Christmas and the Year Gone By

Well this past year has been every kind of trauma, fun, upheaval, renewal, learning and as much realisation as you can possibly imagine. At the beginning of 2011 I was indeed living in Devon, now I live somewhere in the middle of the UK and plan to move yet again inside the next 6 months or so.

I’ve also managed to travel extensively and even had this blogs help and hindrance appear for the über fast tour of southern and middle England before she went on her way. I also became an author; publishing the first of several books to Kindle, with a further two in the final edit and one in the writing stage. That one I need a literary agent for.

I’ve had the pleasure this year of meeting several people I have only known online, I also seemed to have travelled a lot and appear to have been to a lot more networking functions than usual. At one of these I met an old friend from my Sheffield days; Alan and I played in a band together, I was a drummer back then and he was the lead guitarist. Heck we even did a European tour and completed several dates across Germany and into Switzerland. No, sadly while I’d like to have claimed it was all rock and roll – we provided the musical backing for a rocked up Christian youth choir… But it was, how should I say… “eventful”. Alan went on to join the RAF Police (like my brother actually) and now is a respectable photo-journalist, podcaster and DJ’s a local radio show – it was fantastic to catch back up with him.

I also finally gained a good Dentist, not only good but both he and his assistant are a shed load of laughs which is always welcome, but he also has a real handle on the state of the bombsite better referred to as my mouth. This is a major “plus” to this year.

This past 12 months have proved an eye opener for me, it has shown me some of the true nature of the most outstanding people I know, ALL of who I am grateful to!! I’ll pop a list at the bottom, but it is in no way complete, so please do not be offended if I didn’t mention you.

The last few weeks have been fairly heavy, because there is much in the works and I’ve been somewhat outside my comfort zone, in fact I could probably say that sums up 2011.

So, here it is, TWBrit thankyou to all who have come by this way to read the blog, contribute to this, and some many other aspects of my life. I truly can’t thank you enough, you have been outstanding, and my life this year would not have moved forward so incredibly well. Above all these people have brilliant;

Sue Black : For constantly encouraging me, ringing up and checking in. Dragging me to the Google Garden Party at Bletchley and for various other things. In the world of tech and software.

Joanne Black : For being true to who she really is; honest, courageous and a genuinely nice person, mom and wife. And for clearing the trees so I can see the wood – and direct encouragement.

Fenny : For stepping up to the plate like no other (and getting a new bathroom out of the deal). Fenny I have known for a great many years, she is way more geek than most geeks and is truly an awesome person. I am seriously indebted to her this year for her direct help and support.

Martha Lane Fox : For getting me to write my first book, in itself it did come to much – but was a catalyst for all the writing since and that is more than enough! :-)

WKD and Kev&Jenette who have kept in contact to see that all is going well. WKD is strange as a former work colleague because while I’m sure my patronising and arrogance drove her nuts, I miss the banter at work.

Hammy & Dean : These two guys were lost to me just over a year ago, and a lifetime apart has changed little. Hammy is still one of the most funny and outstanding guys I know and it’s been a real pleasure keeping up with them throughout the year.

Charlie, Ray Willis, Gary Jones and Steve Easey : Rockin, just rockin!

Gabby aka Gabsatrucker : I swear, this hardcore whoop-ass nut job of a friend could never have been any nationality but her own… she’s crazy in a good way and razor sharp with her wit. She has also help out on this blog, editing my books and all manner of other things. Not bad seeing as every aspect of her life over the last 12 months has been very tough going.

Other areas of outstanding help and encouragement came in the form of Twitter friends @Ritchhh and Natalie… without these guys I wouldn’t have been even on the net still, let alone able to get my ass down here.

Great chats and great laughs, insights and fantastic help which is a large part of the essence of life have often been on Twitter and in email, these have come from;

Loraine in Ohio

Dan Mann

Big Dog

@howlatthemoon

@seasparkle_x

@Pete1550

@Domjoly

@2rexy

@EricMcWhirter

@Simplycycling

@Gypsyhooker

@catflap

@bobbylew

@ethics13

and just so many more

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A lot has happened in the past year…

So yup… a lot has…
Just over a year ago I attended the Riphay Scuffle, it was an enlightening experience too, even after just under 4 hrs sleep (boy did I look rough lol)… A truly fun event! I met wonderful people too and yet went on my way. I was certainly thinking about running in this years event but for two things – the ladies on this blog would undoubtedly have removed me from the vehicle and taken it over completely!!
And yes, I did indeed move away completely too, as such I have relied on this blogs very own White Knuckle Driver a.k.a WKD to keep me up to speed on events.
Now WKD, like Gabsatrucker is a trucker… and they have a disturbing amount in common – trucks, both are women, cycling, being jolly and very, VERY sharp witted!! Thankfully they both are used to the fact that when I ‘think’ I’m saying something in a particular way – it *never* comes out the way I think it does and therefore sound callous and arrogant… oh wait……. So when I try to sound callous and – nevermind ;-)
WKD informed me that the event did happen but wasn’t anywhere near as good as the last few years on account they were not allowed a beer tent.. This is because last year two young lads decided to drive home totally pissed and died in the process…
This is where the whole thing fell down badly… and I must thank someone whom I often refer to as Lady K and/or Kate McAndersen (neither are her real name)for bringing this event to my attention when she did – I saw it for real and it’ll never be the same again now sadly.

Yes I moved away a few months ago and there are things I miss and things I seriously don’t – but above all in Devon, I miss the people… and the odd pint of old Otter… Hell, Honiton even has a Costa Coffee now :-/ But I will say my time there was somewhat of a rejuvenation of my spirit and while I’m still a bit of a beast in the eyes of most, everyone I met added another layer to this onion I call my life.

In this past 12 months twitter star and crazy friend @CareyLouisa actually went through the whole torturous process of buying her first home and while I know she had support from a most excellent person in the field, she did come through the process quite triumphantly I must say – and very good for her (even if she did start breeding pigeons in the process). In fact I’d go as far to say that Carey is a changed person since then and has her feet firmly planted on the ground.

Gabsatrucker came to the UK and promptly left again – straight to Malta!! Malta is of course a small island in the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Libya – and guess what – as she arrived war broke out! Then after kicking the life out of the Land Rover Maltese Marathon, she promptly legged it back to Arkansas after a total of 10 flights!!

Further more, this blog and my friend Sue Black aka Mustang Sue, went off to South by South West in Austin, Texas… and we managed to get her hooked up with Gabsatrucker who gave her a ride around Austin in her big-rig aka Lola… along with Elsie the dog.

My mother had a lung out and they removed the right one ;-)

Buddy Kev took his first ever flight and spent his time making the other passengers nervous through his perpetual knowledge of air crashes etc – rocking ! :-)

I caught up with six of the best guys in the form of Hammy, Dean, Charlie, Squeezy, Gary and Ray. Then there was bumping in to old buddy Alan Shearer by total accident… A story I should tell when I eventually get around to writing up the Google Garden Party post.

Basically there is a hell of a lot more to write here and I seriously could turn this into a very long post – but needless to say the year has been short but very interesting indeed!
For those I offended when I wasn’t joking, tough – to those I offended when I was joking, chin up :-) oh… and tough also :D

So… what enlightening thing should I leave you all with…. Hmmmm tough one this…
I know, an informative video on looking after and maintaining your guitar by Taylor Guitars
No, I’m not kidding :p

Ahhh now thats what I call plane trouble

So with news this week that WKD didn’t freak out while enjoying her flight to Edinburgh last weekend… I thought I should throw in a troubled A320 fun vid….

This IS how to crash

Published in: on 1 July, 2011 at 18:41  Leave a Comment  
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So…. What’s new?

So, the temporary settling in has begun…
All my gear is here, got net, been looking around – but more importantly, I have a new dentist who appears to be very good and has already gone a long way to cure me of my pain…. New crowns are on their way, so all will be good in that department soon enough and I can’t wait to get it all sorted and be able to sink my teeth into the great food I love and miss.

Blast from the pasts have already been happening; I received a text from WKD, emails from Dave across the road and good buddy and friend Chris Allen who phoned me the other day to see if all was well with the world..

What is REALLY new is that planning is in full swing to move T.W.Brit from a blog to a website… and boy does this stuff take some planning lol… Obviously there are issues such as the format and appearance, revenue stream, hosting, e-commerce, content and more importantly, sectional content to name but a few…
But, and purely thinking in terms of “In a perfect world” which means with the greatest intentions, not all the ideas will happen all at once..
So with that, I hope there will be still a blog section and hopefully some interesting guest posts, both known and anonymous. There will be recommendations and product rating or approval for quality – not gain…  The various sectional content will be written by people who know their field, but all will have a typical TWBrit twist and satirical element. For want of a better phrase – Facts with a Smile.
Politically non-partisan, not frightened to say if the new fashions of the world WILL make you look stupid if you wear them, that will berate Celebrity culture in a humorous way, but more so the silly people who are addicted to it – yet pat on the back those Celeb’s that have cornered their corner of the market best.
It WILL take the proverbial p**s, yet only do so when we think it needs doing, the site will bring you honest facts and hopefully vital resources and information.

While we will take advertising and sponsors, there will be no soul selling – just a purely fun everyday read along with great sections of information and resources. Yes, if someone needs telling they’re a cock – this site as always will be happy to suggest it and the ever happy HUAward is never too far away.

There will be more in-depth coverage of issues close to my heart, and from my last post it’s fair to say that Bletchley Park will be one of them. As too, US UK relations, friends around the world and we will expect fun commentary from the Middle East,  Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.
Indeed, from rural England, to the City of London many subjects will be covered and hopefully there will be a little something for everyone.
At the end of every week there will be a guest look back at the events of that week and an editorial from me.

This will of course mean the deletion of most previous content and permissions etc will need to be sort for use of images etc – more rigorously anyway…

So, I’m kinda busy I guess…

Published in: on 17 May, 2011 at 02:37  Comments (7)  
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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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Funny Few Days…

Over in Sioux Falls, South Dakota BigDog aka Dave has been a busy chap… He’s just been upgrading and swapping out his IT solution. Oddly enough he’s opted for a 17” Dell laptop… and good for him.
It’s funny really, my Dell Inspiron has a Centrino T2050 possessor and is still more than capable of anything I wish to use this laptop for – and this includes playing Battlefield2 with all the video settings to max!
However, looking at the release of Battlefield Bad Company 2 on PC a couple of days ago – I wonder if I actually have the power to even start that game… I must look up the specs… BigDog – buy that game – so Iz can whoop yo sorry ass!!

Other stuff…

My new camera is unbelievably outstanding – I’m simply stunned at the pictures it takes!!
I left my previous camera to my mate in Chepstow, and frankly I’m glad I had to buy another. It’s a Samsung ST500 bought from Camerbox.co.uk for a fraction of what Amazon charge for it.

I have continued my ruthless cutting of people I follow on Twitter. Some of whom are even friends of sorts, but this is not to say I’m falling out with anyone as we can still communicate on twitter without the following thing. It actually stops ‘extra’ followers appearing which had become a hassle… This is, except for one UK follower who has turned out to be a stunning and insightful individual whom I won’t mention (other than they get larger by the day).

The big spring clean is under way here as I rip through my place throwing out EVERYTHING I don’t use. I’ve always travelled light, and always have the need to live light – but rarely succeed… Until now (I’m hoping). Besides, I live alone and if anything were to happen to me it’d make the job of clearing me out of the way much easier (I’m laughing here – yeah, good luck with that!!) :D

Most admin has been carried out other than requiring a medical for my truck licence…(£113). So I’m simply cracking on with life and looking forward to warmer weather.

News also this week is that they’re gonna release a load of new bugs into the UK. These weird mite-like critters suck the life out of a plant called the Japanese Knot Weed which has become a real problem in the UK. While it can grow a meter in 3 weeks, what you see is a bit like the tip of an Iceberg – the root structure is vast!!
I guess we’ll end up being over run with those too at some point..

Work colleague and Farmerist WKD and hubby ‘C’ have been preparing for lambing. I had no idea just how hard work this is until JK of all people started lecturing me about it.
This (for those who may read this blog) is a bit of a concern… I can’t be having JK learning more about this farmerist business!!
Hopefully WKD will furnish us with pictures of the whole process and lots of ickle lambs… (hint!)  ;)

My cousin’s lad and friend ‘Matt’ has been having an odd year.. Matt is an avid climber of sorts. I say ‘of sorts’ because he’s into ‘Bouldering’ (no, not blundering as the this spell checker would have me write). While he does the odd rock face, he loves nothing more than to wrap himself around large oversized pebbles! This sounds ok until you realise Matt is around 40 ft tall and has the wing span of a 747!!
This last year he’s had the misfortune of having his Land Rover stolen and as such getting to he most favoured places of the Peak District curtailed. This however did not stop him legging it to India to do some climbing a few weeks ago.
Matt is at a place in his life I know all too well as I’ve actually been where he is now – and I’m sorely envious of him.
If Matt is anything like me, he’ll probably head off and work his way around Europe at some point. The only thing I would recommend to him is to get his HGV class 1 – because love it or hate it, it’s one hell of a fall back income.
However, Matt is very much his own man! He’ll do what he wants and he’ll do it his way – and I of all people get that.
I do of course hate him for it :) lol

twb-button

Published in: on 9 March, 2010 at 13:49  Comments (4)  
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A night of work and old friends

Since being fit to work I’ve only been able to do Milk runs, this work is a vital part of Devon’s local economy but with only two days work in the last week, we’re waiting for the enevitable warmer weather which will bring a huge increase in the milk yield around this time of year.
When this happens we go to six day working because of the sheer quantity of the white stuff that becomes available.

Sadly though, as milk is a live product, it can’t be stored for very long and we must have moved the milk from farm to Dairy in under 24hrs. Dairies can only cope with so much. Cheese factories can only process a steady consistent amount and this means the rest go to Westbury where they turn it into milk powder. In fact they turn 60,000 ltrs into powder every 15 minutes!

However, last night was a simple run to a weird place called Rattery (I’ve mentioned it before) and then onto Cadbury’s (as in the Chocolate).
Getting down to the farm at Rattery it was dark, I dropped an empty trailer, took the numberplate off and hooked into the steps of the fuel tank and went to find out which trailer was mine…
Bouncing about over mud and puddles I eventually find my trailer and go to put the numberplate back on – only to find it missing…. 15 minutes it took me to find it!!
By now I was looking like a hobo who just lost a mud wrestling match!!

The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful other than my hours running out and needing to take a break within minutes of getting to Cadburys. I ended up having to squeeze ‘Florence’ (the name of this particular truck) under a petrol station canopy where I eventually took my break.

Cadbury’s has recently been taken over by the large US multi national ‘Kraft’ much to the dislike of much of the staff of the company. So, of course – I see this as an opertunity to get to know the staff better.
With questions like;
Still got the sign up then I see – you keeping it?
Are you gonna be going all American on us then?
How long do you think you’ll be keeping your jobs?

And so on…. I don’t think my bonding worked!

A fast paced run back via Monmouth, Newport, dawn breaking the sky over the Severn Bridge and the Sunrise across Sedgemoor was a great end to ‘different’ night.

Arriving back at base WKD came over to my truck all beaming and bobby along – I swear, I’ve never met anyone so Jolly – ever!!
Beaming away she told me that someone had stink-bombed her truck and was off to get coffee. I stopped and wished her Happy New Year as I hadn’t actually seen her since just after Christmas!
But even with social communication and media of today and keeping in touch, and frankly when I was injured between Her and Gabby – they were the most consistent voices of care – and I aint repeating THAT!!

I dropped my trailer on a bay and went and had a chat properly in that ‘you have 2 mins – Go!!’ kinda way we talk.
It was indeed good to see her and to know all is well with her world.

So… in all, a great 12hr shift

twb-button

Published in: on 7 March, 2010 at 20:09  Comments (1)  
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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?
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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

Some days….

Yer know the ones…. The ones you kinda wish you had something sharp to stick in your eye, or lived on the 42nd floor for ;)
Well, for the most part I’m not like this much at all, albeit Gabby appears to live in that zone.
Yesterdays comments in my post about the weekend certainly had me looking for sharp objects that’s for sure. WKD even emailed me offiering (just like JK) to send me pictures of favourite shoes… and there I was thinking that WKD was my possible saviour from such things – and Fenny hasn’t even started yet!!  As such the next post will be all about JK or JennyK as she tags her comments. So, do look forward to it – I know I am!
However, I have decided that you guys should choose the icon or cartoon I should use for JK – feel free to email…  :)

Also, Top Gear this last week did another car test for Mr Needham of Belfast – viewers will remember the car review that Top Gear did for him last time after Mr Needham complained bitterly that all they ever do is thrash the latest super car around an old airfield.
In response, Clarkson raced through a shopping mall and then launched the car from a Royal Marine landing craft into the sea during an amphibious assault.
In this weeks episode… well if you’ve not seen it, then if you’re in the UK – hit iPlayer and give it a look.
I would have posted the original here – but yet again the BBC have removed it from their own YouTube page – Some one at the BBC is right up there for getting a good firing!!!

Virgin Galactic finally launched there all new death trap this week… I shouldn’t be too rough on Mr Branson because as far as I’m aware, there has been no input at all in this thing from Airbus…. So if that holds true, then soon (18 months time)we’ll be able to skim the outer atmosphere of this dinky little planet!

Fellow blog reader DarkheartD emailed me this week from somewhere in Africa with a suggestion for a TWB calendar, to be filled with the ladies whom read this blog…. For the love of all things holy – No!!
The reason is simple, because judging by the senses of humour with this lot – the finished item would probably come with both a health warning and age certification!!
The other concern is that this could have been a two sided idea as I thing DarkheartD hasn’t seen any women for a while…

Gabby has started the road to rock stardom, or should I say banjo head-banging. Just made and sent her a video over showing basic warm up exercise and part of the tune I was trying to record into a ringtone.
What I probably should have sent her was some superglue! LOL

Published in: on 8 December, 2009 at 22:16  Comments (6)  
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Hmmmm not the week off I wanted…But an odd one anyway.

Hey, I’ve done nothing for the whole week!!
My Digital Tachograph driver card died last week and while I can still technically drive, I’ve not been put up for any work until such time as a new one turns up – which hasn’t as yet!

The Les Paul I bought is still here!! I should have returned it by now, but the company I’ve bought it from keeps neglecting to send me an address to return it too – so, tomorrow I’ll be looking up the person’s private address and forwarding it to them there. LOL.

Spent the best part of an hour talking to Alex on the phone today over in Slovakia and getting all the latest info from him and what he’s been up to – while imparting information about this here blog and old friends in common.

Tomorrow sees the return to the work place of the one and only WKD after an 8 day weekend in some posh and pampering hotel somewhere. While I’ve not heard from her or even expected to  – it’ll be interesting to see if she’s any shinier than what she was!

Had a bolt out of the blue the other day when I had a sudden and somewhat shocking realisation of some personal baggage I thought was long gone – it now is and I’m a happier person for realising it – but outwardly, just a grumpy as ever. lol

I had planned to buy my mother some slightly expensive art materials for Christmas, only to find that she has yet again succumbed to the sale hype of the QVC shopping channel and bought a lesser version of the same thing – this is damn right frustrating. So at the moment, got no ideas…

Published in: on 3 December, 2009 at 20:36  Comments (2)  
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Another weird week fades into history.

I really don’t know where to begin with this post. I guess it will not have gone un-noticed that the quantity of posts have fallen recently, but it has been a busy old time.
My Dell ServicedFirst up, laptop screen news – Yay! A new screen should appear via Fed-eX tomorrow, but I’ll not be home as I’m working from 8am, so it’ll have to turn up on Tuesday and this time I truly hope the replacement works.
This last week I have been quite busy and have spent a huge amount of time on Twitter talking with loads of people, but especially LittleTrucker and her buddy Gabby aka Gabsatrucker (from the blog of the same name). More Gabby Maratonimportantly, yesterday was Gabby’s first full marathon and was completed in strong winds in 4hrs 44mins. While I would take a moment to praise and congratulate Gabrielle, I can’t help but thing ‘MUST DO BETTER!!’. This of course is so easily stated from the comfort of my armchair of rage LOL.

Spoke to another promotional item maker the other day and the whole concept of whatever blog promotional stuff I want to do, basically comes down to the artwork – and preparation thereof! This is a little frustrating to say the least and because I have not found anyone to help with it, leaves me with no option other than to buy the equipment and do it myself. Further to this, some of the Who’s Who photos will at some point be swapped out for cartoon icons – the present two of WKD’s and Gabsatrucker will eventually also change.death tree

Lost a blog follower this week, someone who I met a few years ago and worked alongside with. While his demise I’ll put down to a lack of effort, I’m somewhat concerned about my drop in blog stats ;-)      Joking aside, a good man lost!

Someone invented ‘Bacon Jam’ this week and no, it wkd icon1wasn’t WKD (who makes a lot of jam – and sheep and eggs and quilt stuff and makes tires break). This new product just makes me wonder what the hell goes through people mbacon-jaminds – but! (and it is a BIG but), at the same time, who came up with drinking the fluid from the udders of cows, or more over – what else did they try?!

Work wise, I was in Bishops Nympton yesterday for the first time in ages – and it rained! (and rained, and rained!!). I was on my way to ultimately to Cadbury’s Chocolate with the milk and the best part of this run is and was the journey back. Driving through the night at a fair old pace, down country roads when there is no one about – is just brilliant!!

Finally, a different kind of loss and in this case – a good one!! Becky, the dairy intake hand at Bridgwater Dairy has got a job she pursued and leaves the Dairy on Monday.
Becky has always wanted to be a vet, but had a crazy cock-up while trying to get into Veterinary College which left her sadly unable to do so in the end. This is what she’s always wanted to and the other day accepted a job in this given field.
Firstly I’d like to say to Becky, thank you for putting up with my rambling, thank you for being the best dairy hand Robert Wiseman Dairies have ever had – and thank you so very much for bringing a smile to my working day. I, along with all of the drivers will miss you – but I know you’re following the right path and I truly hope infact I know it’ll work out for you.
Take care and don’t lose your watch!!

Published in: on 8 November, 2009 at 15:38  Comments (9)  
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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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Proving that old sayings aren’t that wrong

WKD was telling me the other day how her father had been looking forward to WKD icon1going flying with a mate of his. This friend has his own light aircraft and he had been keen to go along and see Devon from the air.
However, upon landing the aircraft wing tip came into contact with some vegetation and, well, I think the words were, ‘ they had a bit of a hard landing’.

Last night, WKD sent me a photo of this ‘hard landing’.

Now in the aviation world, it is said that ‘any landing you walk away from – is a good one’.

I think it’s fair to say that in true British fashion, they proved the point very accurately – but bloodyhell!!!

 

 Dad's_pictures_2009_115

Published in: on 15 September, 2009 at 17:16  Comments (2)  
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Work that just turns out wrong

Yesterday afternoon I was sent to a reload site at a place called Lanreath (pronounce Lan Reth) way down in Cornwall.
This is part of doing a lot of work for a particular Dairy company and when I asked where exactly it was, no one could give me any kind of answer. So I was chasing people around the yard and phone calls were being made.
In amongst all this, WKD and I were kinda having a conversatiLan RL 2on on the move. Well I say a ‘kinda conversation’ because we seem to have these weird ‘high volume’ of information, minimal time to talk things. But the bottom line here is I broke a rule, I did not give her proper time and attention. You see my rule has always been that people come Lan RL 3first, way before any job and the fact I didn’t on this occasion was just nothing short of rude!
I got directions and set off, I was told to go to a place called Dobwalls and turn off for Lostwithiel (yes, that really is a place name), then take the first road - sign posted ‘Looe’. Drive for 3 miles and there will be a large lay-by on the left and this is the reload site.
Errrr – no, it wasn’t…
I continued down the narrow road for several miles until I found a second lay-by where I pulled in.
Phone calls ensued and eventually the place found in darkness.
I wouldn’t have minded too much, but the truck I was driving had a steering problem and on top of this – some moron had removed the rear skids/ramps from the chassis. These protect the rear of the truck and help mount the trailer to the 5th wheel (the coupling plate on the back). As such, as people had dropped trailers, the pins had struck the rear chassis cross member and had done some considerable damage to it. So much so, its now impossible to miss the trailer pin without bottoming out the vehicles air suspension – so after spending a little time wiping my nose (off the windscreen/shield), I was back on my way.7side

I arrived at Severnside Dairy in the early hours of the morning and was met by the ever helpful and friendly security – only to find the whole place was screwed up.
I would tell you about this – but I just want to forget it.
But I will say that when my hours were running out – the security staff were very helpful in expediting my leaving of the site, securing documentation and allowing to leave the still loaded trailer on the road, and for that I am most grateful.

Published in: on 15 September, 2009 at 17:00  Leave a Comment  
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WKD and the search for the GLS

Lady trucker and avid farmerist WKD, lovingly referred to as ‘Sat-Nag’ by her hubby is apparently in search of some GLS (good looking sheep). With the question of ‘What did you do with the last lot?’ Obviously the answer to which is the kind of thing that’ll make small children cry!

Here’s what she’s looking for (I believe they’re called Suffolk Cross)

GLS

It is of note, that there is beginning to be a proliferation of acronyms on this blog – as such I feel the need rise to this challenge, though I will have to add an extra page to probably explain some of the ones I’ll be making up lol.

Published in: on 12 September, 2009 at 18:54  Comments (4)  
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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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Jeans and other stuff

Countrywide

Yesterday I went for a walk up the road to a shop call Countrywide Farmers. The reason was that a friend had mentioned that some of the stuff they sell was amazingly cheap priced – or completely over priced.
I got there and low and behold, heavy duty work jeans £11.99 ! a bargain!!
I walked around the shop and looked at footwear. I personally wear a lot of cat logoCaterpillar ‘Colorado’ Boots, they didn’t sell those but what they did sell, looked alright and also had Dublin River Farmersthe cambrel antibacterial lining (no smelly feet!) , these were also a very good price. A common boot on the feet of farmers these days is a thing called a ‘Dublin boot’ which is a comfortable long boot made of leather and is also wataigle-parcours-vario-outlasterproof. The prices for these were EXTORTIONATE!  It made me almost pleased that I don’t have fields to walk about in!  Though some of the Aigle boot priceAigle-Boots-Logos were ok for what they are – but to be honest – is a standard pair of wellies worth paying over £80 for - crazy!  Some of the fleeces they offered were also seriously over priced.
I borrowed a tape measure to check the inside leg on the work jeans (the waist, assumed to be correct) and purchased a pair.
Guess what – they huge, enormous in fact! So big, that if I was ever big enough to fit them – I’d ask WKD to shoot me with her shotgun, not my car.

Alas, I’ll replace the tags and take them back in the morning
That’ll teach me for browsing in a shop again!

WKD sent me a wonderful picture of….. a chicken – not this one

roast_chicken copy

This one

PICT0014

This and her other chickens are (in the chicken world) Veterans, hardened by years in a battery chicken farm – now having gained freedom. As chickens go – they’re well-ard! This one is of course making  it’s way to use the available cover to set up it’s sniper position in a manner of achieving effective all round defence, which in turn will allow it to give the appropriate direction to the other chickens via the usual pecking order. Of course, with the obvious care WKD demonstrates over the animals etc on  the farm - the clichéd question is; does this make WKD a bit of a ‘mother hen’ ? I’m only guessing here, but she’d either be proud to say yes – or be reaching for the box of cartridges.

Published in: on 26 August, 2009 at 17:47  Comments (7)  
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Honiton Hippy Fest

Hippy Fest

As I call it anyway… although it’s in the next town of Ottery St Mary.
Beautiful Days is the annual music festival that takes place down here in sunny Devon, UK. It turns out to be very popular indeed with tickets selling almost as quickly as the Glastonbury Festival.
HERE is the link to the official site.
In honour of this and that WKD is (as she puts it) ‘Revelling with the Levellers’ today, here are the Levellers and ‘The Boatman’.

Published in: on 23 August, 2009 at 15:19  Comments (2)  
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