What would be your worst
How about, losing your brakes, when coming down the side of a mountain,
with a heavy load on?
This story relates to life in the German forestry industry.
Other drivers, who have worked abroad, will probably agree that Germany
is probably one of the safer countries to work in.
But this was before the heavy transport regulation we have today.
Around 1972, (I think), I was hauling rough
timber, from the forests in the Lunenburg Heath area, (Northern Germany),
south to coal mines in the Ruhr and elsewhere.
At the time, I drove an ancient ‘Maggie’, (and drag).
8’ long nose, max speed c 45 m.p.h.
She was very OLD.
The guys I worked with were great.
No one spoke English, and I spoke few words of German.
At that time, however, I was not too familiar with the tachograph.
I managed to ask, “What do I do when I run out of time?”
My colleague leaned over, removed the tacho disk from the tachograph,
threw it out of the window, and inserted a fresh, clean, disk.
We never went into the
We worked very narrow tracks. With heavy mud each side.
Anything that left the tracks was immediately bogged down in this mud.
This, however, was a normal, everyday occurrence, and part of the job.
All trucks had drawbar couplings at both front and rear: This was essential.
Very often, we could only load by pushing the truck, or drawbar trailer,
off the road.
In addition to the ‘wagon and drag’ outfits, we had an artic
with a crane fitted.
This crane enabled us to load ourselves, from piles of timber alongside
We would normally go into the forests in
three’s and loading took all day.
There were always complications with the mud.
At the end of the day, we were all tired, usually bruised, and always,
covered in mud.
Our convoy of muddy, heavily loaded vehicles and trailers would then
crawl out of the forest and head down towards:
We all had big cabs, for that time, with bunks, and clean clothes hidden
in the dark recesses of those cabs.
Quick change. Into the Pub. Schnapps with everything.
And I couldn’t buy a drink!
They just would not let me buy a round.
At least, not until the guys had become used to me. And I became very
Then, back to our cabs, for the Sleep of Angels.