Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Hang on in there, or let go?

Hello. I had an unexpected letter in the post today, which has made me come over all nostalgic. I don't normally spend a lot of time looking back, much prefer to live in the now and enjoy the future, but the renewal form for my HGV and PSV licences has brought my past life into the foreground again.
The trouble with renewals like this is that it reminds you of how many years have passed, how old you are getting, and how little time you have left. Not something I wish to dwell on. I don't want to think that each day  passing brings me closer to death, I would like to live for a very long time. 
I renewed my licences the last time the reminder came, even though it was unlikely that I would need them again. I didn't want to let go of 'Ilona the Trucker', completely. But now I am thinking it might be the time to let go. I have reached the age when a renewal and medical is required once a year to keep the licenses. Although I am fit and healthy, and could jump in any lorry on the road and drive it, the law says I must cough up the dosh for a bit of paper giving me permission. A medical can be up to £150, though there are self employed doctors who will do it for less. I would need a new photograph, £5 in a booth, plus it's £17 for the new licence. Proof of identity has to be sent and my passport has run out. I have to get someone to sign that I am who I say I am. Is it worth it for just one year, when I might not need it. I'm in a quandary.
Maybe I'll look through some of my press cuttings. August the 4th 1976. Burton Daily Mail. My training lorry, a Ford 'D' Series with a flat bed trailer, with J Coates of Leicester.

December the 12th 1966. Derby Evening Telegraph. I was working for British Road services at Alvaston, Derby, driving a DAF 6 wheeler curtainside, on contract to Hazlewood Foods. 
Derby Evening Telegraph, April 23rd 1978. Driving a 4 wheeler rigid Dodge box van, for Nestle of Tutbury.


Can't put a date on this, I was doing agency work at Allied Brewery, and borrowed the lorry for the photograph. 
Another one with a borrowed lorry, I lived opposite the BRS depot.

This photo was included in the same article as Driving Ambition.

 An article about agency drivers in Trucking International.

Owner Operators was a paper for drivers who owned their own vehicles. I never did own one, but they included articles about all aspects of transport. I am working on the back of my low loader, putting the timbers tidy after unloading, getting ready to go to the next job. 
An article in Commercial Motor. Wearing a Lady Truckers sweatshirt, with my favourite lorry, an ERF. This was plated for 75 tonnes.

I made the front cover of  the United Road Transport magazine. Blimey, almost 21 years ago. At the time Rugby Cement were all owner drivers. I did their holiday relief, working from all four depots, Rugby, Southam, Barrington, and South Ferriby. It was bulk powder tankers carrying 26 tonne of cement. 
This is my favourite truck and the best job I ever had. I loved heavy and general haulage. Never knowing what you were going to carry, and not knowing where the work would take you. This was a water filtration plant, I took it from Gloucester where it was made, to Goole docks, where it was loaded onto a boat. It was 17ft 6ins high, and a lot wider than the trailer. Police escort most of the way. 
I am looking at these pictures and thinking what do I do now. My licence expires in six weeks, Do I build the cost into my budget and think what the heck, lets keep it, or do I follow my own rules of not looking back, but moving forward. Ironically, while I have been writing this a phone call came in, someone asked if I would do a trucking talk for their group. My name and number are still circulating even though I have turned down a lot of requests like this because it's been six years since I last drove a truck. We reached a compromise, I offered to do a 'Life after Money' talk instead, she agreed to that.

Talking of moving on, it's the last day of our Post Office today. In just over two hours it closes for good. I have been in to see Hilary, she is pleased she is retiring, and will get her house back. Things don't stay the same forever.

Some thought needed here. I will put the application away for a couple of weeks. When I read it first time I thought, nope, time to give up, but then I got these cuttings out and now I'm confused. I'll keep you posted.
Toodle pip

45 comments:

  1. My dad was a lorry driver. I used to travel with him a lot when I was little. I'd been all over the UK, Ireland and Europe by the time I was 10. I wanted to be a lorry driver when I grew up. Your pictures bring back memories for me too.

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  2. You will have your memories. They will always be a part of who you are whatever you decide :)

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  3. Loved looking at the articles! You helped pave the way for women in the trucking industry!
    No advice; just wanted to say thank you!

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  4. I like that - a very capable, attractive woman. Natalie

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  5. Hi Ilona,
    I know what you mean, not trucking of course but letting things go. I suppose you must decide if you are keeping it to use or just for nostalgia. The medical plus the actual application makes it a little expensive but you must do what is right for you. I don't think I've ever seen a lady trucker, the pictures were great to see. X

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  6. Ilona.......I remember the pictures of you in the Burton Mail from when I was younger. We used to live in Tutbury and the Burton Mail was our daily paper. How fab to see them again.

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  7. Although I have visited you for 12 months something happened to make the writing very small so that I can hardly read it, so I don't call in much now.
    I felt I had to reply today as I used to be in your club years ago, got the medal lol (badge) and kept the paperwork for years. I passed my HGV when I was 40 and worked agency on and off, my longest job was with Woodside haulage on night trucking and then the Continent which I loved 2/3 weeks out in Spain/ Italy or where-ever and sometime another turn-round at Dover. I also passed my PSV at 40 and did lots of European driving with school holiday and Christmas trips to Spain, also did the Barcelona olimpics. Unfortunatley, I had to give it up when I was 56 as Dad Died and Mum had dementia and came to live with me, she died 2 years ago at the age of 99. I also had my CPC national and International.
    It was very hard to give up both of my licences, but financially it makes sense. Although we are capable of driving the trucks times have changed and nowwith traffic, stress and new rules, no-one has the time to stop and help out in emergencies or for a chat.We had the best of the times.
    Let it go....... enjoy your retirement, your clubs, your dog and your friends.

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  8. Maybe time to let go, unless you have ambitions to sit behind the wheel again.

    I kept my shotgun certificate going for 40 years, and saw it go from a simple one-sheet application, signed by my doctor to say I was sane, with the certificate bought over the Post office counter for about £1.5s if I remember correctly, it was an A6 piece of white card with name, date of birth and rubber stamp receipt, renewable every 5 years.
    The last one I had was a huge piece of folded paper with photo and all sorts of my personal information, including details and numbers of all the guns I owned, sent away for amendment if I sold or bought a gun and a visit from a police officer to check I had a suitable strong fixed lockable cabinet to keep them in, can't remember the fee.
    When renewal time came a couple of years ago, I decided since I wasn't doing any shooting and my new wife was strongly anti-blood sports, I didn't bother to renew it.
    I haven't missed it.

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  9. What a wonderful trailblazer you were for women, Ilona! Thanks for sharing these things. Do as you truly desire.

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  10. If it were me I would frame my last licence or keep it with all these wonderful cuttings and move forward, but this is a big decision and only yours to make.

    Sad about your post office closing it's doors today, but if she is retiring rather than being forcibly shut down I suppose it's not too bad, it's a shame that there won't be a replacement though.

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  11. Love your cuttings, always nice to look at what you have achieved and be proud. Life is always changing and sometimes you find yourself at the crossroads not knowing which way to go. X

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  12. Time to let go MQ. You've been there and done that, lovely memories but they are in the past, let them stay there and move on.

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  13. Your newspaper cuttings great...if only I could be that famous!! In fact, I would recommend that you renew your licence (cost permitting), you never know what may happen in the future!!

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  14. I understand your indecision, but unless you have even a slight desire to drive trucks again, you might consider taking the money saved on renewing something you no longer have a need for, and applying it to something you really enjoy now, like your walking trips (lots of hostels for that amount of money!) or even for exploring some new hobby or experience that you've backburnered as "too costly." Good luck, whatever you decide :)

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  15. My feelings? If you are waffling on keeping it and you have the money, keep it. Next Year? You may feel differently about it.

    I keep my motorcycle endorsement even though I don't have one and have no plans to get one. I was grandfathered in for one back in the Dark Ages, costs me a little bit every time I renew but I have the option of; to ride or not to ride.

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  16. Thoroughly enjoyed looking at these articles- you a true trailblazer, Ilona. It's a difficult decision with the license, my head says don't renew, you probably won't use it. The money could be spent on more useful things. But my heart says renew it. You never know. You will make the right decision I know.

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  17. loved seeing your cuttings. what a strong , capable girl you were. That's how you are so able to do what you do now . You are an inspiration to us all.

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  18. Great post Ilona, thoroughly enjoyed it! Interesting life you have had. thanks for this.

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  19. Hi Ilona.....LOVE the pictures... what a pioneer you are. A wise woman ahead of her times. The pictures tell such a great story...treasure all those wonderful memories....I can tell how much you loved your work by the way you write about your experiences...I had no idea you were such a famous trailblazer but on reflection your chosen work was certainly not "traditional women's work" and you were a leader in that field for women.
    I re - newed my teachers registration twice after I "retired" just in case I went back... finally decided that "life after money" was for me and happily let it go the third time I got a reminder. On a different point.. no one knows how many days they have left.....so make the most of each one... as you certainly do. When I read about accidents that happen to people who were just on their way to work or something similar it makes merealise just how precious each and every day is.
    Thank you so much for sharing... loved the post. Cheers Jo

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  20. Ilona, love those pictures of you in your trucking days, and I think they are delightful. My hubby has gradually been retiring his 24 state licenses for engineering, but now he has taken on a new mantra as a "master gardener". Having that new identity seems to have given him the ability to let those licenses go. Now if we can just get rid of some of the myriad of building plans in boxes!

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  21. What a CV! Great to have all those cuttings and memories. Personally I would not bother to renew, you have nothing to prove anymore. You've been there done that etc. Use the money you will have saved to buy new experiences and new memories. You can never have too many of those!

    Linda xxx

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  22. Greetings from a long-time lurker from the States. What a blast to see all of your press clippings! And the previous comments are so good that I don't think I can add much. If it were me, I think I'd say a fond farewell to the licenses--but you're not me, so you gotta do what you gotta do. Whatever happens, best wishes.

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  23. Love those pictures of you and that you were driving lorries in the 70's, which, I imagine, was a completely different time for women and predominantly a man's role? Would love to hear more. My two uncles drove lorries for the breweries. Bass and Ind Coope at the time. They paid a good wage and pension for doing that. I would think you'd have to have some strength to hold your own in that field. And look how glamourous you are in the pics. :)

    Louise (from your old town) x

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  24. Very much enjoyed seeing your work-life pictures and reading some of the stories. Congratulations on such a trail-blazing life! I will be interested to see what you do with your license renewal. I retired after 43 years as a licensed registered nurse, and this is the year to renew my license if I choose to do so. I need to pay for continuing education credits as well as the fee for the license. I've renewed one time since I retired 'just in case', but am very ambivalent about this time (at age 67). I do not think I would be able or willing to get refreshed on all the new technologies that have occurred in the past 3 years. I did not renew my certification for my specialty, and still wonder if I did the right thing there, but have no need to maintain it in my 'life after money'. Best wishes in your decision making.

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  25. Time to move on, me thinks. Use the money saved to treat yourself to a nice walking holiday.

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  26. Thank you for sharing those wonderful
    Photos and articles . Truck driving here in Australia is male dominated industry. Great to see you trail blazing Ilona.

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  27. Great to see the pictures, Ilona. My friend Jackie was an Army HGV driver, and after she left the Army, she kept the licence on, but the DVLA took her HGV licence away when she got to 70. No choice. Paul H.

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  28. Another lurker from the states... I've been enjoying your blog for a few months now and I really love the posts about walking trips (so much so I've been trying to figure out one I could do here in Missouri), but this post is the best! I work in a grocery store where we get several deliveries every day by truck. Female drivers are few and far between! I think I've known maybe three. Thanks for sharing this!

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  29. Hello Ilona.I look at all your clippings and am amazed at what you have accomplished as a female trucker in a time when they were scarce.You advocated for others,inspired and worked so very hard for all those years doing what you loved.You have been places and met people that add up to a full box of wonderful, meaningful memories.You will always have that.Whatever you decide with your heart will be what's right for you,I'm sure.My hubby's Aunt became a trucker at fifty years of age and did that for ten years and then spent a year at an ashram and then went back to finish her Phd.and is now a spiritual psychologist who sings in a choir and is very involved mother and grandmother.Everyone has their time, I think and our lives constantly evolve.Though older many good productive years can still be in our futures despite the changes and challenges.and mixed feelings.Aging is bittersweet that way, and a lot of getting older is to do with letting go and being flexible and adaptable while still embracing the "new normal"IMO.Big hugs and smiles to you,Ms.Trucker,D.

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  30. I loved the newspaper clippings, Ilona! Ah, yes. That nostalgia creeps up on you. How wonderful that you have such great accomplishments and memories. What should you do? In your heart of hearts you know what is best for you, and it really makes no difference. You will always be the trailblazer that you have been, and no bit of gov't. paper will verify or deny that. Thanks for sharing. Mary Jane in Canada.

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  31. Fabulous press cuttings! My Dad was a driver for Allied Breweries :) And, I'd say use the money on something you can enjoy now. xx

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  32. What wonderful pictures and memories! My philosophy on the past is to let it go...this is where I was then, this is where I am now, this is what I plan for the future. Nothing should stay the same and if we dwell in the past too much, missing the things we had, it can stop us from enjoying what we have now and what may be around the corner. I know your parents died before their time but 65 is very young and you have lots of other things to accomplished and plenty time to do them in. It's a privilege to have you share them with us. Debbie.

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  33. Loved the photos and really enjoyed reading about your inspirational and varied life. As for the dilemma about renewing your license I would go for it but only if you intend to use it and drive a truck again. Maybe a couple of jobs would offset the cost as I'm sure you must miss life on the road. At this time of year I'm chomping at the bit to get out. I'm actually surprised you havn't thought of buying a camper van. Maybe you could persuade your GP to reduce the cost of the medical as you are hardly a big user of the NHS and don't need expensive treatments due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Kristel.

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  34. Lovely to see these articles and read about how you carved out a career in a very male dominated area - a real inspiration!

    I would not renew the licence, if you not used it in six years, then you probably won't in the future either. You don't lose that part of your identity just because you no longer have the licence. You know you did it! As others have said - use that money for something you want know that makes your life know more fun :-)

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  35. If you can't think of a single reason that you would ever use that license, let it go. If there are some "what ifs," then I would renew. If you let it go, I like the idea of framing your last one. My mother kept her cosmetology license current in California for 8 years after she moved to another state and wasn't working outside the home. I don't know if she just couldn't let it go, or thought she might move back to California and need it. I know this because she saved those licenses for the rest of her life, and I inherited them. I had no idea at the time.

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  36. Hello Mean Queen! I just wanted you to know that I showed your pictures to one of my five year old students today. She has her heart set on being a trucker when she grows up. I told her, "See, girls CAN drive trucks!" And she got the biggest smile on her face. Thanks for continuing to be an inspiration!

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  37. Hi Ilona. I would ask yourself the following questions: 1. Would I renew licence if to do so was free? 2. Would renewing the licence cause me financial hardship? 3. If financial hardship is not going to be an issue, is there anything else I would rather spend the same amount of money on? You very admirally base most of your financial decisions on what your head tells you, but I have a feeling that this is one decision you should make with your heart. You are more likely to regret not renewing your licence than regret renewing it. It seems to me that it's a big part of who you are and figures on a bank statement can't make up for bidding it farewell. Go for it, girl; you' re worth it!

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  38. what great photo's and post. I remember the B.R.S. depot.I lived on London Road in Alvaston. My eldest son who lives in Canada drove the road trains through the Rockies. My favourite truck he had was the first one ,an old Peterbilt(spelt right?) He then went on to the big double trucks. He now runs his own house reno business instead of freezing his a..e off in those sub zero temps out in the middle of nowhere. lol.

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  39. You'll need your driver CPC £300, digi card£38 both of which only last 5 years.
    Its a lot to pay out and the hourly rate isn't that good so it could take a while to make your outlay back.
    Dave.

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  40. Hi Ilona. If your heart tells you to renew your licence, and it won't cause you financial hardship to do so, then I would renew it. Sometimes, we just have to be kind to ourselves. You are more likely to regret not renewing it than to regret renewing it. Go for it; you' re worth it!

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  41. My husband learned to drive in a flat bed lorry at the age of 17 as a very slim youth! He passed his test in a car having only driven one for an hour before his test (like me nobody in his family had a car to practise in). He was working for a firm which made deliveries so simple learned on the job. He took his test on his 18th birthday and the following day was working as a delivery driver on one of the said flat bed trucks. He is still slim though now in his 50s and hasn't worked as a delivery driver for some years having returned to education to train for a new profession in his twenties but he looks back on those early days of driving a huge truck when he barely could see over the steering wheel with huge affection.

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  42. Ilona, your heart wants to renew but we think your head will win. As others have said, you could frame your last licences and the cuttings.
    You look so confident and fit in the articles, you must have been a real inspiration to others.
    The comment from Tilly made good reading.
    Wendy (Wales)

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  43. Ilona, I'm with Sue on this, frame your last licence, or keep it with your press cuttings, but spend the renewal money on a few lovely days out, or a short break away somewhere that doggies are welcome too!
    When I first took early retirement from the legal profession I paid to keep my practicing certificates up to date, but have now realised that I'm never going to back to that life so no longer bother.
    It's a weird feeling now when I look at the register of Solicitors in England and Wales and my name is no longer there, my career was a huge part of my life for many years, but now I look back on those years fondly and have no wish to return to the stress and hassle!

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  44. Your newspaper cuttings are great, its good that you can look back at your life in transport. I like the pictures of the trucks of yesteryear, that brings back the memories of when you had to drive them yourself rather than todays computerised automatic cruise control trucks that you just point in the right direction or where the sat-nav says.
    Dave.

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  45. I love all the articles. So neat. Love the glamour shot too,

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