Sunday, 8 December 2013

Big boys' toys

I have been puzzling over why it is that men driving lorries along a motorway will insist on using those flashing orange lights.  I don't mean the indicators or hzard warning lights, I mean the revolving orange lights that one sees on the top of the cab or at the back of a low-loader.  Why do the lorries need the lights anyway?  I suppose it's an elf 'n' safety thing, something to show people on construction sites or roadworks that the vehicle is there, it really does exist and is not a figment of the imagination.  I suppose there is a smidgen of sense in that - but only a small smidgen at that.  But why use the lights when driving along the road?  Especially that one at the back of an empty low-loader?  I have come to the conclusion that it's all part of the "mine's bigger than yours" syndrome, showing what a tough guy the driver is - as if driving a lorry makes a man a tough guy!  We all know you need to smoke Marlborough cigarettes for that!

Actually, I have never liked Marlborough cigarettes.  My regular brand - back when I was a 20-a-day man, changed over the years.  I think I started out on Rothmans, a fairly low strength smoke.  That was when I could still afford king-size.  As my pocket got emptier I switched to Gold Flake, a regular size cigarette, and then even lower to a brand the name of which I have forgotten.  Those were shoret and thinner and it took barely a couple of minutes to smoke one!  If I was feeling really rich I might buy a pack of Balkan Sobranie.  These had filters encased in gold-coloured paper while the tobacco was covered in various colours.

One of the perks of being in the RNR (Royal Naval Reserve) ws that I could buy duty-free cigarettes when I did my annual training.  On board "real" ships these would be regular brands like Dunhill international length but at shore establishments the only brand available was the Navy's own, Blue Line.  These were pretty foul and took some getting used to.  I always swore they were made of dried camel dung - but at least they were cheap!

I'm not too sure quite how I have moved from flashing lights to fags so perhaps I'd better quit before I get in too deep.


Back in England, this is an early morning view from our bedroom, looking across Patcham to the South Downs.

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