Dutchman's difficulties with the Norwegian language in general
and the Norsk Land Rover Klubb in particular.
For reason unknown
we own a Land Rover. We bought her in 1995, but the buying
decision was made somewhere around 1959, at the time when
my parents bought their second car. In my expert opinion
our first car had severe limitations. Based on my Dinkey
Toy experience I strongly advised them to buy a Land Rover.
I admitted that the vision for the six children in the back
would be somewhat limited, but one could always ask the
garage to level the roof and put some glass in. Just think
of the advantages. Think of our Sunday afternoon expeditions.
Think of our mission to boldly go where no Ford Anglia had
gone before. The Land Rover wouldn't just stand there with
three wheels on firm ground, stupidly spinning the one wheel
that wasn't. And it wouldn't rust. And it was British and
since the British had beaten the Germans, their cars also
had to be superior. My father agreed and bought his second
In 1995 the world
had changed. In a park like country like Holland there are
no holes in streets to get stuck in and even if one should
suddenly develop, some other, redundant, vehicle way in
front of you, will take the opportunity. Also I now know
that combining two metals is a sure remidy for (not against)
corrosion and as to my third point, well, most likely British
soldiers fought on foot. My father was a visionary.
This leaves us without any up-to-date motivations for our
purchase. That is bad. When I maneuver our car in a "Visitors
Only" parking spot in front of some modern office building,
most people don't see a Land Rover Defender 2.5 Tdi Hi Capacity
Pickup, they see a Statement and want to know to what. An
honest "Why not?" won't do. Luckily, nowadays,
there is Internet as a universal source of wisdom. Not only
does it answer any question, it is also a great spot to
get stuck, especially if you use a tool called "Explorer"
that was exclusively designed for this purpose by one Mr.
Gates. This Mr. Gates is my hero. How wonderful this overdeveloped
country would be, if only we could replace the queen by
him. Think of what our motorways would look like. The holes,
the mud, the winches... Anyway, he led me to a site called
"Landstreff 98", where I would find all the answers.
Some answers were there, be it in Norwegian. But that is
only a small deficiency. We have met Scandinavians before
and most of them claim that they can read a Dutch newspaper
and grasp most of the meaning of what they read. I wished
I could. But anyway, if Dutch is close to Norwegian, then
Norwegian must also be close to Dutch and without any problem
I managed to translate the agenda for torsdag 6. aug. It
went like this:
Agenda in Norwegian
09.00 - 18.00: sekretariat
- 18.00: Secretariaat. (Administrative activities. To
10.00: kjøretur til severdigheter
Rondrit langs bezienswaardigheden (scenic car tour)
Green laning (Green laning)
Boottocht. (Trip by boat)
16.00: verksted åpner
Werkplaats open. (Garage open)
Bezigheden bij het meer (Doing something at the water
side. Could also mean "layman's activities",
but I don't think so)
19.00: grill tennes
Grill tennis (Grill tennis)
Grill Tennis? Wow! That is an answer if ever I saw one!
That's it. We must go there. And so we packed our result
of long term planning and steered it up north. The trip
involved numerous ferries with waiting lines (if only we
had a Searover) but two days later, in the middle of the
night, we arrived in the walhalla. We were welcomed by wizards
in gray dusters with armpit ventilation holes. Much later
we learned that these symbols of wisdom were really undercoats
from the Norwegian army. Norwegian wizards are very practical.
They save themselves the hassle of taking off their coats
every summer to remove the inner coat. They just peel off
the exterior when the weather improves. The only disadvantage
would be that it leaves them without pockets to put their
hands in. In winter that poses problems (that's why the
outercoats do have pockets), but in summer, when the ground
is soft, they usually stick them in the mud. To locate the
best quality mud they use Land Rovers. Ours would turn out
to be extremely talented in that respect and every time
it got stuck, there would be swarms of gray penguins in
front of the car, having a good time. It is such a good
feeling when things make sense. One of them even dug up
a Dutch number plate in the middle of a Norwegian forest,
which was very familiar but not from a Ford Anglia.
This happened during green laning, something we had never
done before and were completely misinformed about. Green
laning is about fuel efficiency. We did not know that, but
it's true. That is why it is called "green" (The
actual color that we saw was predominantly brown. There
was no lane either. Just trees). A good trick is to walk
your tracks before you make them. This triples the total
distance (remember that you have to walk back to your car)
without any additional fuel consumption. Better even still
is to walk both tracks. This saves 400%. The slippery walks
are also good for developing your driving tactics. Look
for holes when you walk. Design a strategy to get through.
Read the ground, look where you can find the traction and
how to get to the next spot. While you walk back memorize
and repeat to yourself what you are going to do. Only then
get into your car, start the engine, put it in gear, concentrate
and slide into the first avoidable hole in the ground. Put
your hands in the air and wait for help. While being winched
enjoy the fuel you save. The equipment you need is one car.
The make is not critical, any car will do. You only need
it to reach the spot where the adventure begins, after that
it's pretty useless. Land Rovers are ideally suited. Not
only are they designed with such conditions in mind, they
are also built to be easily modified to meet their specifications.
Not that you should do that. As a matter of fact it cannot
be overstressed: NEVER MODIFY YOUR CAR. It will cost you
lots of money and spoil the fun. The only exceptions to
this rule are the bulbs of your braking lights. Remove them.
It's impolite to blind the car behind you when driving downhill.
Clothing is important. There is mud everywhere so penguinware
is a must. Most people wear boots. That's wrong. How do
you know the temperature of the water if your feet are sealed?
Wear sandals. Their only disadvantage is the limited oil
resistance, but as long as you don't stick your feet under
a Land Rover, they are superb. Free advice can be acquired
from spectators. They are the only ones who got through
the heavy terrain without problems, so they know. Should
there be no bystanders, run and ask an experienced driver.
Look carefully how he or she gets through, then do as he
said, not as he did.
An excellent run! Extremely short jump guarantees maximum
winching distance (with somebody else's winch). Many advisors
(not yet fully dressed). Driver on sandals (not visible
on this picture)
There were many more things to be learned. A Landstreff
is a rich source of answers, especially for questions that
you don't know you have. The only exception is Grill Tennis.
Nobody wanted to tell us what it is. It was a secret and
still is. All I can tell you is that they do it every evening
and that you shouldnt drink alcohol with it (unless
you are sufficiently trained, of course). Even after we
got hold of the correct outfit and could talk to them from
penguin to penguin, it proved too sensitive a subject. We
have to go back to gain more of their trust. Everything
else is clarified now. We have the answers we came for.
What were the questions again?