Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Norbert and Eddie

It's funny the things that you miss from the mother country when you're an immigrant. Yesterday I went to get a new kitty litter box, and decided to go the quick way home along I-95. As I was driving along, I kept thinking how much I miss Norbert Dentressangle and Eddie Stobart. Of course, if you're American, you won't have a clue who I'm talking about, and probably think these are two of my old friends that I left behind.

Nope, they're trucking companies. OK, yes, I'm weird, I admit it.

Every time you get on a motorway/highway/freeway whatever you want to call it in the UK, and probably in most of Europe, you see either or both Norbert Dentressangle trucks or Eddie Stobart trucks. Usually a ton of both. At least, you used to. I just checked Norbert's website, and they seem to be going to a fancy "ND" logo with the name written smaller. When I lived there, both companies had their names emblazoned in the hugest letters possible all over their trucks so you just couldn't miss them. But you know, it was like they were keeping you company as you drove along, usually in miserable weather. I spent many a day inching through low clouds on the M62 between Manchester and Leeds (the UK's highest motorway, with a sign marking the summit no less) with Eddie and Norbert trucks keeping me company. It was like Eddie and Norbert were your buddies on the road, and you just don't get the same feeling with XYZ Transport Company, Inc. written in small letters on the side of a truck door.

Everyone knew who they were as well. You could mention Eddie Stobart to someone and you had this instant bond, a common reference point. I remember watching a current events news quiz, and the question master asked a visiting politician "who is Eddie Stobart", and literally everybody on the show and in the audience fell about laughing when the guy couldn't answer. But I'm not alone in my weirdness, you know, as I just did some googling and there's an Eddie Stobart fan club, truck spotting websites, at least one book about the trucks, memorabilia and of course toys and many other things to fuel your obsession if you choose to participate. But I'm not crazy, honestly, I just miss seeing their trucks, I don't have to join a fan club! Norbert Dentressangle doesn't seem to be quite as well represented in the crazy fan following although I did find one poem devoted to them. But one reason I liked Norbert is that I liked rolling the name off my tongue. I'd repeat "Norbert Dentressangle" to myself over and over again. Hell, I still do. It's just a fabulous name. Norbert Dentressangle. Norbert Dentressangle. Norbert Dentressangle.

I miss you, Norbert and Eddie. Driving behind the US Mail truck or the Publix truck just isn't the same.


Calliope said...

awwww. I so get this! In NYC there is a company called TIME & they are movers. & the trucks were everyfrickenwhere. & no matter what it was funny- b/c the trucks said "Time Movers".

Kev's Blog Space said...

Just spent 2 weeks in France (2500 miles). We (me & my wife) do a lot of driving holidays. We play Eddie Stobart and Norbert Detresangle. I have the upper hand as I do most of the driving and I am very long sighted. On the other hand she has time when I am concentrating.

I know exactly what you mean. They are like familiar friends