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A different driving job – film crew

Just as I was expecting a call from The Co-operative to call my in for my first shift I had a completely different offer from an outfit called Chief. They’re a film production company based down in Salford and I have done some driving for them before.

It was a difficult decision. I had the potential of a few days driving with Chief at a good day rate, but the worry was that I might get a call form Coop while I was on the Chief job and have to turn them down.

It was decided on a combination of the pay and the fact that the Chief job would be a whole lot more fun. We were going to do four days in the north east and all I had to do was to drive the mad American day van that they have to shift all their people and lit around in, and hump the kit from the van to where it was needed at any given time. Hardly brain straining, but if you’re out on the road with a good gang of people then that’s the most important thing.

We went to some great places including one just outside Doncaster where they were filming a guy making chocolates. These chocolates were the most beautiful jewel like things you can possibly imagine.

He demonstrated making them for the camera from scratch, and he really does everything there in front of your eyes. While one tray of chocolates goes in the fridge to harden off ready for the next stage of the process he gets on with working on another, and within a couple of hours, although you only see him working on one tray at a time, he suddenly pulls all eight trays out and there are nearly two hundred perfect chocs in front of us.

He made them without gloves on to look better in the demonstration, but he can’t sell those so we were allowed to take them home – mum will be delighted when I get there.

Thinking about the coop

I ranted a bit about that Paul Flowers fellow, the coop chairman who has departed in shame after the near collapse of the bank, and then things went from bad in desperate as his seedy life gradually became uncovered. The drug fuelled gay orgies, the coke, ketamine and worse, crystal meth – that stuff is scary.

Various friends work there. You can’t live in Manchester and not know a lot of coop people, and in fact I had an interview there ages ago. It was a call centre job and I know now what an arse I can be. I was offered the job, but thought that call centre work was for losers. I decided to stick with mechanics, and see where that got me!

At the time they talked about the bank’s ethics and I thought that was kinda cool, I was deeply into the idea of doing the right thing and being green.

I wonder now whether that was driven out of me when I lost my job. There’s no doubt that taking a green option costs you more if you want that green option with no extra inconvenience.

Still the peeps I know there still take the ethical side of the business seriously, and let’s hope that they are the real decision makers on a day to day basis. Now its future lies with venture capitalists, what a shame.

I’m writing this on a train to London to collect a car for one of the guys I used to work for. It’s a good gig that’ll I’ll try to write about tomorrow, but right now I wanted to mention the music I’m listening too.

I borrowed Mum’s iPad and she usually has interesting stuff you’ve never heard of. I’m listening to some strange opera type stuff that would usually horrify me – but this is beautiful. It’s someone called Joan Sutherland and the piece seems to be called Lakmé. There’s loads of it that is boring. But now and then there’s a song that just stops me in my tracks.

The Co-operative Bank.

What the hell is going on at The Co-operative Bank?

I have an emotional bond to this bank. I have many friends who work there.

Because i think that it’s a good bank, one which actually goes out of its way to do a better job.

And yet here we are, hearing day after day just how bent and corrupt its very highest people were.

We have to keep it in perspective. Paul Flowers was paid about £130,000 as chairman. And while that is an obscene amount compared to most normal individuals, it is a mere fraction of the Chief Executive’s pay, in fact it’s probably about the size of the bonus Peter Marks would carry away. But nonetheless he held a very responsible job while living a life of deep and astonishing hypocrisy. Not only was he into hard drugs and having inappropriate content on his laptop, this man was a methodist minister. No exclamation mark is tall enough to be worth putting here.

What makes me most angry is that the people, many of my friends, who work there actually believe in the place, work very hard there to make it a good bank for their much loved customers.

Yet for years this guy utterly took them all, staff and customers, for a ride.

I am closer to genuine disgust than I have experienced in my short life. What a dirty horrible man. In fact I’m going to shave off my Mo in protest, I want no affinity with him.

Finding me-time

I really do need to start finding more me-time. No, I’m not being selfish or overindulgent, but me-time is as important to me as it is to anyone else.

I’d better explain what me-time is. It is about taking a few minutes out each day and thinking about how things are at that particular point in time. Me-time is not meant to be used as a bout of self-criticism; we’ve all spent time beating ourselves up and what good did that do any of us? Instead, me-time should be used to help us mentally plan any necessary changes or alterations in our lives over the next few hours. Me-time is also a great way to help you plan your day.

Not many of us ever have any proper me-time. People have jobs, or if they don’t have jobs then they have to plan their job search strategy, especially if they want to keep their benefits. They may have families, young children or someone to care for; these responsibilities stop people having time for themselves.

Some people live on their own and may rarely see anyone else. If you are in this position, don’t think for one minute that you have round-the-clock me-time. You can be on your own on an island surrounded by an ocean, or in a big city among a million people, but me-time is still the same. It means switching off to the outside world and thinking things over in a positive manner. Why not try it?

Saving on delivery costs

Like me, you may have found that often a large proportion of the cost of ordering something online is the cost of delivering the goods from the depot to your home. For small items the delivery might be included in the total price, but for large or bulky goods the cost of delivery is shown separately. At least it shows the actual value of the goods you have decided to order, and there is not a lot that any of us can do about this cost, but I for one will do my best to do something about the delivery cost.

I have found that there is an awful lot of competition out there when it comes to having goods delivered. There is Royal Mail, of course, and competing with the postal service are a lot of courier services. My message to you is that rather than accepting the delivery charges the vendor insists you must pay, shop around and try to find a courier that can deliver much more cheaply.

When trying to trim those pounds off the cost of a delivery, think these three words: delivery quote compare. I know when I order something online that the cost of bringing it to my doorstep will be determined by the distance it has to travel – after all, the cost of diesel these days is sky high. Because there are a lot of courier services competing against each other, however, they will have to keep their margins tight; this is good news for you and me as customers. It could be that there is a courier quite prepared to transport your goods at a lower price than that being quoted to you by the vendor.

A lower-priced courier may not be able to deliver the goods as quickly as the service used by the seller; however, unless you need your package by a certain date, what harm is there in waiting a day longer when it means you will save some money?

When looking for a courier, you need to research the prices they charge. When you are told how much the cost will be, write it down. Your search is not over just yet.

Shopping around for a cheaper courier may well save you cash, but you should never choose the first one you find that costs less. I always look at several different services and do some price comparison; by doing this I always know that I’m getting the best deal possible.

I understand that searching around for the best priced goods and services can be very time consuming. It can also be expensive and result in you running up big phone and mobile bills. Emailing is free, but it will still take up an awful lot of time sending messages to all those different couriers when trying to find a cheaper deal.

One way round this is to go online and find a website that allows you to compare the various courier services. One I can recommend is The Delivery Services Marketplace (www.deliveryquotecompare.com), which is a price comparison site for companies that carry out deliveries; what is more, the quotes are free and without obligation.

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