Tales Of Misadventures
A few year ago I started importing lights from a German company. They were based at a little village called Waakirchen in Southern Germany, not far from Munich.
The first order I picked up was for about 5K worth. So being the initial order I decided to drive down and collect them. The Munchen Oktoberfest was on at the time, so I decided to go for a few days and visit the event. A good mate of mine told me he would come with me so I booked a crossing from Hull, the plan being to drive the 1200 kilometers over the first day.
At the time I had a little clapped out Nissan Cherry. It was that bad when my dad bought it, that my mother wouldn’t ride in it. I loved it, it was like a little rally car, I ended up spreading it up the A1 just outside the Metro Centre in a 6 car pile up.
A Pile Of Cash
Now a the time, being young, and skint, I didn’t have the money readily available to pay for these lights. So the deal with my customer was that he put the money in the bank before I left. As we were loading up the car to set off, he turned up in person, apologised for not loading my bank account for me, and gave me a bag with the cash in. I shoved it under the seat and we set off.
Arrival In Deutschland And Cool Fräuleins.
When we arrived in Munich, we had a bit of trouble finding an hotel. The fact that the cities biggest event was in full swing meaning hotel rooms were in short supply, hadn’t occurred to us. We eventually managed to find a doss house in a seedy part of the city. I admit when we got in the room and it was decorated with what would now be termed LGBT posters, and the leaflet on the bed had times for the live sex shows in the hotel we were a bit perturbed, but hey, two single lads we were out on the town.
We found a rather nice little bar, pretty much empty but we had just drove 1200 KM and needed a drink. The two barmaids were absolute stunners, tall blond Aryan goddesses. I had learnt some pidgeon German, you know how to order a beer, tell a girl she had beautiful eyes, that sort of thing.
So I hit them with the full charm, like focused laser beams, thought it would knock them bandy. Bloody nothing, not even a smile. FFS we were going to have our work cut out here. I know they were supposed to be cool and Teutonic and all, but this was icily arctic.
By now the bar had filled up, when I turned round and actually took notice, it was full of young men sat kissing each other. Aah, perhaps the barmaids lack of response was for a reason.
After a bit of a pub crawl we headed off to our hotel.
At the time, it was widely considered that the continental fairground attractions were a few years ahead of the best the UK had to offer. When we hit the Oktoberfest, we realised they were a couple of decades in front. Everything was just, bigger, faster, moderner, better decorated.
We had a full day there, including sampling their beer served in those bloody Steins, jeez, its a wonder they are not a nation of alcoholics.
After we had our fill, of the Oktoberfest and the beer. We headed back to the hotel. I had parked our car out the front of it, and just as we set off to the festival, I had opened the boot to retrieve my coat. Setting off back I put my hand in my pocket and realised I no longer had the keys. I asked Matthew if I had given them to him, I hadn’t as it turns out, I had left them in the lock of the boot. A bloody car thieves Christmas present. With 5K of someone else’s money under the drivers seat.
Feeling sick as a parrot we got back in double time, to find the car still there, with a note under the windscreen wiper saying, “Found your keys, left them in the pub over the road!”, in English to boot. Imagine if that had been say Sunderland. There would have been a note on the empty parking space saying found your keys left your car in the river Wear thanks for the cash.
Adolf And The SS
We successfully collected the lights and stuff without further incident. As we weren’t in a hurry we had a more leisurely drive back towards Holland. Coming across a really small rest stop, we decided to have a quick drink. We parked up and went to the two ladies manning it. They were rather abrupt and told us that they didn’t in fact open for 20 minutes. An elderly gent sitting at a nearby table asked us if we wanted a drink. When we nodded he gestured for us to follow him. Being 17 and a bit naive we did so.
He took us to a house over the road and down into the basement. Which happened to be a fully kitted out bar, something that would put some commercial establishments to shame. He poured us all a beer. While Matthew was trying to make small talk with the guy, I wandered around the room. One wall was covered in photos and I was interested to see them. When I got close up, it turns out they were all framed pictures of Adolf Hitler with groups of SS men. The largest photo had Adolf stood with a young officer. I couldn’t be certain but it looked a little like the guy who had brought us down there.
Having recently seen the film Boys from Brazil, and in my teenage imagination expecting a guy with a dentists drill to pop out any minute. I hurried Matthew along, thanked our host and we lived to tell the tale.
Took All This Lot For A Holiday Did We Sir
When we reached dear old blighty, we disembarked the ferry and set off towards the immigration sheds. Now, if you have ever done this, you will know there are two lanes. Goods to declare, and nothing to declare. I promptly drove into the nothing to declare side.
An officer stopped me with a wave of his hand. “Are you aware sir, that this is the nothing to declare lane.” all very polite and congenial.
“I certainly am officer”, says I with my most respectful grin.
Now I should say at this point, that the pile of equipment we had purchased whilst in Germany filled the car to the roof. In fact the seats were pushed as far forward as they would go so we could fit everything in.
“So you have nothing to declare son, is that correct?” he retorted.
“Yup” says I. “Oh, so you have taken this lot for a holiday to the Oktoberfest have you, Bloody well pull over there and don’t move till I come see you”, well, his politeness didn’t last.
We sat there for the best part of an hour whilst everybody else disembarked. When he finally came to see us he had a more authoritarian attitude.
“Now son, would you like to explain why you don’t think you have anything to declare when your car is full to the gunnals?”
“Yes says I meekly, here is my receipt, as you can see I paid VAT in Germany for everything, and as their rate is higher than ours, I don’t need to pay you, sir”
Oh his face was a picture, he basically told us to piss off home.