Circumstances Unforeseen

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-01-20
  • Publisher: Textstream
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This is based on a true story from a journal I wrote in 1976. I had been offered a job to drive across Europe. This was a planned trip which would terminate in Singapore and included camping across Europe and traveling in a 1966 Ford Comet. The car and the camping became quite a journey. The man I was driving for was wanted by the police and was actually on the run-not that I was aware of any of these things until I arrived back in the UK. There was a third party, who came as a paying passenger. The journey was terminated in Athens due to the fact that the man I was driving for had been fraudulently drawing money from banks as we crossed Europe. I considered it to dangerous to go into the Middle East. The third party and I went to the Greek islands and then traveled back home by ferry and bus.


The grim look on Mr. Turner’s face changed to a smile. Mr. Turner said, “Tell him where we are going, Alan, and that you are my driver”. I proceeded to do so. “This sounds like quite a job, you are the adventurous type, so I assume this will suit you, I guess you will have a lot to tell me next time we meet to have a drink,” my friend joked. All the checking was cleared up and finalized and I carefully re- packed all the food and camping equipment in the trunk, away we went to get on the ferry. Once on board, we went to the restaurant, where to my surprise Mr. Turner said to us “what ever you want is on me. Make the most of it because once we are on the road, we will not be dining fancy places!” As Tony was the paying passenger, he had struck up a deal to pay for the gas, and help with the meals. I suggested that I would like to have a beer, as I would not be drink so much being the designated driver. “No problem” said Mr. Turner. For an overnight passage across the Channel you can book a cabin or a recliner chair. Mr. Turner had booked a cabin. Tony and I had recliners for a seven-hour passage; I had never considered a cabin to be worthwhile Tony and I were in the cafeteria having breakfast at 5.00am; then we met at the car, On the car deck, and were ready to leave the ferry Tony now in the car with us and his pack weighing 56 lbs I knew for sure that the car was lower. Coming down the ramp off the ferry could pose a real problem. I mentioned my concern to Brian (Mr. Turner, who now wants to be called “Brian” from then on. He had had a change of attitude and was now ready to listen to my concerns. I assume he now realized I had his interests and safety at heart. Nice to now know I have this kind of respect from him. I saw a smile from Tony in the back seat. We had hit it off right away, and we will soon become very close friends. When the ferry ramp comes down, it looks very even, with not much of a slope. A crewmember on the ship directs all the vehicles off the ferry and you simply have to wait your turn. Brian was getting impatient and asked why it was taking so long. I told him be patient. They unload the ferry a certain way so as to keep an even weight distribution. The ship is low with the weight it’s carrying and this will change the ramp level. I just hoped it was our favor and leveled out, for that moment it was low and would rise as everything came off of it. There were just two cars in ahead of us, the ramp looked perfect for our heavy loaded (and low riding) car. As we exited the ramp we felt a very slight bump, but nothing to be too concerned about. A customs` officer was now is directing us to another area to get checked out, because the car was so low. Not a great situation and Brian became very nervous. He asked, “Do you know any of these people working over here? I said “Sorry I only ever got off the ferry as a foot passenger; this is a new experience for me”. We had to pull almost everything out of the car and the trunk. They were looking at all the food and said that we must be planning on an extremely long trip. They went through everything in great detail. They even asked us to open our bags, and Tony had to unpack his backpack. The wanted to know why he was carrying a backpack unlike us and we had a case each? Also why did we have painting equipment? Even with Brian’s easel they still needed convincing that he was indeed an artist going on a holiday trip through Europe. After almost an hour delay, we repacked the car, and headed onto the highway. Our planned route was to head first for Germany.

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