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Published: February 4th 2010
6th May ’09:
Ah, May - the start of the mating season. The weather is clement; stadium touring begins in earnest. A familiar, freckled hand passes the pink thermos flask - yes, Namibian and I are back on the road. He has bought me a writing pad in our short break at home, and - in an odd juxtaposition - six bags of crisps and two packets of polos. Isn't he a darling? I don't really eat crisps but it's the thought that counts, and they may come in handy with a cheese and pickle sandwich on a nice country walk. Then he asks when my birthday is, knowing it to be soon. Remembering birthdays and purchasing thoughtful gifts, Namibian really would make somebody a lovely wife. The cab he is cleaning here - so diligently - is mine. And he can cook..
We pull out of the truck yard in darkest East Anglia, bound for Dover, the nearest port to France. As we come down the hill approaching the docks, our mate “Sweaty” (a Cockney term for a Scotsman) drives the other way, waving frantically. Using a bluetooth telephone kit to meet with legal requirements, he rings me.
‘What the hell is that Namibian doing in front?’ he shouts. Ah, that's easy to explain: Namibian was sent ahead to buy foreign road tax, for both of us, in Ashford. He pulled out as I got close and - voila - he is in front. I voice a little concern regarding the route, however, when Namibian tells me that we're going to Italy on the tour. ‘Yes, we are Barny, there's a gig in Madrid.’ You could certainly say that I've missed him..
Ah, that's better - Namibian is back where he belongs, bringing up the rear. As you know, his unparalleled knack for mixing up cities could easily have led to us arriving in Milan instead of Munich. The other advantage to having Namibian following me is that he can monitor any stray wheels falling off my trailer. Or informing me, before we roll into a gig, that there is a Smartcar dangling off the back corner of the truck. What happens behind Namibian, though, is anybody's guess. 'I don't look in my mirrors - I know where I've been,' he mocks. Downwind will certainly be malodorous, though. His escapes of gas today -
stifled so that they seep out - are laden with overtones of pickled egg.
By the way, for this outdoor leg of the tour, do NOT expect blogging every day. You may find that you get a daily post, possibly in abbreviated form, but no promises. In short, I can either do less, or write less. Now that the weather has improved, it is hotter in the truck than the last few months, which bodes poorly for sitting in it - typing - while the sun shines. Instead, I would much prefer to read outside, plagiarising other people's work by making notes to be used in the blog that I'm not promising to write.
Additionally, I have a couple of writing competitions to enter, articles to write that may or may not be published, and - of course - every day is potentially another adventure. Instead of waxing lyrical - OK, waffling - on travel days, we may have to abandon their coverage entirely. Of course, if Namibian happens to be disembowelled by an Eastern European police officer, it will be documented.
It's a travel day today actually, yet it stands out as unusual: Barnaby Davies has
washed his truck. Namibian talked me into it, after four months of nagging in a wife-like fashion. So we pull into a truckstop north of Munich for this momentous occasion. Dragging my heels for some time now, I've been using the environmental argument - which doesn't hold much water, ha ha - when pitted against diesel consumed. But really my reluctance boils down to disinterest and, after all, dirty trucks earn the same as clean ones. It will only get dirty again anyway.
Mind you, if we applied that line of thought to the human body, where would we be? Er, well I'll leave that for you to think about. Anyway, it's funny that Namibian takes such short showers - brought up, as he was, to save water in a parched African land - yet loves using hundreds of gallons to wash his lorry. We've already established his fetish for goods vehicles in previous entries; when I radio that the truckwash is open, anybody would think that he'd just swallowed two Viagra pills...
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