Well, after congratulating my brother on some sterling driving and having let him sleep for six hours, we headed to refuel before driving over the imaginary finishing line to victory in Valencia.
Having been on the road for three days, we are adapting to our environment. I for example have developed a hawk eye for coaches. I can hear the hiss of their doors with bat like distinction, as they disgorge teams of people in tracksuits. Not aprehending this kind of threat in the field, can result in waiting up to thirty minutes for a morning coffee. Know your enemy in the car park and outstealth him, to by whatever means possible. The same goes for families, they may be lightening quick to get out of the car, by do not be fooled, those estate cars harbor tribes of dawdlers. They are all different heights, can’t make decisions about meals and are careless in the queues with potentially jabby trays. If they look very determined, try and fob them off by telling them the emergency exit is actually the entrance and then padfoot up to the coffee machine.
Having taken our medicinal caffeine, which Paul likes to kick start witha couple of Red Bulls, we were ready to go. Refreshed, revived, (well lets not get into the realms of the ridiculous,) we had actually slept. That was about it.
We pull up to the pump, in a CEPSA garage. This is significant, as we had previously filled a tank with cut diesel in Italy and hence had driven in our own personal smog cloud for most of the journey. Still it kept tail gaters at bay, which is no mean feat in Italy.It was then that Paul heard the tyre deflate, in two places. We had come so far on our epic joirney, forgoing sleep, hot food and the basic need to wash twice a day. We limped the Discovery onto the fields and realised the wheel nut locking device had broken. It was Saturday and nothing reopens here until Monday. Paul suggested getting the tent out next to the main motorway. I start calling Spanish garages, I dont know what the security nut key broken tool of doom looks like with my English eyes, how was I to describe it in Spanish?
They were virtually all closed. Eventually we give in and I call a cab. I needed a bed and some food and most importantly a shower. Paul packed the essentials and I made the call. Simple. Or so we thought. The taxi driver got out and walked around the car shaking his head dismally. I started to count after he told us at least thirty times, that unless we had it towed it would get robbed. I counted another 26. His brow was knitted to his head and he seemed very stressed, He patroled up and down the car shaking his head. “They will come and smash the glass and take everything ( pauses looks up or effect and gesticulates with one hand looking towards the horizn-I mean, everything!) I had stopped translating for my brother, who was now looking at the taxi driver as if he was borderline insane.
Tired of the taxi drivers histrionics, Paul said he would stay with the car. I felt guilty getting into the cab. Not however as guity as the taxi driver, who justified his stories of window smashings and then started shaking his head like a Spanish Churchill dog. “Bery bery bery cold at night and no food, he squints as if imagining the deprivation. “What will he do? Terrible, terrible.”I can only imagine the disasters this man must go through on a Monday morning, before going to work and the various fates that could potentially await him.
To cut to the chase, I am in a town which is a 35 Euro taxi ride from my brother and he is in the Landrover, sleeping in the back. I am reassured that there is a shower in the garage. It might be prudent Paul to buy some Fairy handwash powder and start taking your laundry into the shower with you.
I have to wait until Monday, when I will turn up at the Landrover Dealership and do my best to borrow a size F unlocking nut. Thats if hoardes of theives have not carted my brother and his wicker baskets of laundry into the night. Despite his 8 litres of wine keeping him company in the back, I know he also has his fishing rods. It would be a brave man indeed who tried to make off with them.