Dick Snows Diary 22/02/1984

I put the clock back 2 hours last night. Up at 0530hrs but blocked in car park. Never mind but must be in Belgrade tonight (today is Wednesday – TB) for loading on Thursday for England. Arrived Yugoslavia 1200hrs, long time at customs. Proceeded to Belgrade to load tyres for the UK. Met 2 Falcongates who told me John Jones had returned to Sofia with alternator trouble, pity I could have helped him.

Parked up: Belgrade, YU.

Dick Snows Diary 21/02/1984

Left again at 0445hrs for Istanbul & Kapicule. Had to wait til 1000hrs to cross the bridge. Arrived Kapicule, bathed, washed clothes. Take on 650 litres diesel and 800DM (Deutchmarks) from Young Turk. I arrived Kapikule at 1430hrs and eventually got away from the Bulgarian side at 2215hrs. Nearly 8 hours in the queue – absolutely knackered!

Parked up: Svilengrad, BG.

The Only Way is Full Tilt!

So I got a WhatsApp a few days ago with a few photos on, nothing unusual about that as my driver pals often send me photos of their travels. But, but when I saw it was from Mr Essex himself, Matt Campbell, I knew it’d be good but not that good! Just look, beautiful white stilettos DAF with matching yellow and red miniskirt trailer. Not just any trailer mind, it’s a Middle East tilt from the Astran subbie fleet, a full, bona-fide intercontinental, sand stained Middle East tilt. How does MJC do it, he’s a lucky fella living the life of a 1970’s GB owner driver!

Matts biggest worry was stripping the tilt when he got to the load point. Now drivers of my age and younger than me (39) wont get the chance to use a tilt anymore as they just aren’t Health and Safety. I will use the word “luckily”, for me when I was a little younger I have worked and stripped tilts out in the line of duty and I have to admit they are hard work to say the least! And yes Karl I did break a nail. I know Matt is far more capable than me, so I said don’t worry you’ll be fine. Loading was due in Cheltenham yesterday (Tuesday).

Now I’ll pass you over to Matts own words, sorry Matt, word for word as it’s spot on;

“You’ll have to edit my words a bit as I have the writing skills of a turnip!

Tuesday – Head up to Cheltenham ready to load. I was going to have a practice stripping the tilt but it all looked self explanatory, so didn’t see the value in doing any more than necessary.

Arrived at 10.30am. Had trailer stripped out just before midday although the trailer had claimed its first victim, my phone fell out and cracked in amongst all the excitement (70’s and &0’s truckers were of course not attached to a mobile phone at all times – TB). The second victim as I was to find out the next day was all my joints and my back, reminding me I’m no spring chicken anymore. Took us till 5pm to load the cargo, the container only just fitted inside the the frame. Then took me till 6.30 to put the trailer back together. Just had enough time to make it back home for the night and to a well earned shower (Another modern luxury – TB).”

Well done! I’d love to hear from ex tilt drivers, I mean proper ones, not like me. Don’t come on moaning and groaning about them, just tell me/us honest truths and tales please. I have to say Matt reminded me of the closing up of a tilt. I always used to feel a good sense of achievement putting the TIR cord back through the eyes and tying them off at the back end. I have to also say, no matter how much of a bugger or how many trapped fingers I probably had, but I love a tilt! I have even wondered whether you could do a tilt stripping competition at a truck show?! Anyway that trainer, why the tilt? Why the Astran tilt? Matt is good pals with Middle East trucker Karl Skilton (owner of the Esteppe roofed 143) and owner of said tilt. I asked Matt why use the tilt and he gave the best answer which just shows he’s such a trucker it’s unbelievable “Well it would go in my trailer but where’s the fun in that?!”

So leave southern Essex this morning (Wednesday) and head down to Folkestone for the night boat to Oostende, sorry I was reminiscing about some documentary or another! Douvres today with a three hour wait for a boat to France and then head East. Greece here we come! If you see Matt on his way, please please please send me a photo, it’s not like he can be inconspicuous with that trailer on the back can he!

Dick Snows Diary 20/02/1984

Left Adana at 0630hrs and had a nice quiet run up to Askaray arriving at 1050hrs. Had a soup and then set out for Ankara. Got stopped three times for police control. Arrived Ankara 1500hrs, departed 1800hrs. Started to rain 60km out and then snow came down, but stopped when I dropped down. Put in 200 litres diesel and arrived at Düzce 2250hrs.

Parked up: Düzce, TR.

Adana to Düzce is approximately 740km according to a modern route map.

Dick Snows Diary 19/02/1984

Left Cizre just after 0600hrs and stop for breakfast at 0730hrs, then on in nice sunny weather to Birecek. Found out the old car park man is an Afghani, wonder why he never asks for things. Repaired fog lamp wires helped by the Afganhi, gave him some fags and biscuits and he was over the moon, especially when I told him I used to drive to Kabul. Arrived Adana, had shower, washed clothes and watched TV.

Parked up: Adana, TR

Dick Snows Diary 18/02/1984

Nick Carter arrived Mosul last night with a Telex to say my missing pallet is probably on his truck. When we looked we couldn’t see it because his load was a mess. We must hope it is . Quite a long queue at the border. Arrived at 2pm. Hope to be home about the 27th if possible. Depends on backload instructions. 8hrs in queue.

Parked up: Cizre, TR.

Dick Snows Diary 17/02/1984

Went to Talaffar this morning and checked their cargo. The missing pallet is not here and they very kindly wrote a letter to this effect. Must be in the UK. Returned to Mosul. It is a waiting day today. Customs closed so cannot collect my passport until tomorrow. Then I shall be homeward bound at last. It seems a long trip this time.

Parked up: Mosul, IRQ.