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.
ps - 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.
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.
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.
- Take a 7.5T to Finsbury Square in London and leave it there.
- Collect a fully laden 7.5T and bring it back to the site.
- 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.
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.
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.