Oops, it’s slippery in Norway


Oh, isn’t paperwork a bore? We’re mostly spoilt nowadays with these paperless open borders throughout Europe, but there are still a couple of non-conformers: namely Norway and Switzerland.

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…