Look what I found…

I was flitting around the interweave earlier and I came across this…

lobstervan.jpg

…it was on a site put together by a traveller called Dave (Traveller Homes) with loads of photos of travellers buses, trucks, caravans and the like. Great memory laning for me. This lobster van was my first ever travelling home – an old Post Office Leyland EA in which Tiggz and I crawled around Europe in ’89 frequenting various festivals and juggling conventions. This picture was taken at the eviction party on a huge squatted island in the north of Amsterdam. The lobster was painted because I only had black and white paint. Obviously…

On returning to Blighty I lived in it with Louise and 2 mad dogs before we all started to get cabin fever and upgraded to a full size bus…

(I expect Daddy P and KPX will have fond memories of this beauty dripping oil in their driveway for a few weeks…)

I didn’t surf today.

Ancient history part 1

firebreathing

There was a time when I used to set fire to myself for a living.

It didn’t pay very well but the benefits were good – I didn’t have to shave very often (any part of my body), I had a great deal at the local hardware store for paraffin and wicks and I always had a light on me.

I would juggle it, blow it out of my mouth, rub it all over my near naked body, eat it and then shove it down my pants. Sometimes on stilts. Most of these things are not recommended under normal circumstances. Or in fact – under any circumstances.

My stages varied from street corners to bass bins at Pacha and for several years the life of a wandering minstrel was mine. Obviously things have gradually changed and occassionally I have a misty-eyed moment but all I have to do is remember the taste in my mouth and the burns on my skin…

I’ve stuck a few pics on flickr of some ancient buses, a beautiful lady and a shed on wheels. All of these things were at some point very important to me, most of them I hope I’ll never see again.

I didn’t surf today. Hopefully next weekend if the Grindstone lets me loose for a few days!

New toys…

I have new toys. I have finally dived into the dslr market (at the deep end incidentally, still slightly in shock) and got myself a shiny camera.
The intention being to get some loverly shots of all my friends doing stupid things in the sea on surfboards.

This will obviously involve more beachtime than I’ve been getting recently. A sacrifice yes. But one that I’m willing to make for the sake of art.
My other toy is flickr. I’ve posted a few pics and will at some point post some more. Probably. Just click on the sunflower and you will be magically transported to my meagre portfolio.

I didn’t surf today.

Home again, home again…

orange glass

Due to extended exposure to big, wobbly, drunken people in an enclosed environment followed by 11 hours of driving a large truck through the heat of Spain. I have nothing to say.

Here is a doodle I was playing with whilst locked in my cabin. I may well turn it into a wallpaper and upload it to Wincustomize later this week for downloading…

Nice to be home. I think.

I didn’t surf today.

Back on the boat again…

I’ve been on the Pride of Bilbao more times in the last fifteen years than is good for one human being. It runs from Portsmouth to the north coast of Spain day in day out all year round. There are 11 decks, 5 restaurants, 4 bars, 2 cinemas and a swimming pool. There is cabaret, a casino and bingo.

All of this may seem like reasonable entertainment, but it’s all designed to relieve a certainslice of the population of their hard earned cash.

The majority of the passengers are split between two types –

The I’m on my way to Spain with my very expensive camper or caravan type. I have a ridiculously orange suntan, a fat wallet (from importing tupperware from China) and ‘we’ go to Malaga twice a year.

The I’m on this boat for the next 36 hours, spending 4 hours in Spain and getting straight back on to spend another 30 hours on the boat type. These are the mysterious breed of people for whom the boat itself is the attraction. The afore-mentioned entertainment is the key. Arriving by the coachload from all over Britain to spend 4 days trapped on a floating prison. They drink, they eat, they drink some more, they laugh, they shout ‘house’ and dance. They spend tons of cash then squeeze back on the coach, burp, fall asleep and go home. Brilliant.

The first few journeys I made seemed like fun but now that I know every rusty rivet on the deck, dry baguette on the menu and one-liner from Barry the entertainments manager, it’s all a bit of a trial. Every now and then when there’s a right good storm blowing across the Bay of Biscay, things get a little bit lumpy. Then it’s just the staff and a few lucky people who don’t get sea sick up and about. I quite like that bit…

Luckily, this time, I have a laptop, a ‘do not disturb’ sign and series 3 of Battlestar Galactica to get through…

I didn’t surf today. See you in a few days.

Duel…

2CV

I’m driving a 7.5 ton truck – it’s not an 18 wheeler, articulated tractor unit that rattles double glazing units and puts fear into the hearts of zimmer bound pedestrians – but it’s still a truck. You need to climb into the cab – you have to park in the big spaces in service stations. I buy Yorkie bars and leave the wrapper on my dashboard.

Strangely I sailed through customs at Portsmouth without the usual invite into the customs shed and slipped onto the M27 heading east. The traffic was light as the somewhat lumpy conditions in the Bay of Biscay delayed the boat by several hours.

A Citroen 2CV pulled in in front of me. Sun-bleached blue with a french plate. The roof was down so the occupants could catch the last of the evening sun – all I could see of them was the silver hair of the driver and a bright silk headscarf of his passenger. They sat in front for a while before slowly pulling away and disappearing amongst the lazy commuter remnants.

The truck ate some miles of tarmac and swung a dozen roundabouts. My head was fuzzy and tired from the air-conditioning and boredom of the boat.

My eyes flicked to the offside mirror. The Citroen again. Strange – I didn’t overtake them – and there were no service stations.

As they hummed past I studied them closer. He was in his late fifties – weather beaten – she was older, possibly his mother – her face creased with lines that showed a lifetime of expression. Not now – both were silent and focused on the road ahead.

The gradient changed and they slowed for a hill. I drifted out to overtake and for a minute we were side by side before the hill flattened and they crept ahead again.

Chichester came and went – the Citroen appeared and disappeared. Arundel. Hove. Brighton. I started to wonder why they don’t put their roof up – why they never turn their heads – why they don’t speak or change their expressions?

Was I following them? Were they following me? Were they mindless automatons programmed with a singular mission?

If I stopped to relieve my aching bladder in a quiet lay by would they leap from their car with a speed and agility belying their seemingly fragile frames and kill me kill me kill me ’til I’m dead dead dead?!?

To be continued…

Mmm shiny…

I’ve just picked up my loverly truck from the oficina.

Now it’s a loverly shiny truck with new oil and grease and tyres and all that stuff. If trucks could smile it would be grinning from mirror to mirror.

It’s been a few years since it went to the day spa for trucks so I thought a treat was in order – a quick massage, exfoliation and a go in the sauna. Then a light lunch, some yoga and a quick shower. Bob’s your aunties live in lover. All sorted – happy truck.

So in a couple of weeks I hit the road to Blighty for a quick mission – some furniture shuffling and maybe a sly surf in the north of Spain (one day when I’m man enough I shall attempt to surf Mundaka) visit Ma n Pa Papersurfer, have a cup of the old mangreen with Tiggz and Frog the dog – maybe slip in a pint of cider and a Melton Mowbray then back home in time for tea.

I didn’t surf today. I sorted out the transport though…

Are we nearly there yet?

At the end of last summer when the evenings seemed to be hotter than the days I got a call from an airport payphone.
There was a party planned for that evening in between the trucks and vans – a barbecue, a few drinks and some mellow sounds. Only something seemed to be missing – the birthday boy…
‘Help me – I’m stuck in Lisbon….’
Lars had missed his connecting flight from Hamburg and was several hours late so duly rang the only person in Peniche that he knew would be sober at sunset on a friday night. Rather than fire up the truck I swiftly purloined some keys to a friends car and joined the queues of sunburnt day-trippers on their way back to the city. The traffic eased at the edge of town and the road opened up. Just after the last roundabout before the motorway I spotted a pair of sihouettes with thumbs outstretched and pulled in to let in my new passengers.

hitcherA couple from the Basque country. Scrawny, dirty, shaved heads and tattoos. Just my people. He sat up front having ascertained that the airport was a good destination for all and the journey restarted.
Conversation was hard – my Spanish is weak especially when shrouded with a thick Basque accent – they had no Portuguese or French and his meagre English was hard to decypher and hers was non-existent.
So in time we slipped into silence and the car slowly ate the kilometres towards Lisbon. Every now and then he would turn to the back and whisper to his girlfriend. Always short and quiet. After a while he asked how far to the end of the motorway. I replied then silence again…
For some reason my nerves were starting to rise. The whispers and occasional glances at me…

Soon the tollbooth came into sight, the whispering commenced again and out of the corner of my eye I saw his hand reach furtively back where it met hers and something glinted briefly. He drew his hand to the front and held it out of view beside his leg. My mind was racing – a knife maybe? Or worse…

The tolls loomed and I slowed the car as we approached – trying to relax to deal with whatever was coming I eased down through the gears as we drew up to the booth window…

My passenger whirled round – grabbing my nearest wrist, his bony hand pinning it with surprising strength – his other flashed into view now brandishing his concealed intention…

‘Here – you must use my visa card!’

Sometimes it’s good to be wrong…

I didn’t surf today.