Monday, 19 November 2012

That's All Folks!

I am no longer updating this blog.

I am still driving trucks and I have also started speaking at events on the reality of life on the road and about working as a woman in a male-dominated environment.

If you want to know more about what life on the road is like, follow me on Twitter.

If you would like me to speak at your event, please contact me through Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.

If you like my writing and want to read more of it, I regularly contribute reviews to For Books' Sake.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Why I learned to stop worrying and love driving

I feel that this blog is coming to the end of its natural life. To be honest, it has never really taken off, never really flowed, not for me or for you, my readers. I have tried on a couple of occasions to change the direction of the blog, to make it more personal, but it never felt quite right. I think if I wanted to write about more personal stuff I would have to start a new blog, but I don't really want you to know too much personal stuff about me, because, well, it's personal.

So since I will probably be winding it up in the next few months, now is the time to write all the posts I have had floating around in my mind for the last few months but just haven't got round to writing.

The thing is I love driving and always have. I have always loved the freedom and the independence. I am never happier than when I am moving around thinking, whether that be walking, driving or rowing. Driving for a living means I get paid to do what I am happiest doing.

I thought it was something about what driving facilitates that I loved, so I tried to go into teaching it to facilitate that in others, but I was never that keen. I thought it might be the technicality that I loved and tried to write about it to enthuse others, but I bored even myself. Underlying all of these attempts to take driving further was the underlying belief that, being a fairly clever and well-educated person, I ought to be doing something more with it, that driving itself wasn't good enough. I had a constant voice in my head asking, 'yes, but what are you going to do when you grow up?'.

But then I stopped. Because the fact is it is driving itself that I love. Sitting in a chair, looking out of a window for hours on end is not considered a worthwhile way to spend your time normally, but if you are driving, then you can sit and look out of a window for days and days and not only is it worthwhile, they actually pay you!

Over the coming months, on top of my work driving trucks for Royal Mail (nights, long distance - best thinking time) I will tow boats down to Cornwall for my rowing club, will pick bands up from airports for the Wimborne Folk Festival and will be a fleet driver based at the Olympic Park as a Gamesmaker for London 2012. If ever faced with a situation where I have to volunteer for something, my first thought will always be 'do they need any drivers?'. So if ever I volunteer to drive you somewhere, don't be too grateful. You're probably doing me a favour too.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Mother truckers

It had to be done. A programme called MotherTruckers has been broadcast on Channel 4 following the lives of female truck drivers so I had to watch it and comment. Really.

It was actually surprisingly ok.

Let's just set the scene for my reaction to a programme like this.
1. I hate real life documentary shows. I think that the general public make extremely bad television. Gareth Malone is a friend of mine from school but I haven't watched any of his programmes I hate the genre so much. I don't care if I sound like a snob but that's the way it is.

2. I also hate seeing reflections of myself in any work of culture high or low brow. This is partly because I feel envious that I wasn't in it or I hadn't written it but also because I like to think of myself as unique and special and don't like to find out that I'm not.

3. I am used to being the only woman trucker around and I don't seek out the company of other women truckers. I try and avoid the "I'm the only gay in the village" type attitude and be friendly if I do meet another one but I don't generally seek them out. I like being an alien.

You may well be thinking, "Oh get over yourself woman", and you may well have some justification for thinking that but hey, that's the way it is.

So given all that, you would have thought that I wouldn't like MotherTruckers but in actual fact I did. The girls are an interesting cross-section. There are some extreme examples - the transsexual, the former ballet dancer, but they both came across as really nice people and not just put there for the sensationalism of it. There is a good cross-section of areas of HGV work too. Some of them are out all night and all week, some of them are day workers, some are in construction which I was really pleased to see and I hope we see more of that. It is the most difficult area of trucking I've worked in in terms of the actual driving so it's nice to see it on the telly.

The one thing I couldn't stand was the voiceover. The name MotherTruckers I have heard used to refer to female truckers before and I don't especially mind it as a joke on occasions. I found it really jarring that such a posh female voice would be used to say the name over and over again. Fair enough, call the programme by that title, it's a very Channel 4 thing to do, but MotherTruckers is not a word used in everyday parlance and it was used far too often and sounded ridiculous and sensationalist in that accent. I don't think it fitted with the tone of the programme which was actually quite kind and respectful of the women and their real lives.

I'll be interested to see where they go with it. I'm sure sooner or later something will wind me up about it but so far I have been pleasantly surprised.