Thursday, July 21, 2016

Agency Driving


Hi Folks


Well, here I
am sitting at my laptop with yet another unwanted day off. Being an agency
worker means you have to wait for the phone to ring on a regular basis for your
next job. A Class 2 licence, which would allow me to drive the larger 18 tonne
trucks, is really the way forward as there seems to be endless work for drivers
with that licence but for now I’ll just have to persevere with my wee little 7.5t
one and hope more of my type of work becomes available.





I did post
that the bed factory had booked me solid for 13 weeks but that petered out due
to trucks being off the road and what I believe to be a drop in orders because every
time I drive past the place the two 7.5 tonners are just sitting there
redundant.





The last few
stints I did with them before the work dried up took me on a night out up to
Scotland and several one-dayers to Portsmouth, London and Sussex.





The run up
to Scotland was the most driving I’ve ever done and extremely enjoyable.






M6 into Scotland




I left
Ipswich at around 6.45am and was delivering a single 3 foot mattress at a farm
near Lockerbie at around 3.30pm. The lady was very friendly and offered to make
me a “flask of something“ for the journey , which I politely declined seeing as
I had brought with me enough food and drink to feed an army. I needed to get on
with my next delivery which was about 35 pieces including double mattresses and
divan bases. The place was called Friars Carse Country House Hotel and here was
a prime example of why you just don’t drop off and set your satnav for the next
delivery without at least doing a bit of research first.





Had I done
my research I would have seen that this place was very easily accessible off
the A76 but I let the satnav take me all over the place, down roads I had no
right to be on. I met other cars on country lanes where no one could pass, it
was a complete nightmare. I was finally pointed in the right direction and
pulled over to study the paper map (remember them?). I could see where I’d gone
wrong and vowed to check whenever delivering out in “the sticks”. I arrived at
the hotel at 16.58 and the guy wasn’t too happy as he was just about to go
home. I apologised and we got to work unloading (I never mentioned to him that
I was supposed to unload the stuff myself). He effed and blinded the whole
time, not at me but just in general but we finally finished half an hour later
and I set off to find a spot to bed down for the night.





I decided to
cross back into England and look for a service area. I found most of the
northerly services on the M6 had limited space for lorries and as per usual all
of the spaces were already occupied so I couldn’t get on. I was in need of a
second 45 minute break so came off the M6 onto the A7 and got to a layby just
in time. In fact the tacho clicked onto 4hours 30mins as I set it on “rest” so
I was in breach of the rules by one minute as was indicated by the dashboard
display.




DashBoard Warning

As it looked reasonably safe and there were several other lorries
already settling in for the night I decided to stay there as well. I got out
and padlocked the rear shutter in case somebody came looking to steal a new bed
for themselves.  Out came my little stove
for a nice fresh cup of tea and then out came the frying pan to cook my
sausages, I could get used to this, it was one level up from camping really. I
had loads of time to potter about and watch a bit of tv (luckily I had parked
in an area with 4G, there must have been a mast nearby) and finally bedded down
around 9pm until 6am.



I pulled
away from the layby at 6.15am heading for my next drop at the Holiday Inn in
Bolton where I was to deliver a proper heavy sofa bed. I arrived two and a half
hours later and really struggled to keep the sofa bed on the barrow as took it
up to the third floor in the lift and navigated through the maze of corridors.
When I got to the room there was a similar one there which needed disposing of.
As there was nothing mentioned on my delivery notes I had to call the bed
factory who instructed me to take it away with me. So I had another difficult
reverse journey back to the lorry which left me sweating buckets. I got the
sofa bed into the truck and sat on it recuperating for ten minutes before
commencing to my last drop in Macclesfield.





It was now
peak time rush hour in Greater Manchester and the journey was slow to say the
least. I again let the satnav take me the “best” route and got stuck in Eccles
for about an hour. I finally arrived at the last drop off at an out of the way
furniture warehouse where I had to deliver a six foot Ottoman which weighed a
ton. An extremely “anally retentive” guy came out to help and started getting aeriated
because my end was dragging on the ground. He checked it for damage when we got
it inside as I just stood behind him pulling faces and shaking my head.





I eventually
got away and headed for the long journey back to Ipswich. The truck was due a
service at Mercedes in Martleshem. I arrived there at 1620 and swapped for the
other 7.5tonner that was awaiting collection and took it back to the factory.





My next
agency assignment was four days later where I was sent to work for a company
called Lumberjacks in Sproughton. It was to drive a drop-sider truck delivering
timber and sheds to the surrounding areas. It was certainly very physical work
but I really enjoyed it and was hoping to be assigned there for longer but alas
it was only for that day.





Next up was
a regular job I’ve done a few times before for the big logistics company called
Magnus at Great Blakenham. They regularly deliver air conditioning parts to
sites in and around London so on this day I had drops in Walthamstow, Slough,
Merton and Swanley. On my way back to the yard I was called to say I had to
take the truck in for a service at Mercedes in Colchester. As I’d already
passed the turn off by several exits I came off the A12 at Dedham and made my
way to Colchester. I was given a courtesy van to drive back to Great Blakenham.
20 minutes down the road I realised I’d left my tacho card in the truck so had
to turn around and go back for it, I do that quite a lot!





That brought
to an end a week where I’d only been given two days work. No good to man nor
beast that!





Me and the
missus had decided we wanted to start camping so we bought a tent and all the
other stuff needed and set off for a site we’d booked a pitch on in Kessingland
on the A12 near Lowestoft.


We only did
one night to start us off but thoroughly enjoyed it and are looking to go again
next week.





Check back
soon for more stories.





Take Care
out there and keep them doors locked at night.







L.C.

From today all future trucking posts will be on my new blog "Truckmanns Blog"
Find it at truckmann.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Night Out Midlands


Hi Folks


I did two “nights out” last week. I turned up at my usual time but there was a delay with some of the products (several 5 foot headboards) which actually had to be made before they could be put on the lorry. The delay was ridiculous and the manager kept appearing and commenting “are you still here? What you waiting for?” then he would disappear as if he was going to kick some ass only for the wait to drag on. 
So from 6am to 10.45am I waited and waited. My tacho card had been inserted into the lorry at 6am so I was on “other work” but after six hours of driving and other work I would have to take a compulsory 45 minute break which would seriously affect the time I had left to complete my deliveries.
I finally got away and managed six deliveries of mattresses, headboards and divan bases. I delivered to B&B’s, hotels, houses and a convent in areas such as Ware, Welwyn, Hitchin, Milton Keynes and
Bedford. This took me up to 6pm and it was time to find a place to park up and sleep. 
Being new to this night out malarkey I was none the wiser as to where best to go. I knew all the motorways had services so from Bedford I flew down the A421 to the Newport Pagnell Services. On my arrival I could see it was already rammed, in fact, there wasn’t one space. Nothing for it but to go north on the M1 to the next one.
Northampton services looked full but I could see a few spaces here and there so managed to get in between a fully loaded car transporter and an Eddie Stobarts truck. I was in no rush to walk across the
car park to pay for the nights parking so decided to organise my bunk with a sheet, a pillow and my brand new sleeping bag (£10 at Tesco). I’d also been shopping with the missus the night before and bought myself a stove, a kettle, a cooler box and filled it with “stuff to eat”. 
It felt like a home from home in my cozy truck and once I’d pulled the curtains round I was in my own little world. I got my tablet out and tethered it to my iPhone and was able to watch an episode of The X Files (I’ve started watching the whole lot of them from the beginning on Amazon Prime). At around 8pm I strolled over to WH Smiths to pay for the nights parking. £25 without or £27 with a food voucher. I’d already eaten but decided to go for the one with voucher and I would start collecting them. I’d also learned that the company prefer you to park the truck safe (or safer) at night and are happy for you to enjoy a meal on them. How many drivers can say that about who they work for?
I slept well that night and pulled out of the car park at 7.10am heading for Leicester to deliver those headboards I’d had to wait for. I followed my satnav and actually drove straight past where I had to be, got flustered and called the place up. A Chinese woman answered and asked me how I could of missed it. When I managed to find a place to turn and got back to the hotel I asked myself the same question. Satnav alone isn’t always the answer. I’ve been finding out that a bit of research is often quite helpful. Google and Google Maps more often than not has most business premises listed...as I said earlier I’m still learning.
From Leicester I had three more drops. Two in Brum and the last one in Kidderminster.
The last one was the bulk of the lorry. About 45 pieces, both mattresses and bases. As I arrived and made myself known a couple of guys started to help me unload but they soon disappeared and left me to unload the rest. There was bit of a steward’s inquiry when the numbers didn’t match up and the guy in charge went into “Old Tart Mode” and had to ring his boss to see if the order was right and why there were possibly too many beds. Then we started counting the mattresses and bases to find one short so I made him take me to every bedroom (there were 19) to physically view the mattresses myself. You had to be there to appreciate the stress. Then as if that wasn’t enough they had paid to have all the old mattresses disposed of…..by yours truly. I had to hump 25 mattresses which I later found out were six years old (so, six years’ worth of skin contained in them) into the lorry. It dam near finished me off. I had no help at all and everyone was off doing their own thing as I fought with every one of those beastly matts.
I did eventually get them on and set off for the long drive back to Ipswich. It was an uneventful drive but I did have to stop in a layby for a 45 break so out came the stove and I made myself a nice cuppa as the passing lorries rocked me from side to side. I pulled into the car park at the bed factory just as the work force were knocking off for the night but the manager came out to greet me and to tell me what a great job I was doing (which is always nice when you’re shown some appreciation) and that he’d see me tomorrow.
I was going to write about the next night out which took me right up to Lockerbie in Scotland but I’ll post it later on.
I’ve got a trip to the Southampton area to look forward to tomorrow so I’ll bid you good night.

Take care out there and keep them doors locked.
L.C.










Sunday, July 03, 2016

Trucking Week 2


Hi Folks

What a week I’ve had.

Leading on from the last post I did the Friday at the plumbers place. It was a total doddle and the guy sorting out the load said it was actually embarrassing because there was only 7 drops.

The company was called Grahams which is a plumbers merchants based at Whitehouse Trading Estate in the north part of Ipswich. I got there at 7.30 and saw I was to drive a transit van for the day. There were, as I said, only 7 drops mostly comprising of bags with plumbing supplies such as pipe joints, taps, Yorkshire Elbows. There was also a couple of heavy shower bases and about six sheets of hardboard so all in all an easy day for me. They gave me my paperwork, a fuel card and pin and a mobile phone/scanner and off I went. The delivery areas were Ipswich, Felixstowe, Brightlingsea, Clacton and Holbrook. It was pretty uneventful apart from one drop which was on a building site and I had to wear my hi-viz and a hard hat. As I trudged through thick mud in search of the plumber who’d ordered the goods I was attacked by loads of small insects which seemed to be drawn to the bright yellow hi-viz. They were in my ears, my mouth, absolutely everywhere and as soon as I’d located the plumber and got his signature I got the hell out of there lively! I drove back to base and was done by 2pm. Probably the easiest day I’ll ever have.

So, to my week with the bed factory.

I arrived at 6am on Monday and the lorry was almost loaded. My run this day would take me into the heart of London via a drop in Maldon, Essex first.

The Maldon drop was a place called Vaulty Manor and was some sort of health Spa. A barrier was raised and I was met by the caretaker. I had 14 mattresses to deliver here and they were all of the 5 foot expensive variety so a full workout for me. After dragging about 8 mattresses into the clubhouse another worker emerged from somewhere and helped me with the rest. With the papers signed I headed for the Smoke.

Knowing London as well as I do I could practically picture every drop-off I had to do and could foresee problems where others wouldn’t. The St Giles Hotel in Bedford Avenue was going to be my first London drop and I knew drop-off space would be severely limited. As I arrived at the scene there were Taxis on the rank, chauffeur cars aplenty. Opposite the hotel there was a building site with several lorries waiting to unload. This was going to be a nightmare! I drove slowly through all the chaos taking in all the possible stopping points. The goods-in bay was busy and the chauffeur cars were partially blocking the entrance. I decided to drive round the block, stop where I could and go and have a word with the goods-in guys. They had been waiting for my delivery of 45 assorted mattresses and there was a team of helpers waiting to unload, the only problem was I was nowhere near close enough and would have to wait. I had to fight to get the lorry outside the goods-in bay as the building site guys needed the space for their lorries to unload but the team of helpers literally had the 45 mattresses off in about 5 minutes and I was on my way to the Indian YMCA a few streets away. There were only 3 mattresses for here and I was in and out in 5 minutes. Next stop was one of the hundreds of small B&B’s in the Bayswater area. As a cabby I could use most of the London bus lanes but as a trucker I had to wait with all the other motorists in the ridiculous traffic. So, the journey from Fitzrovia to Bayswater took forever. The Kings Hotel was located on Queensborough Terrace and I was able to stop right outside. I had 6 five foot mattresses for here and a guy leaning on a Mercedes instructed me to “go and call Igor, he will help you”. Igor (I was picturing The Hunchback of Notre Dame) was an ageing guy with a strong Eastern European accent. He helped me carry one mattress off then tried to carry it up the stairs as I went back for the other five. As I brought the next one in he was only four steps up the flight and seemed to be struggling. By the time I’d bought the last one in he was rounding the corner on the first landing. I thought to myself that in the course of this job I’m going to come across all types of people. Helpful, useless, well-meaning and complete wastes of space, Igor would have to fall into the second category! The guy leaning on the Merc signed the paper work and off I went to deliver a five foot mattress to the Reem Hotel in Princes Square which was easy and I was off on my last drop in Herne Hill south London.

The street I was to deliver to was tight. It would be hell getting out. I only had 2 three foot mattresses for here so I probably should’ve anticipated problems and parked where it was easier and barrowed them to the front door, I’m still learning. After several rings of the bell a guy answered. He looked rough. He asked if I could take them upstairs I said I wasn’t allowed to. He begged me to as he was ill and had cut a holiday in Spain short due to contracting a virus. I felt sorry for him (that’s probably gonna be my downfall in this job) and carried them up. No tip! Job done. Now to return to base. As I said it was tight. My way out was tighter than my way in and with such a long overhang at the back I almost relieved several cars of their wing mirrors. I know I definitely bent one back but I finally got away and headed eastwards. It took me four hours to get from Herne Hill to Ipswich. England were playing Iceland at 8 (let’s not go there!!) so I had hoped to get back in time for it. Traffic was rubbish. I had rush hour to contend with and road work problems at the A13/M25 junction which I was later told had been there for ages. I finally pulled into the yard at 8.01pm and rushed home to watch the game…as we all know now, I needn’t have bothered.

The next four days saw me do a night out job to the Midlands and another one to Scotland but I’ll leave them for the next post as the missus wants to go out.

Take care out there and keep them doors locked at night!!

L.C.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Day After The "Night Out"

Hi Folks



I turned up at the bed factory early (5.45am) to make sure I could park ok.

I met a couple of workers who started to explain the whys and wherefores of the job. I basically had to drive a large 7.5 tonne truck full to the brim with beds and mattresses and I had to deliver to 5 different counties namely Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Due to the amount of mileage involved it would be legally impossible to do all the deliveries in one working day so it would have to be spread over two shifts with an 11 hour break in between. The vehicle would need to be equipped with somewhere for the driver to sleep.

The vehicle I was to drive was a Mercedes Atego and was indeed equipped with a bunk in a very big and roomy cab. In fact I thought it impossible that this huge vehicle could legally be classed as a 7.5 tonner but I was assured it was.

The following is what I and any driver is legally obliged to do every time he's to drive an LGV, the modern name for a HGV. He must get into the cab, turn on the ignition, insert his digital tacho card into the tachograph and do a manual entry to account for other work done when the card was last removed. Then set the machine to "other work" which has a crossed hammers icon whereby then he can commence the all important vehicle safety check. Everything must be checked such as tyres, loose panels, lights, oil, water, fuel, Adblue ( a fuel additive that reduces emissions) and basically everything relating to the safety of the vehicle. Only then are you ready to commence driving.

The truck had been pre loaded with the cargo so after a few last words of advice from the guys I set off for the first destination which was Oundle in Northamptonshire The place was called the Talbot Hotel and parking outside was difficult but there was only two mattresses to deliver and I was away in minutes.

From there I had to drive for 86 miles to get to The Pegasus School in Swadlincote in Derbyshire. This was located down some of the tightest country lanes I've ever been down ( not to mention several low bridges) and I would often meet something coming the other way when everything would come to a halt whilst one of us decided who was going to reverse. More often than not it was them but sometimes I would reverse if I'd just gone by a passing place. I got called a few names yesterday I can tell you . Delivering another double mattress at the school was a doddle and I was soon on my way to the third drop elsewhere in Derbyshire.

This place was called Borrowash and I had to call the guy on the phone because the postcode I had was incorrect. When I arrived and opened the back up I saw that his double mattress was of better quality and thus it was heavier. He asked if I would help him upstairs with it and although they told me I had to leave it downstairs I felt I had to help. Well we struggled with this five foot beast of a mattress as we dragged it from the lorry to the house then up the stairs. I was out of breath and sweating, boy was I unfit. 26 years of sitting in a London Taxi will do that to a man. He thanked me and I thought to myself "this is the bit where he bungs me a fiver"....no chance.

Off I went again. It was time for a 45 minute tacho break so I found a suitable layby where I had a cup of coffee from a flask and a banana and watched the traffic race by. I certainly needed the break because the next delivery was gonna really drain my energy.

It was to Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club in Stragglethorpe on the east side of Nottingham. Here, I had to deliver 18 three foot wide single divan beds and 18 mattresses and also 2 double divan bases with mattresses. The golf club was mega busy and to complicate matters further there was major building works going on there and manoeuvring space was severely limited. I rang the contact number and the lady that answered sent four strapping young helpers out to assist me. Even with all the help it took the best part of thirty minutes to get all the stuff off and stored in a warehouse but there was some fierce banter with the guys and it helped pass the time.

My next delivery took me to "God's Own Country", the county of Yorkshire, home of my beloved Leeds United Football Club. I had to deliver to a place called Kingswood, Dearne Valley in Doncaster which was some sort of youth camp. Security here was tight and I was told to drive as slow as possible with my hazard lights on as there were kids just emerging from the dining hall. I was met at the deliveries area by two staff members who took delivery of the six single mattresses I had for them. With the paperwork signed I was again instructed to drive slowly all the way out.

The time was now 6pm and I had been driving and doing "other work" for the last 12 hours so it was now time to find a stopping place for the night. That proved harder than I'd imagined because most of the prime spots were taken up by lorries who knew the score and had already parked up to bed down for the night. I hadn't eaten all day, just a banana, so I was hoping to be able to park near some sort of eatery. I knew I could park at some of the many Moto services on the A1 but I also knew it would cost me. In the end that's what I had to do and finally parked up two hours later at the Grantham North services. After asking another driver what I had to do he instructed me to go into the W H Smiths to pay for a 24 hour parking permit. I duly did that and the guy in Smiths said I had two choices, just parking or parking plus a food voucher. I had the latter. "That'll be £23.50 please". Well, I nearly fainted!! But then again when he gave me the ticket and voucher I could see that £9 was for food, making the price for 24hours of safe parking only £14.50. So all in all not too bad. On future "Nights Out" I'll just pay for the parking and make sure I have a picnic with me or park where all the old hands park for free.....I'll just have to learn where all these places are first.

So, armed with my £9 voucher I had the choice of either Costa Coffee or Burger King...all the other establishments had already closed. Burger King it was then. A double Whopper with cheese meal and some apple pie sticks came to the exorbitant motorway services price of £10 so I had to add a quid to my voucher and I was good to go. I ate the food there and made my way back to the lorry. I was now grateful for all the fussing Jane had done last night. I soon had the bunk looking and feeling cosy and after a bit of reading I soon nodded off. I woke several times in the night as other lorries started their engines and drove away but went straight back to sleep. At 7 am I got up and went to the now open Greggs and had a bacon roll, coffee and a triple pack of jam doughnuts. The bacon roll was disgusting and I fed it to these great big black birds who were mooching about outside. They were either crows or rooks, I don't know the difference, but they certainly enjoyed it.

I set off at 8am for my final drop in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. Just 2 three foot bed bases at the Carre Arms next to Aldi and then started making my way back home to Ipswich.

I didn't want to get back too quick so I poodled towards the A1 and maintained a steady 50mph all the way back.

I had been noticing a hissing noise every time I switched the engine off and as I parked up at the bed factory the manager noticed it too. One of the air lines had burst and I was lucky I hadn't lost my brakes. Apparently the truck was due out soon and this problem would have to be dealt with first. He called Mercedes in Martlesham and they told him to bring it straight round so as I still had a few hours left to work he got me to drive the truck, wait there whilst they fixed it and then drive it back.

On my return the bosses were all there discussing schedules and manning problems. I was asked if I knew London at all and I answered "yea I know my way around London". Apparently heavy storms overnight had caused widespread flooding in the south east and the guy delivering to London couldn't  get through so I might have to do it on Monday. They also hinted that I may be required for the next few months as someone was retiring aged 65 so I said I'd be happy to help.

I set of for home and my agency texted me with tomorrows job details which is another 7.5 tonne job delivering plumbing products...as yet I don't know where.

I also received another text saying that the bed factory had booked me for the next thirteen weeks and my next job after the London run would be a run up to the Lake District which would require two "Nights Out". Interesting times are ahead for me. Follow all the news right here.

Goodnight folks.







- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Truck Driving and Nights Out

Hi folks



so, since my last post I have indeed "jacked in cab driving" and via various agencies around Ipswich have  driven vans and 7.5 tonne lorries in my pursuit of meaningful employment.

It all started around about 6 weeks ago when I applied for a driving job via my iphone whilst on one of my weekends in Ipswich visiting the wife ( that statement alone justifies what I've done). I received a reply the following day and the guy was desperate to provide staff for the courier company Interlink. I turned up the following day and was put to work with one of the old hands, Glyn, who showed me the ropes. The work was very fast paced and there was only a few minutes allocated for each parcel drop of which there was around 70 to 80. After the deliveries were complete there were collections to make from various companies all over Ipswich. After 2 days with Glyn they put me out by myself and I felt I coped extremely well although they gave me more time and less parcels than Glyn. The following week I was sent out all over the place.  One mishap was when I locked the keys in the van and the big boss man had to come out with the spares. He was not amused and told me so. On the third week we had a Bank Holiday Monday followed by a quiet Tuesday where I wasn't offered any work. I went in on the Wednesday and carried on where I left off. On Thursday morning I was getting ready for work and a text from one of the supervisors informed me my services were not required that day. My agency guy did some checking and got back to me with news that work had severely dried up and might improve in the coming days. That proved to be the end of my working time at Interlink and I was left with the dilemma I had last year when a similar thing happened and I ended up returning to cab driving. I decided to persevere and spent the next few days applying for all types of jobs such as Lidl, Argos and Ipswich Buses to name a few.

Whilst all this was going on, Jane decided she needed a break from her work as a carer and I felt it was as good a time as any to take a break. We spent a very relaxing week at a caravan park in Dymchurch in Kent. Whilst there, ironically, another agency I had signed up to started offering me work so I had to put them off until I returned to Ipswich. On returning I was offered 7.5 tonne work immediately and spent a great three days working at a logistics company called Debach. I drove a Mitsubishi Canter truck around Suffolk delivering palletised goods to private houses and Industrial Estates alike. Some places especially the private house never had fork lift trucks so I had to use a pump truck and the tail lift to get the pallets off. Gravel drives proved difficult to manoeuvre  the pump truck as close as I'd like and more often than not the pallet remained on the pavement where I would then have to offer my apologies. This brings us to this week where on Monday I was offered a 7.5t job at another logistics company called Magnus. They also use a Canter truck because they're easier to get down country lanes and tight areas. My journey took me towards London where I dropped pallets off at Swanley and Merton before heading into Central London to South Molton Street. Before I got there I had to take a compulsory Tacho break of 45 minutes. Finding somewhere to stop safely and legally proved difficult but I finally found a space on Prince of Wales Drive next to Battersea Dogs Home. As I sat there drinking my coffee and eating my sandwiches I saw a steady stream of volunteer dog walkers taking their charges towards Battersea Park and then return them 15 to 20 minutes later. With my break over I headed in to the centre. I parked on Brook Street and had to walk the full length of Great Molton St before I found no 43. There were workmen working away and I had to pull a few of them away with me to help take the pallet off my truck. Unlike the Debach truck this one had neither a pump truck or a tail lift so unless a fork lift was available the goods would have to be removed from the pallets and carried by hand (Handballing). From Central London my final drop was a clothing warehouse on an industrial estate in Enfield. It was owned and staffed by Chinese workers and when I got there they refused to unload me because they were on their lunch break. It looked to me like they were all eating bowls of steamed white rice and I thought how tasteless that must be but they seemed to be enjoying it. From there I drove the hundred or so miles back to base in Great Blakenham, Suffolk to end my shift.

Today I worked at yet another logistics place called Bacton Transportation. I drove yet another Mitsubishi Canter truck and did 8 deliveries in the Bury St Edmunds area and also in Thetford. At one delivery place I jumped up onto the truck, lost my balance and fell off. I tried to break my fall by spinning in the air and managed to land against a fuel tank injuring my shoulder. I quickly got up and looked around to see if I had been noticed and thankfully not but even as I type this my shoulder is smarting and will probably stiffen up overnight.

My agency called me to discuss tomorrows job. Normally they just text but needed to ask if I would do an overnight job or a "night out" as its known. I was in the middle of deliveries and just said yes to everything but when I had a bit of time I called them back. The job is for a company that makes quality beds and I have to take a truck load of them up to Derby in the Midlands. I'm not sure what else I have to do once there but after my shift up there I have to bed down in the truck which apparently has a bunk, and do another shift starting in Derby and ending up back in Ipswich. It's all quite exciting and Jane's been clucking around preparing a bag with everything from a duvet and pillow to fresh clothes. I told her I'm going to look like a right wally turnig up with all this stuff but I'll probably be glad of it in the wee small hours as I bed down on some obscure industrial estate.

Watch this space for the write up on what happened but as I have to get up at 5 am and it's now 10pm I'm off to bed so goodnight all.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I'm off again!

Hi folks
Back again!

Since last posting here my cab has had its annual overhaul. This involves an MOT Test first which normally highlights problems that will need to be rectified before the main test is carried out a day or two later. I found the MOT Fail certificate in the glove box which stated that the cab failed due to a broken coil spring and a faulty windscreen washer system. Both these problems as well as others were rectified and in all fairness the cab feels like its had quite a bit of tlc to get it passed and plated for another year.
One problem I have been having a lot recently is that after leaving the cab parked up for several days (5 days over Easter) the battery goes flat. A quick jump start with my son's Christmas present is normally enough to get it going again but today it refused to charge up. On closer inspection I could see that the earth strap was falling apart thereby failing to provide sufficient connection between the battery and the body of the cab. An RAC guy once showed me a way around that which was to clip the black jump lead onto the engine. She started up first time and I was soon on my way to the garage where they replaced the earth strap and topped up my steering fluid which is also leaking from the steering box.
The Easter holiday has had a negative effect on the work and two weeks on its still giving us cause for concern. I think its just a matter of time for me to finally give this job up for good. (2week gap since I wrote these words) In fact the work is practically non existent on the streets so unless you're prepared to wait for ages on the oversubscribed station and hotel ranks you may as well give up. Last week, for instance I totalled £450. Deduct my cab rent and diesel and theres not a lot left over for anything once I've paid a few bills. I've applied for a few jobs in Suffolk and am waiting to hear from them.
It's a crying shame whats happening to our trade and I cant see a way back for it with so much technology out there offering cheaper transport.
I guess my next post will relate to whatever job I manage to secure in Suffolk so I'll keep you posted.
Take care out there.
LC.



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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Things are looking up

Hi folks

We're now in week 5 of the new year and the work is slowly but surely picking up...not a lot, but still better than it was.

I have another cabbie mate called Chris whose taxi has just reached its 15 year limit. He's decided to rent from my garage and is now driving around in a similar liveried cab to mine. The garage owner buys old taxis for parts and has offered Chris a derisory amount to take the taxi off his hands. Chris has litterally just called me on his way to pay his cab rent to say he's gonna try and get a bit more for his cab so I might hear something before end of post.

My own cab continues to earn me my daily bread but its not without its faults. A few weeks ago I picked four guys up at Paddington and took them to the World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace. When I hit Highgate Hill the cab almost refused to climb it. It was extremely embarassing and the burning smells it was emmitting pretty toxic. The cab has since been de-coked but I've yet to take four people up Highgate Hill so we'll see how I get on.
Another problem the cab has is a loose connecton on the electric windows. I'm booked in to see the electrician next Wednesday but until then I have attached a piece of string around the wiring loom and have to pull it when the windows dont work. You couldn't make this stuff up!!

Just passed the Ecquadorian Embassy next door to Harrods where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up for the last three years evading capture. Lots of press gathered there. Perhaps he's had enough and is about to give himself up? A clip from globalnews.ca says "LONDON – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he will accept arrest by British police if a U.N. working group investigating his claims decides that the three years he has spent inside the Ecuadorean Embassy doesn’t amount to illegal detention."
So it could all be over pretty soon. Its been costing a small firtune to police that situation.

Chris just called me to say he's managed to get a few bob more for his old TX1 and payment will be in the form of three half weeks rent on the cab he now has so he's gone home relatively happy with that deal.

I have a diabetic review next week so I'm trying to abstain from eating too much crappy food before my blood test. I'm eating salads from Prêt à Manger and am trying to avoid carbs, which are like instant sugar to a diabetic.

So, another high profile death to add to those mentioned in my last post is the death of the much loved Sir Terry Wogan. He's just always been there for most people my age and by all account the nicest bloke you could ever meet. One of his last tv shows was called "Terry and Mason's Food Trip" where he drove to various places around Britain with London Cabbie Mason McQueen sampling the local cuisine and meeting loads of interesting people. RIP Terry.

So I'm sitting on the cab rank at London Zoo awaiting my next job. I think it's about time I got a decent fare!

Take care.

L.C.




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