Oh yes, at last I've had the dubious pleasure of pulling a 16ft 2in trailer. Yesterday had a job to go to Kings Cross Mail Centre, every man and his uncle was out on the roads. Haven't seen so many cars on the A40 for ages. First I had to get this monstrosity of the trailer through the Hanger Lane bridge, unfortunately I couldn't as it's way too big, so a small detour of over the bridge was needed. Once I got to the end of the overpass the traffic just stopped, all the tourists milling around by Baker Street and M. Tuessauds. When I got to my first drop and found out where I needed to back in I was duly informed that the wagon already on the bay would be taking all the mail. Great, wasted journey. Then down to Greenford Mail Centre, the long way round as the bridge just off the A40 is too small for me to get under.

Then back to PRDC and unload and then load up for Langley. Hard work loading a Double Decker with all those yorks. Back to the yard, unload and drop trailer. To be honest the 16ft 2in Double Decker is not as bad as I thought, as long as the wheels are the normal size it's OK. Have to take things careful like at roundabouts and corners obviously, but overall not bad


I recon I've beaten my record for waiting to be unloaded. This morning I arrived in Milton Keynes and booked in the transport ofice, on the bay by 09:00 and the last box was removed by 13:00. All by hand, trailer load of boxes (700), glad it wasn't me. Got one beef with that town, way too many roundabouts and people undercutting me at every opportunity, maniacs all of them. Had an actros today, really getting to like them. One problem is that the computer keeps throwing up errors which are not an error as such but a software glitch. Today the computer told me that the Unit wasn't level, but it was and it drove OK, still the light was on all the time on the dashboard.


Mind numbing stuff, 6 hours of induction and Health & Safety stuff. No matter which site it is it's always the same stuff but I suppose it has to be done so that the company can say it has been done. At the same time they are covering their back side if something happens.


Had an assessment at a large parcel company, first time I've pulled a rear steer trailer. Got to admit I do like it especially the reversong as all it takes is a little lock and it slots nicely onto a bay.


How to piss of a driver and screw up his work. Had a so-called long term contract which started last week. It sort of started on Monday but then they decide that they want to see us first and see what we look like before working. Turned up on the first day, no one knew we were coming, then we had to drive to Addlestone to have photos taken for Id's. First days pay 2 hours, nothing on Tuesday as the start date was put back till Wednesday. Started on Wednesday and had issues with the lorry, namely tyres. Fitter got called out and when he spoke to me over the phone he was let’s say less than polite. When I arrived back at the site from a different job in a 7.5T the fitter started to spew out a torrent of abuse at me.

Don't need this at that time in the morning, after taking this crap for a few minutes I turned around and said 'don't speak to me like that, I’m off home', Walked away and got my phone to call the agency when the girl in charge comes running over and asks me 'not to go home'. To be honest I wasn't going to but felt so pissed of that I had to say something. Worked there all week and was told to come back today, get a call last night telling me not to come in on Monday. This morning was told that it's cancelled.

What do these people think they are, if that woman expects me to stand there and take verbal abuse from a fitter and do nothing. One minute they are all smiles and praise and then a stab in the back. Well pissed of as I’ve turned down assignments for this week. She lost the initial contract due to some problems with drivers and now I see why.

Lets see how things go from here, old lorries, couldn’t find a trailer, no fuel cards, etc, etc.


Bit of seriously posh work, or so I thought. Had to go to Guildhall in London to do a bit of work but as usual with this company nothing is as simple as its supposed to be. They have been catering to a SuperYaht Awards Ceremony. I've been retained as a driver so the usual things associated apply. Turns up yesterday just before midnight and a surprise is sprung. Could you go and cover up and stack the chairs, collect the plates, napkins and cutlery. 'You what?', sorry mate the job entails a driver and I’ll do just that, not been told of anything else so unfortunately I can't be a general dogsbody. We can't load the lorry till 2am as that’s when all this finishes, was the reply. So I waited, along the time I went and checked out where the lorry is and low and behold an artic pulls up and I'm told that we've got to load that first and then my lorry will be loaded.

What the hell, can't sit around and watch so i gave a hand, 500 bleeding chairs along with thousands of cutlery and glasses. My legs felt and still do feel like lead. Loaded the artic and then started to load mine. Managed to leave just before 5am and get back to Hampton before 6am. Its amazing how busy London is at 6am on a Sunday, went past Charing Cross and a club must have closed, loads of scantilly clad ladies walking home. Home and feeling like death warmed up. Won't be doing anything like this in a hurry.


What's the beef with the Horseshoe at Heathrow, this morning it was just OK to do the job but this afternoon. That was another matter, there seems to be more wagons there then the place is able to accommodate. Took me a few drives around to even find a spot to park up and then once I got positioned to back on some prat in a sprinter decided that he'd take it. Should have kept backing up and made him move. Then there's the reversing thing, today I just couldn't back on to a bay without shunting, except when I got back to the yard. All this and no A/C in the cab, bloody baking in there and whey you have to wait your turn. Somebody needs to seriously redesign Heathrow sheds and soon.


Been hanging around Heathrow for the past 2 days, yesterday in a rigid and to be honest it was all I needed. No huge collections from the sheds but small and smaller. The collections averaged 2 boxes and the longest thing was the waiting in the parking bays before loading up. Today for a change I had my usual wagon, the artic finally received its trailer and after a few teething bits I went forth to do my pickups. This was a bit weird as the largest pick up was 6 boxes. It seems such a waste to use this, as it surely must burn up more fuel than anything else and the cost effectiveness can't be that much. To be quite frank I don't see why we need to use Artics in the horseshoe, a full rigid would be much more effective, that place is so tight in most places it's nearly impossible to back onto a bay without shunting. The queues even to get to the place are getting worse, not to mention the state of the roads.


Had a look in the sheds of my new contract, its meant to be a long term thingy so they wanted to see us before we all start. Lost 2 days of work as was supposed to start on Monday but now its Wednesday, never mind, the weather is great. Looks like I’m going to be doing Import collections from all over Heathrow, should be interesting. The horseshoe is something to experience but can be a long a laborious wait. The good thing is that the hourly rate is good and paid breaks.


Ok, it was bound to happen sooner or later and it happened yesterday. Had to couple up to a Double Decker so the usual things, backed on had a look and oh sugar, that looks a bit close to the widow of the unit. Got out and checked and I missed the king pin. The trailer was a tad too high and I buggerd up. Had to raise the trailer to get out and then heard a horrible hissing noise. The emergency pipe was leaking air so another unit was required. Once all the hassle was sorted I set off to Nine Elms, no clear map so punched into the sat nav and looked on the route to make sure that I had all the route planned. Went through Earls Court and boy was it interesting, not something I'd like to do on a regular basis. Once in Nine Elms I wish someone would place a few more signs as to where to back on for collection. Back to PRDC, this time via the South Circular, lots of easier roads and much more doable for an Artic. Interesting duty to be honest, next time if I get this I’ll make sure that I don't go through almost Central London.


What was supposed to be a quick job turned out to be something else. The place is just of the A331/Aldershot roundabout or so I thought. Sorry mate the wagon is in the other depot, here's the post code. Off I go and the post code lands me smack in the middle of Glaziers Lane, nothing here that resembles a business park. A quick call to the agency and the firm calls back, sorry mate you're in the wrong place, here's how to get to us' At least when I got there a decent wagon was there. Down to Gosport to collect a trailer load of stuff for a courier company. Thought it might be mail/packages but it turned out to be something for the likes of 3663 and JJ Foods. Got to the site and told to park up and wait till a bay becomes free, well over an hour of waiting and then glory be a free bay. Time for a quick coffee me thinks, so off I go to the canteen and I decided on a soup instead. The machine must have had one of those days, even though I pressed the soup button a coffee came out. What the heck its warm and wet. Loading took ages and when I finally managed to get going it was well after the time that I was supposed to be back in Pirbright. On the way back a quick stop in Winchester services to give the wagon a drink of diesel, bloody hell £400 to fill it up and then a slight fun with the card. In the yard and after turning round and driving in I had the most wonderful of experiences, blind side reversing into the warehouse. Not so easy this time as the yard (if you can call it that) had the usual bits of bins, pallets etc littered everywhere. Finally in the warehouse, for a tight blind side it wasn’t bad, now I know why I hate them.


Had a job offer today, went to see this company a while back and it looked really good. Unfortunately I've declined the offer. Driving an artic is a lot of responsibility and after going through the training and gaining experience I think that a reasonable wage should be paid to the driver. Unfortunately £7.77 per hour is not reasonable in my opinion. To be honest how can a haulage company justify paying a driver who drives a lorry worth ‘loads’ and hauling goods worth the same that kind of money. I hate turning down a full time job but I just couldn’t afford to work there. I used to get the same money working for Sainsburys a few years back driving a Sprinter van on Home Delivery.
The day that almost never was, no one knew if I'd be driving for this client today, that was till the last minute yesterday. A trip to Havant to a pharmaceutical company with 51 pallets of flat packed boxes. As I was ambling down the A3 I realised that I’ve been there before but with a different client. Nice, on the bay and off to the canteen for a breakfast that has got to be the cheapest around. The receiving chaps told me that I’d be there for a few hours so I thought a leisurely breakfast and a few hours of R&R would be just the ticket. 'You're off loaded drive' tells me one of the boys as he sits down to have his breakfast, bloody hell that was quick. It took them less than half an hour to get all the pallets of the trailer, no rush though, had my eggs and bacon and went to get the wagon. Got back to the yard at around 10am and guess what, a White Van man for the next run, few local drops and home by 2pm. Weird driving a van after an Artic.


So much for today, looked like a nice and easy day till I had to go to Eastleigh to do another delivery. Got to the site and the tacho showed 4hrs 20min of driving time. Time for the break, where I thought. All the bits of the road on the estate that didn't have double yellow lines were taken and the roads to the m3 all had double yellow lines. Can’t stay on the bay as there is only one. Where in gods name do you stop legally for a break, had no choice but to go to Winchester Services, made it there with driving time of 4hrs 46min. It will show up as an infringement, with luck nothing more serious than that.


Easy Monday, about 5 drops but majority are close together. The exception is Wokingham, to get where I need to be I could go via the most direct route but there is just one tiny snag. Someone put a bridge on the route which my unit and trailer wouldn't fit under. A slight detour has to be made but never mind a drive around the centre of Wokingham will do me good. Got to admit that the people at the last delivery have got things sorted out, the first thing I was asked was if I wanted a cuppa. Need to deliver there more often.


Thank god its Friday, so an early finish should be in order. First delivery in PO postcode, so I turned up at 07:45 and the back door man tells me ‘sorry drive, can’t tip you till 9am, but then I have a course for half an hour so it will be 09:30'. Oh well never mind, in the cab, heater on and 40 winks was had. Of loaded and of to the next one, just down the road, then to Wimbourne and after that would you believe back to Bognor Regis for the last load. Not the best planned route but had no choice in the matter, back home and home for the weekend. Back with them next week for a few days. Got to be honest the Iveco that I had this week is not a bad motor, didn’t used to like them but its kind of growing on me.


Love the seaside, on my way there to swap a trailer I had to drop some goods in this farm complex. Went past the turning and it looked mighty tight so decided to go past it and stop to ask for alternative (if possible) route. Couldn’t find a single lay-by, and to add to the road layout someone designed it with close islands which were off centre and had sloping entrance and exit points. Bloody great design this. Got round and drove into this road thinking that a ‘stuck’ scenario will be appearing anytime soon but no, the road opened up nicely. On the way to swapping the trailer the local Police kindly blocked off the road that I needed to turn on to, why, because a tanker had slid of the road and there was loads of flashing lights to help him on his way.

On the way home I saw an old ‘friend’ on the hard shoulder. The pheasant that I spotted a few weeks ago or possibly one of his relations. He was happily walking on the hard shoulder oblivious to everything except the important act of finding food. Brave bird.


Ok, what gives here, has somebody forgotten something very important here or is it just plain stupidity. Driving to my second drop in Blacknest I turned of at the Bentley ramp and went down an average size B road. Trundling my artic round a tight bend I came to a grinding halt. Low and behold a bridge appeared out of nowhere and a bloody low one to boot. This thing was 11ft 3in high and me with a 15ft 3in high unit and trailer. Something’s wrong here my head screamed, nowhere had this bridge been marked, neither on the road, map nor on my satnav. I do have all the truck heights, weights, etc on it and the wagon height and weight was set before I set of this morning. Oh well nothing to do but to go back so some careful reversing down a small residential road with the locals watching intensely my manoeuvres.

Back to the A31 and called the office to see what options there were, they gave me a diversionary route to get to this place. Would you believe it 10 bloody miles. When I got to the drop and had a chat with the people there they told me that this happens a lot and other drivers had the same problem. Would you believe it there is a very simples way to get there, now that I know where they are. Very simple way, through the Farnham bypass and up the A325, Simples when you know how.


Been down a road that I used to frequent on a regular basis when I did a stint for 3663, the A264 is just the perfect place to take an artic. Some places are nice and tight and with bright sunlight head on it makes for interesting driving. Then onward to Sunbury and then Stanwell Moor to a nursery, just off the J14 on the M25. I didn't realise there was a business there so was a bit concerned about taking the wagon down the slip road but hey presto a Plant Nursery springs up. The last drop was just on the outskirts of Slough and when I got to the 'turning' I thought no way will it fit in there. A slight detour to the roundabout and back on myself, now I can get in there without using a crow bar. Bloody tight for a packaging company to have a delivery to, just managed to get round the corner without ripping up the grass and the fence posts. Wouldn't fancy delivering there after dark.


Had an interview on Thursday for a full time job. Looks like the job is something decent and company looks OK but there is one slight problem. You've guessed it, the wages, just couldn't believe a hourly rate of £7.77 for days and a £9.27 for nights. There are few other allowances but I just don't get it, we drive 44T wagons, which are not cheap, and the goods are also worth a bit. Why pay us a wage that I used to earn in Sainsburys driving Sprinters, and that was over 3 years ago. Is there such a glut of drivers that companies are just taking the proverbial with wages, surely the responsibility of driving an artic should be fairly compensated.

Having said that even the agency rates have come down, 2 years ago i was getting £9ph for driving Class2 and now the same rate is applied for a Class1, with a slight cut for the smaller class of lorry.