditch and waded back towards the school, working our way around to a secluded entrance where we could get all our snowed up gear off and try to look normal again…
We had arrived back with 5 minutes to go before lights out and we looked like we had run a marathon. Staggering into the dorm, Mr Harding, the duty tutor just shouted for us to hurry up and get on with it.
We stripped and dived for our respective beds as though nothing had happened.
The cigarettes were secured beneath a loose floorboard between mine and Hammy’s beds and an hour later while enjoying a smoke, we agreed that we wouldn’t be doing that again in a rush, unless we had too :)

The following morning we looked out of the windows at the freshly laid blanket of snow, and gazed in amazement that there wasn’t a single mark left in the snow… We were fit, very fit and covering a distance just shy of 4 miles was nothing to us… but that night it took 2 & 3/4 hrs!
We realised years later, that we too could have lain buried out there for weeks until our bodies where found…. The things we do… :)

Four days later and for some bizarre punishment the entire school was sent on an 8 mile cross country run before breakfast in those conditions… Weird…

One day, I may write about real hauntings, the tuckshop raids, the large underground dens in the grave yard and the death bell…I’ll not mention the explosives, apparently it’s not very PC.

But then there was the kid that knew I used to shoot smallbore at competition level who came up to me with a .44 magnum hollow point bullet and asked me if it was live. I looked at the rear percussion cap and it hadn’t been struck, shook it and heard the powder and said “yes, it’s live – be very careful with it”. He then went and asked a teacher the same thing. The teacher thought it safer to tell the lad that it was inert and he should get rid of it. This he then went and did… with a bolster chisel and lump hammer! You see, he just had to know that if it was in fact inert –  what was shaking around inside?.. The ambulance was called and surprisingly he lived.
I will not be talking about the local ladies, shameful, just shameful ;)

Published in: on 18 August, 2010 at 20:24  Comments (5)  

The Average British Soldier

Published in: on 16 August, 2010 at 22:49  Comments (1)  

Could I possibly whinge? …nah!!

It’s just that I guess it’s been a long and somewhat tuff old week. But it’s been a week where I have caught up with old friends around the globe, worked my absolute nuts off and frankly I do feel a little tired…

Well, from an earlier post about boarding school I caught up with old school buddy and now 24yr veteran of the Black Watch regt (not quite the Duke of Wellington’s – but definitely better than the Paras) Hammy, who is living the good life way down in New Zealand. In catching up, we took no time in berating a photo of old school mate’s first gulf war photos. So 30 years on and I think apart from waistlines and age, the only other thing added is that we all learned the same weaponry :)

WKD has had a very trying week indeed after her O/H became injured. Living quite remotely she brilliantly got her act together, sorted things the best she could before transporting O/H nearly 30 miles to the nearest available medical facility that was open in the early hours of the morning.
Frankly, without going into details, it was an outstanding set of actions on her part, the kind of which means you must act, act correctly and feel the fallout later. Bloody well done that woman!

This brings me to the general mindset of people in this part of the world. You see, I like a result, I hate working, but if you’re gonna do something, do it once, do it right and get a job done… then like me, you can loaf about :)
This is a common thing down here in Devon, and this one thing I like about the place.  I’m very pleased to have had so many opportunities in my life but at the end of the day, it’s about that very essence – a great life.
I used to race about all over the globe following great contracts etc, but I was most certainly never happy – then someone does something that can appear so minor and you realise just how good life is :) So get a good job done, but add anticipation of issues or secondary effects from what you do, lose any ‘pass the buck’ attitude and ALWAYS help those struggling in what ever way to get there job done too! And I swear, life will feel good… That said, I have spent nearly the whole week shunting on a night shift, and really – it’s time to do something completely different… feel free to add ideas to the comments section as I’m seriously ready to hang up my licence.

After last weeks Riphay Scuffle, this blogs very own JK caught me (in a sort of way) scouring eBay for used Land Rover Discovery’s to prep for the next scuffle.
I want to create something a little bizarre, or at least give it a ‘different’ paint job… Ideas again are most welcome, otherwise it will be the discovery version of this…

Gabby on the other hand has been getting stranded with her truck in the middle of the Texas nowhere this week after successive attempts to fix her trucks gearbox.. I say successive, but I really mean is that no one actually fixed anything until the gearbox gave up the ghost… It turns out that a truck automatic gearbox has two clutches (who knew?) and in the process of ad hoc and various tinkering by different workshops, they managed to leave her with a whole host of other issues – like no Air con in the Texas heat…..nice!

So finally the gearbox expired leaving Gabby to be rescued by persons with attitude and to be left twiddling her thumbs in a hotel until such time as the gearbox was dismantled, fixed, put back into the truck and made ready to run… Unlike here in the UK where we are paid by the hour (to prevent speeding), in the US they are paid by the mile.. So this week has been about far too much unpaid time sitting around waiting, rather than earning… She is though – finally home.


Published in: on 14 August, 2010 at 21:51  Comments (5)  
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Phones dem Phones

Last night I was busy, as I’m sadly about to be for all of tonight also. Basically I was shunting trucks and trailers about when out of the corner of my eye I spot what looks like a phone case like mine.
‘That’s odd’ I thought, seeing as my case was made especially for me by a little chap in China…
Reaching for my generous yet comforting waistband, I find no phone…
Moments later I’m picking up a slightly distorted leather case with my phone in it.
I say distorted because that’s really the kind of thing six axles of a 44 ton truck does to things… Doh!!

The phone is remarkably in tact, it even works – the glass touch screen isn’t broken, but the LCD is :(

So, home and checking out the prices for new LCD’s and they’re not bad at all £30 – £40!
However, while my former profession was basically ‘all things technical’, this screen is no easy beast to replace…
But considering I’m writing this post on a laptop I’ve actually poured half a pint of steaming coffee into, I’d say I have a fair chance of sorting it all out myself.

Published in: on 11 August, 2010 at 17:31  Comments (2)  
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A passion less followed

In the world of Off Road Driving, one is schooled in the basic fundamental necessity of the requirement to get driver, machine, tools, people, equipment or supplies from point A to point B.  This is  done by a given set of practices in order to arrive at a destination with all persons, equipment and vehicle in a good safe order.
Part of this requires the skilled practice of the all important right foot, along with sound vehicle knowledge, the operation of how four wheel drive works and implementation of methodologies like the US ‘tread lightly’ or here with the Land Rover ‘fragile earth policy’. (yawning yet?)

But then,  there is The Riphay Scuffle…
Until a few short months ago I had no knowledge of this event until introduced to various videos by lady who is renowned for being down to earth and an excellent purveyor of sound British commonsense.  After watching videos, I became interested so contacted this blogs very own WKD.   WKD in turn told me that no less than her very own husband ‘C’ had won the event twice before the days it became a free for all.
Today was the 2010 Scuffle and after only two hours sleep, I embarked  to find the said place.

Arriving down typical Devon lanes and being £10 lighter, I found the most extremely bizarre, if not the most mental fun on the planet…
Basically get any old 4×4 and let rip, barge, shunt, wallow and thrash the butt off it around the course…
Now, the other thing to mention is that this is a non commercialised event… Yes there is an entrance fee, beer tent and BBQ – but that’s it…. nothing else! It was after all, a farmers only private get-together originally.
Did I mention the beer tent?
It won’t take any onlooker long to realise that a good proportion of the drivers are somewhat inebriated and that just adds to the hilarity of this fun and somewhat challenging event.

It was constant action all the way, thrills spills and just about any other cliché you can care to mention. It’s also fair to say that in some circumstances – man and machine were NOT in perfect harmony or anywhere close to it.  Another interesting thing was the amount of 4×4’s running girl only crews!

It’s simply fun and everyone is helpful and in a good mood. You do get the odd remark, but in all, it’s just a great day out whether you’re participating or simply watching, it’s well worth going – just to witness the crazy mayhem…

What really amazed me is there were actually some people who didn’t get covered in mud

I was clearing out the old camera memory and sorting stuff out before going to work and here’s another vid I just found on the memory card.

Published in: on 8 August, 2010 at 02:32  Comments (7)  
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