Being Bendy with Peter Smythe - Training Diary

Many jokes have been said about me finally doing this training behind closed doors.

Comments about me being as surly as Bender out of Futurama or becoming more flexible with my body?!?! :open_mouth:

First Day

Left Essex in the morning and headed up the M11, A14, A1 etc, etc did it in record time without speeding not a soul on the road as I left at 9am perhaps they heard I was being let loose in W+D today and didn’t feel their journey was essential :laughing:

Got to office for 1300 showed my licence, met my instructor Chris, everyone happy with paperwork and the fact I was doing DCPC hours with this too.

Went out had a briefing on the vehicle, as we waited for a coach test to leave the yard.

Once they left, Chris set out the cones and then he said the immortal words Im going to stand outside whilst you do all the reversing…then the heavens opened up.

Obviously first manoeuvre was with quite a few directions, but in the box no dramas, 2nd one better. 3rd one I decided to ignore what was said and decided to turn trailer in opposite direction… :blush:

Markers/drivers aids pointed out and I added my own tertiary marker in for my own triple check to make sure Im in the box.

Two more reverses done and we feel I’ve got it to a point and I’ve become more gentle with the steering as the pivot point will turn quickly if lots of steering done.

Ok Ill feel alright and can see what the trailer is doing and understand what the axle positions are doing so far when it comes to turning and positioning on the mock bay.

Off we go outside. Now I feel happy with my driving in a rigid but I know Im not perfect or a saint and thought back to my assessment with Mr Smythe. I rush through approaches and gears like a ■■■■■

So i think ok Ill try to remember what i did and try to better. I remember the four over four. At beginning i was a little rough with it but it played ball and I thought ok.

However as we go round I rush come in fast and fluff gears and balls up some observation, which is disturbing for me and for Chris. Also Im worried im running wide and under cutting but Chris says Im fine, Im not so happy with the trailer even though it follows better than an artic.

So first mock failed…boom!

Chris then takes me on some tight turning industrial estate with awkward junctions to prove I can do it. Use the paint etc and followed my instruction. Never mounted the kerbs though :sunglasses:
We went on the second mock, you’d have thought id have listened more intently as Im here for the equivalent of two days!

But ah ha no Im still in Multi-drop Drop ■■■■ mode and kept rushing and ■■■■■■■ the gears.

However still not hitting things stopping nicely maintaining good position when I slow down :blush:

Anyway stop at side of the road…2nd debrief im maintaining 100% consistency…I’ve failed again same things again.

Drive back to yard, weirdly im not ■■■■■■ off with myself. Not sure why anyway get to yard and do an uncoupling/coupling exercise fully explained by Chris and done by me.

Then 4 hours gone. Reversed it back into a parking space with Chris’s instruction put it in slightly wonky but no damage done however it didn’t worry me doing it at all bar the last couple of feet backing onto a parked training coach…I thought I was close enough, no way!!! :laughing:

Locked up got a coupling/uncoupling sheet to read and went back to my hotel.

Reflecting back that evening I realised I had become a blase bendy and not the surly bender I find so funny out of futurama!

So decided next morning a new hat was needed before I started again next morning.


Nice read. Just remember your out doing what Miss Daisy does on a sunday … chillax its not a race pr compatition… lets see what’s next and chill

Hi. Sorry I missed you today - maybe catch you tomorrow.

Carry on working on the bad habits and Chris will be able to add you to the list of clean sheets he has.

All the very best. Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Hey Pete,

No worries you’re a busy man I don’t expect personal appearances. You must have other affairs that need your attention :sunglasses:

Day 2 - 23/10

Hmm positive notes today we had a 50% improvement! One fail, one pass with a few minors!
Stats don’t look good on past two days as that brings it to a 25% chance I’ll behave and do well for all.

No more dwelling there.

Ill expand more to back my statement up.

More people came out to play out on the roads with me today! :open_mouth: The people of Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire are not as scared of the Essex boy now :smiling_imp:

So we started at 9am, we do two reverses both with no guidance. Chris did get hands out at one point but I felt I knew what I was doing and was experimenting with a steeper turn in. Forgot to tell him that but I wanted to make it harder for myself to see how wrong i could do it and still get myself out it with no shunt.

Did it but not pretty straight as desired but a pass. :laughing: I like testing myself but really I shouldn’t do this in my own time or money really!

2nd one stuck to the rules straight in, on straight no misbehaving.

Ok so we know what’s capable and I know where a shunt is most plausible if it goes wrong tomorrow or I lose the bottle and faff it up. Love my back up plans.

Couple of uncoupling/coupling un aided and slight guidance accordingly. Only people to play with are fitters who are getting confident walking around and behind me :unamused: Good luck boys and the coaches for wash and MOT lorries coming in.

I like this as its like playing in a real yard where things are always happening. So no dramas compared to the new depot Im based at on weekend.

Ok so lets go play on the roads again.

We do a left out onto Main road under railway arch route the same as yesterday but no torrential rain to slow me today.

All good me and gearbox playing well not rushing what’s this he’s lost his multidrop ■■■■ driving skills…NOOOOO!!! :open_mouth:

How will i cope in the real world.

All good at a roundabout near Asda I decide to cut it going straight. Poor Chris said I had rizzla before my wheels mounted but I was more self conscious of the fast response ambulance Volvo behind and I know what they’re like down saufff! So I want him off my tail or me on a straight where I know he can go by. Alas he turns off before that!

Im unaware I could’ve failed that 3 mins out blissfully thinking Im doing great :unamused: :grimacing:
So we carry on nicely, slowly me and the gears are happy. Secretly I loathe them but what they don’t know won’t hurt them. Alas that’s not strictly true but I hate ■■■■■■■ 6th and 6th only.

We go through an industrial estate, ford ■■■■■■ van at a mini roundabout charges over the incline comes in and bottles out on roundabout as he sees me :unamused: Why■■? I saw him way before was stopping and posed no risk to him or me.

■■■■ he’s gone but thrown me. Me and gearbox comes back to bite going up the hill can’t find ■■■■■■■ 6th won’t go in lose momentum back into 5th go up harder ■■■■ 6th off straight to 7th straight in little laboured but in the green.

Cool ok lets do a hill start. Its wet, its steepish and its busy.

Pull in nicely, wait for what seems like two minutes must’ve been less. Its clear or is it…by the time I get up to 5-10mph what’s this a Golf GTI going for it straight past he wasn’t behind, nope he’s come off a side road and raced to get by.

No choice but to swerve in, he’s going to hit a traffic island if I don’t, ■■■■ gears and observation…boom fail.

Now on Multi-drop London he would learnt the hard way and had two choices 1) stop because im going and already pulled off safely 2) hit me or traffic island again I would’ve gone down your fault for speeding in a 30.

For some reason I ■■■■■■■ bottled it and went chicken what a ■■■■ I am. But its not my truck im paid to drive so I don’t want to do anything wrong.

So we start all over, im totally thrown. Pull off is ■■■■ change to 5th too soon lose momentum.
WTF im making proper ■■■■■■■ rookie mistakes now, unacceptable and getting ■■■■■■ off with myself now.

Put her into 3rd again and pull up hard to just out of Green change to 5th come to a traffic light junction go in hard and fast in case lights change or someone comes down the opposite hill fast!

Change up and me and gearbox are happy bar ■■■■■■■ 6th we’re not seeing eye to eye going up but we are going down■■?

Go down the road relax, go round the parked vehicles nicely, drive down the tight high street nicely watch the pedestrians, play with the buses nicely and the parked cars too ahh now I feel relaxed its ok we’re back on track.

Now the next thing threw me and Chris a bit.

Pete warned me the drivers are slightly retarded round here and I forgot this to my demise.

Line of cars parked, cars coming down, cars behind, pull up nicely indicator on.

■■■■■■■ taxi, a ■■■■■■■ taxi stops :open_mouth: coming opposite way and flashes me■■? I can’t go to narrow things will get damaged. He flashes again as if im going to park 16m of lorry on a 7m ■■■■■■■ drive…he flashes again…give me ■■■■■■■ strength, move you ■■■■ as now I see a car nudging round the back. This is no good for all of us.

Chris is waving arms around telling him to move he does…of course now Im annoyed at the stupidity I’ve got itchy cars behind, so pull off hard to get everyone’s progress up. Oh what do we have here uncooperative 6th ■■■■■■■ again!

Relax upto 7th let her labour a little at 25mph but she’s light to fly and does. Gears are a let down again its user fault but its ■■■■■■■ me off its one way only.

So we’ve failed on gears again this is not good. Me and Chris go through them twice on slow bits to prove its me not the box. I think too quick for the linkage :neutral_face:

Second drive a few faults ■■■■■■■ gear 6 and me disagreeing and the inaminate object wins every ■■■■■■■ time but its a pass :stuck_out_tongue:

We go park up as before. Poor Chris makes a mistake with times and stops training too early. I did say but didn’t have receipt to prove.

So go to Chasda for lunch and get a phonecall its the office. You’re not supposed to be finished yet…ah well its 1335 so too late to come back as lorry going out I was told…yeah can you come in for 0730 to make the time up owed to you and DCPC hours…erm yeah ok.

We could view this two ways it’ll either throw my mind out of sync as rest was planned for a 9am start and relax into it or get myself geeed up ready for a longer day more time behind the wheel before the test at 1400.

Im in two minds I think I may have rushed into this doing it in a equivalent two days knowing full well Im not that resilient when it comes to quick learning or it may put the pressure to pass.

Stats are saying I have a 25% chance to pass

I reckon its a 40% chance to pass.

Chris reckons if I slow down and play nicely with gears it’ll be better than that.

We’ll know in 17 hours either way.

I’ll finish on a positive if it should go awry and fail at least I took the chance got 14hours DCPC easily and my new job doesn’t rely on it. Maybe with none of this potential added pressure it’ll carry me through to a pass.

Carpe Diem tomorrow.


6th gear seems to be the fly in the proverbial. So I’ll try to help. When changing up from 5th, make sure you hold the stick sideways (away from you) as it naturally wants to come to 7 and 8th. Don’t wind it up too much. Or, if you do get it wound up, simply miss 6th altogether and go straight to 7th.

Changing down to 6th will always be fine provided the speed is reasonable and you hold the stick sideways. If you hold it with your palm on top of the stick you’ll always have trouble.

To avoid rushed changes at junctions, roundabouts etc, make sure you’re in the correct gear at all times to continue if the opportunity arises. You may end up with one or two extra changes but who cares? You must not end up trying to engage a gear in a hurry.

The taxi scenario you described: don’t panic. If it happened as I read it, the examiner would make it clear to the driver that he needed to sort himself out (keep coming towards you). But these occasions are extremely rare so not to worry.

Remember that the object of the operation is to get from A to B safely and progressively without causing undue stress to anyone else. It is not a race to the finish. Plan and anticipate. You haven’t got 30 drops to do.

I hope this may help and wish you all the best for your test.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Hey Pete, going down is fine, going up is my problem.

Ill try it again today with the new slant and see whilst on training if I can improve the 6th relationship.

With the taxi I wouldn’t move anyway. Id have smashed up the park car and taxi and there’s no way Im having that on my conscience when Im borrowing a lorry from you.

The rest is down to me. I know in reality I can do it and could do it easily.

But will I be able to demonstrate that and hold my nerves in check for the entire time. That’s the only thing that can let me down.


Just a quick one …

Does the B&B there give free wi-fi?

Just checked the website for the B+B and it states free wi-fi.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Wifi is there but the signal isn’t that strong :-/

I went to a separate hotel called Mansfield Lodge paid for out my own pocket.

More what Im used too staying away with work. Only a mile from Pete’s and 500m from start of town centre.

Could tell it was a good place as it was packed with travelling construction professionals/workers like myself all the time I was there.

Good breakfasts and free Wifi - good signal on 1st floor for the pricely sum of…check the website.

It was bloody good value for location and too be within walking distance of the training centre.

Also Chris said the Black Panther may have stayed there and was arrested by the police there…Im not so sure about that fact but if its true that’s two good recommendations for the place!


So how did you do?

Hey Dar,

I was ■■■■■■■ really really lucky, I should’ve been failed on the last minute, where I did something quite unsafe!!! If it wasn’t for the member of public giving me abuse and the coffee bean shakes and threatening us, I’d have been a goner for sure! But I passed, so it don’t matter now!

I can PM the true details but I’m posting a less incriminating post on here in a minute for public viewing! :laughing:

Feels good to get it, even though I won’t use it for quite a while in my new job or even at all. :open_mouth: :open_mouth: Also it was a shame I never saw Pete this time either, he was being run around ragged here there and everywhere for clients. :neutral_face:


Well done on passing Class 1!
Mario :wink:

Well Done for getting the pass.

At the end of the day - your category won’t have a subnote saying ‘just scraped through’. A pas is a pass :slight_smile:

At the end of the day - your category won’t have a subnote saying ‘just scraped through’. A pas is a pass

A perfectly fair assumption Dean. But when the post is updated you’ll find out he passed very comfortably. Not that it makes any difference … just saying.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Well Done on the pass matey…

Congrats on ur pass Chris was my trainer too top bloke ,
all the best on finding work too :smiley:

Peter Smythe:
A perfectly fair assumption Dean. But when the post is updated you’ll find out he passed very comfortably. Not that it makes any difference … just saying.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Did you speak to the examiner at the end about what happened in the last 180 seconds of that test at that traffic lighted junction. I was a clean sheet until then.

If you did then you’ll know what happened out there and was said at the end :unamused: I was very angry with myself on the last road home that was for sure a) being very silly in the stunt I pulled and b) doing a dis-service to your training :imp:

I’ll say this Pete, Chris was unflappable and he really told me how my driving was truthfully going from beginning to end. Stuff like that helps me thrive to do better and with him being completely honest about my standard of driving, helped me change my more dubious habits. All the way round, I had him and my old man (in miniature form of course) on my shoulder for that entire test route saying not to flap and don’t be a zb! :laughing:

Big bold statement, it was the most relaxed I have ever felt on a driving style test. I knew I shouldn’t fail if I behaved, but I knew with my nerves I could either lose control of myself or I’d contain myself. Luckily it was the latter! :grimacing:


Been following this thread since you first put it up, congratulations on passing C+E!

Although you haven’t posted what happened (understandably) I really want to though! :stuck_out_tongue: I always saw my downfall being on the bridge or the 2 mini roundabouts. Great to see you and sixth sorted out your differences too :stuck_out_tongue:.

A common problem of mine was road positioning. Going from a wide cab to a lower & narrower cab I could never judge my distance from the edge properly and something that I was consistently struggling with, did you ever find that a problem?

Also, how well did you get to grips with the coupling / uncoupling procedure?