A Stranded Namibian..

At one o’clock in the morning, Namibian is hanging off my mirrors. It reminds me that I should’ve been born into wealth.

There is a rule in this industry: rock, don’t knock. It means, in order to wake a sleeping driver, rock the mirrors – gently.

Too much and you risk spilling discarded wine glasses inside; too little and the driver may continue his erotic dream involving two of Tina Turner’s dancers, subconsciously noting that the wind outside has increased. What you do not do, Namibian, is swing off them.

Are you thinking why not just ring the bell, as with a house? We don’t have one. Well, how about knocking on the door then? Ah, we come to the crux. The noise from pounding fists – aside from the proximity to my weary frame –  is amplified inside the cab. It always makes my heart race. Namibian has rocked me out of bed now, though. So, comparing awakening techniques, perhaps there isn’t much in it.

Ooh, I forgot to mention his forlorn face yesterday at the Danish docks. The ferry to northern Germany accommodated my truck but not Namibian’s.

As he revved in readiness of embarkation, a stevedore blocked his path. It happened to me when I was twenty-three: five out of six trucks got on this boat, heading for a gig in Copenhagen.

Over the CB, I got snatches of directions: ‘turn left at the …lights, then turn…’ Help! I paid a taxi driver to lead the way on that occasion. Last night, though, when the stranded Namibian arrived, he became a little excited.

Parked next to us were several “trombone” trailers“, each fifty metres in length, pulling electricity-generating windmill sails. I believe the expression for his enthusiasm is “like a dog with two dicks.”

Anyway, it’s 1am and Namibian has been up for an hour. He’s woken gradually, prepared hot drinks, and violently awoken a trombone player. Why am I talking in the third person? I don’t know, I’m tired.

He’s woken me. I check for bruises and draw the curtains. There stands Namibian, dressed like a beardless Father Christmas in a hat. Disorientated and squinting, I finally find the door handle, and an arm reaches in with the familiar pink thermos flask.

A journey of 700kms would be perfectly unthinkable without this. An icy draught accompanies the flask and I wonder, not for the first time, why on earth we’re touring northern Europe in February.

As we head south, passing numerous motorway exits – “ausfahrts”, in German – I’m reminded of my ex-girlfriend. She once remarked what a big place Ausfahrt must be, as it is signposted from everywhere.

She’s Australian; the language barrier got us in the end…