Europe 2018- it just got worse

The sound of Fanny’s engine firing into life this morning was as enjoyable as it was relieving and after being stranded at a mechanics all night the resonating revs signified that I could continue the trip and head back to Sweden. With the troubles of the last day behind me I was in a pretty good mood as I guided the van around the country roads of the Norwegian- Swedish border, celebrating that I would hopefully be arriving home with a working van in the next month. Feeling as though I was starting a fresh adventure, my first long solo trip, I turned up the music and merrily belted out the driving classics such as ”Sweet Home Alabama and “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. With a hint of Cadillac now sitting in my engine compartment I thought I better test how the van was running and on the empty roads assessed how the new part was doing. I know it’s just a coil and doesn’t make much difference to performance but I was just happy to be back on the road and sped along. Opting for the toll free lanes instead of the motorway in an effort to save money, after yesterday’s expensive repair work, I gladly returned to the winding roads of the rural areas instead of the boring highways, where I’d spend all day being overtaken by lorries.

Coming down a hill into a straight bit of tarmac the van picked up a bit of speed as I got carried away screaming along to Africa by Toto and in my blinding euphoria missed the change of speed limit at the bottom. Just as I geared up to shout out the chorus again, a policeman stepped into the road and signalled for me to pull over.

Craftily, a temporary speed camera had been set up right at the point of maximum velocity and I had exceeded the limit. It’s quite an achievement, in a way, to speed in a Campervan, the national speed limit in most countries is over Fanny’s maximum but not in Norway. Norway has Europe’s lowest speed limits and also the harshest penalties for breaking the law, with people regularly serving a short eighteen day prison sentence for excessive hastiness, and I was about to learn the severity of their fines. The song confirmed that there’s nothing a hundred men or more could ever do to help me out of this sticky situation and I sat on the roadside awaiting the penalty. As the officer processed my licence I told him of my long journey and recent troubles regarding breakdowns, his mate even looked up the blog, and I hoped my search of sympathy would be heard. Both men took interest in the van and my story and I thought I was getting somewhere and then I was slapped with a fine so hefty the thoughts of mortgages, selling my organs and dancing erotically around a pole all sprung to mind to help me pay for it. For some reason I asked if there was a student discount which was laughed off and disregarded which didn’t matter anyway because I’m not a bloody student. They were unsure if I had to pay this much as a British citizen and so didn’t charge me on the spot, which I guess gives me time to decide how much I really need both my kidneys. And then as I went to document the event with a photo the bloke who just potentially emptied my bank account jumped in front of the van and posed with a smile. The cheek of it. Should’ve charged him the cost of the fine.

I’ve never sped before, well I’ve never been caught, but it does always seem that people are caught in slightly unfair circumstances. There’s always some pesky officers hiding behind a farm right next to sign which lowers the limit. It was a dead straight road with no reason to be lowered to 50kmh but for some reason it was dropped 20kmh and in my continent crooning contentment I was stupidly oblivious to the change and fell victim. That said, I would’ve been speeding without the change. I really have only myself to blame but the extortionate fine not only took the wind out my sails but covered them in petrol and set them on fire. The boats still floating however, and I’ll still be able to drive home, I just might take the toll roads where I’m incapable of speeding, they’ll be cheaper.

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