So, the one day of agency work turned out to be a 7.5 tonne job for Bacton Transportation.
I've worked for them before and it is really enjoyable work. Basically you get a truck full of palletised goods and you get sent out to deliver them to homes and businesses alike. Most of the drops are relatively local...in and around Suffolk but I have been as far as Norfolk in the past. Unloading the truck is either done by fork lift or in the case of private homes by myself with the use of the on board pump truck and tail lift. The platform of the tail lift on this particular truck is slightly faulty in a way that instead of being level actually slopes downwards ever so slightly. This makes getting heavy pallets off the truck pretty hair raising as the load tends to run away from you. On one of my other assignments with this company I was delivering a pallet of coffee beans to a coffee shop in Woodbridge. As I was steering the pallet on to the tail lift it started rolling away from me and before I knew it it had fallen off the tail lift and into the road taking the pump truck with it. Luckily no one was walking behind the truck at the time otherwise it could have been catastrophic. A passer by sarcastically commented "well that's one way of getting it off!" Since that day I have always taken extra care and at the first sign of the pallet running away from me I press the lever on the pump truck which quickly lowers the pallet stopping it dead in its tracks.
Once all the deliveries are done I am then given collection jobs where the lorry is re-filled with pallets of goods at various locations to go back to the depot for onward transportation.
On my return to the yard one of the managers was asking me how I'd got on and I said I wouldn't mind doing this job full time permanently. He said that I would need to wait till after Christmas and then give him a call and he might be in a position to offer me a job. The only thing putting me off is the 30 miles there and 30 miles back every day...300 miles per week. Don't know if I fancy that.
So to this week. One of the other agencies I am registered with offered me two solid weeks work driving a 7.5 tonner for a plumbers merchant on Ransomes Europark.
I turned up at 7.30am on Monday morning and was shown the ropes by one of the old hands called Mal. The vehicle's compulsory safety check is done via a hand held device (ePod) and is quite comprehensive. As a lot of the deliveries are to building sites, I have to have a hard hat. There's one in the truck but they also gave me a baseball cap with company logo and a built in hard hat. Quite nifty actually and I don't mind wearing it all day even though I am having the mickey taken by my so-called mates.
The work is delivering plumbing supplies all over Suffolk and part of Norfolk. Nine out of ten times it's to a house where a plumber is at work and the stuff I deliver is for that particular job. Complete heating systems including radiators, copper pipes and the boiler are a daily occurence as are toilets and sinks but I am yet to deliver a bath tub.
Today was the toughest day out of the three I've done so far as some of the orders got mixed up and I drove away from places not having delivered the full order because of my inexperience on the job. The last delivery I did to a building site in Haughley was a bit of a disaster. I missed the turning and automatically took the next one which was partially blocked by cars and vans. While squeezing through a gap with a van on one side and a tree on the other the tree lost the battle and lost several large branches.
As I arrived at the site there was no sign of the plumbers I needed to deliver to so I had to ring their company who in turn called them out to me. There were two fully loaded pallets of 500kg worth of plumbing kit each. The tail lift on this truck, an Iveco Eurocargo, is half as wide again as the Bacton truck and is also level so manoeuvering these oversized pallets onto it is not a problem at all. Once both pallets were off the plumbers started dismantling them in order to check all the goods were there and in good condition. They discovered two sinks were cracked and promptly put them back on the truck and also gave me a lot of other odds and ends that they said were not the right parts. I'm supposed to enter all these problems into the ePod but I haven't really been showed the finer points of working them so I just say that I'm an agency driver and don't know how they work...that generally gets me out of any pickles!
Tomorrow is day 4 at this job and I actually look forward to getting up at 6.30 every morning to see if I can do a better job than the day before.
Check back soon for more updates.
Take Care out there.