Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:51 am Post subject: September Steps w.e. 15th
The weeks are getting more frantic as both Swedefest and my excursion creep ever nearer.
How soon can you start doing last minute stuff as I seem to have been doing it for a month now? _________________ Squarepeg ()
Joined: Nov 01, 2003 Posts: 11916 Location: Just trucking about
Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:32 am Post subject:
A quality last minute job can never be started too early
Its been a hectic week....
Monday: First drop back from holiday takes me into Greenford, and a simple through the back doors job. Next up is Hayes, and what turns out to be a new customer to me, handily located just round the corner from another customer I already knew. Being on an industrial estate within an industrial estate and having an allergy to signage didn't make them the easiest to find, but it was a nice morning for a walk while I sussed out the lay of the land. Into Southall next, and two deliveries with limited access. The first requires a tight blindside reverse between cars to get into, whilst the second needs every inch pinching to get the trailer round a corner at the back of the estate. With several looks to see where the trailer was and no help from the audience I slotted into the first without too much bother. Sadly being pleased with my efforts there meant I turned the wrong way out, and wound up going the very narrow way round to Southall number two . Fortunately for me there was someone sitting in the car which was my biggest problem on a bend, they moved up a fraction, I squeaked through and got into the customer. Now the fun began as I'd come in one way and several other lorries had come in the other. With a bit of too ing and fro ing everyone got to where they needed to be, and another delivery left the trailer. My final stop in Southall went like a dream, as you drive in one side of the premises and exit the other, so I ran up to Alperton, got the biggest tip of the day off the trailer, then trundles round to Park Royal to await my booking time for the final drop of the day. This delivery, unlike most of our London jobs, runs fairly strictly to time, so I got the chance to sit and watch them work for an hour or so until it was my turn, then head for home.
Tuesday: Another day, more time within the M25. Beginning with a visit to Waltham Abbey, then a quick stop down the road in Enfield before running into Edmonton, and an empty loading bay. This was a relief as my last visit to this customer got me a parking ticket as the estate is now monitored by CCTV . Single pallets to Walthamstow and Hackney don't take too much getting rid of, but my second Hackney drop poses a problem. Roadworks have closed the normal route in, leaving me with a couple of narrow or weight limited options to chose from. I chose narrow, and after a shunt to get the trailer round the camel humps on the end I'm outside the delivery, along with four more lorries and an unhappy traffic warden . The number of people in the queue to tip, and the grumpy ticket tout meant hanging around wasn't an option, so after a quick call to HQ to advise them of the situation I made a swift exit via the weight limited route, as it was the only one available. One delivery round the corner from Pentonville clink later I return to Hackney. Now the narrow access I'd used before is impassable due to parked cars, and theres still a queue to tip . Limited time left on the tacho means the decision is taken to abort the job and I head back to base.
Wednesday: For todays mission I have a cunning plan, but I need to get a pallet shifted down the trailer to make it work. With the load redistributed to suit my ideas, its off to West Drayton, then along to Isleworth. Southall is next, but getting there gets complicated. A serious accident has closed one of the main roads through Southall, and by the time I find the closure my only option is to take the same right turn as every one else is and cross my fingers. That road was narrow but perfectly passable, the problem is the junction at the end is no wider . Sizing it up I reckon its possible, just, which is handy because backing up isn't an option with all the traffic behind me. Pulling forward as far as I dare before putting any lock on gives the parked cars most chance of remaining unscathed, although the hedge I'm brushing against is dripping all over me, then its three very small shunts to edge the unit around a lamp post in the road I'm turning into, then inch forward to pull the trailer round, missing the same lamp post by not very much at all, but also not hitting the building on the inside of the turn. The absence of any shouting from my audience means I've missed the cars as well, and I heave a massive sigh of relief and head round to the delivery. Greenford next, then up to Wembley, and a short pause whilst they finish loading one of their own before I can get out again. Nothing going quite as easily as I'd like today, so the cunning plan has to be ditched, meaning the pallet I got moved this morning is now in the way as I eave Wembley and run back to do three in Park Royal. Two go quickly, with my timing being so good at the first that the delivery before me leaves the parking spot within minutes of my arrival, and the second having an empty yard for me to reverse into for once, but the third is the sticklers, and they're going to make me wait as usual. All of these little hiccups mean that the pallet which has been shifted up and down the trailer through out the day goes home with me, as the clock denies me the time to get it off.
Thursday: Yesterdays shenanigans meant I only got as far as the village lay by, so once back in the yard I need to tip the failed delivery and swap trailers before setting a course for High Wycombe. Here there is a queue and a staff shortage, so after an hour I'm pulled out and sent on my way to Egham. Ninety minutes and twelve pallets later Newbury is the destination, and we've another queue. Another ninety minutes, another four pallets gone, but yet again the tacho is calling time on my efforts and its homeward bound we must go with a Reading delivery still on the trailer .
Friday: Yesterdays finish time dictates todays start time, so I'm late for my Crick delivery, and today they're being firm on booking times so its refused. Hang on there says HQ, we'll make some calls. Some calls were made, and three hours later I was called and asked to bring it back . Drop that back at Guyhirn, bob tail down to a customer store in March and collect a full load to Spalding. Run that across, wait patiently for shift change to happen, get tipped and get back to base ready for the weekend _________________ Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
Its about learning to dance in the rain.
It's been a quiet week at the 'Blu Oval,' Both Tuesday and Thursday being cancelled at four hours notice. Not really sure how that equates with me having to provide my availability upto 22 days in advance, and listen to the moaning and groaning if you change any of that availability.
Sunday started with the usual 'death of a forest' and to be honest pretty pointless form filling and photocopying of both sides of driving licence, DQC and Digi Card. Never sure why they insist in photocopying the chip side of a Digi Card, surely it needs to go in a card reader to download the data. We go through this waste of 20 minutes every week, allegedly it demonstrates 'compliance,' although I'm sure it just keeps somebody in a job shuffling paper and the sales of filing cabinets up.
Rant switch set to 'off' position and we're checking out a three axle poverty spec Mercedes Actros for a run to Burton On Trent. In my book it's not a 'proper' Actros because it has the narrow cab so in reality it's a rebadged Axor with an auto gearbox. Get to Burton and have a 45 minute break on the loading bay whilst the warehouse staff load something on the trailer. Then it's off up the A50 and the M6 to Charnock Richard services to meet the man coming down from Coatbridge. As I pass under the junction south of Charnock I clock my man on the overbridge. By the time I've parked in the services and wound the trailer legs down he's arrived and we swap paperwork and trailers. I cannot be bothered to take a break at Charnock but I'm not going to get back to Beeston in the driving time remaining so it's off the M6 at the Knutsford junction and a break at Poplar. Fortified by a pasty and energy drink it's a short trip through the M6 roadworks; the sign tells me they'll be done by March next year, personally I'm not holding my breath. Then it's the A50 back to the M1 junction and Remembrance Way (A453) up to Clifton, Nottingham. For those of you that don't know the name Remembrance Way was chosen as the road number matched the number of UK armed forces who lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, rather sad really. No sooner than the road had been named than the total increased by one, a soldier who had been in a coma since being injured in Afghanistan succumbed to his wounds. All rather depressing and simply reminds me that the trials and tribulations we face; traffic congestion, breakdowns, office staff, RDC delay, stroppy goods in or out staff all pales into insignificance when you're dodging bullets or shrapnel.
Philosophising over and we're arrived at Monday. Two trips to Burton on Trent and ages spent in the driver jail (sorry, I meant to say 'waiting room'). The journeys were run of the mill apart from the number of car drivers that appear to have decided that stopping for red traffic lights is now 'optional.' In some cases it was fortunate for them that an auto Actros acceleration time from a standing start is measured in days rather than seconds.
Tuesday was a 'day off,' so caught up with some sleep and jobs around the house. The late afternoon was spent doing chores down the field, the advantage of there not being much grass for Bertha and Monty to consume is that there is less to pick up with the barrow. The downside to this is that we'll have to start feeding hay soon and that has gone up in price this year due to the very soggy spring and arid summer.
Wednesday and I'm Holyhead bound with a trailer for Dublin. The preferred route from Beeston is over to the M6 north Stoke junction via the A453, A50 and A500. Little tip if you're going north on the 500 from the 50. When you go round the roundabout select the left hand of the two lanes, it's posted for Stoke. When you come down the slip onto the A500 you now have a good long run to build up speed and merge onto the 500. If you opt for the right hand lane you have a stupidly short slip road with fast moving traffic on your outside, resulting in plenty of paint swapping opportunities. The sat nav tells me to take the M6 and A56 but I like following the A500 and then the A51 through Nantwich and onto Chester. The scenery is more interesting, you stay awake due to the bends and junctions and there's about two minutes difference in the journey times. If you time it right at Broughton, near Chester, you'll see the Guppy coming into land with stuff for the Airbus factory. Along the A55 and it's a lovely sunny day so we can play spot the new hidey places for North Wales traffic cops; give you a clue they're usually junction on-slips where you cannot see them until it's too late. But, I'm a good boy really, so they're content to stay on their perches. Trailer swap on the docks and the first one I find for the return leg of the journey has no working lights. Now, on the Actros both the N&S leads now terminate in the single ISO type connector on the tractor so gone is the old trick of turning the leads around, which often cured the issue. Examination of the N plug on the Suzy showed all was well, but found the problem when I looked in the trailer socket. The earthing pin was missing. Reported the issue to the office so they can get it repaired but explaining what the actual issue was like trying to discuss the theory of Schrodinger's Cat with Bertha my horse. The return journey from Holyhead was the reverse of the route out with a tractor and grain trailer thrown in for entertainment just outside Nantwich. Good Man pulled into a lay-by as there are very few places to overtake them when you're in a 430 Actros.
Thursday was a repeat of Tuesday although I did tea for my dearly beloved; BBQ rib-eye steak, chips and corn on the cob followed by fresh raspberries and Cornish clotted cream. There was wine as well and it would have been rude to bbq without a cheeky Staropemen.
Friday was another journey to Holyhead, although this time the traffic was bad on the way out and I decided with 5 minutes driving time left the Holyhead truckstop was where I needed to be. After my 45 minutes it was down onto the docks, a journey that took 12 minutes so my decision was vindicated. Actually 'chaos control' are pretty cool about such things, so long as you ring them and tell them. Dropped the trailer and then sat for 15 minutes to let the traffic from the just docked boat clear before going to collect my return trailer. Couldn't see the point in sitting in a slow moving queue and risking driving time on the way back. Trailer located, lights working and I'm off into the dimming light back towards Beeston. Must be something about Friday nights that encourages all the hobgoblins onto the roads. Perhaps the rain didn't help either.
Finally Saturday and a day of doing little jobs around the house. I like little jobs as you can have a sense of satisfaction when they're successfully completed. Replaced number plate lights on the Mondeo with LED ones, no more blown bulbs and as I'll be keeping the car some time they almost make economic sense. Replaced the front passenger seatbelt on the Shogun as Maggie (our rescue Rottie) had decided to chew through it a couple of weeks ago. It could have been an expensive option but e-bay came up with a 2nd hand unit for under £30 which did the job. My new carpet washer arrived curtesy of DPD and AO.com and was soon pressed into service on the living room carpet. It's been down for about 12 years and has been the subject of abuse from Maggie recently, you should have seen the colour of the water ugh!! Finally it was replace the wheelnuts on the Mondeo. The Ford OE ones have a separate stainless cap on the nut which takes them to 19mm. Unfortunately the caps have a habit of falling off making the nut difficult to remove. Cue another e-bay purchase of some solid ended nuts with a conical washer fitted to them. Even with a 3 foot breaker bar taking the old nuts off was an issue then came the shock of putting the new ones on, Ford specify a clamping force of 140nm. That's pretty high as most cars are around 90-100 nm, well if that's what Mr Ford wants that is what he gets although the sweating involved did justify a couple of pints in the local afterwards!!
Congratulations if you made it this far, bet you cannot wait for next weeks' exciting episode
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