Friday, November 02, 2007

Memory Lane – Frankfurt Trip Continued

You might remember from an earlier post that I and my friend R went to surprise my sisters who were meeting up in Frankfurt in the late sixties. (My older sister flew with Pan Am based in Washington D.C.). R had this old Ford Anglia with a souped-up Ford Cortina GT engine in it, which he managed to get into pole position on the ferry, as you can see in the picture. I had never noticed (or possibly forgotten about) the number plate on the little Fiat on the right until I started organising the old slides, turned jpg:s. “Stau” in German means traffic jam, which has always been a dreaded word in German motorway traffic reports. I don’t know if the owner was just lucky, lived in the right area or had to pay for what looks like a personalised number plate. But would an owner of such a small car be likely to be able to cough up extortion money for some letters? Maybe the registration number was worth ten times the value of the car itself, who knows? (Click on photo to enlarge)

After disembarking we sped down the Autobahn (via a stop-over in Hamburg which I mentioned in an earlier post) to Frankfurt am Main where we put up our tent on a camp site by the river Main. This beautiful view greeted us when we unzipped the tent in the morning. (Sorry, but I have not had time to clean it up.)

Then it was time to surprise my sisters, so we found their rather posh hotel and boy did their jaws drop! All crew members posed very willingly and thought it was all a wonderfully crazy idea. Here they are with my younger sister and friend R. Not only was R a good car mechanic, he had also sewn the trousers he is wearing in this picture. He has since made a good life for himself, starting out as a plumber and ending up owning more than one company, mostly based on his clever hands, but most of all he was what George Bush did not think the French had a word for, an entrepreneur.

In the next picture my sister can be seen on the right and her Swedish flat mate on the left. Pretty young women in uniform seem to have a certain attraction and influence on young men’s hormones. Just look at the smooth operator on the right in the suit! Does he look interested or what!

We had a lovely reunion after many months of not seeing each other, and then it was time to wear out the tyres on the German motorway again. All went well until all of a sudden we started losing speed, and my friend uttered a few words not suitable for children’s ears or this blog. Mechanical problem! The car came to a stand-still on the hard shoulder and I started going over my German vocabulary from school in anticipation of having to deal with a rescue situation. But oh no, R knew instinctively what the problem was and quickly figured out how to sort it out himself. It turned out that the accelerator wire (Sorry, but I don’t have the correct vocab here) had got disconnected from the engine. Does that make sense? So, a little stopper thing with a screw in it had come off and disappeared on the motorway. He needed to attach the wire again somehow.

R goes to the boot, opens his case, finds his toiletry bag, gets his electrical shaver out and I just look on perplexed. Next he gets a screwdriver out from the toolbox and starts disassembling the electrical plug. I am none the wiser. He takes one of the two pins from the shaver plug, disappears under the bonnet, puts the wire through the accelerator lever, attaches the little shiny pin on the end of the metal wire, thus securing it to the lever, which makes the engine go vroom, vroom, revs the engine up.

And rev it up he did, and off we went. We got home safely without any more adventures of the unforeseen kind, but I always knew that R’s clever hands would always rescue us if needed. I have heard of green fingers, but I can only think of “clever” hands for somebody who is so versatile. What if he had used razor blades for shaving? I am confident he would have come up with another smart idea, Mr Clever Hands.

1 comment:

Eric Valentine said...

A great post Swen, enjoyed the read and the pictures were pretty good also.

I really liked the 2nd pic of the Barge, very nice.

Thanks for sharing my friend.