Well that's it, Royal Mail bit has come to an end. The last 6 weeks have been an experience. at the same time valuable experience was learned in driving their lorries and driving in the conditions that we've had for the past few days. The job in itself is pretty good but the waiting at Heathrow is a bit much. Lately the wait has been longer than usual and it can be frustrating at times just sitting there and watching other lorries drive past. To be quite honest I'd go back there if the opportunity comes back up. Now for a well earned rest over Christmas and then think about the job front in the New Year. Here's hoping that it will be as good as the past few months have been.


Amazed at the way this volvo handled itself today on the icy roads. Not a slip anywhere, well impressed.
There has to be a reason why, yesterday I had a Merc axtros and for a manual it wasn't that bad. The gearbox was a bit stiff but not bad, till I got to Mount Royal that it. 'Your brakes & linings have worn out' was the message that flashed up on the dash in a lovely Red colour. Immediate stop and call the depot, then called the breakdown service and 3 hours later a mechanic turned up. He checked the breaks and all other bits and found that all were OK, the computer was throwing up some wonderful errors and the advice was too rude to print. On return the unit was Vor'd, getting good at doing this.


OK, so lightning does strike twice in the same place. Today I did a 'small' job as I had a spare day. Turned up at Allport and sat in the waiting room for about 40 minutes. Then was given a job and told that the unit and trailer are on the bay. X Reg DAF with a splitter box, started to do my checks and found the Air pipe (red) when plugged in made a horrible hissing noise. It sounded like a snake got loose, obviously there is a problem here. Stopped everything and told a manager of the problem, 'can you go to our depot in Southall and get it fixed' he asked. Well why not, got there and the mechanic changed a washer and that was that, or so I thought. Got back and started to couple up and guess what, the ABS cable was totally smashed, the wires were pulled out of the socket. VOR the unit I thought reported that as well and the question came up straight away 'can you go to DAF and get another'. At this time it was 2.5 hours since I started work and actually done nothing but go and fix the unit.

Got back and coupled up and went on my way to High Wycombe, no idea where the customer was but it made things interesting. Arrived and got through security and on the bay. Keys taken of me and loaded up. Back to the depot and got tipped, asked where do the units and trailers go and got a sarcastic remark so decided to leave it on the bay. Keys & documents in, timesheet signed and home.

Should I charge the agency for being a mechanic.........................................


Ever get the feeling that the day will just not get better, on Friday I got that feeling. Arriving at Mount Royal I just couldn't get on the bay. Shunt after shunt and bugger all. After about 10 attempts I finally got there. This was about 11:15 and then nothing. It took till about 13:00 to get unloaded and then when they finally started to load it turned to another fiasco. My lot got loaded on the wrong lorry and of course had to be reloaded. Then at the horseshoe it took hours to get tipped and when I turned up for the second run it was already late. I decided to get the job done so got loaded up and went back to Heathrow with the second mail run.

Finished back at Langley at 11pm, another long day but didn't expect Saturday to be almost the same but this time i couldn't do the second run. Run out of working hours and had to take the second run to Langley to swap drivers. Oh happy days, four days off.


Great start to the weeks shift, the lorry was VOR'd by me as the wheels wobbled and the steering was loose. Then I couldn't find a trailer that I needed. Managed to get one eventually but it was full of empty cages so had to take it to Mount Royal and get it unloaded. On arrival I noticed that one of the trailer's tyres was doggy, it had a chunk missing which I couldn’t see when it was parked on the bay as the offending bit was hidden from view. Felt a bit unsure about driving it full but not much choice, on return to Langley it was immediately VOR'd, pity as there is a shortage of curtainsiders.

The Lexus update - Nice car but drinks fuel and it is geared wrong, way too much torque in the upper gears. Have to be doing at least 80mph before engaging the 6th gear. If engaged before that speed the engine labours and the car vibrates. According to the trip computer I'm getting around 29.9mpg.



This is probably straying from the theme of this blog but what the heck. While ago another driver reversed into my car and it has taken till now to sort out my car for repairs. This morning the chappie from the bodyshop turned up with my courtesy car. As a rule they normally are something small and cheap but not this one. I was given a  Lexus IS220d, been informed that it is highly unlikely that I'll get my car back before Christmas, oh bother I say. I'm sure I'll just have to put up with driving the Lexus for a while.


Slightly different scenario today, as it was supposed to be my day off I somehow managed to volunteer to do an extra days work. Came in today at 04:40 and was informed that there isn't anything to do, oh great another 8 hours of sitting around and being bored. Luckily when talking to the shunter he said that there might be something that I can do. Had to go and take a double decker trailer to thurock to the workshop and bring back another one that was fixed. Interesting as the double deckers have small wheels and the stability is something to be desired when empty.
Collected the other one and being in a hurry to get back I went the wrong way, ended up on the QE2 bridge and had to be shepherded back through the tunnel as I didn't have any cash to pay the toll. It was kind of funny to be escorted back to the other side of the tunnel, first time ever through the tunnel in a 16ft 2in high lorry then I had the long drive back down the way I came. The roadworks between Junction 28 & 27 are a pain in the backside, about time they were finished but what the hell they'll always spring up somewhere else


The usual place this week, Langley each morning and then with luck home by 22:30.

This duty seems to have been bought in for Christmas and not scoped out correctly. Each day I take an Artic & trailer which is empty to Mount Royal and then I am tasked to do specific 2 runs to United Airlines. One run in the morning and the other late in the afternoon. Most days there seems to be little to take down in the morning so I’ve been tasked a number of times to put the lorry on a bay and await further instructions.

Few times they didn't arrive till about 16:30 in the afternoon so a whole day was spent either sitting in the cab or in the canteen. Not that I mind this but it can be a bit boring just waiting there.

The handling agents moan when I arrive late which has happened a number of times as the mail wasn't ready and loaded in time, what can i do in this case apart from saying sorry.

Few times this week I managed to do some seriously long hours and when the days off come along all I can say is that they arrive just in time.


Royal Mail all week

Drove to PRDC and back to United Airlines 3 times, empty there and back.

All the way to Dartford with half a trailer's worth of mail, at least I had a Volvo this time so it made driving a pleasure.

Wednesday & Thursday
Same as monday but this time i had mail to bring back, loads of RSC's full of mail. The good thing about this is that a bay has sort of been reserved on United and when you turn up and there is no one there then it's straight on the bay and then go and book in. This really saves a hell of a lot of time waiting around.

Not bad job this, 4 on 4 off so now for a relaxing few days off  to get my 'strength' back.
Been booked for this till Christmas.


Royal Mail this week, looks like its the same duty all week. Not that I mind, going to Mount Pleasant and then to United Airlines a few times each day isn't that bad. Today instead of a DAF of which there seems to be a shortage of I had a Merc Axor, first time I drove a Merc and a manual one since passing my Class1 test. To be honest its not bad, comfy, loads of space, good dashboard layout and even a comfy bed. Surpassingly the gearbox was a straight 8, was expecting a split shift but a straight 8 is even better. Drove very nicely as well, quick off the mark and plenty of power to pull the trailer.


Now this is something that I'm never going to do, ever again. Was asked to do a job for this company and only 7 drops starting in Banbury, Oxford, Huntington, etc. Got in this morning and the first thing I had to do was to fill up the lorry on my way to the first drop. Getting to Banbury and the first 2 drops, no problem. However Oxford was another kettle of fish.

Having an 18T lorry in a town so full of bikes and tiny streets along with masses of 7.5T restrictions is no fun. Apparently the other delivery driver is happy to break restrictions but I'm not. Specially when there are hundreds of cameras pointing at all the restrictions and are just waiting to snap you up.

The lorry (DAF) was a bit old as well with a splitter gearbox, which made driving in a busy town extremely interesting.

Called the agency and explained my predicament and was told that 'the client will absorb this'. I doubt it as breaking restrictions is something that will come back to the driver and after all its my license and lively hood and I don’t plan to have anything go wrong with that.

Never again will I do a job like this


I've come to a conclusion that I hate those big silver boxes that fit in the aircraft’s cargo hold, moved shedloads f them today. The biggest problem is the usual wait when you get to the cargo-handling site, book in, get a number and sit and wait for an eternity.
Crawley at 4pm, this is what nightmares are made of, or so I thought. Surprisingly enough it didn't take that long to get there as I left Bracknell @15:00. Had two deliveries to Pizza shops of all the things. Somewhere before this I swore that I'd never do hand ball again and guess what. Here I am doing it again, be fair I didn't know about this till I arrived at the clients site, if I did i wouldn't have done it. All deliveries are to be paid before delivery, now this is fun, informing the shops that I need a cheque or cash for the full amount before I can deliver their goods.

Two of the places were OK but one was a bit adamant to part with his money, but soon saw the error of his ways. Dropped the two in Crawley and had serious visions of sitting on the M23 & M25 for hours as it was getting a bit late. Low and behold hardly any traffic, got to Slough in record time.

Delivering in the high street I realised that I should claim danger money, it seems that Algeria beat Egypt last night in a football match and the Algerians were all going hell for leather celebrating this. Fireworks going off everywhere, car horns tooting and of course the usual singing that has to be done on such occasion. Well that made an eventful end to a Wednesday evening.


City Airport for the first time, London certainly looks different in the early hours of the morning. Coming back was also strangely quick, I was expecting to be stuck for hours. Have to admit that it was the first time that I enjoyed driving through London in a Lorry, probably because no bugger was about at 05:30 in the morning.

A quick lorry change and off I go with an artic to Cathay Pacific at Heathrow with a trailer load of cages, loads of mail for the Far East, interesting place to get into, almost made reversing into the bay in one go. Unfortunately had to take a few shunts, never mind better luck next time.

Getting quite used to trunking for Royal Mail.


Down to Dartford today, as predicted the weather was abysmal on the way there, can't understand why the lorry is limited to 52mph. Surely this can cause a hazard as other lorries and cars constantly keep passing and jockeying for position. Having stuck it on cruse I was OK on uphill as I could overtake a lorry or two but downhill or flat they all went past me. That last turn off before the Dartford Toll is something else, whoever sequenced those lights need shooting, one green and the rest on red, queues and cars, lorries going all over the place. Took about 10 minutes to get through one traffic light. Amazingly when I arrived I only had to wait for 1.5 hours to be loaded and then back on the M25 and M4 to the depot, took a lot less time to get back then I thought.


Aviation Security

Well Now I'm trained, did the course yesterday and most of the stuff is comon sense. Lot of it came back from the training in the Army and the bits that I didn't know came in very handy. Now I'm waiting for the certificate and a proper laminated Id.


Agencies & Money

What's with some of these agencies out there. I worked for one for 3 weeks and every week there's been a cock up with my pay, somehow they've always managed to short change me and pay me for less hours than I've worked. I keep a spreadsheet of all my hours and sent them copies a number of times and promises are made to correct it but nothing happens. Frankly I'm getting sick and tired of this and unless it's all corrected today I won't work for them again, just can't trust the payroll dept to get it right.

Norbert yet again

Nice and easy run to Cannock should be back in a few hours. Think again, the weather was atrocious and the traffic on the M40, M42 & M6 just as bad. It took me almost 4 hours to get there, loaded up with 2 pallets of frozen and then back home. Quick stop at a service station for my well-earned 45-minute break and would you believe it the traffic had cleared up. Casual drive home @52mph and back to the depot at around 22:40. When told how much I had brought back the duty chappie couldn't believe it as an Artic just came down and there was room in the trailer for my '2 pallets'. Oh well what could I say, not a lot, obviously someone either didn't plan correctly or couldn't calculate the volume of each lorry.


Norbert Dentressangle - M&S

Amazing what you can get on to an 18T lorry, 4 pallets of frozen shrimp and other assorted seafood for one drop. Then on to M&S in Mill Hill to drop 14 cages of frozen. Had almost the same area as yesterday. Initial drop was in SE16 and had to get there, going through London is not something that I cherish. The M4 wasn't too bad except on the elevated someone breakdown in the outside lane and as usual other people were venting theis spleen on them. Not sure but possibly broke a rule as I had to go through a bus entrance to a road since my lane wasn't wide enough. I recon London needs to be renamed Speed Camera City, they are all over the shop, some prat places them on a downhill slope hoping to catch anyone who dares to go over by a few miles.


Wonders will never cease, today for a change I actually did some driving. The initial trip was to Maidstone to deliver some Mail and then on to SE18 to collect some more mail. Now I know why I hate IVECO lorries. Crap gearbox and not the best lorry to drive through London. The usual London traffic made its appearance, it took me 3 hours to get from SE18 to Slough, once on the M4 no problem. Getting to the M4 was a problem. Along the way from Maidstone I stopped at this American theme Diner, bloody hell what prices. Bacon & Egg Muffin was 3 quid, one slice of bacon, one egg and the muffin. Not bad profit margins and priced at £1 per item, must remind myself Never to stop there again.


Off the Wall

As I was watching the Remembrance Day services yesterday I couldn't help but get very angry as I saw the idiot that caused the deaths of our soldiers standing behind the leaders of the main parties. Old Tone was there, bold as brass and what I want to know is who invited him and how does he have the gal to show his face after causing this senseless 'War'. Being an ex squaddie I support out boys over there but I do not believe we should be there. If the Afganis want to shoot each other, fair play, give them the rifles and let them get on with it.

They are a bunch of unreliable, scheming and deceitful people who don't give a to## for anything and anyone, so why should our boys die for them. Gordon couldn't even get the name of one of the boys who died right when sending a letter to his family. The nonsense from Downing street is pitiable.

Lets get our boys out of there before many more loose their lives for a senseless cause.

May the ones who already paid the Supreme Sacrifice Rest in Peace.

Deja Vu

Do you ever get that feeling that you've done this before. Went to TNT this morning, clocked on and had a look on the schedule as to what I'm supposed to do. It said Greenford but the lorry number was crossed out. The transport chappie told me to sit in the canteen and someone will let me know where I’m going ASAP. Sat there for 2 hours chatting to other drivers and watched them go and jump in their lorries and drive away. Then there were 3 of us left, one of the (I assume) managers comes in and informs us of 'there's been an overbooking' you'll be paid for the full day. That was it, went home.


Last night on Night Shift

Yesterday was my official last night, the usual scenario, sat around till midnight and did absolutely bugger all. One of the other spare drivers went and did a job but us others (7 in all) sat and chewed the fat. No news from the agency if I'm needed for the Royal Mail next week. Monday I'm off to TNT for a day.


Finally some driving work, yesterday I went down to Bristol. Cracking weather for a longish drive. Consolation of having a Volvo FM Euro 5 to drive, excellent unit to have on a wet and miserable night. All the mod cons even included air con. Took a trailer load to a depot literally just beside the Severn Bridge, for a moment I thought that I'd have to pay the toll. Nice and new depot with loads f room to turn and get on the bay. Took about 1.5 hours to get there and then the usual unload during which all the temp staff decided that as it was 10pm they would go home. This left me and 2 security staff to unload. Quick stop at a rest stop for a break and home, cracking prices in some of these rest stops. £1.99 for a cup of tea, was thinking about a full English till I saw the prices, good job I had some sarnies.


Isn't that nice, have an email telling me that the BACS file was corrupted and no pay till Monday unless you're with the likes of Ducas, etc. Which I'm with but the agency hasn't managed to inform them yet. Surely they should have checked the file and resent it the same day it was found to be corrupted. So far the last 2 weeks have been fruitful, first week they underpay me and now this, don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling about the agency.
Last night was another night of sitting around, don't get me wrong I don't mind getting paid for doing nothing but its so bloody booring. Do't know if I can do this again next week, if the agency wants me to go back to Royal Mail then its going to have to be days only. Now that the threat of strikes over Christmas has been lifted I haven't got a clue how it will effect the agency drivers, surely there has to be a 'slight' drop in requirements but you never know.



Got my digfob from Tachodisc yesterday, pretty usefull thing to have. Now I can see what my hours are and if I'm taking all the correct breaks etc. Well worth the price of £35.
Last night was Day 2 of the Night Shift and actually I did something. Not much though, went to Swiss Port to collect loads of yorks(Dollies) and cages. Roughly about 2 hours work which included loading them on to the lorry. Then the 'extremely' long drive back to Langley. Park up and home by 11pm.


My first night shift and boy what a surprise it was. Signed in and sat down to wait for a assignment. One came up pretty quickly, couple up a trailer and unit and leave it on the bay. That took all of 10 minutes and then that was it for the whole night. Sat in the waiting area, had some coffee, went to the canteen and ate my sarnies. 21:30 we were asked to sign out and went home at 22:00. Fair play got paid till 01:00 but its boring just siting around doing nothing, we'll se what tonight brings.


The Night Shift

Tomorrow night is the first time I'm planing to have a go and I'll have to make a conscructive decission after this week if I want to do more night work or not.


Don't know what to make of today, got in at 6am and sat in the rest area for an hour. Then low and behold a job, but it initially sounded a lot better as I thought that I'd be driving to Dartford. Got the unit and then sat for 2 hours waiting for a trailer to be loaded.

Then the details came along on the delivery note. Drive to the Langley outhouse and drop the trailer's load, collect another from there and bring it back. Did that twice and drove a whopping total of 15km. Spent more time loading and unloading then driving.

Not complaining as it gave me some exp on tight & blind spot reversing, which will always come in handy. That's it for the next few days, got to have some well earned rest and then on to the night shift for a week.


Back to Royal Mail next week, just got re booked. This time its the nightshift, something that I've not done so it will be interesting to see how it goes.


Today for a change I had an 18T DAF CF, not so sure about the auto gearbox as the changes from 1 to 3 are a bit jerky. Overall it was not a bad wagon. Had a few local trips to the Heathrow 'Horseshoe' delivering bags and bags of mail, all bound for Eastern Europe. On my travels on the Perimeter Road I couldn't help noticing that VOSA were out in force again, they managed to stop a few lorries in their little spot. Getting quite used to driving these red lorries. However driving past the pickets of strikers and being given the evil eye was something new.


Royal Mail all this week, yesterday it was Winchester. Took a trailer load of empty dollies to another hub. The location is in an interesting place, as you come down a hill towards Twyford and when you have to turn right two things spring into mind. Firstly the road doesn't look like it could support an Artic and secondly there is a 7.5T restriction. A stop was called for and a call to the depot was made. Carry on down this road and after the waterworks turn right. Oh well lets have a go, would you believe t the road opens out and just after where I turned the restriction begins. Well now I know so next time it will be less sweat inspiring experience.

Today a jaunt to a number of places to drop off the backload from yesterday, loads more wheeled dollies. Today for a change I drove a Volvo FM12, Euro5 instead of the usual RM DAF CF. Have to admit that it was an enjoyable drive, the Volvo handles fabulously, smooth, and well designed with loads of comfort in the cab.


Now that this week is over I'm going to enjoy my 2 days off. Few pints and relax, after the last week that I've had I think I deserve it.

Essex and Back

Nice shortish trip out to Essex this morning. Had to be in Colnbrook at 6am at a well known company's offices. This time it was a larger Class2 wagon that I got my hands on. Good job that I checked the fuel before setting off otherwise I'd have been pushing the lorry on the way back, quick reverse on to the fuel point and extreme fun was had trying to fill up in the dark. Had to go to Schenker Logistics to load up and then on to Basildon, Essex. 12 pallets of costume jewelry had to be delivered by 9am. The weather was atrocious and as usual the M25 proved to be something in itself. The ongoing roadworks and the 40 & 50mph limits were not helping. Wouldn't it be nice to have a motorway without any road works. Loads of 'Average Speed' cameras and people trying to cut in. Took over an hour to get there and then the unloading which was pretty quick. The journey back as usual was slowed down by the infernal road works but still made it back to Colnbrook by 11:30. Park up, do the paperwork and on the way home by 12:00. Not a bad days work if the weather was better.


White Van Man of sorts

For the last 2 days I've been acting as the scourge of the road, the dreaded White Van Man. Had a call from one of the local agencies and decided to give it a go. Yesterday I was in the darkest depths of London (Lewisham, Peckham, etc) and today in the wilds of the countryside. Have to admit that Wiltshire looks wonderful in Autumn. Not many deliveries (3-4 per day) but spread out so far apart that it took ages to deliver. There is something about bike riders in London, they all seem to want to commit suicide under someone else's wheels. All over for now and the weekend beckons.


Bit of Royal Mail work today. Almost new DAF CF on 08 plate. Start at Slough go to Heathrow to collect mail but wait for ages before it was decided if I was required. Got to admit that getting in and on to the bay was an experience, bloody tight there. Getting out was even better, the metal post at the gate house crept very close to the end of the trailer. Once loaded it was off to Dartford. Nice and relaxing drive on the M25 and local roads and then navigating the side streets to get to the warehouse and onto the bay once more. Offload and back home. Problem when I got back as I couldn't find an empty bay to park the trailer, eventually got one and uncoupled and then really go home. Interesting day but enjoyable. The photo was taken at the Depot in Heathrow.


Back at work and working my notice unless of course the company decides that they'll pay for the duration of the notice. They have been spying on me or someone has put in the bubble. I was shown a copy of the post made on Truckers World, but its how I felt that day and what was posted is true.


Today was a good day, started at 9am in Woking went to Colnbrook to collect a trailer then to Rochester to get loaded up and delivered to Guildford and then back to Woking. All in 8 hours 50 minutes. First time ever driving a Renault. Caused a bit of commotion on the A320 when stopping at a set of traffic lights I inadvertently knocked a switch which shut down the lorry. Everything went blank, no lights, four ways, couldn't do anything. Thought that the wagon broke down as all day it was showing a 'Fuel filter' problem. Called the yard and the mechanic asked me about the switch, low and behold everything was turned back on. The switch is there as the tractor unit is used to pull fuel tankers, something new was learned today.


Just got off the phone with one of the local agencies and I'm booked for tomorrow, all the way to Rochester from Woking.

Later Dudes (Warburtons)

Well that's it I can only be pushed so far and today was the last straw. As I set out this morning to do a route that has been so badly changed its unreal I was planing to finish as quickly as possible and start my 2 days off. Got to one customer just a few minutes later than the stated arrival time, shop locked up can't get in front or back. No answer to the bell, waited for 10 minutes and then called the depot informing the duty Team Leader of what has happened.

As I was leaving to go to another area I told him that it won't be possible for me to return here as I'll be miles away and this customer has a habit of doing this. Later on I get a call from the Senior Team Leader and I proceed to explain what happened. He tells me that I have to go back and deliver but that means all others will be late. He then tells me that I have to go back at the end of the shift and I told him if I have the time I'll do it. As we don't get any overtime anything after 12:30 is my time.

I carry on with the route and get back to the depot at around 12:15, unload and the offending delivery note is taken upstairs. Then I'm told to go and see the Depot Manager. He then proceeds to read me the riot act and tells me that my contract states that I have to be 'Flexible' and tells me to go and redeliver or he'll do an investigation. As other things have been brewing within me and after making the required notifications of the issues and nothing being done about them I decided there and then on the action plan.

'You've got my official weeks notice as of Now' I told him. He didn't even bat an eye lit, all he said can you put it in writing. Went home and typed up a letter, asked for Pay in Lieu but don't know if they will honour it. So if nothing is heard after my 2 days off I'll be back to work to work my notice. He might be a Class1 prat but I'll do thing properly.

I know in this economic climate it wasn't the smartest thing to do but when you work for a manager that doesn't care about his drivers then he deserves what's coming to him. Have to point out that my Team Leader is very good and I'll be sorry to leave that team.

For a Company that claims to be a Family Company all this Depot Manager is interested is the bread and he couldn't give a monkeys about the drivers.


Down in Bournemouth & Poole this morning, after doing all my drops I had the unfortunate time out trouble. Had to stop for a break, so driving down the dual carriageways looking for a likely spot I spied a road that looked just right. No restrictions on parking, no yellow lines of any kind anywhere to be seen. Reversed into the road making sure that I wasn't blocking any driveways and stopped. Had a snack and then this gent comes along in his van and proceeds to give me the what for for parking on this road.

You're blocking the road, you shouldn't be here, you're over the half way on the road. After he finished I politely pointed out to him that there were no restrictions of any kind and I can park here. However I'll be gone in 10 minutes so I don't see any problem. Away he goes and comes out with his camera, few pictures were taken, so I decided to do the same just in case to show that there were no parking restrictions. Then I drove away.


Yesterday when I happened to be passing through Farnham I had to drop off some stuff at Sainsburys, so when you go round the one way circuit and turn at the lights you have to position the lorry and reverse into the yard. At the time (7am) there was very little traffic so I did the usual thing, four ways on and position the lorry at an angle and check behind and start to reverse.

Just as I was about to start reversing Some prat decided that they couldn't be bothered to wait for a minute or so and sneaked in between me and the wall. Good job I was just beginning to get moving and after slamming on the brakes I had a few choice words in my mind. If I'd have caught the pillock I'd have told him what I think of their driving.

Makes you think how some people are just so impatient and have a serious wish to die under a lorry. I don't mind them dying but don't do it under my lorry and don't take me with you. I have plans for the future and they don't include idiots being caught under the wheels of a lorry that I'm driving.


Hot Work & Brain of Britain Planning

This morning whilst driving in the pouring rain I just happened to glance down to the temperature sensor on the lorry. This thing is supposed to measure the outside Air temperature. Today must have been a phenomenally hot day, got a feeling that we must have had one of those flash heat waves. The temperature outside the lorry showed an amazing 80.5oC. Towards the end of the journey it went up to 90oC. Me thinks the gauge has had a bad day and went a bit ballistic.

The other bit of my saga is a bit of a beef on the planing of this route that I had he misfortune of doing today. Bear in mind that it is a local route and it goes round Farnborough, Fleet, Farnham & Aldreshot, it usually has 24 drops. Some bright spark in the office upstairs decided to add another 2 drops to the route, now this is the good one. The planning boffins have added the first drop in Hook, which is in a different direction and about 20-25 minutes one way. Then at the end when you have done all the drops and are in Aldershot the final drop is in Odiham. So you're going down the same motorway twice and running yourself ragged to get it all done and they think its OK, no problem as GU14 and RG29 postcodes are supposed to be net to each other. At least so it looks on their planning maps. A contestant for the title of 'Brain of Britain'.


What a miserable day to do deliveries in. Had a shed load of them as this route is ever expanding since the management don't understand the terminology of 'Local'. They keep adding drops onto it and it grows like a bad spot. Not so sure it should be done by one driver and voiced my concerns yet again, but as usual nothing will be done about it. All they are concerned is that the product gets delivered and when you look on the schedule it doesn't even allow for breaks.

Apparently they add a 'minute' here and there so they you can take a break but when you look at the delivery times and the driving in between I just can't see where a break can be taken. So I just take them when needed and if the stuff is late then too bad.

This can't go on for ever it has to give one day and when a mass walk out happens then possibly the management will wake up. All they are doing right now is thinking up new ways to pester us and make our jobs more difficult.



Having driven on the road again this morning I noticed that there seems to be quite a lot of accidents as of late. Fortunately or not all seem to be cars and nothing to do with any lorries.

On the other hand yesterday when driving back around Amesbury I spied an old hand (I presume) driving a Nolan Transport Artic. The problem was with his trailer, the back side curtain was open on both sides and the back door was leaning back at a dangerous angle. Surely he/she must have checked this before setting off. Looks a bit slap dash to me.


Driving today through Wilton, Wilts I had to do a slight about turn as I went the wrong way. Bear in mind that I'm in a 7.5T wagon so I decide to pull in to a side road and then when there's room reverse into the road and wait for traffic to clear before turning right. I suppose I could have waited till the cows came home so I took the decision to wait till it was clear on the right side and then pull out a bit to see if some kind soul would let me go. One lady took pity on me and slowed down so that I could go, as I'm 3/4 of the way over a 'wide boy' comes flying up the road (A36), so I accelerate and straighten out. He then proceeds to give me the finger and looks less than happy as I must have slowed him down by about 1 mile from his warp speed. Didn't cause any traffic jams and didn't impede anyone except this one plonker, so what was his problem. I suppose he was a micros of a second slower in getting wherever he was going.

Have to admit that some of the so called roads around Tisbury are what you might call a cutting in the wood. The biggest annoyance of the whole trip was having to turn around and go back 7 miles when I was just half a mile from destination. The cause, a 9ft 9in bridge, the wagon 11ft 3in.


Now this is one agency that I can highly recommend. Ever since I began driving lorries they have kept me so busy that it's unreal. Polite staff, always cheerful and the work is varied and interesting. If you happen to live in Berks, Hants or Surrey then I can highly recommend that you give them a buzz. Camberley office is 01276 24111 ask for Lisa.
Their address:
149 London Road
GU15 3JY

Oh well, just been de registered by an agency in my locality. Their excuse is that I didn't do the last job and I'm unreliable. It all points to the last phone call I had from them about 2 months ago and it went like this.

Me: Hallo

Agency: Can you do a job for us tomorrow.

Me: I'm in a restaurant at the moment sitting down to a meal, I'll call you back when I'm finished.

Agency: OK

Agency: via text - you've been booked for tomorrow at ABCD, start time is 0400, directions.

Agency: via text - please confirm for tomorrow

Me: Still in the restaurant and oblivious to the text.

Agency: via text - don't bother about tomorrow, you're canceled

Me: When at home - What the bloody hell, I didn't tell them that I'd do it.

Me: Next day - Can you explain about yesterdays text.

Agency: The case is closed you've let me down.

Me: But I didn't confirm anything yesterday, you were told I was in a restaurant.

At this point the conversation became a bit weird and the girl from the agency started to be a bit rude so I told her that the conversation ends as she cannot be civil. Haven't heard anything from them since then and the only reason she called me was that I replied to an add from their Southampton branch and the chap obviously called her. The person in charge seems to think that since I signed up with them I have given them an exclusive right to my services.

Bloody rude agency and to be honest I'd warn others against working for them.

Yet all the other agencies that I'm registered with are always calling and finding me work. In those cases I must be doing something right.


Car & Lorry

Here's a question that is open to debate, why do people think that a lorry will be able to turn in the same amount of space as a car or it can get through the same amount of space as a car. Yesterday and today whilst driving in my little 12T I've come across some diabolical scenes. In Sunningdale when returning towards the A30 at one stage the school run mums have parked on or very close to the zigzag lines without any consideration for space. This doesn't allow drivers like me to try and judge the road as it curves and see if there is enough room to get through.

I had to wait about 5 minutes before any break in traffic to move on and as soon as I'm fully out on the right side a car comes flying towards me and decides that it 'will' manage to squeeze through. At the last moment the driver realises that they can't and at this point neither can I and I can't go backwards as there are cars behind me. All I can do is stop.

The driver then proceeds to give me a dirty look even though they saw me and could have stopped at a point to allow me to proceed and then this hassle wouldn't have happened.


Assessment or Driving Test

That is the question. I would put it as a Test since what has to be done is almost like the DSA Test.

The lorry was a brand new Volvo 08 plate fully auto with some nice features, one being the assisted uphill start. This device locks up all brakes when you come to a full stop and then it gives you 4 seconds from when you remove your foot from the brake pedal to press the accelerator. Nice and smooth start with no pressure on the clutch and you don't even have to apply the hand brake.
  • Vehicle checks, as you've not driven the vehicle before. This includes the trailer as its already coupled up.
  • Instruments check inside the cab to make sure all is OK
  • Drive around the site to familiarise yourself with the vehicle.
  • Reverse onto a bay.
  • Drive through Basingstoke for 45-50 minutes.
  • Reverse onto a bay.
What I screwed up on was the reverse onto the bay. It was very tight and I didn't give myself enough room/angle to get the trailer into the space provided and having a brick wall on one side made things interesting. To make things more interesting the assessor placed a cone to simulate another trailer being there. I inadvertently pushed the cone back a bit, which would have meant clipping a trailer.
Now I know where to position the tractor unit and how to manoeuvre the trailer to get in the bay. On the good side I have been invited to 'have another go'.
The assessor was pleased with all the other attributes and I recon I'll do it next time, now that I know where to position myself.
So now I have to wait and see when I can get the retest slot.


Have another assessment at a Supermarket tomorrow. All the info on what I'll be doing has arrived by email after a few glitches and I'll be there at Midday. Strange though to be 'invited' to an assessment. At the bottom of the page it says 'No Invite, No Assessment' so have to make sure I don't forget this 'important' piece of paper. Fingers crossed.


One day at Royal Mail to see if the job is OK, well its not bad, new DAF's fully automatic so that bit I liked. Had to couple up and then take the trailer to another depot to load up. But this has me thinking, the main supplier of agency drivers is Manpower and the people I went through are subcontracting. As there is a Nationwide strike brewing just how safe will those jobs be after the strike is over or if it doesn't materialise. I'm thinking that RM is just making sure that all its avenues are covered and when it needs to cut down the first ones to go will be the sub contractor drivers. My understanding was that if you get a full shift it's only 40 hours and you might not get a full days work, possibly 4-7 hours on a daily basis. Will have to think hard about this...........


Can't believe this. All week I've had calls from different agencies to do some work, I really hate turning down jobs but this time I've had to. Been to on place today and with luck something long term might become of it. Also waiting for another agency to let me know if I'm in at a certain place in Hounslow, perm job so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. With luck tomorrow I'll have some good news and then I can do what I've been wanting to do for ages. All will be revealed when the 'good' news arrives.


Whats wrong with this picture

Just called an agency in London to enquire about a job being advertised. One of the positions is in Charlton and this is the pay rate - up to 39hrs £11.25ph, 40+hrs £10.25ph. Now whats wrong with this picture, surely working overtime should be paid either the same or slightly more. I told the girl that I'd have to pass on this. The jobs are being advertised by Milestoneops, unless they rethink their rate policy this is one driver who will not be working for them.


Had another call for a days work on Class1 but at this time I can't do it. Also decided that the time has come to seriously look for another job as I'm not willing to do what my current employer is asking. I've had enough of running around like a blue arsed fly and being asked to come in early to do jobs that should have been factored into the working day.

No overtime and they want us to do a bit 'beyond' the required amount to get the job done. Fair be t once in a while and not a few hours each day. This is exploitation and I'm just fed up with this.

Others do moan and gripe but do nothing about it and the Union is absolutely useless as the local rep knows what is going on but has done nothing about it.

So a search for another full time job or a long term contract begins.................


An interview

Had an interview on Thursday for a full time job with a well known company, with luck all will be well and I'll finally get to drive a Class1 for a living. Keeping all fingers crossed for some good news next week.



As we all have to do this silliness to keep our licenses I was wondering what my current employer will/would do about this. When I asked about this a while ago one of the Team Leaders said 'you seem to know more about it than me'. Not something that you want to hear, nothing has been mentioned so this has me thinking that either they won't do anything about it and leave it to us to sort out or leave it all to the last minute. I'm betting on the first option.


Had another call from an agency that I decided I couldn't work for as their pay structure was on a self employed basis. The call related to an assessment in Portsmouth and the job being in Southampton. I had a call regarding something similar a while ago and don't really want to travel to Southampton for work. One heck of a long way there and back each day on top of the work related driving, although if the job pays extremely well I might consider it for a while.


Work & more Work

Albeit only on the agency ad hoc jobs. Have been looking for a Class1 position for ages and so far not that I'm complaining only managed to get agency work. It seems to be picking up as there are more lorries on the road and more job adverts are coming through, but agency only. Then again it could be the seasonal holiday covers for other drivers being of work. I do hope that something comes up soon, got a few agents seriously looking for me and keeping my fingers crossed.


Never rains when it pours. Had to turn down some agency work. Three different agency's called yesterday with some work but it was only for one day, still nothing permanent that I can get my teeth into. One promised to get me an assessment at Gist and nothing happened so far. Lots more jobs coming through on the jobsbyemail but it all seems to be agency work, looks like cover for the summer holidays.


Another Agency and more calls

Registered with another local agency yesterday, didn't know it even existed till someone I worked with for a very short time told me about them. Hopefully they can provide me with more work related experience and keep me going on the Class1 scene. At the same time had some more calls from my 'old' agency, pity but I couldn't do this job. Just couldn't get to the yard in time as the call came when I was on the M3 (services). The main thing is that the calls are getting much more frequent. Have to admit that they are good, kept me busy when the other local agency's have not been that successful in getting me work, wonder if it's worth me being on those agency's books......?


Update to the Assessment

Got off the phone with the agency (they called me again). This is what they told me.
Assessment wouldn't be on my Tacho card and it's a local delivery so I wouldn't loose my driving time, this has me thinking of 2 serious possibilities.

  • Analogue Tachograph which would be destroyed after the assessment.
  • No Tachograph be it analogue or digital would be used, this would contravene the Law and if I was to be stopped(which is possible), I'd be in serious trouble and could loose my license. They also wanted me to do the DSA Theory Test again(?)
As the assessment duration is 8 hours they are saving having to pay someone to do this. No doubt the assessor is an employee of this supermarket.

In light of the seriousness of this I think that this supermarket should be named & shamed.

No doubt you've guessed who it is, the one and only TESCO Weighbridge.
Been offered an assessment at a Major supermarket tomorrow, but there is a big but involved. It would all kick off @4am and involve a number of reverses and a delivery to a store(s). All would be completed by mid day. My questions are these;

  • Would you want to be paid for this or just bite the bullet and do it and with luck all will be OK. As the tacho card is in use technically I'm working and therefore should be compensated for my time and effort.
  • Is this supermarket using the assessed drivers to get a 'Free' one days delivery out of them and not bother to pay them because they are who they are.

    What would you do in this case, I'm more in favour of telling the agency 'no thanks, they want me to do a delivery, they pay me'. I've informed the agency that unless I get some sort of compensation, even fuel money and a sandwich I'm not willing to do this.
Turned up for the assessment and somewhere in the process of getting all the documentation ready at home I dropped my Digital Tachograph Card. No card no assessment, how strange as it quite clearly states that you can drive without the card for a number of days.


I have an assessment over two days this week in Thatcham. Day one involves 2 hours of 'something', which I assume is driving & maneuvering and Day 2 is a accompanied delivery. Fingers and thumbs crossed that all will go OK.


Had some more calls about Class1 work yesterday afternoon, unfortunately the previous night's escapade and working a full day after only 3 hours sleep didn't give me much of a chance of being able to drive last night. Had to take one of our lorry's to the main depot and hitched a lift back with a trunk lorry bringing back bread to our depot, managed to get a hour of sleep in the comfy passenger seat. Not sure if turning down jobs is a good thing but at the same time its better then falling asleep at the wheel and making a total hash of things


Croydon and Beyond

Had a call from my usual agency yesterday @ 2pm, could you be in Iver by 3pm was the usual question. To be honest I'm getting used to these last minute jobs.

Arriving in Iver a Merc Actros 2544 was awaiting me by the warehouse. Have to admit that I'm not that impressed with the gearbox and the change system. A short jaunt to Croydon and then back home to get ready for work the next day or so I thought. When I arrived in Croydon after negotiating a few almost suicidal bridges I parked up and went to see where I need to go to be loaded.

The chap in the warehouse pointed to some iron gates with a barrier and said 'you need to drive through them and park up by the side of the warehouse'. I thought that he was joking at first as the gates didn't look wide enough but what the hell if others can do it so can I. Creeping forward I hugged the right side of the gates and almost gave the people in the offices a heart attack. Had to get right up to the building before turning to get the back end of the trailer inside, 'tighter than a ducks behind' springs to mind after getting through.

Parked up and waited for another 18T to arrive with their persons to load up all the goods. When they were loading a horrible noise and smell came from the tail lift motor and it stopped. Now this is almost 7pm and we need to do something about this, so they call their boss who in turn takes his time to call out the lift repair guy, who arrives at around 10pm. After closing the tail gate and telling me that the 'motor is almost gone' he writes up the ticket I sign it and I drive very slowly around the building through an opening smaller than a mouse hole and get through the exit gates which are almost the same size as the entrance. Back in Iver @11pm I get the time sheet signed and drive home arriving at midnight, bed and then the bl**dy alarm clock goes off at 3am.

Feel absolutely shagged out and don't even think that I can go and do my daily run. Few other mishaps were encountered whilst waiting for the Tail lift chappie but they'll remain anonymous.


Agencies - Yet Again

Registered with this agency in West London(Hounslow) and was informed that I'd be required to do evening work for one of their clients. I suppose I should have known better, sent them my availability dates and told them that I can work most afternoons into early evening as well. So far not even a dickie bird of a reply. Seems yet again that they either are so 'busy' that they haven't got the time to reply or just can't be bothered to reply as there is and never was any work. Me thinks its time to de register from them as well.


Just got back from an 'Interview' with an agency, unfortunately had to terminate this as they failed to inform me of a few major points.

  • I'd be self employed
  • I would have to form a Limited Company
The info pack had all sorts of forms and the guy was surprised that I had a full time job. This self employment would have been a pain as I'd have to keep all receipts and find an accountant to do my Annual Self assessment/Tax Returns and they (Bigfoot) would charge me £10 per week to pay me like that.

He seemed to be informed that all drivers are paid like that as it's easier for them. Apparently they are so busy in Southampton that they are expanding here and have possible contracts coming up with a few Blue Chip places. This I've heard before. Also mentioned were trips to Europe, etc.

This self employment lark is not as easy and simple as I've had my own business before and have experienced the hassles involved in being your own boss.

To think I turned down 8 hours of work to go to Basingstoke and come straight back again.


Agency Debate - Corr Recruitment

Had dealings with them a few months ago. Initially I contacted them as they were advertising a job. Had an almost immediate response and after a few minutes was enticed into a Class2 job.
The job was confirmed and I was all set for the next day. In the middle of the night I had a call informing me that my mum was taken into hospital, I legged it out of the house and drove to the hospital leaving a few thing s behind in my haste. Spent the whole night there making sure all was OK.
On my return I had 16 missed calls from Corr and when I returned the call the recruiter hung up on me, so I sent a text and an email explaining what happened. No replies to either of them. After a few weeks I contacted them again and still no reply. I then sent an email to the boss who surprise, surprise got back to me informing me that the recruited was very busy that day as it was Monday and they were doing payroll.
I would have thought that me calling to explain what happened and why I couldn't do the job would have been important, but I guess I was wrong.
The boss explained to me that he was willing to start afresh so I thought that was fair. I sent the recruiter a few texts and emails since then asking if there was anything 'cooking' but no reply.
So yesterday I sent the boss an email informing him that I would like to be deregistered as i have had no response from anyone. He informed me that the recruiter is on holiday in Poland and he has not received any texts/emails from me.
This is strange as I have return receipts for emails and the O2 site keeps all text messages sent. Absolutely CRAP agency to deal with.
I might be wrong but if you call an agency and they hang up on you and then don't bother to answer your calls/emails then that tells me how they would treat me if I was to work for them.


Uncouth or What

Had a call yesterday from one of the local agency's, this was whilst I was sitting down to a meal at a restaurant with my wife and friends. Am I available tomorrow, what, where & how was my reply and I'm in a restaurant so I'll call you back when I get home. When we returned home I checked my phone and found 2 messages, 1) Please call back & 2) Don't bother about tomorrow you're cancelled. Now as I didn't receive any confirmation texts and informed the agency that I'd call them back on my return home I thought that this was a bit rude. A quick text back to say that nothing confirming this booking was received and when she called we were in a restaurant(which she was told initially). I haven't had any other communication from them so they obviously think that they are above such things. If you call me and I'm busy then I'll call you back but don't assume that I will do something unless I confirm it. Have to admit that some agency's are getting a bit pushy and think that in this climate they can do whatever pleases them and that only they count and us poor drivers can be treated like a piece of rag.


White Van Man of sorts

Driving yesterday in my little 7.5T(work Vehicle) I crossed the Blackwater rail bridge and came to a set of traffic lights. At that stage the 2 lanes split, one going straight on and one bearing to the right. As the lights change a van bearing Anglian Windows comes hurtling down the outside and decides to change lanes just after he passed me. If I'd have been a few seconds quicker of my mark he would have swiped into the drivers side of the lorry taking out the front of it and including me in that equation. This prat just drove on totally ignoring me. Idiots like him shouldn't be on the road let alone driving company vehicles, his luck is that I didn't have the time to take down his registration number. If I had I would have reported him to the Police and Anglian for driving like a pri*k. So if you see one of their vans approaching be very aware that an Idiot might be driving it.


Assessment - The Aftermath

Turned up at the transport office and the assessor gave me a sheet of paper with loads of questions with bits missing. Just fill in the blanks he said, no problem, the usual drivers hours,tacho etc questions and have to admit that I couldn't answer 2 of them. Mind just went blank.

Then we went to pick up the tractor unit, a DAF, after the vehicle checks were completed off we went to collect the trailer. Just reverse in and couple it up, he sais. So that is what I did, connected the cables checked the brakes, lights and off we went.

Out of the compound and down to the A329, then off at the next junction and turn left to go through Wokingham. Nice and easy through the speed camera and then a drive through the town centre. No problems with this I'm thinking to myself. Piece of cake I thought when we left the town centre behind.

Back down to the A329 and back to the depot, then the fun began. We couldn't find any room in the yard that we'd left earlier to reverse and drop the trailer, so we went to another yard and guess what, still no room. Then we spotted an empty bay and a quick turn around and reverse into it. Uncoupled and secured the trailer and that was it.

Examiner shook my hand and went for his dinner. I thought that I'd got the job but the next day got a call from the agency and guess what, 'Not enough Class1experience'. Nothing else was wrong just not enough experience, fine but give me a bl***y chance to gain some. If they need drivers that take me on and let me loose with a short trailer(which they have) and I'll prove that all will be well. To be honest I was hoping that they would take me on as it's a great place to work at.
What are these people scared of, if my driving was so bad a) I wouldn't have passed my test & b) he would have stopped me there and then. To be honest I'm getting a bit sick and tired of this 2 year crap and 'need experience'. If the tester sees that you can drive ffs give the person a chance. If he's no good then get rid of him.
- Does me being a newly qualified Class1 driver place me in a 'liability' group. On the contrary I'd have thought that having the test and all that's involved in it freshly on my mind it makes me a much more careful driver as I haven't developed any 'bad' habits. I have seen many of called 'old timers' driving so badly that it is them who should be a liability and not me, surely we all deserve a chance to prove our driving skills.
In this economic climate it makes more sense to hire eastern European drivers who are cheaper but cause havoc on the roads. Fair play there are good drivers among them but so are they among US.


Have a assessment tomorrow at a very well known supermarket. It's only a part time job to get some extra hours and cash as I have a fair bit of driving hours that can be used on my days off. Swat up time tonight on driving/tacho hours etc as they are pretty hot on those. To be honest I'm looking forward to it and a bit jittery..............


Had a call to do the same client again, tramping to a different location I suppose. Unfortunately I'm knackered and need a bit of relaxation at home. Hate to turn down jobs but can't do them all, need to rest and stay legal.

Just got home yesterday from work and got a call from the agency. What are you doing this afternoon, nothing much, do you want to do a quick job for me. Now I've heard this before, a quick job and it can last a good few hours. As it was Class1 I thought go on I'll have a go.

Arrived at the clients site and a New lorry presented itself to me, something that I've not driven before. Iveco 450E5. Had a look in the cab and have to admit it looks OK, the layout is good with the dash display in colour, familiarisation over I had a walk round to make sure all was OK. One small problem was that the gear selector wasn't a selector. 3 buttons on the dash, Drive, Neutral & Reverse. Bit strange but what the heck.

Once loaded and secured the side curtains I set off, sat nav took me down the M3, M27 & M275 to Portsmouth(?). Arrived at the destination and decided to have a look see where I might be tipping before I pull up. The place on the manifest and the name differed so it took a bit of finding but once found I arrived and the forklift chappie began to off load. Almost a full trailer of flat packed boxes on pallets, took 2.5 hours to tip.

Reversed back down the road as I couldn't turn where I was and after a few shunts got going back to Aldershot. This time the satnav took me down the correct route. Local roads, A3, B3000, A31, A331 and home. Absolutely chucking it down all the way home, more spray that the wipers could cope with.

The Iveco is not that bad but I have to admit that it's not my favourite lorry to drive, had to constantly fight it to keep it straight and every time it hit a bump it felt like the wheels left the road and were doing a wheel spin. Major problem was not being able to adjust the steering wheel and arrived back with aching shoulders and forearms.


Tale of three Lorries

Had a call from one of the Agency's (the one that has kept me busy the most) with an urgent request. Could I do (if I'm free) a job tomorrow. Simple one she said, be at the clients site for 6am and you'll be dropping of some Marquees. So on Friday I got up nice and early and departed to the site.

When I got the the job turned out to be a bit different than originally explained.
  1. Take a 7.5T to Finsbury Square in London and leave it there.
  2. Collect a fully laden 7.5T and bring it back to the site.
  3. Pick up another 7.5T from the site and drive it to Gloucestershire(2 hours) with 2 others who will add a few bits to a Marquee.
So in all I drove 3 different lorries that day, all 7.5T, the one in the middle being a W Reg Iveco was something of an experience. Three different tachos in one day. The drive to Gloucestershire in the pouring rain was 'fabulous' and unfortunately not having any wet weather gear I had to sit in the cab while the other chaps added the bits to the 'Tent'.

On the way back it was like driving in a river as the roads were so water logged that it was almost impossible to see the road markings. Of course the M25 was up to its usual standards on a Friday afternoon and the M3 was also stacked up, the information boards do have some uses once in a while. Decided to use the A30 to get home and arrived back @ 19.30. Having started at 6:30 it made an exciting 13 hour day.


The job bulletin boards seem to be much more active as of late. Had quite a number of emails advertising some jobs and by chance found a number of jobs that were recently (today) posted on one board. A quick application was submitted and a phone call will be made tomorrow to see if I can be placed on a short list or at least get an interview. Could things be moving or is this just a temporary jump to cover the usual holiday absences.


Its back again, the job for Night Trunk Driver @ Heathrow. This job and 2 other ones that have been making the rounds for the past few months must be 'ghosts'. I can't believe that there is no one out there that would have filled this vacancy, on the other hand it could be that this job is so crap that the person who starts it leaves it very quickly. Hence the adverts going out with constant regularity. I did apply when it came round a few months ago but haven't heard anything so assuming my application was unsuccessful.


Nothing new on the horizon, had a promise of another assessment but still waiting on confirmation date. Lots more jobs coming through via the job boards but some of them seem to offer very little in pay.


Yet again the stupid 2 year rule crops up. Pretemps are advertising LGV1 Positions but when I called them the person informed me that I need to have had my license for 2 years as it's the Company's Policy for Insurance purposes. Having spoken to DSA they have informed me that this can be classed as Discrimination since I was good enough to pass the DSA Test therefore I'm good enough to drive commercially. I have passed on the agency's details to them and will leave it in their capable hands. This I have to admit is stupid since they are looking for drivers and I'm willing to work so why not give me a go and see what I'm like. Yet they are willing to employ foreign drivers who have 'bought' their licenses and cause utter chaos and mayhem on our roads. Even in these tough times there should be some give and take as when they really do need drivers and can't find any I'm sure that I just might be very busy that day/week.


Just got a email from careerjet.co.uk and there is an advert for LGV1/HGV/Class1/2/C/7.5 Tonne/Drivers, what intrigued me was the Salary. I sincerely hope it's a misprint as it advertises a salary of '£9 per Year'. The add is from an agency in Reading that I had once dealt with but as a family matter came up I couldn't fulfil the assignment and they haven't even bothered to answer any of my texts, emails and phone calls. This tells me that they don't really dive a damn about the driver as long as he/she gets the job done and they get paid.


Hate turning down jobs, had a call from a local agency with a Class1 trunking job up to West Midlands. Problem is that I need to get up at 3am for work and this would have just finished by then, so after driving all night I wold be pretty clapped out and somehow I think unable to drive the next day. ................I hate turning down jobs....................


Had a strange call from one of the Agencies. Could I go to Reading and collect a car, take it home overnight and then the next day deliver it to a client in Leicester. Makes a change to driving lorries for this agency, initially it sounded like she wanted me to collect a tractor unit and I thought that in no way can I park it outside my house. A nice jaunt to Leicester was had but this is a definitive no no. If you purchase a car with built in satnav then I suggest that you rip it out and throw it in the bin.

Why I hear you ask, then I'll tell you. Punched in the address and off I went, going down the M3 and coming up to the junction with M25 I would have turned left to head for the M1 but this stupid thing tells me to go right and head for Gatwick. Possibly it wanted to take me all the way round the M25 to join the M1 but ignoring the directions till the last 20 miles made me feel much better. The trip home on the train was interesting, the last connection had no A/C and it was like being coped up in a very hot oven.


Paper Round

Got back from work on Friday and soon after the mobile went off. What are you up to this afternoon was the question from the agency. As nothing except shopping was planned I asked why, how would you fancy a trip down to Brighton. OK says I, so off I went armed with the details of the client and I dully collected a DAF CF, Auto.

Fully laden with photocopy paper, all in all 23 pallets of the stuff. On the trip down to Brighton the lorry handled like a flying brick and as I wasn't that surprised considering what I was carrying. A rough guess about 10T+ in weight.

Arrived in Brighton and had to find the place to drop off the goods, and found an interesting thing. When I entered the yard to get into the loading bay I had to go up hill and the lorry dully died on me. It would not go up this incline in normal gears so I had to revert to the 'crawl' gear.

Off loaded and set of home but as it was Friday I expected a solid jam on the M23 & M25, but guess what the M23 was clear and unfortunately most of the M25 wasn't. Crawling along to J11 I left that wonderful piece of roadway and headed of to Woking. Lorry in the yard, time sheet signed it was time to go home and enjoy a well earned beer.


The Great Pay Rate (Swindle)

Had a look at a few sites today and I have to admit that I'm shocked at the advertised rates. For Class1 they go as low as £7.50ph, averaging £9.00ph. Who is pocketing the remainder or have the rates really come down that much in this recession. I would tend to believe that the agency is slashing what it pays to the driver and are calling drivers offering these low rates to see who will actually go and work for them. Surely driving a vehicle weighing up to 44T is worth more than £7.50ph.

PS - Had a chat with another local agency and when asked about pay rates I was informed that 'our Class1 drivers are on £10ph', so the question of pittance pay by other agency's is still valid. Surely they are not helping themselves by offering such low rates of pay. Theoretically speaking if you offer low pay the quality of the worker might/will suffer.


Assessment - Part 2

Didn't materialise, the agency didn't call me with the details by the given time and so far not a squeak out of the agency. I emailed them asking if I might get paid for the first assessment but still no reply on that question either.


Phantom Jobs

Here is a question that might never be answered. As I've signed up to several 'jobs by email' boards I knew that there might be the odd duplicate but this is ridiculous. I keep getting the same jobs from all sites and in particular the jobs at Heathrow for 'Temp LGV1 Night Driver, LGV2 Multidrop Driver'. This has been going round for almost 6 weeks. Surely if they were genuine they would have been filled by now as the text in the advert is the same as the previous one. The agency informs the prospective candidate that 'if you don't hear from us you have been unsuccessful'. I wonder how many applicants(me included) have ever received a reply, I for one haven't. This is blatant lying and hoping to get as many drivers to reply to get them on their books without actually having a job to fill.

Another agency that I applied to asked me for my CV and contact number and since then nothing.

I honestly think that its about time that we in the driving industry started to Name & Shame these agency's, who seem to offer non existent jobs.


Assessment - The Result

Unfortunately a failure. Informed by the agency that at this time my reversing was a bit rusty and not knowing the gears let me down. For someone who hasn't driven that type of a lorry before with that gear split I don't think that I did that bad. However the client was otherwise impressed and would like to have me back when I can get my head round the reversing syndrome. Overall I must admit that I would be pushed to accept a job at around £3ph less than what I'm getting now.

Onward and upward to the next assessment on Monday, lets hope its not a Volvo.


Assessment - Part 1

Finished the assessment, will know either tomorrow or later on today how I did. I don't think that I did badly apart from trying to get round that d##n gearbox and slight bounce off the kerb while looking at the gear lever.

Drove a Volvo FM Euro5 and apart from the gears its a good lorry to drive, very comfortable and the cab and dashboard layout is well positioned. Again a first time with a rear steer wheels, sure made the trailer come round the corners fast.

As we left the paved track and turned on to one of the main road the evaluator took me round and round some roundabouts and than down some smaller streets. Then he took me to one of the sites that they collect from and believe you me the flies were wearing gas masks. But to get into this place I had to negotiate a very sharp and tight right turn over a small bridge covering a drainage ditch. That negotiated safely and driven into the facility I then had to do a blind side reverse into the hook up point.

That would have been completed in 2 shunts but as I didn't get the trailer close to the wall and couldn't swing the tractor unit out as a small building was in the way I had to do a few more shunts. Once in place we went back out again and getting out was even more fun. As the so called road leading to this facility is narrow and there being huge trees either side I had to drive almost to the hedge and then a hard left and watch that trailer. No scrapes and dents and back to the depot.

Reverse in and that was it.


OMG there is life

Had 2 calls today about some Class1 work. Both are very tempting but one stands out much more, it is much closer to me and seems to offer more variety. The other one being 1 hour away and only paying £9ph Mon-Fri with possible £12ph Sat-Sun still seems to be slightly out of reach and pocket. As I would have to leave my present employer for one of these jobs I have to weigh up my options very carefully. Tomorrow is the assessment day for one of them. Fingers crossed.


Here's food for thought. Applied for a Class1 job a few days ago via a web site newsletter. Today the recruiter called me and told me this. They are recruiting for a National Royal Mail contract and need drivers but as I'm already employed they couldn't second employ me so I would have to leave my present job and be employed by them. Only problem is that their contract is a 0 hour contract. You don't work you don't get paid. She also mentioned that they have more jobs than drivers so why she couldn't offer me an ad hoc job I don't know, but that is their policy.

She was quite happy to place me as a Class2 but as the pay is way below what I'm getting now it doesn't make sense to me to do this. They pay £8ph for day hours and £12ph night hours.

Seems to me that someone is either making a hell of a packet or the rates have seriously come down from last year as I was getting £9ph for Class2 work.

I've signed up to a few 'jobs by email' boards and lately they all seem to be chasing the same jobs over and over again. The Night Driver @ Heathrow has been making its rounds for almost a month and with different agencies, can't believe it hasn't been filled yet. This after some thought had me thinking that it could be s 'ghost' job.

We all or most of us use agencies at some time or other but trying to get a Class1 job they want to cross reference you either with the place that you worked or the agency that you worked for. The agency I'm happy to give them the name but the client's name is a nono as they would try to get themselves in there.


Almost but Not Quite

Had a call this morning from an Agency regarding some Class2 work and that is where it ended, no call back with details as to where to go. Called another Agency to whom I sent a reply for an advert for Class1 drivers and a very strange conversation took place between them and me. They received the application but as Monday is a Pay day they are busy doing that, surely a candidate is worth talking to a bit more than just a cursory answer. I understand that people have to be paid but if you have an advert running and people are responding to them wouldn't be prudent to allocate at least one person to deal with them. I was informed that they will be in touch in a few days.


Phones Ringing, But

Had a few calls from agencies but nothing concrete. I wonder if and how many jobs that they call with are genuine these days as the phrase 'You'll get a call tomorrow with details of work for next week' is starting to ring a bit hollow. I recon the usual knocking on doors will have to be reverted to.


All Quiet..........................

Well it's been very quiet so far, had one text about a possible position and just have to wait to see if I make the initial selection. Now this job would be great as its one of the hardest places to get into and the employer is willing to provide training. Here's hoping that it turns out well.


Hourly Pay

Had a trawl through a few agency's looking at what's available and it seems that slim pickings are on the cards. One major thing that surprised me (or not) is how much the agency is willing to pay the driver. Last year I was earning £9.00ph for Class2 work and now that is the hourly wage for Class1. As there are few jobs about I suppose any wage is better than none but such low hourly rate can only lead to the driver getting disheartened and thinking how much work he's putting in driving a large and expensive vehicle and the amount that he/she will be taking home at the end of the week. Lets hope that things really do improve and it happens soon.................


Are they or Aren't they

Are things slowly improving in the job market or am I hoping for too much. Had 3 calls from agency's to see if I was available for work, so I took the first one and hatefully had to turn down the others. Hate turning down work but can't drive 3 lorries at the same time. Also as I'm working full time I can't do too much as I don't want to infringe on my drivers hours and get into trouble with my current employer.


A few more calls

Had two more calls regarding some work, one was for Class2 and the other for Class1. Unfortunately as they were on Sunday and my weekly hours were almost maxed out I had to make a sad decision to turn both down. Would have preferred to take the Class1 but can't afford to go over my hours and not be able to perform my regular driving duties.


The First Assignment.............

Well today was the day, my first 'Live' drive in an Artic. Turned up at the site and almost had kittens, the trailer was a Double Decker, something that I wasn't expecting. Nothing to worry about I thought, reported to the office and got the details of the trip and the keys.

The Lorry was MAN TGX 26.440, on a 08 plate. 16ft 3in in height with a 50ft trailer. The vehicle checks carried out (one new thing, the cable housing is on a floating bracket instead in a fixed position), I went and explored the cab, very spacious and well laid out with all the controls at hand. Full A/C, Auto gearbox with D, Dm, R & Rm selections, very comfy seat and a sleeper cab just in case. As soon as the loader finished I set off.

Here's where the additional surprise came in, the Lorry was so quiet and comfy to drive, very responsive to controls. On the motorway it felt like the lorry was gliding. Negotiating the bends and roundabouts was pretty simple and even a few tight places were taken comfortably.

Arrived at destination 2 hours later and made a slight mess reversing but I got it in on the second attempt, once offloaded it was time to set off back.

Quick stop at South Mimms to fill up and take my 30 min Tacho break and off on the A1, M25 & M3 to get home, this process was slow as the usual Friday afternoon traffic and a serious accident on the other side at J14 caused serious tailbacks.

The other side tailed back to J9 according to the radio. Back at the depot another 'small' hash with reversing as someone parked their car in the wrong place and I had to squeeze the trailer between it and a forklift without pushing them out of the way with the trailer.

Locked up, keys in time sheet signed and that is is. I'm chuffed with myself as a first live trip went well without any problems. Here's to many more of the same.....................
Unfortunately I can't comment on any burger vans en route as I didn't manage to find any.


At last.......................

Got my first job in a Bendy, tomorrow I start at 9am driving a Class1 for one of the Agency's clients. Anxious and excited about being out on my own in an Artic. Will post the days travels when I finish the job.


Still quiet

The silence from the agencies and no replies from jobs applied for is scary, had a look at one job and there was 1700+ viewings for it. Tried a number of places again but the same reply of 'we're not recruiting at the moment & the vacancy has been filed' comes back.


The Dreaded Replies

A reply arrived for job that I've applied with TNT, unfortunately no joy and emails from Stobbard and Dentressangle arrived with similar replies. The latter weren't that informative about the rejection just stated that I've been unsuccessful. Oh well back to Plan X....................


2 Years or 6 Months

That is my question. Been calling around and in some places I get the 2 year answer and one agency told me that one of their major placements requires 6 months experience with an Artic. After chatting I asked her if she could have a word with the transport manager and see if she can get me an assessment, fair be it's 2 days but worth a try if the man agrees. All I have to do is wait and see what she says. There seems to be more emails from job sites arriving lately but still the majority are chasing the same jobs. Can't give up, something will turn up sooner or later with luck sooner.....................


Same old stuff.........

Been to an agency near Heathrow to register and provide all the usual documentation to prove who I am. Nothing happening that they could use me with immediate effect but who knows. Had a look in at Jan de Rijk's office and they aren't recruiting at the moment. One place was advertising for a driver which I found via Reed.co.uk but as soon as the advert went out (last Friday) it was filled. Even went to my local Job Centre to look on their computer, found a couple of prospects, one told me that I need a minimum of 1 year for their client. This is much better than the usual 2 years. The other agency will let me know by the end of the week as they are waiting for 'the client' to make decisions on assessment dates.

Something amazes me with the Job Centre, I specified the search area as Local and the vast majority of the results were either in the Midlands or even further up. So much for the Local filter search. Also the hourly rate was a bit paltry anything from £8 to 9.50 per hour, very few jobs broke the £10.00ph range.


The saga continues

Came back from making my rounds at Colnbrook nr Heathrow. Did the rounds of most places that have LHV's and nothing doing. The only place recuiting is Food Partners and that is for 7.5t work and the pay is about £8ph for 5on 2off. Almost everyone is hoping for a pick up at the end of this month as this drought can't continue(that's what I've been hearing all morning). One agency told me that last year they couldn't get enough drivers, they were so busy and now they are kicking their heels.

So here's to a speedy recovery in the Transport Sector...........................

The fun begins

Had a look at Watkins & Sole in Colnbrook after looking at most of the other yards, the job was OK with 4on, 4off but unfortunately the pay was not. Thought that it was a misprint. Had to decline the offer which was only a Class2 BTW.

My Test

Passed my test on 23 April on the Artic (C+E) with 5 Minor points. 1 for a reversing shunt, now that was my weak point and I thought that I'd lost it on the reversing as I couldn't see the central cone. But I did correct it and swung the trailer round got it to a almost perfect position but couldn't get it in the 'garage'. 4 while driving, the driving ones were as the examiner put it a bit too close to the kerb. I was told to make sure that I use all the space and stay away from them (kerbs), apart from that he was very happy with my driving and informed me to enjoy my new license and have 'fun' on the road. Now all I need is a job to gain experience, even an ad hoc job will do on my days off.