I’ve been a little slack on updates over the last couple of weeks. This is partly due to being trashed from the constant fifty hour plus weeks i’m working, but the blame also lies with the rather fantastic GTA IV which has seen me rarely turning off the xbox 360 – sad I know, but it’s very addictive.
So, what’s been happening? Well, two weeks ago my allocated run was Salford Shopping Centre and then a local run to Alfreton to finish up.
There was plenty of time on the run so I just took it steady up the A1, over the M62 and onto the M602 into the town. The Salford shop is accessed by going up a ramp onto the roof of the shopping centre, passed a god-forsaken tower block and round some very tight bends indeed to get to the shop. Clearance is down to inches in places but I just crawled through in second gear and it was doable…just.
After a couple of runs I was getting bored of the M62, but it’s worth mentioning a surreal moment I had whilst coming down from Saddleworth Moor into Manchester. You know when you’re on a landing plane and the pilot has cut the engines? You just glide in with an occasional bit of reverse-thrust to slow the plane down. It’s eerily silent sometimes. Well I could have sworn I’d been transported into a plane – the sound inside the wagon was identical, and when I used the engine brakes it sounded just like the reverse thrust – very strange indeed!
To stave off the motorway boredom I started using the Woodhead Pass instead. I was actually quite gripped about it the first time as I can remember scaring myself silly coming down the Woodhead in the wet in a fully laden 7.5 tonner with no engine brakes. I needn’t have worried though, it was fine and cut a good twenty minutes off the journey time. The only problem I had was on one night when I forgot to turn right at the Langsett roundabout on the return journey and ended up heading towards a low bridge. Luckily there was zero traffic around and I found a lane to turn around in.
The Alfreton run was pretty steady and the shop staff gave me a brew every morning which as a nice friendly touch and the only shop that’s done it so far. The reverse out is a tricky blindside around the shop with some low walls to catch you out but with the shop staff acting as banksmen and women, it was all good.
Coming back from Alfreton meant mixing it with the early morning rushour traffic and it was strange seeing people smoking their first tab of the day, doing last minute lipstick in the mirror and looking grumpy as I was headed back to my bed.
The following week was a run to Colchester in Essex. A bit of a boring run really, three and half hours on dual carriageway and motorway with only a little bit of interesting A road to add interest.
The first night as I was leaving the yard Security decided to do a cab search on me – that’s four times I’ve been searched so far – one bag search, the cab search and two van searches as I was leaving for home. I’m not sure what would really be worth stealing from Wilkos but it must happen and I guess i’m a new face at the place.
The week was pretty uneventful really apart from one night where me and the other Canute driver were stuck at the shop – we couldn’t get in due to parked cars and a broken down Iceland wagon. After an hour and a half the Iceland recovery van came out, fixed the wagon and we could carry on.
On one night of the week I also had to run from Colchester down to a firm called G.W.S. who were just the other side of the Dartford tunnel to pick up a back-load. I found the firm easily but due to the security guard being asleep I was parked up in front of some big steel gates for ages. Assuming I had the wrong location I went off looking for it and after half an hour phoned transport to get them to ring the firm for directions. Turns out the guard was often asleep so a few blasts on the horn woke him up and I could get to my job. Half an hour to load up using forklifts and a pallet truck and I headed home, stopping to sleep in Cambridge services for a while.
All in all, not a bad week and with fifty four hours I get a bit of overtime bonus.
I also had my first good Vemis score – no faults in two weeks which means I guess i’m driving smoothly enough now. I went straight into the top ten over over two hundred drivers. Nice. It doesn’t mean much really because I reckon a lot of people just ignore it and drive how they want, but I like to be smooth anyway, so it’s all good.
One night off and I start the week tonight with a long run out to Great Yarmouth. It’s a pain really but at least I get a long weekend next week….