For some, the Fat Lady is about to sing

I’m not online much this week, but I just popped by briefly to send an email and thought to write this..

Folks who pop by this blog know of this blogs hindrance and help Gabsatrucker.
If you’ve followed any of her exploits on her BLOG or even followed her on Twitter then you won’t be surprised at the news that she’s hanging up her keys.

If you didn’t know, Gabby (all 2ft  1 inch of her), someone I often berate on twitter as a ”Fk’in Leprechaun” ;-) is both a full and half marathon runner, mountain biker, a total geek, a discerning footwear addict and Big Rig trucker..
But for two years solid, she’s been through the ringer with her company, no – nothing she’s done. Basically it’s down to company operations.

She has been hit persistently with mechanical breakdowns, stranded for days in the middle of nowhere, endured temps over 105 f for days on end without a working AC unit, had her personal life totally screwed up, been diverted from her normal dedicated route and sent all over the USA without time to return home for anything and then, besides the grosse daily barrage of sexism, sexual harassment, innuendo and sometimes even fear for her own safety - she was hit with a 20% pay cut…
Yet throughout all this, she has remained professional, courteous and has taken pride in getting her job done and on time. Often to be left on the Mexican border for days waiting for a return load with nothing to do but be left sitting a sauna of a truck and her only security – her small dog Elsie.
Now just to explain to our Brit drivers; as you know, by law we are paid by the hour – a rule that came in with the Tachograph and now Digital Tachograph. The reason being is that to pay someone by the mile increases the likelihood of speeding and rule breaking. Well over in the US, they haven’t quite worked that out yet as they bring in what is widely termed as “E-Logs”.
As such, if you ain’t rolling – you ain’t getting paid…
Yeah, I know – that would cause out right rebellion here… but it’s the way they do things at the moment and that’s that.
So, while suffering the southern Texas heat with a persistently broken, repaired, broken air conditioning and having to simply sit in a truck and wait – it’s not rocket science that this has been detrimental to both her will, health and her stress level (not what you want truckers suffering really). Furthermore, it’s a situation that has been getting much, much worse.
New Dispatchers have made things worse too, trying to talk her out of medical appointments, races, time off – all to get their little (I go home at 5) work done.
Then add the loss of her father and various other personal actions these last few months and you get the picture.

Finally, she found the straw that would break the camels back, and instead of her much needed weekend at home last week, she found herself in sub-zero temps, in snow storms in Rochdale, NY… on the Canadian border – where they have a “No Idle” law… so she wasn’t allowed to heat her truck up to stay warm.

When given the job down in the Laredo, she finally handed in her notice… They still sent her on the run and as this is written, Gabby is sitting on the Mexican border with a return load to home – but has to sit there one final time for 35 hours… as her working hours have run out.

After over 10 years loyal service to her company… this is their final note

It is however fair to say, that most trucking companies (no matter which country you’re in) are backward in standards that are seen as normal in any other industry – this is especially in treatment, support and duty of care to staff and Drivers… They most certainly never realise the people who make them look good.

As for Gabby’s future? Well, retraining and study in Business Management or E-Commerce Consultancy are well and truly on the cards. Whether she takes the certification route or a MBA degree route is to be seen… But she tells me she’d like to study this in the UK, failing this Austin or Toronto are high on the list.
Living proof that most drivers (contrary to popular belief) are a fairly bright bunch. Heck, with friends like Dr. Sue Black who is listed as the 5th most influential woman in the world of technology… I think she’ll do just fine. That said, the support for her actions across the net has been staggering, as too, the huge amount of people who follow her on twitter – whom by all accounts are a rock solid bunch of people!!

So in three days time, the Fat Lady, will most certainly be singing :-)

I would have contemplated a trip over to have a pint down the pub with my newly labelled “bloody lay-about” buddy – but I don’t think they have pubs :-(  Yer see, shoulda stayed British :p

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Published in: on 14 November, 2011 at 17:45  Comments (2)  
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Wow… hopefully a new week brings better days

I went back to work the other day and regretted it almost immediately. I was fine until about 10 minutes into the drive of a 15hr day…
The run, while a long day was simple – run down to the Roddas clotted cream factory, load up with cream and then make all haste to Westbury in Wiltshire before returning home.
Well things didn’t go quite according to plan, but I made it home in one piece – almost was surprised after they over charged the tank with steam raising it’s temperature to 120 oC thus cooking the last 400lts into a solid mass. A further screw up on the CIP ended up with having 20000lts of Caustic Soda to get rid of and I can tell you – the moment I opened the rear valve, you’d be shocked how fast truckers can run (myself included).
 
Then of course we had Valentines day….

Valentine’s day has two benefits;
1 you can slightly cross certain lines in the work place.
2 it makes a fortune!!
However, as it was a Sunday, it was lost on most logical people. After all, if you know your heart, you’re hardly going to allow a 3rd party depict how you act, when you and how you feel.
The greatest Valentine gift a guy can give to a woman is this the shopping spree for all the reduced priced chocolate the day after – that’s a result!
 
Vancouver Winter Olympics have started,  but not with out the sad death of one of the participants.
It was funny how everyone was pointing fingers at everyone else about the whys and wherefores of this tragedy… So let the commonsense of TWBrit tell you who’s fault it was…
It is the fault of the design and placement of the support pillars!! They simply should not have been there – just in the same way that any over sport i.e. Formula 1 removes nearly all ‘spin-off’ obstacles.
So basically – they should test for these things over every inch of the track…pure and simple eh?
At least while I watched the horrific collision, I didn’t hear the “Whoooooaaaaaarghhhhhh-SPLAT”
 
Returning to my car for the first time in over a month, I have received a fixed penalty notice for the none displayment of road tax… nice! I was just so able to run about and sort that our over the last four weeks!!
I finally finished my complete paper and sent it off… this time with a basic action plan on the end.
I would like to think something would come of this, but frankly I doubt anything will.
So with the arrival of my HGV1 (truck license) renewal forms and the need to pay for a medical etc, I seriously doubt that I will pursue my present paths.
In this my friends, I’m not happy, but we pick ourselves up and get on with it I guess – Can’t believe I took the test back in 88 and it’s only been renewed once in 94!
Need to take some new pictures this week for my Passport – should be interesting as I’ll be tacking them myself LOL
 
Terry aka Little Trucker has been driving in some tough snow conditions stateside and Gabby has spent the last month keeping me on my toes.
 
WKD is someone I don’t think I’ve now seen since Christmas, but we do communicate.
 
Fenny is busy as ever working away, she also posted an article about the subject of my paper which can be seen HERE. The response on her blog just shows how much feeling there is about this subject – she can also write better than I can lol.
 
I contacted Worthy Farm at Pilton the other day. If you don’t know, I’m talking about the Glastonbury music festival. I asked if I could have some of the official artwork to do an article on the blog rather than nabbing their logo from the web.
I went on to tell them I wished to write about not only the festival and the announced final line for this year, but also that the site is still and will always remain and active dairy farm and an important part of the local community.
the reply was this:


Not quite sure what to make of their response other than, well ok – it’s their logo, choice and lack of write up.
 
So, lets see how this week pans out eh?
twb-button

Of Ice and Snow getting a job Done!!

I have been holding back this post somewhat, basically to gather more information from other sources.

During this last week, the South West of the UK has been gripped in a ‘freeze’. Even when the air temps reach 11C (51F) the ground temperature rarely got above -5C (23F). As such from what started as a bit of snow 7 days ago, the overall situation just got worse.

I have already mentioned in an earlier post about it raining on ice creating an oiling effect. Every single operating base we use has now written off trucks and nearly every single Ex-Farm Bulker has been off the road and stuck in ditches, fields and in some cases water – not once, but several times.

The cost in vehicles alone and not to mention recovery costs will have by now exceeded around half a million £!

Then came Christmas Day morning… the air temp had finally risen and at 4am, what looked like normal safe ground became something I have never witnesses – it was ALL Ice, you simply could not stand up on any surface that you’d normally assume to be safe!!!

I found this out at 56mpg on the south bound M5 just south of Wellington, while moving to the 2nd lane to give more room to the emergency services to recover several cars from the hard shoulder – as I passed I lost control of my truck, the trailer went one way and the tractor unit went another. I do have a lot of Ice and Snow experience, but not that much on black ice in an articulated vehicle! While I have experienced black ice, I’d never experienced this total loss of control – and this video was pretty much watch saved me!

I regained control and continued – experiencing a further 5 instances of coming close to not only losing the truck, but also putting others at serious risk for their lives…

Now, I’m not gonna sit here and whinge, nor am I gonna claim to be any kind of a good driver. But it was fairly obvious to everyone that the conditions were totally unsuitable for the safe movement of just about everything!!

Yet, work continued, people were expected to carry on. Whether it is a Bull S*it pride thing with drivers of the complete and utter stupidity of managers (probably both) the work continued.

On my way home I wrote a text to WKD to tell her NOT to come in, but the thing was that I knew her phone would be off and even if it wasn’t – she had a house full of Christmas guests.

For whatever reason it was I did not send the text – and I should have done!!

You see, I have this very weird skill, at gut instinct you could say. But whatever it is – it IS 100% accurate and some of you reading this will already know what I’m talking about. So If I ever call any of you and say something like you need down time now! Or in this case – don’t go to work because it’s too treacherous – Don’t f’k about, do what I tell you, because what ever it is you do – it isn’t worth dying for!!

How accurate am I? Accurate enough for it to have earned me money!!

When I woke up later on Christmas day, I got a couple of phone calls giving me what could only be described as nothing short of an encyclopaedia of disaster before returning myself to work for 4:30pm – based in the knowledge that much of the main ice had thawed…

At this point and when talking to WKD, I had no knowledge of what had happened to her during the day (I mentioned this interaction in the hohoho post below).

Anyway, WKD IS probably the best driver we have, she can do things so naturally with a truck it begs belief – I don’t think she realises how good she is, but she is very well respected.

So when she loses traction and goes sailing backwards at speed straight through what would ordinarily be a very busy road junction and not coming to a halt for quite some distance (saved by the fact there was little traffic due to it being Christmas Day) then you know that we should no longer be on the road AT ALL!!!

Airing this incident to managers on her return to base – she went out again…

Now, this is not just about WKD, but this is where I draw a line, and this line has consequences the likes of which I don’t wish to put into writing and you really don’t want to read – But, here goes…

I have listened to, too many stories this week of people being told to go out in trucks onto roads and lanes you wouldn’t even try to crawl down on your hands and knees! Yes, they say “If you’re not sure then don’t do it” but in reality they say “well someone’s got to go” or the best one is “well give it a try”… (These drivers spend years hauling these trucks around some shockingly tight roads and lanes, they have skills behind the wheel I can’t even conceive of, so when they say it’s a no go – then you can bank on it!!)

This is tantamount to asking someone to run at armed police with a loaded gun. It is outside of and does not even come close to a Duty of Care and I will not have it.

If you are pressured in any way and especially by insinuation to go out or try to get into a place where you have expressed any doubt or fear of doing so, the person or persons are putting your your life and putting members of the general public lives at risk.

If they put you in fear of your life – then welcome to my world!!  Because I have no qualms in returning this favour – no matter what the cost. If anyone puts a colleague or team member in fear of their personal safety outside of a combat zone, in doing so breaking just about every law you can imagine… there is no law in this land that will protect you from what I most certainly will do and have a high level of proven proficiency in – to you.

Now there used to be a adverse weather system in place whereby a farmer would put his milk in a tank and tow it down to a good road with his tractor and meet the Bulker – but apparently this is now against EU regulations.

Well stuff the EU regs if it puts people at risk of injury or death!!

Now just to back up a little here, we’re not talking snow, heck it we were – a set of 8 chains would solve this problem straight away!! Ice on the other hand needs studded tires – isn’t quite true. You see studded tire technology is a 1960’s system and since then tire compounds have changed greatly. Infact they called them ‘Stud-less Ice Tires’ now and are basically a standard tyre made of a very special compound.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES ARE THESE:

Your personal safety – you go to work to make your life better, not lose it for trying to earn money to put food on your table!!

Managers etc – your FIRST job is the care, safety and wellbeing of your staff, team and employees!!  The job comes last!! It is a CRIMINAL offence not to do so and it will invoke a guaranteed insurmountable and slow destruction of every aspect of your life by me if you do the contrary to people I deem my colleagues and possibly friends.

Make sure you have the right PPE (personal protective equipment) this includes ice grips for your boots!!

However…

There is something we can ALL do in the UK and this to simply call RIDDOR… It’s part of the HSE and a place you can report anything and everything. While they will take your details, they will not give these details to your employer. What they will do is investigate and basically make employers get their respective asses together.

There contact info is below and while there is a legal requirement for you to report stuff to them as of the 1st January I’ll be making a lot of inroads in their direction.

You can contact RIDDOR on 0845 300 99 23

Or visit their website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/riddor.htm

Old man winter..

 Well it’s fair to say that we’re all feeling a drawn longing and remembrance of the summer months.
Last night while in Westbury dairy we were sitting around talking about last winter, with roads getting closed due to snow and sheet ice and of course why the hell did the person in charge of buying our tractor units neglect to buy them with diff-locks and steering tag-axles.
Bulkers, these are what we call the ‘Ex-Farm’ rigids, that 4 axle trucks like WKD drives. They come with all this stuff as standard and with being able to just about offer steering and drive to any wheel that touches the ground, they fare much better – but then they have to actually go where most of our trucks can’t.
All this doesn’t even take into account a moving liquid load in tanks that have no baffles.
We laughed a lot, we grumbled a whole lot more and we decided that this winter would be a harder one than the last.
I simply don’t know a driver who does not enjoy the challenge, yeah, we wish they would give us chains for bad weather, have a greater support system and so on, but we love that challenge.
Yet you only have to go and see what North60Star drives in to realise that what we do is little more than a joke.
But never the less, living in a part of the UK that never gets snow, I’ll always remember the panicked voice on the phone from the night supervisor with the words “THEY’RE PLOUGHING THE M5!!!!”
Then there are our friends left of the pond, who are already getting the snow. The lady truckers of this and their own blogs- and of course BigDog who lives with snow for a good part of the year. He’s been putting down some serious mileage himself these last few weeks after the very sad loss of his sister. But Dave (BigDog) is the type of guy who’ll always step up to the plate no matter what the situation, so while these are not the best times just after (some weird ritual called) thanksgiving and the run up to Christmas, I worry little about him because he always knows what to do, and will always do the right thing – and ladies, he’s single!

Now…. as a little treat for our US friends, they’ll be pleased to know that if they’re anywhere near NYC, there is an event for which they’ll be most welcome; I was thinking of going myself, but it’s little short notice. 

 
 

Yeah, baby, yeah. It’s international talk with a fake British accent day…


On Thursday 17th December
7pm kick-off upstairs at Slatterys Midtown Pub,
36th Street btwn 5th & Madison.

Facebook Event

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Come and try out a different accent for the evening and have some fun for the festive season! 

Come dressed in Red, White and Blue, something British or even in costume for your British character for some extra fun. Additional raffle tickets will be given out for all who play. 

We have 150 people already confirmed and it’s sure to be a comedy value evening. A great mixture of nationalities and other Brits who are going to give a different accent a go for the night. We will have some fun phrases for all to try out, outstanding British tunes and the dance floor warming up for later on in the evening.

If you are also game for “two minutes of fame” we will also be recording some funnies which will be broadcast on our new online TV channel BigAppleBrits.TV and on Big Apple Brits Radio. 
$5 entry will get you:
  • Extended happy hour until 10pm
  • Cake
  • Free shot with your first drink
  • Sherlock Holmes Merch! t-shirts, cups, keyrings and other goodies.
  • 5 raffle tickets for your chance to win a pair of pre-screening passes to see the fantastic new  “Sherlock Holmes” with Robert Downey Jr & Jude Law.  Check out the Trailer Here!
  • Mingle opportunities with some fabulous people and have a right old laugh!

Check out the facebook event page Here!

Published in: on 15 December, 2009 at 19:47  Comments (6)  
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You Did What?

Yesterday I had the joy of the worse driving day I can remember. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the truck I had – was anything like a truck really!!Image(253)
As soon as people had seen what I was driving, the laughing began. Infact, some people even drove around the yard several times to laugh all over again.
In despare I took this photo and sent it to WKD saying that this was just shameful – That was the first mistake of the day!! Oh the texts back and even an email… May be I won’t text such info in future lol.

Published in: on 31 October, 2009 at 18:50  Comments (10)  
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A different day

Yesterday I had a bit of an odd run. I was to take 28000ltrs of milk up to Droitwich. This in itself wasn’t at all unusual as it’s normally a singe days job or around 8 – 9 hours.
But on the back of it they wanted me to return and take a second load to Bridgwater dairy. This again isn’t a problem, it just means you can’t stop off anywhere and you need to get your foot down.
Having made good time to Droitwich I received a text from WKD bringing a smile to my face, you see, on Sunday night I came home to find I was out of milk and all the shops shut (oh – the irony), then made a mistake in mentioning this to WKD – who promptly told me off in a later phone call – something about hauling 60000lts of milk and not even having a pint!
So expecting a basic text – I was stunned when I received this;

Photo0010

Heard you ran out of milk
Can I help?

Bringing a smile to my face, ok I had a mouth full of coffee at the time and simply wasn’t expecting a text like that.
I returned in good time to make my second run – in fact I did it 7 ½ hours so I had time to have sit down somewhere that wasn’t behind a steering wheel.
Half way up to Bridgwater and the phone rings asking me if I could pick up an empty trailer from Devon Cider Company in Tiverton after I returned… This in actual fact turned into picking up two trailers and finishing a 14 hour day soaked to the skin with prevailing rain.
But you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed my day yesterday, I effectively did four jobs, had a laugh and now I’m enjoying 2 days with my feet up!!

 

Published in: on 27 October, 2009 at 14:40  Comments (3)  
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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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Hmmm… not the best operation

Starting work at 4am Sunday morning with the usual banter and laughter, the job was to take an empty milk trailer to a new milk depot just north of Bristol – drop that there, pick up a full one and drive on to Cadbury’s.
This depot (Old Sodbury) is ‘new’ in terms of its use for milk, the greater company has used the site for many years and early this year it was to be closed.
I know the site well, and on my last visit, there was a skeleton staff running refrigerated cheese deliveries from there and the rest of the place was cluttered up with old trailers and trucks for sale.

Arriving at 6am, the place was a mess!! The the new areas for CIP (washing tanks out) and where milk was loaded were obvious, but there was no where to drop off an empty tank. In fact, there was barely enough space to turn the truck around.Old Sodbury Here is a very old photo of the place when it had some room.
I did turn it around, stopped and headed into the office. Apart from two ex-farm drivers (new to the job), there was no one. I looked around for job sheets and various other things that would normally be ready – but nothing!
An hour and a half later I could get back underway.

All sorted out, I got back on the road heading north on the A46 towards Stonehouse. I chose this route because it was now sunrise cotswoldbecomming daylight and it took me over the bottom of the Cotswold hills – which is the most majestic run at dawn.

Cadbury’s was a hassle in so much a I screwed up the CIP process and had to drain the tank and start all over again, before heading home in glorious air conditioned sunshine through Hereford, Monmouth and down to the M4 at Newport.

I think the milk operation out of Old Sodbury is going to be very short lived at the present rate – unless someone shows a degree of leadership and flare and moves all the old trailers from all their depots to onSmeatharpee of hundreds of old wartime airfields where a farmer will happily take a base rent on the storage of such things – like this one 10 miles from the main Cullopmton operating base  .

Published in: on 14 September, 2009 at 12:49  Comments Off  
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Chris 3 makes the next level

Chris 3

Here in Honiton there is a guy called Chris. Chris is well-known in Honiton and surrounding areas – and to none more so than truckers.
Chris is a middle aged spastic who rides around Honiton on a tricycle with a ‘Chris 3’ licence plate which has mysteriously changed to Chris 4.

Chris loves trucks, he talks to every trucker he can and where possible – he lives to help them.
The company I mainly work for have what we call a ‘Reload Site’ just outside Honiton on the showground and everyday, twice a day – Chris comes along to help the Ex-Farm and Transhipment drivers reverse in and do all the little jobs they have to do.

Chris is a star in my view, while he may be a incapacitated by this form of muscular spasms, he really is clued up on what is what. He certainly does not want or need pity. As such, I’ll not post a picture of Chris without his permission, but if you are travelling through this area, please look out for him and give him space and time.

Well done Chris, for making it to level 4

chris 4

From

TWBRIT number plate

Published in: on 8 September, 2009 at 14:12  Comments (2)  
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Odd, I’m surprised…

Here in the UK and across Europe, trucks have side guards to prevent cars, cyclists and people going under them and have done so for over 25 years. But in the US, where they have some of the toughest safety requirements for vehicles, they don’t have them at all!! Here is a vid about it form YouTube by BBBloch

Also, and I just have to post this – so a h/t to WKD for the email she received and forwarded.

“A woman rented a Citroen C4 in Johannesburg.   She drove from JHB to Bloemfontein.  Approximately 220km from Johannesburg the car stopped ………still in 1st gear!!     SHE THOUGHT IT WAS AUTOMATIC!     Attached the insurance photos of the engine and the bonnet”

Published in: on 1 September, 2009 at 19:48  Comments Off  
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Things you should never say to a Trucker

It’s true, there are things that people should never say to a trucker and sometimes when they do – they’re just asking for a bad outcome either now or in the future.

You see when folks say these things, they’re talking from a place of ignorance, often sounding like they’re in a position of authority getting the driver to try and explain to them their entire lack of intelligence – not good…

What do I mean?

Ok, here’s what not to say…

 newcrash

“What time do you call this”?

“Where the hell have you been”?

“You’re late”

“the other guy always arrives at XX:XX”

“What happened to you”?

 

These things are so common, drivers don’t even mention the crap they get off people anymore.

So why are all those things wrong?!

 

Firstly – Safety. Depending where a load has come from, the driver may have been so darn tired he or she might have needed a sleep and I don’t need to explain the consequences of a fatigued driver.

 

Secondly – The driver, drives…. Yes it’s that obvious, that is what this person lives for – Driving. They don’t like hanging about and most love speed. SO they’re not gonna be swanking about down at the local mall or taking in a movie, they ARE going to get to you in the shortest possible time!

 

Thirdly – (and as such) a delivery might be late but the Driver is NEVER LATE…. Not ever – think aboutjam1 it!!

The time on the delivery note is a rough guess, it does not allow for Traffic Jams, Accidents, Blowouts, Breakdowns, Weather, Road Conditions, Problems at the point of dispatch, Finding you’re place, Illness, Injury, Pulled over by the Police, Securing a load or the Problems at the previous delivery point!

None of these things have anything to do with being late because the Driver is a professional!! He or She knows exactly what they’re doing, they know their business – you don’t!

 

If I’ve had a really bad day, the worse thing you can say to me is “What time do you call this” – especially if you have a watch on you’re wrist. Because the retort is going to be along the lines of if you’re bright or completely stupid!!

 

If you’re not sure about the time a delivery may or may not turn up, there is no better place than listening to traffic reports on the radio to have a real guess of the road situations.

 GERMANY-ACCIDENT-TRANSPORT-CRASH

The things that have been said to me, the shear bloody attitude I get from people is unreal. Heck I’ve offered several times to leave and on two occasions did.

I remember after witnessing a horrific fatal accident, receiving a full blown rant from a guy I was delivering to. People seem to forget that truckers see death and horror quite a lot.

 

And here’s another thing; if a delivery is of the sh*tty type – i.e. the Driver needs do a lot of manual work, in bad weather and then reload, DON’T offer them a hot drink as soon as they get there – but do offer them one at around the halfway point and take about 5 minutes to talk to them. You’ll soon get a good relationship with the drivers and you’ll get a good understanding of them.

But do remember, if they were late getting to you and have another three or more drops after – they’ll be getting the same grief you’ve given them again and again… And really, do you want to drive on the same road as a seriously pissed off trucker?

 jam-sunset

Some more stuff:

A trucker will drive in 6 months – more than most drive in a life time!! So maybe, just maybe they know a little bit about driving… they know how to read the road and in many instances rely upon you being switched on in you’re driving ability to make certain manoeuvres go smoothly. They have to contend with an advanced knowledge of rules, regulations and laws, they must know them thoroughly, even the Police don’t have the same knowledge and experience and are in many cases, not as qualified as the trucker.

They/We are not there to screw you’re day up. But sometimes the lack of given experience of some road users can screw up everyone’s day.

Nearly everything you own, wanna own, the clothes on you’re very back were and will be delivered by truck – don’t forget the food you eat as well.

 

Give us you’re patience and time – and we WILL give you everything you want, need and desire… Because that is what the men and women truck drivers around the whole world do.

And the Sun goes down…

It’s funny, no really – it is. You see, I’m not really a fan of living in Devon. Maybe if I had come to this area under different circumstances, I’d feel differently, but I don’t.
However, rural life, no matter where it is – is awesome!
It’s pretty much dark here now in Bishops Nympton and the farmer and his son’s have just about got all the hay bails in, in a race against a fading sun.
Sometimes, if you could just hold a vision, a moment in time, forever – this very moment would be a good one.

SUnset

The sad part of this is – I’m finding it hard to be grumpy… and that is just wrong! lol

Just met the Farmer/owner, thoroughly nice chap.

Published in: on 7 August, 2009 at 21:42  Comments Off  
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Grumble…

I’m sure i’ll remove this but I’m sat in Michael Wood Services on the Northbound M5 at 23:00 (11pm) in another Mercedes..

What can I say… Friday night and whinging about a german truck.

It’s official, I have a sad life… LOL

I’ll probably post again around 2am

Published in: on 24 July, 2009 at 23:03  Comments (1)  
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Darn it….

Just after I updated the previous post – the phone rang…(04:30 in the morning)

They need me ‘urgently’ apparently at N.Tawton to rush about north Devon, the thing is – I haven’t been to sleep yet!

At present I’m fine and have now spoken to them and found out what the job is, so all is well as the will be plenty of time to sleep through out the day – result!!! (oh, and I am legal by the way).

Update:

It’s now 6:20pm and I walked through the door 20 minutes ago.
As you can tell, it wasn’t all that plain sailing. The first part of the job was to shoot down to a ftruck-milkarm at the village of Rattery -  who on earth would want to name a village ‘Rattery’?!

I Dropped an empty tank and picked up a loaded tank of milk and head straight back to where I came from to the cheese factory next door.
I get 20 minutes sleep.
Then out of there and head up to the north coast of Devon on hellishly tight roads to pick up another load, this time bound for Okehampton.
But it’s summer holiday time and the roads are busy as hell with tourists crawling along at 20 – 30 mphNarrow roads!
I pick up the Milk and decide (due to my tired state) that I’ll go the long way around as the road are much better and I didn’t fancy some of those roads at full weight with a liquid cargo. I would say, if I wasn’t tired and did that, it would be an issue off not having enough ‘bottle’. This I could not ever admit to, but under the circumstances of being so tired – I’d have to say it was both :-(
I hit the north Devon link road and went for it, stopping the otherside of Tiverton for a break.
Oddly, I was ahead of schedule the whole time, even after going the long way around.

On the way back to the depot, the biggest fkoff wasp got in the cab, actually (as it wamonster wasps pointed out later) it was a hornet! And boy, it was not a happy bunny at all. However, I managed to keep the old nerve and eventually it found it’s own way out, but the size of the thing shocked the life out of me! I mean, all joking aside, if an insect asked you to open the window, while doing up his boot laces and drinking Bud - I think you would oblige

I think the thing that kept me going today, is the fact I’ve had something on my mind for the past two days that I can’t seem to shake. If I knew why, or what, if it’s a good thing or even bad – I’d tell you, but sadly I’m just a little ‘foggy’ on the whole thing – but I WILL find an answer. And now I’m sounding like Little Trucker ;-)

I think sleep might be in order now.

Published in: on 12 July, 2009 at 04:40  Comments Off  
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An odd one again

cow

Having supposed to have started work at 00:30 this morning, I walked into work at 03:30. The reason for this is that I had spoken to the night supervisor earlier and had been informed that there were no trucks available and it was pointless coming in to wait around. So I enjoyed the extra time at home with my feet up – YAY!
Any way, as it happens, it turned out to be fortuitous! You see I dropped a good sized bo**ock! Instead of picking up trailer 4063, I picked up 4068 and took it to Westbury – DOH!!
Once I realised, I rang in to the office because I simply didn’t know what type of milk was onboard, how old it was, or if it had been rejected or anything.
Indeed my caution paid off, as the milk I was carrying was Skim, not Raw.

westbury-dairyAlso, I was directed to Westbury by mistake as the empty tank I would have had on my return, was desperately needed at a farm reload site.
Discussions were had and I was redirected to another depot to drop this trailer, pick up a clean empty tank and proceed to the reload site.
This actually took two hours off the time, so things were looking up.

I got to the reload site with 5 minutes of driving time left before needing a break and sorted everythingex-farm bulker out and sat back for my 45 minute rest. Well, I would have done, but the Ex-Farm bulker came in and it was non other than WKNR… Hold it, stop right here!! Our lady White Knuckle Rider had indeed come up with a slightly better acronym… WKD icon1She (the cat’s mother) is now referred to as WKD – which also makes good sense. I chatted with WKD for a few minutes and went on my way, realising that half the conversation I had with her, probably made no sense at all.

Arrival at the dairy ended with me joining a long queue and this is where the next part of the fortunate lack of planning came in. If I had started at 00:30, I would have run out of hours – but I hadn’t called this in, so the day staff didn’t know. So halfway through a snooze the cab phone rings and the first words were “what the hell are you doing?”
I explainHappyCowed that I was waiting the queue out and what time I actually started work. Also because I screwed up that morning, I wouldn’t be putting in my earlier time, the time I was sat at home with my feet up.
I think unfortunately they thought I was trying to book more hours, the reality is that I felt a little guilty for screwing up earlier and was trying to amend this by playing the team game and making sure I didn’t cause further inconvenience by requiring rescue, which means getting another driver, more time wasted and more money spent. A nice thought maybe, but human nature depicts that people normally think the worse. Looking on the bright side of this day – at least I didn’t take an empty trailer all the way to Oakthorpe, which someone did a few months ago.

So I’m sitting here trying my best to write this without falling asleep – ahhhh sleeeeeep, I remember you soooo well….
Time to go and hug this old body of lard and retire, good night all.

twb-button

Published in: on 8 July, 2009 at 19:45  Comments (1)  
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Odd, everything is different…

I was supposed to be going to Crediton and Westbury this evening, and right the start it has all changed.
Firstly, there were no vehicles at all and certainly no spare trailers. On top of this I’m going to Bridgwater (where I’m writing this) then to Taw Valley Cheese.
But then I was sent to rescue a vehicle that had a brand new trailer – that had just completely snapped it’s suspension – I see they’re getting quality for the £65,000 these things cost!.

Just to bring it all to a head, and that it serves me right for taking the micky out of others recently – While on the weighbridge at the Wiseman’s Bridgewater dairy, we took a sample from an obscure sample screw valve thing that promptly shot off and went straight down the side of the weighbridge plate!!

While covered in milk with my finger now wedged in the hole, we found a ‘bung’ of sorts and started looking for the sample cap, I spotted it and set about trying to get the access panel up.
At this point I would like to give a firm recommendation to all readers that if, for whatever reason, you feel the need to climb down under a weighbridge at a Dairy – DON’T!
It is the most vile, disgusting environment on the planet!.
I have been trying to wash most of this off, but the smell is killing me.

But one satisfaction I have gained while holding back 28000 ltrs of milk with a my index finger – now I know what it must like to have your fingers in a Dyke!

twb-button

Published in: on 3 July, 2009 at 21:49  Comments (8)  
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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

Well that was an odd day

So I go to work, I nice long run up to North London and then get diverted – well, I still did the London leg. You see we normally come straight back after running to London because if anything happens, we simply run out of hours. But my diversion wasn’t on the route home – nope, it was in to other direction altogether!  In fact it had me running down to the Channel Tunnel to swap out my Trailer and pick another of concentrated Cider to haul back to Devon.

Sadly though, My hours did run out as I approached Solstice Park – a rest area at Stonehenge (that rather bizarre garden ornament). Yet as I write this, I’m getting ready to head back to London again – thankfully keeping from the Glastonbury area where the Festival is on this weekend.

Here is a map of my route yesterday.

Route1

twb-button

Published in: on 26 June, 2009 at 13:27  Comments (3)  
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Working Again

Today TWB is modelling the 2006 DAF XF 95 – 430, and large sausage looking trailer of 28000 ltrs of milk.

Also today, WKNR shouted hello I as I came into work. At which point I had to ‘fess-up’ about the acronym I use for her, and that it is sadly not working. You see with WKNR standing for ‘White Knuckle Rider’ – it was not supposed to be an acronym for ‘w**ker’.

Now her real initials are NT, but using them would remind my geeky readers of Windows NT… Then with ‘Trucker’ – it could become TNT. But this seems to point her being large in some way, which in all fairness she…. isn’t.

 So, what on earth do I use? Maybe I should consult her, maybe her hubby has an embarrassing nick name for her.

 Input is welcome by all.

UPDATE >>>>>> WKNR has been updated to WKD

twb-button

 

Published in: on 20 June, 2009 at 18:43  Comments (8)  
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A work day

And today, TWB will be modelling the all new MAN-TGS 26.440 truck as his Ride.

Hell, I’ve even got a Reefer on…

Todays Ride

twb-button

Published in: on 19 June, 2009 at 23:03  Comments (2)  
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