Neither belongs to the European Union, which means we have to export gear from the EU, then import it into these countries, and vice versa on the way out. Rock n roll paperwork (the complicated but logical ATA carnet) is unusual; we never actually deliver anything.
Unlike most truckers, we re-load the same equipment (after the show) that we unloaded before the show. The big grumble, though, is that several trucks often travel under a single carnet.
Upshot: I have to go through these borders with other drivers, at a time to suit them, which almost always involves rushing. Formalities over, leaving Sweden and entering Norway mid-morning, we’re free to dither again, stopping for photographs and such like.
Driving into a blizzard is a bit like having concussion…so we pull in for elevenses. We’re in Norway now…and I get ever so slightly stuck this morning. I shan’t go into drive-axle weights – arguably a duller subject even than carnets – but suffice to say I lose traction, rolling back just a touch, towards a large snowdrift.
The garage lends me a spade, and I buy a reasonably-priced bag of salt. Despite a good deal of puffing with the shovel, the wheels continue to spin on the ice.
The truck remains stationary. Namibian comes to the rescue, boiling the kettle. A capital idea – he really is a dear – but no sign of milk or teabags. Eh?
He proceeds to tip a whole flask full of lovely hot water onto the tyres. Who would have thought it – an African desert rat has come to the rescue in Arctic conditions. It does the trick, though. We’re off again.
Arriving at Oslo’s Telenor Arena, Namibian and I casually mention my spot of bother. ‘A trifling matter,’ I lie. There was a point at which I’d envisaged remaining at that garage until the ice thaws…in May.
Anyway, feeling a little behind with trombone practice, I unzip my soft travel case. Barely have I got the ice out of the trombone’s inner stocking when the phone rings.
Unloading, for me, has been brought forward a day which severely interferes with our plans to build a snowman…