TB on The Move – Kyrgyzstan

My pal and super mega trucker Mat Ireland has a handful of stickers that he is handing out Trucks he meets from far and wide, the further and wider the better! TB on the move is a global thing I’ll have you know. From council trucks in Brazil to Road-trains in Australia, through to Africans, Americans and some of the last Astran trucks to the Middle East, not to mention scrap metal trucks from Ipswich, they all want, crave, strive, are part of the big TB family. Truckers one and all are welcome to my club. Anyway enough of my nonsense and onto Kyrgyzstan. Where?? You don’t need a sat-nav, just follow the sun like John Williams, Dave Poulton and Dick Rivers, it’s South of Kazakhstan, 2 countries above Afghanistan and shares its eastern border with China, its quite a way from the Bad Benthiem border in Deutschland where Mat met this driver. Nice to see he’s driving a proper truck, take note Mat…..

“I pulled into Bad Bentheim border for my usual walk around with my camera to see what far flung countries some had come from, and that was parked in there! I could see the chap was about so thought he was worthy of a sticker! He spoke no English and my Russian is very limited but he understood it was a present from England, and looked very happy! It’s a long long way to Kyrgyzstan!!”

TB Roving Reporter – New Zealand

I do get asked now and again if I’d like to hear or see photos and tales of others more fortunate than myself who have managed to get a job overseas doing something a little different to the UK norm. YES! I want to hear from you all and when you say “I’m not sure what to write” – trust me write what comes and most blog readers will love it. Next up is TB’s new roving reporter in New Zealand, Mr Ed Nolloth.

Firstly a bit about me. I’m 28 and originally from a sleepy village in Suffolk but now find myself trucking on the other side of the world. I started working in transport at the age of 20 and spent the next eight years working in the office of two well known Norfolk hauliers, starting out as a trainee traffic planner quickly working my way up the ranks. During this time I also acquired my C, C+E and Transport Managers CPC as well as other qualifications. 


Two years ago I found myself at a crossroads in life where I had spent seven years in an office and I felt a change was needed. It was time to try something new. I applied for a visa in New Zealand and before you knew it I was there, staying with distant relatives who I’d met once before in the UK and looking for work. I had been told work was in abundance in NZ and a week later I found myself working for a large agricultural contractor in the South Island and the rest is history as they say. I just finished two ‘seasons’ in New Zealand with a summer working for Transam Trucking sandwiched in between, something my good friend Mat Ireland got me involved with a few years back as his double driver. 

Working in NZ has positively changed my life and given me a different outlook on how to live. When comparing the UK to NZ I often list the followings differences; NZ has less people which is turn means less traffic. The weather is much better which in turn makes the people happier and in general friendlier but from a truck driving point of view there is far less legislation which in turn makes it far more enjoyable. The kiwi idea of a traffic jam is four cars waiting at a one lane bridge, a far cry from a thirteen mile queue on the M25. 

After nearly two years in NZ it’s starting to feel like a normal way of life but at first it was like an adventure, something a lot of truck drivers in the UK only dream about and for me this dream has become a reality. 
I worked for an agricultural contractor based on the Canterbury plains in the South Island of NZ with a fleet of mainly Volvo and Mercedes trucks. I was lucky enough to be rewarded with a brand new truck at the beginning of my second season and became rather attached to it. The hours and shift pattern was varied as to be expected for the type of work. During silage season it would be a mid morning start but this meant working into the early hours of the following morning. In my first year this didn’t faze me but the second year my situation changed as it often does and I met a young lady who was also a truck driver. 

When I first went over I had every intention of just spending six months out there and settling back into life as I knew it in the UK but I enjoyed it so much I was itching to go back. The job itself was awesome and everyday was different, spending most of time driving around paddocks and on challenging terrain. For me truck driving has always been about getting up before everyone else and getting ahead in your day, this turned out to be quite the opposite so it took me a little time to adapt. 
For those who don’t know the driving hours rules in NZ are very different. Firstly they still use paper log books, a far cry from digital tacograph cards. You are allowed to work up to fourteen hours a day every day with a ten hour break after each shift. During this fourteen hour shift you are permitted to take a thirty minute break after five and a half hours work. This means two breaks are required a day giving you a total of thirteen hours work a day. You are allowed to work up to seventy hours a week before a twenty four hour break is required and your week resets. On a drivers log book you only have a ‘work’ and ‘rest’ column which makes the whole process a lot easier than changing mode switches. As a British citizen with my C+E licence I am able to drive in NZ without sitting any practical or theory exams and there is no such thing as a CPC. I have recently acquired my NZ licence as I have plans to stay and this only involved a theory test to gain my class 5.
NZ has lots of different heavy vehicle combinations with the most common being a ‘truck & trailer’ which in UK terms would be an eight by four rigid followed by a two axle dolly attached to a three axle forty foot trailer giving you a maximum total length of twenty three meters. Another popular combination is a ‘B train’ where a tractor unit pulls two trailers. On my first day I was shown the truck & trailers in the yard and remember thinking there is no way I will ever be able to reverse this but it’s now like second nature. It’s safe to say my first attempt practicing between some road cones in the yard wasn’t pretty. 
The purpose of this blog was to prove it’s not as hard as people think to follow your dreams, anything is possible with a bit of hard work and determination. I have recently been back to the UK to visit family and upon my return I will be changing jobs for a new challenge having felt like I have achieved everything I wanted to from my previous one. I’m not one for changing jobs regularly but my new one will give me more time off with the chance of bigger trips around the country for more money. I’m even shopping my golf clubs out to NZ in the view of enjoying a round or two on my days off. 
Until next time…

Pop Quiz: Rock n Rollers

Pop quiz for a Saturday, well there is a small quiz and a few photos of trucks! As the summer season is upon us for music gigs and of course the seemingly endless festivals that go on all across Europe every weekend, I thought you may like a little delve into pop history. I do always wonder whether the artists that UK trucking companies support are aware of what goes into their nightly shows across the continent. I mean do a gig, sing a few songs, have a few beers, sign a few autographs, wreck the odd hotel room, then on to the next town or city. Meanwhile the truckies are busy doing the same all the hard work. I’m sure dismantling a stage, boxing it up, loading it in the right order and getting off to the next city with enough time to do the reverse and get everything set up again is some what of a logistical headache.

How many of the musical lot are aware that there is a team of hard working men and women making these gigs happen and helping them earn there millions. Well I can happily say that at least three legendary artists are clearly aware as they have been photoed with the rigs that keep them touring. So here’s the pop quiz; Who are the three artist in the three photos?

  1. Not crocodile Dundee pictured with trucks loaned by the manufacturer as they sponsored the tour.
  2. His majesty the 2nd photoed with one of the greats. Just look at the stickers in that windscreen.
  3. Proper hardcore, full on rock n roll royalty. No modern artist could imagine the lifestyle this lot had. I know the band unsure of the artist!

Please give all answers either in the comments box below, or leave a comment on the FB page. If you have any photos of the rich and famous with your truck then please send it to me via PM or email. Then we can have another round of Pop Quiz, I have seen a photo of a certain neighbourly Australian next to one of her tour trucks but couldn’t find it for this blog. 5 points on offer for Artist and/or band. Answers on a postcard!

Still the Best Big Rig Video

If you’ve never been to www.bigrigvideos.com or not found the YouTube channel then I’m close to banning you from TB! Everyone loves American trucks for one reason or another and in the land of 70mph+, no speed limiters and manual log books, we’d all love a few trips across the wide open spaces of the USA. To give you an idea on what you could be doing instead of sitting on the UK’s M6 through Birmingham or the Bruxelles ring road, please go and watch some of the Rolling CB interviews. Awesome trucks, great CB voices (All you Americans sound good on a CB speaker!) and great videos. Of them all I think this one is the best, a blue Peterbilt, with 8 inch exhausts that just sound as good as Foo Fighters at a hometown gig…… Frickin Awesome!!

TURN THE VOLUME UP!!!!

Wilson Saturday??!

It’s been ages since we did a classic Wilson Wednesday, so I thought we’d have a little teaser to see the response. As an ex Wilson, what they get upto still fascinated me, even having helped moved everything from steel rolls, to boats, to plastic planes and everything else in my time in the traffic office. These days things are still much the same. 60% of the work is to and from Europe and as I’m sure is the way with most sectors of international haulage, imports are big and exports and few and far between. Even so some regular jobs are still ongoing. Above is Jon Pryke, seemingly an HC Wilson lifer! Loaded from Germany and heading to Ireland. In my time at Wilson’s I spent lots of time trying to get Jon to start taking photos and then trying to get him to take photos where you could actually see the truck. Now I have to say Jon takes some of the best photos on the fleet.

Next up with GT, Geoffrey Tarbun. Who doesn’t like Geoff? Who wouldn’t want a Geoff on their fleet?? Never moans, always smiles, nothing is to much of a problem. Then again if we all spent as much time on holiday as Geoff then we’d probably all have the same attitude to work! A nice easy load for the new DAF above, a load of JCB’s from the yard to Port. HC Wilson have a long history with JCB and at one point we’re doing more loads out the factory than Brit European. Legend has it someone wasn’t happy with red trucks delivering yellow machines…..but who knows.

Number 1 subbie, Mr Tasker. Not quite a lifer but defiantly a fully qualified Wilson. Now back to having just his own truck on the HC Wilson fleet, the heady heights of his fleet got to a total of four trucks at one time. By my calculations I think the current steed is number 8 or 9, but I’m sure MWT will tell us other wise. Loaded with a good size tree in Belgium and heading for Oxfordshire.

Finally in our teaser is the 2nd new DAF, driven by Ian “Slim” Godfrey. Once again another driver who has been at Wilson’s for 15+ years. It must say something about the job or the company when you have so many long service employees on one fleet. I have to say I didn’t get any load details on this one but I’m happy to publish such a great looking load! loaded from NL to Bristol. Apparently an airport sprayer. With the two new DAF’s having only been on the fleet for a few months there has been lots of talk about the new diagonal stripe from the back of the cab to the top corner of the window. Any thoughts???

The Race to The Finnish Line – Days 11 & 12

Day 11 – Tuesday 12th of March 

Up at 0530 for a wash and hit the road before 0600. My toll box give me a red X when I tested i,so I stop at a garage and get it reactivated while I grab coffee and a French hot dog. Nothing much to report on today fairly boring. I arrive at Port 2000 truck stop near Swiebodzin at 1730 and get the truck washed a top job and only £18 a thousand times better than the dirty water washes in the UK!

Then into the restaurant for the Polish special … pork and potatoes! Then off to bed ready for an early start before loading in the morning.

Day 12 – Wednesday 13th of March 

I think this will be where I finish the diary as I predicted the best is behind me now sadly. 😢

I’m up at 0400 for shower and breakfast and out the door at 0540 my first port of call is the AS24 at Słubice to top off on the cheaper diesel. I arrived at my pick up in Luckau for 0755 just as they’re opening up to load a section of a crane for Sheffield. Another truck arrives to collect another section for the same destination and to my surprise it’s a Cypriot in an ex Waberers unit pulling a Dutch trailer! Makes a nice change from it being a Bulgarian unit stealing the western work I suppose!

I’m booked on the Thursday night boat from the Hook of Holland to Killingholme, so have plenty of time to get there. I call it a day at 1330 at BS-OST autohof on the A2 near Brunswick where I can enjoy a leisurely afternoon with a beer and a truckerpfanne for my tea.

Thank you to everyone who had read he diary hopefully you’ve enjoyed it and thank you to Ben for choosing it to feature on truckblog.co.uk for the past couple of weeks.

TB – Awesome Long Distance Diary Luke. Loved every day, especially the snowy bit! Badge earned.

The Race to The Finnish Line – Day 10

Day 10 – Monday 11th of March 

Alarm goes off at 0600 feeling refreshed after my day of in Tallinn. I open the curtains to see that it’s been snowing all night so I hope it’s not been to heavy and cause any delays today. It turns out I’m not the only one who’s a long way from home as I spot this Iranian truck waiting to check in for a boat to Finland just before I set off.
It’s a easy going even with the snow coming down and makes the scenery very nice on the drive. I eventually make it out of the snow after a couple of hours. I stop at the Latvian border to get my road tax, just as I’m setting off the snow starts coming down again.

Then I head south on the A1 towards Riga running right along the coast of the Baltic Sea. Next stop is the Lithuanian border where I stop and fuel up and get my road tax once again. I set off on the A10 heading towards Kaunas then on towards Poland, as I’m pulling out of the garage the snow is back! I get to a place called Jeziokri just over the border and park up for the night in a TIR park have a bit of tea in the restaurant and a quick look around the truck store at all the toys before getting back in the truck to go to bed and you guessed it, it’s snowing again so looks as if this weather is going to be following me back to the UK I think.