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.
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.
M6 into Scotland
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 WarningAs 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.