0445hrs Monday 13th August, I arrive in the Kersey Freight yard in Hadleigh,Suffolk. I meet up with our other driver the Welsh wonder that is Geraint Richards, we do our daily checks, I chuck my bits in K19 KFL and we leave the yard just after 0500hrs. An easy drive down to Dover and we arrive in time for a busy 0825hrs sailing to Calais with P&O. We were the last 2 trucks on the sailing and I have to say that I did wonder if I was going to fit on, but it seems that there is always space on the channel ferries for another one! If you look below you can see the ferry door just behind the trailer and the man with the yellow vest on the ferry who guides you on had to see me through the gap as my mirrors were folded in. As it goes the man who waves you on and off these ferries must have the easiest job in the world as it seems he is the same as the bloke at the airport with the table tennis bats who waves the planes in and out, the biggest spotters in the world!!
Off the ferry and away down the A16 A1 to Paris, its about 3 1/2 hours. Fairly uneventful ride down, lots of spotting and lots to see once your join the A1. The A26 is fairly quiet, but the A1 is used by all the Dutch and Belgians, it is almost an I-Spy book of international show trucks. There are always trucks you recognise from the big Truck Shows. A few British trucks, some drivers even still give you a quick wave which is nice. My delivery was just off the Motorway at Aubervilliers, so nothing to taxing. I pulled into the yard only to be greeted by a 20ft container on the unloading bay, but luckily for me he was nearly finished, so I sat in the truck for 10 minutes until it was time for me to get on the bay. Still 10 minutes is long enough for the yard dogs to p*ss up all 10 wheels on truck and trailer……Welcome to Paris!
Just about 2 hours later I was tipped, the reload came through, loading from Feignies near Maubeuge up on the Belgian French border. I needed to get my skates on as time was beginning to run out, well it looking ahead it was running out, and being in mind I still had to get out of Paris. It’s amazing to see that in such a huge international city as Paris, there are real proper slum areas. I mean real slums, cardboard and plastic bags for houses, scrap cars burnt out, pallets are like gold dust for walls and always disappear from yards if they are left out. Any way I make it to Feignies and park just over the road from my load point the following morning. Day 1 done and about 750km under my belt, the longest day of the week. The biggest problem of parking up later than the rest is the lack of choice, so I had the pleasure of parking next to 3 fridges all running on constant, lovely especially as it was to hot to shut the windows.
The next morning I was due to load at 10am French time, so I checked in at the office for 0950. I was told all 26 pallets were over the road at the other warehouse. Arriving at the other warehouse there were 2 trucks in front. ” hours later I was still waiting. Finally my time arrived so I was about to back on the bay when a TSA truck pulled in and straight on the bay. I had by now so being the office boy I am I used my contacts and phoned the managers at the the load point and gave them a piece of my mind they are the first to be on the phone to us when one of our trucks is 30 mins late. TSA removed I back on the bay. 2 pallets are loaded on from the warehouse the I have to wait 15 minutes for the rest of the load to come from the original factory where I checked some 3 hours earlier. Paperwork done by the delightful Magdalena and I was off. 2 and a bit hours back to Calais with a fuel stop as well. Back on the ferry. For those who have never made the pilgrimage across the channel, the ferry really is quite tight but you do get used to it. Always a tell tale sign of regular channel hoppers are the dents and paint scratches on the corners of the drivers door. Drivers side mirror;
Passenger side mirror;
Off the ferry around 1830hrs UK time and off to Rugby, this gave me about 3 1/2 hours driving to do in about 3 1/2 hours, or there abouts. I decided on Rugby Truckstop as it is still a fairly safe place to park, but what is a fair price to pay for safe truck parking?? A debate for another day. I shot up the A2 as it it’s a bit quicker than the M20, especially with only 6 ton on board the 460hp DAF was under no strain. While i’m at it, who evers idea it was to put what can only be described as a speed hump 100 yards up Jubilee Way, needs shooting! Apparently its to cover a weak joint in the road, but even so! I’m glad I wasn’t heavy.
Up the A2, M25, M1 and not single hold up or slow down. I rolled into Rugby Truckstop with about 5 minutes to spare, perfect! I also found a space bearing in mind it was now nearly 10pm. A well earned shower and a pint of the black stuff before bed. A quick walk around the truck park and not a lot to report other than the purple Viking Volvo and a nice Redhead International truck parked opposite me when I woke up.
Wednesday morning I get tipped and run straight back to the yard as there is a loaded trailer waiting for me to go straight back to Paris again Wednesday evening. No time to pop home and get more pants, Tesco’s for some new ones is the answer!!
Whats it like to be properly back on the road I hear you ask??………Love it.
Part 2 coming later, including the obligatory in-cab meal photos.