Sunburned AC/DC truckers, with cheerful dispositions, proved what good weather I had missed fooling about attempting to scale glaciers.
Today, too, is sunny, yet is spent driving and dealing with a menopausal harridan of a policewoman. She could of course be a lesbian but I think it more likely that she has just spent a lonely Saturday evening watching reality TV.
Regardless, she’s got out of bed on the wrong side this morning, and is out to diligently nab foreign drivers. It all starts when she interrupts my pee at the side of the truck.
No, no, you’ve got the wrong idea. This is all very considerate and discreet in the hedge – far preferable to the nearside wheel. Tarmac smells in hot weather, grass doesn’t. Also, it avoids the inevitable ricochet into one’s sandals.
So, to cut a long story short, I’m taking a leak, turned away from any other member of public, in the shadow of a juggernaut. Her opening line then, neck craned, naturally puzzles me: ‘I don’t want to see your penis.’
This, I decide in a flash, is not the time to say, ‘Are you sure?’ She decides that Namibian’s penis is not worth worrying about, and Little Dick, well… Aren’t words, and arguably penises, fun to play with?
She is in rather a tight-fitting uniform, with a gun and large sunglasses – a stereotypical Italian cop.
Now, I’ve always taken the option of meek, polite ignorance where officers of the law are concerned, but today those tactics fail; she is a larcenous, if modish, hound. She looks through my tachographs and invents an extortionate figure – ostensibly for speeding.
Then, just for kicks, she adds a large fine for parking illegally. I point out my no-win situation in this regard: I have to stop for a legally required break, yet there are no parking bays available. As with peeing, I’m very considerate and have parked safely and courteously.
‘I know,’ replies the money-grabbing hag, ‘but I’ve just started my shift.’ With the amount of money she’s just got out of me, I imagine she’ll relax by the pool for the rest of it. Honestly, this is daylight robbery.
Conversely, if I’m having a bad day, you don’t see me taking things out on Namibian…although I must mention that, in Hungary this afternoon, he asked if Turdish people live around here. I give a resigned shrug while Namibian makes me another consoling flask of tea.
The rest of the day, despite pleasant driving conditions shadowing Slovenia’s Julian Alps, is spent stewing, miffed to the core.
Had I decided to argue the “on-the-spot” fine, it would have steadily increased – faults with documentation would have been found, or invented, in this hopelessly harmonised Eurozone.
The alternatives to this unfair, nay draconian, practice are either to be frogmarched – oh OK, simply driven in the squad car – to the local police station, or to be clamped. Or to be incarcerated and fed bread through bars while the vehicle is impounded.
It isn’t so much surviving on rations that worries me; it’s the fact that this is actually a rock and roll tour. Drivers languishing in jail for whacking saucy bints over the head with their penises has always been regarded as bad form.
So, on this occasion, like so many others – officers know that we’re generally in a rush to reach the next venue – I kowtow. But, when we finally reach Hungary after almost ten hours’ driving, “cock soup” on the menu is taking the piss..