A.J. Walker


Farewell, Wales

After delivering across North Wales for so long things have suddenly changed and I'm now closer to home delivering in areas in and around Warrington. It's swings and roundabouts in terms of what this actually means in terms of whether this is a positive.

Clearly the miles going to and from Wales every day were sometimes significant. I could be delivering around Corwen, Llanwrst, Caernarvon, or even Holyhead. That would mean I'd be doing up to 280 miles a day - or well over 1200 miles a week. Now doing Warrington, and a little beyond, the maximum miles will likely be between 60 and 100 miles a day. This will take a lot less time (though there will be a consequent up tick in number of deliveries).

Unfortunately instead of going out a 8-9am we are now going out a 10:30-11:15pm, which means a knock-on later finish (albeit less of a commute home). And at the moment with the nights drawing in every day it means delivering in the dark. To be fair delivering in the dark in urban or suburban areas of Warrington should be better in terms of finding the addresses because a) streetlights and b) numbered houses instead of named properties - if you ever do a delivery job the No.1 bane of your life is named houses. With a numbered property you can guess what's next door - generally two numbers or one number different. With named houses there is no way of guessing and the time wasted walking up the wrong driveways is significant.

That said, delivering in some areas of Warrington (I won't name them) does not look like it'll be particularly fun - or safe. And there are surprisingly large areas of estates with few roads, meaning walking around between blocks of flats and houses trying to work out the numbering. I'll either be getting fitter with all the walking or making it damn harder on my knees. I've been doing 12-14k steps this past week at work.

Working in the winter has its own issues including snow and ice as well as the dark, and whilst some of the areas don't look like they'll be great, from a driving perspective there are some advantages of Warrington over North Wales. Especially the road lighting and road conditions. Trying to turn in the road, or even just reverse down a country lane or driveway at some isolated farm, in the dark is an absolute nightmare in a van. You really could do with headlights at the back - and the risk of going onto grass in the wet or skidding on ice can be a scary proposition. It is not uncommon for drivers to end up stuck just off the road or fallen in a ditch. Costly and dangerous. I won't miss that fear.

All in all the change in delivery area from North Wales to Warrington is a mixed blessing and we'll see how it goes. I'll certainly miss some of the countryside, views and amazing properties I've been getting to. The photos (like #DailyDeliveryPhoto) I put on Twitter and Instagram certainly won't be the same. But I won't miss: the M56; the A55; tailbacks behind tractors/horses/cyclists; reversing down a hill a winding road when meeting traffic; flooding; mud or ice on a bendy road; isolated properties on one side of a valley or other; and, of course, named houses. Farewell, Wales.
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