I arrived back in Middleton Cheney around ten o' clock at night, after riding nonstop from York. It was cold, I was tired and sore from being in the saddle most of the day, and I just wanted to nap. I was fortunate in that I'd become good friends with a lovely couple in the village, Holly & Luke, whose house was on the way to my campsite behind the bike mechanics shop, and as their lights were on I hammered down the door and charmed Holly into letting me crash on the couch for the night. One night soon turned into the whole week. They were so incredibly hospitable, sharing their everything with me now that I had very little money to feed myself and my bike. In a way, they saved my life. Thanks, guys..
I spent the week helping out around the house, as Holly had plans to move out soon, in order to save some money. We have it pretty good back in Australia. Everything, especially housing and transport, is ridiculously expensive in the UK. I've had heaps of experience helping friends move house, and was more than happy to give her a hand seeing as she gave me a roof over my head as the English winter approached. Even painted her old bedroom, the third room I've helped a friend paint in two years. Keep this up and I could turn professional. Speaking of jobs, Luke helped me out greatly in this regard, asking around and giving me a kick up the bum when I couldn't be arsed making phone calls for potential gigs listed in job-seeker websites.
With my main work experience being in the transport & logistics industry, I was encouraged by Luke and Holly to apply for a forklift job, as there were many listed and the pay was a lot better than jobs in hospitality. My first call scored me an interview in two days time. POW! It felt as good as getting a guaranteed job, so I stopped looking then and there, and we all went and celebrated at a lovely little pub run by an Australian in the next village. Silly Will. The 'job interview' for a forkie that was advertised and I'd believed I had applied for, well it turned out to be a recruitment scam by a job agency. NOOOOO! It wasn't as bad as it seemed though, they had industry connections and took over the job-seeking for me, guaranteeing me something in the next few days. It was literally two days later that I got a call telling me I had a job, and to report to work that afternoon. I had to supply my own safety gear though, even though the recruitment company promised me they could get it for me. Slimy bastards... Still, I was so relieved to get the job, it was a real load off my mind to finally have some money to tide me over.
(It must be mentioned that in the two weeks after arriving back in England and prior to finding a job, I was forced by my circuimstances to swallow my pride and phone my ace brother, Thomas, back home in Australia and beg for a handout. He was very understanding of my situation and sent me enough to survive, even though he was struggling to make ends meet himself. Thanks, Thomas. Your Team Zissou hat and badge are in the mail)
I was offered a contract with a company called DHL, an international express delivery company. The site I was to work on was a warehouse specialising in packaging and sending out meds to pharmacies across the United Kingdom. My job copnsisted of wheeling around a hand-held pallet trolley and toting a barcode-scanner gun. It held all the information on where in the warehouse I had to find a particular box of meds, and the quantity needed. All I had to do was walk there, scan the product, load the required amount onto my pallet, and continue to the next load of meds until my pallet was stacked head-high with lovely heal-y drugs for the whole family. Then I'd seal all the boxes and wrap the whole lot up in cling-wrap like a huge cube of spaghetti bolognese before dumping my load hahahaha in an aisle haha and repeating the whole process again. Monotonous, to say the least. It was rotating shift work, meaning my first week was working afternoons from 1pm til 11pm, then the next week was days, 6am til 3pm, then back to afternoons. There was the option of working overtime too, which I eagerly accepted.
Getting my first pay was a bit of a kick in the teeth though, only a lousy £180. I quickly did the math and decided that no way could I keep working such a boring job for such little money, even if it promised me the opportunity to fling myself over the seas again with my beloved motorcycle. I had been offered free accommodation with a great gentleman accountant by the name of Phil, who lived about five minutes walk from Holly, as well as a room with Jamies' brother (the New Inn pub in Middleton Cheneys owners son, a real decent chap) but I couldn't justify returning to full-time employment for such a lowly wage, not after having slogged away at it for the last ten years in Oz and earning some pretty decent money from it. After almost three weeks working, I decided to take the easy way out, and sell my motorcycle...
Here are a few excerpts from the text messages my brother sent me in relation to my begging him for some cash..
THOMAS: Fuck nigger, what do you think this is? Nigger pie dream land? U get 499 u piece of shit.
WILL: 400 is more than enough, good brother you are. I'll write it in my journal.
THOMAS: Fuck ya diary ya fag. I want gifts. Get fucked.
THOMAS: Yeah, no worries, thanks for the dosh Thomas. YOU FUCKING RAT CUNT, WHERE'S MY THANKS?