Die deutsche Version findet ihr HIER in der zweiten Hälfte des alten Beitrags.
July 1, 1974 (Monday) London – Kendal
We are glad to be leaving the next day. We take the underground all the way to the outskirts of the city to get to the northbound motorway. Unfortunately, there is no access to the motorway at the end station, so we have to take the bus a long way back into town. We are then picked up very quickly, even though the street is lined with hitchhikers. The young couple who picks us up didn’t want to take us with them at first because they thought we were Americans, because of our yellow oil jackets, and “Americans never pick anybody up!” – From that moment on, by the way, everyone thinks we are Germans because of the yellow oil jackets, because they are very much in fashion there in 1974. We will soon be cursing them (the jackets). We were dropped off near the town of Rugby.
Our next ’chauffeur’ is Joe, a truck driver from Wigan. I tell him that I have read George Orwell’s book ‚The road to Wigan Pier‘ and ask him what the ‚Pier‘ is all about, the city is in the middle of the country and no larger bodies of water nearby (or ?). I didn’t understand Joe’s explanation at all. He spoke with a fairly heavy accent (Lancashire ???). [In Wigan there is a canal that is / was probably used for shipping. A district in Wigan, which is on the canal, with storage facilities, is called ’Wigan Pier’. Aaaand there is a restaurant called ’The Orwell’! Googled everything.]
Joe is short, wiry and very nice. He takes us back to his hometown (a great lift, look at the route on the map – yes, we have one with us again: Rugby – Wigan, approx. 160 kilometers) and treats us to apple pie and white coffee on the way. We entertain him with Irish folk songs like “If you want your child to grow…” and “Seven drunken nights”, but only the first five stanzas, because I don’t know the last two. The Dubliners sang the song in the Hamburg music hall without the last two stanzas. [And if I had known them at that time, I would have claimed not to know them.] He kisses our hand in goodbye, even with a tear in his eye, and invites us to a beer if we ever by chance should meet again. Cheers Joe, it’s pretty unlikely we’ll see you again!
Joe leaves us at an extremely disadvantageous spot for hitch-hiking, a roundabout where the cars cannot stop properly. We expect an ominous waiting time, especially when an attractive, red-curled creature comes to our corner. A little French boy jumps out of the bushes and wants to appoint himself to be the leader of our small group. „I wait’ ere, you ’ide, and when a car comes, I“ and he stuffs two fingers into his mouth to suggest a whistle. How cute is the little one! When a car finally stops, he takes us three girls with him, although there is hardly any space, and leaves the little one behind. We do feel sorry for him!
The red-haired girl is a student from Glasgow who wants to get there today. That is an ambitious plan! She tells us that she always hitchhikes alone, she did it in Italy too. „You are brave“ I say. – „I’m not brave, I’m jus shtuppid!“ she says. But don’t think that her pronunciation is typically Scottish or in the least bit Glaswegian, oh, no, we should still get to know Glaswegian, so far we have no clue of what to expect!
The driver of the car, John Mansfield, sailor from Kendal, invites us to stay with him. He also hires us to do the dishes, vacuum the carpets and make beds, but that’s fine with us, of course. He has a German girlfriend in Kiel, also a sailor. What I like best is his tomcat, black from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. John warns me about him, [„hangovers can be rough“ is the Google translation for the next part, not wrong in any way, but not the translation of the German text which is:] tomcats can be rough, he says. But he lets me caress him for about an hour without doing anything other than purring (the tomcat, that is).
When John sees our space-tested astronaut sleeping bags, he starts to shake with laughter. I’m even freezing with my sleeping bag under a thick duvet! In this case, the aluminum foil probably reflects the body’s own cold.
(To be continued)