CHAPTER FIVE/part 4– Long distance driver
Garret woke up a bit worse for wear. He had just finished his statutory four day break from driving. He’d been out with his mates the night before and had a few long haul trips ahead of him. He wasn’t due to leave for a good while so he got stuck in to balancing out, with some Vitamin C and good solid breakfast.
Garret was a juggernaut haulage driver and mainly worked around the North of England with frequent trips into the West coast of Scotland. He was kind of freelance, in as much as his loads varied. His wagon was a two trailer type and quite advanced for it’s day. It had a sleeping compartment above the driver’s cab and cameras showing the sides and back of the trailers. Garret took pride in his abilities and had been driving for about twenty years.
This morning was pretty rough weather wise and he listened to the forecast on the radio. Amber warning across most of the country. Garret knew that it took a lot to shift his wagon and he was used to high winds especially on the west coast of Scotland. At the same time he thought through his journey for the afternoon towards Dumfries, taking into consideration that he’d best stick to the main route today. He liked to vary his journeys when possible to alleviate a growing sense of boredom, which of course could prove to be dangerous. He wouldn’t normally go out the night before a trip but it was his best friend’s fiftieth birthday. He never really drunk much anyway but his friend threw quite a do. Garret just maybe had a bit more that he would normally and that was enough to make him feel a bit dodgy. He decided to make this a two day trip and park up after a five hour stretch. He was picking up a load of heavy machinery parts and knew that it would be a slow journey this time. Normally he would have done this trip in a day comfortably.
Garret’s land-line rang; it was his daughter Janice. She was coming on for thirty and had a couple of kids herself. “Dad, look you’re not going driving today are you?” Janice sounded worried. Garret immediately suspected that he was being asked to look after the kids. He lived on his own having split from Janices’ mum a few years ago. It was all the time he spent away that did it. Cheryl needed her space for sure, but there came a time where she wanted him. She tried to get him to stop work; no chance on that one, Garret had a firm protestant work ethic and apart from that loved his wagon and his work.
“Dad, look I know it sounds strange but can you go sick or something?” Janice sounded strange.” “Janice, I’ve never gone sick and anyway what’s the problem?” Garret was a bit short in his manner. “I’m worried something bad is going to happen to you.” “Oh”, Jack was surprised,” Look I have planned the journey so I’ve got a break; thanks for being concerned; come on what’s wrong Janice.” “I dreamt you have a dreadful crash and it was so real. It’s never happened to me, a dream like that.” Janices’ voice was shaking.
“Oh darling! I tell you what I am going to stop on the way to Carlisle and I’ll give you a ring, I’ll go right now and do a full check on the wagon.” “OK thanks dad I love you” Janice sounded a bit reassured.
Garret loved his daughter too but was a bit troubled by the call, it continued to play on his mind as he made his way to the parking place for his lorry.
Copyright Patrick Turner-Lee 2014