Saturday, 29 January 2011

Romanians, Turks And Bulgarians Congregate In The North

The bright red Romanian truck looked lost.

His Sat Nav had obviously failed him as the road ahead narrowed and looked more forbidding. He slowed to a crawl, naturally frightened by the local speedsters coming from the opposite direction and the increased likelihood of him hitting a stone wall.

He stopped and turned into a single track road. I thought I'd better try and help him. He spoke no English, so the only word I could think of which seems to be understood worldwide was:


It worked as the dark featured man with black hair nodded his head vigorously. Then I failed him miserably by speaking English in the typical, ultra slow, unintelligible way that Brits tend (often without realising it) to talk to foreigners, as if they have just come out of the cot.

"Go? Where? Come from? To where?" My dog would have had a better chance of understanding me. I realised I was condescending and ineffectual when he continued to nod his head rhythmically. Then he had the brightest of ideas by writing with his finger in his wing mirror.

'N69' - he wrote.

Ah the A69 - then all became clear and I was able to direct him. I gave up on the speaking and used vigorous arm movements to direct him. It was only afterwards that I worried that one of my gestures, though innoocent in this country, may have been the worst insult to a Romanian. Then again he hooted his horn and waved as he departed.

The next visit to the town, I came face to face with a lost Turkish truck. It was easily identifiable by the flag on his dashboard. The red background with the white crescent and five point star was visible from a long way away. He did not slow down and turned round with dust flying out the back, narrowly missing a Bulgarian truck coming the other way. A superb driver, who missed everything by inches, though he gave the feeling that he always did that, in safety.

It had been an international start to the day. There had been more overnight snow, but the day had turned into the nicest day of the year so far, confounding recent reports that the average sunshine in January was one third of what we are used to. Everyone was happy......except one.....there's always one.

"They didn't give me a pay rise for eight years. Eight years!" said a passenger. "Said they couldn't afford it. Then I find out they've gone and bought a villa on the Costa Brava. Urggh."

I looked out of the window at the sun giving off a warm orange light onto the fields and moors, and thought why would anyone want to leave this country on a day like today?

How lucky I am.

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