September 16th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Val at work

Woke up very early, tho’ I didn’t exactly realise how early, until I drove into town +, managing to find a café open, went in + had a cup of coffee.  I asked the time + was mildly horrified to discover it was only 10 to 7.  The police checked cars over between 10 + 11, I’d been told, so I had a bit of a wait.  However, I checked out where the insurance offices were, +, writing, sat in my car.  At 9, I went to one of the insurance places, + got them to get me a quote done, then drove to the Highway Patrol Station.  I was a bit early, but they didn’t seem to mind.  The policeman was nice, tut-tutted a bit about my papers – they all do, then checked the car.  It passed with flying colours!  Terrific.  Next step, I rushed over to the courthouse + presented all my papers, and I think for the first time the woman there didn’t seem all hot + bothered about them, just said they seemed to be in order, + even handed me over my plates, there + then.  A good no., too – KLX 100.  I got the garage who fixed my tyres to put them on for me – just a dollar it cost.  I then headed north, stopping off at the insurance office, to find the only quote she could give me was $655.  I said I’d try again in Canada.

No trouble at the border – they even extended my stay a little!  Picked up some hitch-hikers just north of the border, a Canadian guy to Penticton, + an English couple, heading towards Vernon.  Pickers, one + all.  The English people were nice and chatty – I like being on my own, but I miss someone to talk to.  Tried to get insured in Kelowna – impossible, all motor insurance is by the govt., + they won’t insure foreign cars.  Great.

Back to the field – unloaded my gear + went to find Val.  She was talking with Mrs Kuyper, the farmer’s wife.  She’d taken a short break from picking, having done 2 bins, + now roped me in to  help do one more before we stopped.  I’d bought a camp-fire toaster, so we used that for part of our evening meal.  Then chatted avec les francais + an Englishman.  Rob.

I do think it a bit odd that we had no way of telling the time.  Some technologies we were forced to do without, on the grounds that they hadn’t been invented yet, but a wristwatch…?

My rather pathetic gratitude at not having my documents scrutinised with utter suspicion should be tempered by the realisation that, for the first time, I had done all the right things, everything necessary for the transfer of the vehicle.  Those aspects of bureaucracy I found difficult and/or expensive, such as the far more important issue of insurance, I chose to disregard.  Which is utterly reprehensible but, sadly, all too common a reaction.  I can be a bit of an ostrich – head in the sand and wait for it to go away.  (Though I think I read somewhere that this renowned behaviour is, in fact, a fiction.)

Don’t know what to say about my grudging agreement to help Val with the final bin of apples, when she’d already finished two on her own.  Again, a somewhat familiar situation.  Hm.

And as for “avec les francais” – sometimes I think I have lifted bits straight out of Adrian Mole.  (For those without an English background, Adrian Mole is a fictional English schoolboy, whose diary, full of juvenile pomposity and pretension, was a wildly successful comic novel in the 80s, plus regular updates every few years as he becomes older, sadder, no less pompous.)  Except that his diary was a comic satire.

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