Dusseldorf to Oberhausen

Tachographs are a dashed nuisance. Namibian and I awoke yesterday after five hours in bed – separate beds, that is – faced with a dilemma.

Either we go immediately, to reach our destination within a regulation “spread-over” period of fifteen hours; or we wait another four hours, to complete a nine-hour daily rest.

These hard-and-fast rules just do not suit this industry; both options – in the name of safety regulations – leave us knackered. We choose the latter, dining on bacteria and a bread roll to eke out the time.

But I totally forgot it was Friday. While eighteen AC/DC trucks trundled through the Ruhr Valley (the busiest part of Germany) before lunch, Namibian and I had snoozed. The knock-on effect was afternoon traffic. A lot of it. In fact, we arrived at Dusseldorf’s ISS Dome twelve hours after Little Dick.

Rain, glorious rain. You know how people say: ‘Ooh, what a lovely day, shall we go for a drive?’ Poppycock. Glorious sunshine, in my opinion, deserves a walk or cycle. So if it’s lashing down with rain, I’d rather be driving – it’s a good use of weather.

Ah, but you can’t see in heavy spray, you say? No problem in a truck: you’re high above it, and can maintain top speed, selfishly overtaking cars and leaving them blinded by surface water.

Except that you can’t in Germany. Or Belgium, for that matter. Endless stretches of autobahn are marked with that irksome sign of a red truck next to a black car, inside a prohibitive red circle. No matter how many horsepower is under the bonnet – or even worse, if the trailer is empty – overtaking is “verboten” (forbidden).

The ban is lifted occasionally but, if you happen to be engrossed in a Stephen Fry audio book or boiling a kettle, the sign is easily missed.

Hopefully, you haven’t really noticed a small point: I’ve achieved nothing in Dusseldorf..