Some of you may and some of you may not have read the book “Not All Sunshine & Sand” by Paul Rowlands, available from Old Pond Publishing for those who haven’t. Paul just wanted to share a little anecdote of the not so glamorous side of Middle East Trucking, during his days driving for Felixstowe based firm Trans Haul UK.
“Aaargh, shit! I don’t believe it” By Paul Rowlands
‘Donkey’ Pete and I were on our way to Tehran and Tabriz respectively and had pulled off the road onto a bit of scrubland about 40kms West of Sivas in Central Turkey, to have a wash and clean up in the sparkling stream which bimbled good naturedly along the almost dried up valley floor. It was the height of summer ’78. In spring this stream would have been a raging torrent from all the snow melt and rain and would have washed you all the way to the Black Sea in double quick time. Now though it gently swirled and meandered its way back and forth across the rock and shale covered valley floor and although freezing cold, looked extremely inviting. I grabbed a bottle of the ubiquitous Fairy Liquid and a towel and locking the cab door, scrambled my way down across the scree in my shorts looking for a pool of still water in a back eddy to have a good wash and scrub up. In these dusty driving conditions, with the windows open to catch any prevailing breeze, your body attracted accumulations of dirt and grime like a magnet.
Pete had disappeared in the opposite direction, upstream. Plenty of peace and quiet and room for a private soak! Having found the perfect little pool below a substantial sized boulder, I slowly sank down into the chilly water. With the ambient temperature in the 90’s, to be sat waist deep in this little backwater with the little stream eddying around me was sheer bliss. I was going to make the most of this, no chemical waste or pollution up here in this barren and semi arid part of Anatolia. From here I could see all along the valley floor, and in the distance, the ramshackle and battle weary old concrete bridge that still spanned the river bed, that’s not going to last many more winters, I thought, hope i’m not driving across it when it goes….
Luxuriating in the cool melt water, I started to wash my grubby torso while watching the water bubbling and gurgling round the edge of my quiet pool. Just occasionally a small branch or bit of detritus, washed down from the surrounding hills, circled my pool and threatened to invade my space before catching the current and floating off downstream.
Then, my state of contented bliss dissolved in a moment of sheer panic!
“Pete, you effing bastard”! I screamed in dismay, just as he appeared from around a large boulder adjusting his zip. “What?” he said, grinning. “Just found a great rock to have a dump Paul, should reach the sea in a couple of weeks”.
“I know”, I shouted. “We’ve just been introduced”. Pointing accusingly at the offending objects….two large floating turds circling my pool on the edge of the eddy, threatening to attack. I splashed water at them, vainly trying them back into the mainstream.
Pete was in stitches watching my futile antics, when around the rock, hove, hove into view his re-enforcements, a soggy mass of newspapers….
“Enough”. I yelled, struggling to get up off the pebbled river bed without making contact with the offensive mess. “Look at that bloody lot”. I said, scrambling out of the water and making my escape. “Sodding floaters! What’ve you been eating…..polystyrene? and i’ll bet that’s my newspaper an all”. Pete was giggling like a schoolgirl. “And there’s no way they’re reaching the Black Sea any time soon”, I called over my shoulder as I made my way upstream to find somewhere less tainted to complete my ablutions….
The photos are courtesy of the Trans Haul drivers collection on www.toprun.ch