The van was black , Tango man is orange , plastic and smiles all the time , I installed my lucky tour mascot on the dashboard confident that his power to protect the occupants within was at full strength .
Tango Man’s powers were completely defeated by the time we arrived in Paris.
I fancied my chances in the hole , a narrow chamber at the rear of the van , it seemed the best option to get some sleep.
It was like being in a coffin on wheels , there was little headroom and I was constantly being thrown around , my world started to become a little unravelled .
Unconsciousness failed to arrive , the van ran a ground in Paris , we were lost and hours we should have spent heading in the correct direction we spent weaving about Paris.
‘You have the navigational capabilities of lemmings .’
‘What you have come to France without a fucking map!’
I am never good when my brain thinks it should be asleep and forced against it’s will to confront reality , but there I was lost in Paris with the feeling I had joined a modern day version of The Donner Party.
Graham an amiable Max Wall lookalike took immediate offence at my scalding remarks ‘That’s it I’m going , where is my suitcase .’ Fine i thought I will drive the van.
We escaped Paris after wasting hours but hoped we could make some progress , it was futile , the time passed and the pretty French countryside , I thought ‘ How big is this country .’ it felt like one of those cartoons where the same scenery keeps going by .’
The van drones , rattles , it had no heat in the rear , there was no comfort to be had , fall asleep and you wake up feeling like someone has kicked the shit out of you, it had been so long since I was last in this position and then the memories came back .
Nobody really thought this out , Graham our driver was a nice guy but seeing him conked out in the early morning did not inspire me , I knew he was no road warrior .
We call him Charlie but we all know he is Gandalf in disguise , Gandalf with a driving licence that is , apparently the insurance did not cover me to drive much to my annoyance so Charlie took the wheel and we rolled on towards our destination Carcassonne Castle .
I should have been happy when we arrived being liberated from the confines of the van , we had driven 24hrs non stop and my mind was still rolling in a fog of discontent , I found myself at odds with the beauty of the environment all I could do is prowl about hoping I could find some inner calm , but at least we had got to our destination, physically intact but mentally unhinged .