Just stuff

I’ve been meaning to write about a dozen posts over the last two weeks… but sadly I just haven’t had my head in the game.
I have though, brought back twbrit twitter which has helped me get back to sniping fun at people and winding them up appropriately – or not as the case may be.
This, while I grumbled, was down to ‘emilyp’ of Twitter and her power to flex a little muscle here and there. I also offered her chocolate too :)

,The work front has turned into a complete and utter joke, no surprise really and I seem to be fixing everyone’s laptops at the moment.
I am of course doing this for free with friends etc and have no plans to turn it into an income, but was surprised to find what people charge for the simplest of work.
I’m presently awaiting a new power socket for a friends laptop, he was quoted in excess of £150 for this work. I bought the power socket the huge amount of £1.99… yes, that One Pound 99 pence.

A trip up to Oakthorpe on last Saturday night was welcome, albeit once I go there and tried to get an hour shut-eye, I happened to miss a group of vital text messages and then the place erupted in police sirens, 12 police vehicles and a helicopter!!
No rest for the wicked then….

Oh, the week before last was the Honiton Carnival…. yeah, this sleepy little market has it’s own festival and it aint quiet… nope, it’s damn right loud and the kids love it, hell every one loves it.
SO in between talking to Hammy in New Zealand, The US and Dean in Australia, I managed to nip out and take some snaps and a spot of video.

Other than that, I meet with lawyers this next week, I’m in the process of legging it out of the door for a 12hr shift running around north Devon.
If anything these days, there is a deep feeling of frustration and melancholy.
But hey, the sun will be up tomorrow, and that my friends means a new day where anything can happen :)

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Published in: on 6 November, 2010 at 16:58  Comments (1)  
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Odd stuff

 So a guy is driving around the M25 London orbital motorway when he sees debris is the fast lane in front of him, he moves to avoid it and just as he getstortoise to it he sees its moving and has a head… Pulling over and running back he finds a Tortoise that has succeeded in travelling across 5 lanes of this, one of the busiest sections of motorway in the UK – in rush hour!! He takes it home, stopping off to give it a slap up meal of lettuce, and takes it on to his local vet. The vet scans the little hero in a half shell to find it’s micro chipped. It was micro chipped in the US! They are presently trying to find out if this little globe trotter actually stowed away on a plane or came with a family moving to or through the UK. The tortoise has now been given the temporary name of ‘Freeway’

Sat-Nav…

Now, there are things people need to know about this; 1. It’s a back up system and not accurate at all (unless you’re going to war and want your bombs to drop in the vicinity of somewhere) 2. The GPS saSat Navtellites are creaking under the strain of over use 3. It only takes a solar storm to make them worthless 4. They rarely consider the size of vehicle and weight (think bridge heights and road width) 5. They generally work on major routes – therefore they’re  somewhere between bad and useless in more rural locations. 6. Most truckers don’t use them – they buy a map. So this week, the HUA award goes to this guy in his BMW… Who said, ‘it didn’t look right, but I just trusted it’!

HUA

Don’t be a moron – buy a map!! They’re cheaper too and never lie.  Never EVER rely on a GPS device if hill walking in poor visibility!!!! (however, if you do want reliability – get a Sat-naG).

Last nights work;

What a simple and straight forward relaxed evening – if not a little too relaxed. Everything went well, albeit the cushion in the driving seaOakthorpe milk intaket back was almost none existent on the left hand side, which in turn twisted my back out and led to me ‘defecting’ the truck upon my return. Today (as stated in an earlier article) I head for Oakthorpe in north London again. I start at 4pm and that’s about the time that the end-of-weekend commute back to London starts – so I’m in for a lot of sitting in traffic. Normally I’d head up the M5 to Bristol, but seeing as they’re doing roadworks on a major bridge up there – I’ll be using the A303 and M3 all the way in.

Oakthorpe 303

Published in: on 20 September, 2009 at 14:07  Comments Off  
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Work and Molly

quiet motorway

Yesterday I did a Friday run into Oakthorpe at Palmers Green, London. What a traffic nightmare?! It does seem to me that while the mayhem never gets any less, it never stays the same – it just keeps getting worse! lol
Today I start at 16:30 and on the cards is a run into Bridgwater followed by a single run to Westbury. That is a nice evenings work and if all goes well, it’ll be completed in under 10 hours.
Tomorrow is another 16:00 run to Oakthorpe, delivery time 22:00… however, this is the other end of the weekend with what seems like the world trying to rush back to London!
But oddly, I’m not complaining!

rocketboom_logo-copyMeme Molly has finally returned to Rocketboom! She had to return to the UK earlier this year to obtain a US residency visa / green card. All is now apparently sorted and she’s back in New York City to kick in to the daily news from Monday.

Published in: on 19 September, 2009 at 14:49  Comments Off  
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I Swear….

Well, the run to Oakthorpe was a bit arduous and typical of a SundaArlay night, albeit that traffic was slow on the M3 due to a serious car fire.
Arriving tired, I was greeted by Arla dairy hand Dave who was bright, and just the right level of ‘cheery’ to lift the burden of the drive into London – that was very much appreciated and I hadn’t seen him for months either.

I parked close – very close to WKD’s red missile when I got to work and hadn’t realised just how long her car doors were. Expecting a grimWKD icon1acing email later, I actually got a kinda humorous one with a mild declaration of war against the TWB Car of Character (CofC). This I can handle, though I’m not sure the CofC can. The bit that was a huge disappointment is that WKD is actually slim enough to have got into her car without bashing her door against mine. Odd, when I came to this work nearly 3 years ago, I thought everyone was fat! And there was simply no excuse for it – I am now bigger than many of the other drivers and this just isn’t good.  Any way, as long as she keeps sending farmerist pictures, I know we’re good – well there are farmerist pictures that might not be so good, but hey! LOL

DriverCPCThe 10th September looms close now and for truck drivers in the UK, this means the requirement for the Driver CPC (certificate of professional competence), a thing once only required by transport managers and owner drivers. But alas, if you wish to retain the ability of professional driving, you’ll be required to retain a CPC in an ongoing training capacity….. (sigh)
I’ll write more on this subject in the future.

Other news…

The Boeing 787:
The 787 is almost ready to fly! (YAY!) and Boeing say it will be airborne boeing_787before the years end with first deliveries being made throughout 2010.
I did try to get all the latest news via the Boeing webcast, but sadly it does not appear to be working. If you would like to watch the Boeing videos of the evolution of the 787 and the cool stuff going into it – you can watch them HERE

Dell…
Dell HellWhat can I say about a company I’ve spent millions with? (not my millions, company money). Basically, I am my warranty!! And there will be more on this subject later! I have though, used Michael Dell’s own business model for fixing the issues I had.

Yesterday while driving back down the M4 towards home, I had a sudden wish to have been having a chat’n’chill with SEC, I haven’t seen her for 4 year (?), which is kinda weird to me really. I rarely miss anything or anyone other than my old Irish Setter.

If I’m not working on Friday, I’m going to Tuttles in London!!

Published in: on 7 September, 2009 at 17:33  Comments (3)  
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An interesting run to London.

A little background;

Down here in the South West of the UK it’s very hilly, some of the roads are, in many cases nothing more than 8 ft wide lanes connecting remote villages and towns that were born of ancient settlements well before medieval times.
As such, it is little wonder that the wear and tear to goods vehicles can be quite harsh. Indeed, clutch wear, suspension and body work all suffer. It’s not the next generation of Ice Road truckers, but some roads take a little caution to say the least.
Most of the Milk Tanker trailers suffer horrific levels of wear during normal use and with vents and valves operated by air, it’s not a surprise that we suffer some air loss on a regular basis. Infact, you learn quite quickly what exactly an acceptable air loss is and what is not.
So, yesterday I get told I’m going to Oakthorpe in London again. No problem, I enjoy the run.
I get to work, hook up, check the vehicle over, check tyres and lights etc. There was mild hissing under the trailer, but in was minimal. I set off.
M5Straight up the M5 motorway to Bristol and turned right on to the M4 motorway to London.M4
Now like any major road in any country, there are hills etc. Well, weighing in at a full 44ton, I was descending one such hill and noticed I had to use un-due extra braking to keep the vehicle at a legal, or moreover – a safe speed. In most of the UK you get 10% leeway on speed limits and on a motorway the speed limit for a truck is 60mph. For the most part, I kept within 10% of that figure. After stopping for a break at Reading services/rest area, I had real trouble building the air back up, not that this is too unusual, but it registered in the old mindset.
WindsorCastleFinally setting off, passing Windsor and its castle and beyond the M25, I came to traffic tail backs from Heathrow onwards; this was due to an unfortunate car crash. During this ‘stop/start’ period, I noticed a low grinding noise from the rear of the trailer – even over the noise of the radio. With this came a shudder I could feel in the actual cab at the front – I rang the office! In turn I get a phone call from our garage who then warned me that extreme caution should be used until such time as I had been unloaded and the weight taken off.
speedcamerasShortly after, I started to get the suspicion that I had lost all rear breaking and was using the gearbox and exhaust brake to retard excess speed – keeping the cab brakes as cool as possible for when they would be needed most. However, doing so might have put me through a speed camera at slightly too higher speed, but it was simply the safest way to continue. You see, the problem was this, from where I was and all the way to the dairy, it’s a Red route meaning I could not stop and added to this – it was rush hour!
At Gunnersbury Park I turned left for Hanger Lane and the North Circular. Having now adapted my driving style and middle_fingerpre-emption, all was good with due care. That was until Ealing…. At Ealing Common, I came to a stop inside a pedestrian crossing area where I started to get abuse from a member of the public. This got worse and the person became exceptionally agitated, using various hand gestures. His shouting was becoming a crescendo and finally, after he put all the wrong words in order – I had dismounted to give the gentleman a correction to his attitude that he required through peaceful means. Though, other road users seemed to find the whole thing very riveting. I on the other hand, remained calm, while the chap seemed to get very nervous. I left while he was still apologising.
Finally I reached the dairy and off loaded the milk. However, as soon as I set off, or should I say, used my brakes – I realised the Unit/Cab was the only tAir_brakehing stopping the whole vehicle. I got back to Devon with care and thankful that is was late at night with a  lack of traffic.
After several hundred miles, myself, the Garage and others were shocked to find the rear three axles as cold as ice! Neither the tires rim nor centre of the hubs were warm at all….

Next time – I will not leave with any kind of air leak!!

twb-button

Published in: on 1 July, 2009 at 12:31  Comments (1)  
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Oakthorpe and a sore realisation

So yesterday I go to Oakthorpe for the second day on the trot and today I’m doing a third run. The thing is I don’t go there so much these days which is a shame, both for earning potential and the fact we used to go up there 5 times a week – every week. Then typically, I get three all at once.
So yesterday was Friday, the millions of home bound cars trying to cram into the same spaces to get to there destinations quicker – while extra traffic because of events such as Glastonbury all added toOakthorpe copygether for a little mayhem.

Arrival at Oakthorpe found Dave running everything – and in a disturbingly good mood… I was also, until he put me on bay two. Bay two is one of the toughest reverses I know of and I’ve had to reverse in some pretty amazing places.
What I mean is, I’ve reversed into places that look like you simply couldn’t get a truck into it – yet it goes in very easily. Bay two looks so incredibly straight forward and simple….But it isn’t!! It’s a complete right angle, narrow, always between two trucks and then at the front end there is simply no room to swing the cab around to straighten up.
Sometimes, you get it right first time, but more often than not – FAIL!!
I eventually got it in with a bit of hand and arm waving and then took my break.

At this point I received texts of the some what dark humoured Michael Jackson jokes presently doing the rounds. Then I recieved more, and more and, well so damn many – I had to switch my phone off!! That much laughter is painful to the old rib cage!

Arch of LightHowever, on my may back around the North Circular road at around 10pm I was stunned at the vision of the new Wembley Stadium all lit up. The huge arch over the top is completely full of lights and almost blinding!  I tried to get a picture of the place – but it’s not very good, hence the pic nabbed from the net.
I couldn’t help but admire the place, where my brother was some top Health and Safety guy during its construction.
While staring at it and noticing the flashing lights from within – I realised what was going on – it was AC/DC’s Rock and Roll Train concert on their Black Ice tour – the very same concert I could not get tickets too!!!
Well, that took the smile right off my face!!

And now, I’m off back to work and sunny Oakthorpe – again!

 twb-button

Work and no Palmers Green

Palmers map

Just had an odd couple of days, one was weird with creepy fun and the other just didn’t end up being what it was supposed to be.
Lets start with the one that didn’t turn out right at all – that was yesterday.
The day before I get a call saying they needed me to start work down here in sunny Devon at 14:30 and go to Oakthorpe Dairy in Palmers Green, North London.
At midnight I get another call stating that everything has changed and I need to start at 08:00 and will be going to Stoke on Trent (joy, not!).
Oakthorpe milk intakeYou see, we like going to the Oakthorpe Dairy, it’s a great run up to London and back, they have a great restaurant there and we have a good chat with the Dairy hands (Dave, Martin, Bob, and others) as well as other drivers from all over the UK.  On top of this, reversing on to bay two is notoriously one of the hardest reverses in the UK, it looks straight forward, like it wouldn’t present an issue of any type – until you select reverse that is!
But Palmers Green is weird, it’s nice even, and what is really odd is the fact that it’s close to everywhere, but not really anywhere… What I mean is, being on the North Circular with the main A10 trunk road that leads straight out of London, it can have you in Cambridge in 40 minutes! It has every amenity, yet people whistle through it sometimes without realising it’s there.
Justin over at Peter Barry estate agents agrees and has written a small piece about the area on there site HERE

Other news…

The other day I received a short notice call to get to work urgently and do a double run to Westbury (sigh). It’s fair to say we work very rurally and part and parcel of our every day is dodging wildlife in the forms of Badgers, Rabbits, Birds (feathered), Foxes and Deer – a lot of deer. There is sadly so much roadkill it’s a little disturbing. But there is nothing worse that a large animal that has become bloated in it’s death, so at night and where possible, we often hit them and hopefully bounce them way off into the verges. roadkill.jpg
If you know me, you’ll know where this story is going…
This, while it sounds gruesome helps clear the road and expedites natures course. Certainly the birds and foxes don’t hang about in devouring what is left.
So, while traveling down the A350 towards Warminster I notice this HUGE dead badger, the size of a bloated Rottweiler. To be honest, it was staggeringly huge, dead and tucked into the verge.
On the way back I see it again and think, ‘if it’s there when I return, I’ll see if I can clip it out of the way’.
3 hrs later and at around 1am at night I see the thing still there, I cut in close and at speed. and hit it. The thing was, there this almighty BANG!! so I instantly slammed the brakes on. Now at this point I must admit to weighing in at the full 44 tons, so I wasn’t going to be stopping anytime too soon and with the odd ABS activation illuminating the instrumentation screen, I carried on my way.
While at Westbury I was telling another driver about it and said he’d have a look on his way back.
Well, on my return journey I was a little gobsmacked at my handy-work for sure, but once back at my depot I heard someone shout me from across the yard, I looked and saw several faces, one being the guy I had spoken to at Westbury.
He asked how hard I had hit the dead badger, so I said that I hit it and applied the brakes – he stared at me, his face turning to a smile and then a laugh. One of the other guys said “what?” inquisitively and my friend started tell him of the sheer carnage that greeted his return from Westbury.
It was everywhere! he said, hanging off the fence, all over the verge, the road was covered in blood and flesh from one side to the other! Even the trees and hedges on the other side of the road were covered in blood and hanging entrails! If the police see that, they’re gonna start searching the area for survivors.
I can’t put across the hilarious way this guy said all this, but at this point the other guy was just stood listening with his jaw open – to which my mate said “if you’d stood looking like that, you’d have had a mouth full of badger bowels mate.
Shutting his mouth, the other guy turns to me and says “you’re one sick bast**d!”
I replied with “you say that, but I had to switch the cab heater on on the way back and it’s a little wrank in there to say the least”.

twb-button

Published in: on 27 May, 2009 at 09:28  Comments (2)  
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Today :-)

Well I was up good and early today, got the laundry done in short order and even tidied up – shock!

truck-milkI’ll be off to work at 16:30 and there after, I’ll be driving a Milk Tanker up the M5, along the M4 to the M25 and heading to Palmers Green, North London – the return journey might be down the A303 past Stonehenge, but I’ll decide that at the time.

To find out more about Palmers Green visit this page at Peter Barry estate agents.

I have been following an ebay auction, only to work out that the seller has actually been bidding himself – so decided to leave that well alone. englishheritage

Rang a few people up to annoy them in my usual manner, and had a good old chin-wag about a documentary show about English Heritage. Now, don’t get me wrong – I know where the guy in charge of Heritage property is coming from – apethorpe-hallbut they seem to miss the plot completely… First show was about stately home they bought for £2.5 M, spent £4.5M on it – then put it up for sale for £4.5-5M…  But while what they’re doing is good work, they really have lost the plot where some of the work costs come in. They were even talking about £25k to complete the reconstruction of a fallen down wall – no my English Heritage friends – it does not cost that!!park_hill

The last night show centered on Park Hill flats in Sheffield – and what a complete and total utter nightmare it was. English Heritage want shooting for the handling of this. They’ve spent millions and got little to show for it. The completely lost the plot on this too – if they’re gonna do it up, it should be transformed into super-sized apartments and penthouses and it really didn’t take much working out – however, logic was completely lost on the people involved.

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