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Spanish Secrets: Camper Van Police

"For reasons unknown he'd driven straight into the back of the car. Both man and machine bounced, bumped and rolled down the road in almost surreal slow motion...'' Craig Briggs has an unwelcomed close encounter with a motorcyclist, then enters a mobile "oven''.

Here in Spain the law requires a driver to carry certain documents in the car at all times. Not being completely sure which documents, I simply carry everything.

One thing you're not legally required to carry is a cool box filled with sandwiches and cold drinks.

More's the pity, as these are exactly the items required should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.

We found out this indisputable fact by pure chance.

This chance encounter came in the form of a lunatic motorcyclist and his Darby 175cc.

A textbook mirror-signal-manoeuvre, followed by a righthand turn, was abruptly interrupted. Somewhere between the manoeuvre and the turn came that unmistakable sound of twisting metal and breaking glass.

For reasons unknown he'd driven straight into the back of the car.

Both man and machine bounced, bumped and rolled down the road, in almost surreal slow motion.

Once everything had come to a halt the motorcyclist stood up and dusted himself off. He quickly surveyed the twisted wreckage of his once-proud possession before hobbling across to where I'd parked.

His voice didn't quite match his appearance. We managed to decipher the words insurance and police.

He then limped across the forecourt of the petrol station I'd pulled into and used their phone.

Knowing a little of Spanish traffic laws, we figured he'd rung the police and it was now simply a question of waiting.

With temperatures in the sun exceeding 35 degrees Celsius, Melanie and I had taken shelter in the shade.

The motorcyclist on the other hand limped up and down the pavement.

Half an hour had elapsed by the time an ambulance arrived at the scene. A stern refusal for any treatment was met with some dismay. The ambulance waited for ten minutes, presumably to see if there'd be a change of heart, then left.

The motorcyclist continued limping impatiently up and down the pavement.

By now an hour had passed and the midday sun was stronger than ever.

Finally, an hour and a quarter after the accident, the police arrived. Two officers smartly dressed in blue uniforms, black polished boots and matching holsters.

Their mode of transport was a less than distinguished white camper van, complete with picnic table.

We were ushered inside. Melanie and I sat at one side of the table whilst a very polite and well spoken officer sat the other.

It was at this point that the cool box filled with sandwiches and icy cold drinks would have come into its own - but alas no.

This camper van was a mobile office. Statements were taken, forms completed duly signed, then we were sent on our way.

Having been inside the van for 15 minutes with the sun beating down on it, I have a lasting memory of how a chicken might feel while sitting in a microwave oven.



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