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Went to France yesterday, just for the day to purchase wine, I hate the expression ‘Booze Cruise’, although that is what it was. We do our best  to make it civilised. We had a very pleasant meal in a restaurant on the main square of St Omer and then we went to a local supermarket, (Carrefour) and bought 6 bottles of this and 6 bottles of that etc etc, also some beer (1664) and cider and that was it. Back to GB and an easy journey up to Norfolk.

It so happened that it was the day that Sea France ceased to exist. Their big Pride of Berlioz ship was tied up next to us as we waited to return on the now quite dated Pride of Burgundy P and O ship.

The reason for this post is to tell you about the lorry game we used to play back in the 80’s and 90’s when travelling back and forth through France with our children. Like lots of parents we had various games to keep them occupied. It was pre ipod and video stuff so we ‘had to make our own entertainment’ as oldies say. We had the first to see the sea – the winner had to say ‘Yah boo sucks to you’ ….Where did that come from? and then the first to see a buzzard sitting on a post  etc etc but then it became the first to see a Norbert Dentressangle lorry.

That was the start and being saddo’s we developed it. Or to be more correct I developed it. We awarded points for seeing each Norbert Dentressangle. Every time you saw one you scored a point, but if you claimed you saw one and it turned out to be a different lorry then you lost a point. I remember that a lorry called Trans American Leasing often caught you out because in the distance they looked similar to the Norbert Dentressangles.  Also tactics started to come in, especially between me and my son. If I thought I could see a potential Norbert in the distance I might ask him to change the cassette which distracted him till it got closer and I could safely claim the point.

If at any point soon you get bored you could just look at the photos I took yesterday and switch Off!

So to continue, the game got more complicated because we introduced extra points if the lorry was ‘a special’ ie if it was a tanker or a lorry with a double  trailer,  a Norbert cab with say a Christian Salvesen trailer, you got two points, but what could happen is one person in the car spotted that it was a Norbert but then someone else saw it had a trailer so it was a point each.

It got worse, or better depending on your saddo rating, because other lorries were then  introduced. First it was Eddie Stobart and then Norfolk line because we come from Norfolk. Then we tried to have a lorry for each country. We had one for France and one for Britain, and we chose others for different countries. Then we had another twist to the scoring, which was if the lorry was out of its country of origin you doubled the points. So an Eddie Stobart in France was worth 2 points and if it was an Eddie Stobart with a double trailer then that was 4 points.

Now if you are still following this I have a confession to make in that we, or more correctly I was not that accurate in which countries I ascribed the origin of the lorries to. I think I half guessed based on the international country identification the lorry was showing and a bit by the sound of the name. So our key lorries were.

Norbert Dentressangle              Fance

Eddie Stobart                              GB

Norfolk Line                                GB

Willi Betz                                     Belgium

Frans Maas                                 Germany

Danzas                                         Denmark

Chritian Salvesen                      Sweeden

Catalan Lines                             Spain

Olloquegi                                 Portugal

If you are a lorry enthusiast you will know that a lot of that is wrong. I spent half an hour looking up these lorries on Wikipedia this morning and have found that;   Willi Betz is German, based in Baden Wurttenburg, Frans Maas was Dutch but is now DSV which is based in Denmark at Brondby, Danzas was always Swiss but now is a subsidiary of a German company, Olloquegi was never Portuguese but was Spanish from Navarra, Christian Salvesen is no more as it was taken over by Norbert Dentressangle but it was Norwegian and not Swedish. So all in all not very accurate, but it was only a game,  OK.    We did have some other countries. There was one for Italy – I think it was RAI or similar and we had  one for Estonia and one for Poland – it could have been the one in the photo.

If you have small children you could play this lorry spotting game. I still play it with my son aged 29 if we are on a long journey but that is not so often now. My wife is a bit of a killjoy when it comes to lorry spotting.  I try to encourage her but it does not happen. My daughter is also grown up.  She might be persuaded to play, but again it’s rare now to go on a long journey with her , so I have to play with myself! and that’s not such great fun. You would need to adapt it to take into account the changes that have taken place since the 1980’s and to correct the inaccuracies. You might want to keep it simple and just go with Norbert spotting or you might just plug the children into a Ben 10 CD

By the way, nothing wrong with being a saddo, trainspotters,stamp collectors, birdwatchers, are all doing something, its their choice. The true saddo is the person who does nothing.

Have a look at http://www.hankstruckpictures.com if you are into trucks