Do you ever find yourself in those situations where someone asks if you would do something, and before you know it you have said yes without really thinking about the outcome. Well that's what I did. We went to a party a few weeks ago and were talking to a friend who is a farmer. Tim mentioned to him that I had always wanted to drive a tractor, in response to this he said he had three places booked for training with an examiner in November but only had two members of staff suitable to train so would I like to fill the last place. Obviously without a second thought I said of course I would. I must just add this training was not for a tractor but for a fork lift truck! which carries tonne boxes of potatoes in a large storage depot.
As the weeks passed I forgot all about it until last Tuesday when I received an email informing me of the start time of 8am for that Friday. I had a slight panic and tried to think of ways of getting out of it before I resigned myself to the fact that I had agreed to do it.
So off I went to the farm for a prompt start and met the two other chaps who were taking the course with me. They had already been driving these trucks at work and needed to complete the appropriate safety training. The instructor/examiner arrived and introduced himself, he raised his eyebrows slightly on hearing that I had never even sat in one of these things, not really helped by the fact I was female. We watched two videos which showed how we could be crushed if we tipped the thing over, we could break an arm off if we held it out of the cab when passing something or just receive a few minor injuries in other circumstances. So filled with confidence, NOT, I followed the others outside. I opted to go second so I could watch and learn.
The training involved a full safety check of the vehicle first, ensuring such things as masts, forks and chains were all intact. I also learnt about rated capacity and other wonderful terms.
The steering I didn't find too much of a problem but I found it difficult remembering which lever did which and kept forgetting to put the hand brake on each time I stopped. So things went up when they were supposed to go down and move to the left when they were supposed to move to the right. Well, I managed to stack 4 boxes on top on each other then lift and stack a box on top of 6 others which was then 6 metres/ 18feet high, all of which I found very nerve racking.
After our lunch break we were informed we would have a written and multiple choice exam with the aid of a booklet then we would do the practical test. As you can imagine I couldn't wait :o(
I was second to take the practical test. By this time the instructor had done away with pleasantries and was in full examiner mode! To add to the stress he wanted me to move and stack these large boxes in TWO's not singularly like we had done in the morning. I did manage to complete the test but not without some faults that he quite sternly pointed out. Anyway having told you all of the above I PASSED! I couldn't believe it. Looking back I really enjoyed the day and it gave me the opportunity to see a different kind of working life.
Thank you for all your good luck wishes they were really appreciated.