Fog, Bicycles and ITO's

By Charles Wyndham.

The thrill of driving in Belgium is dramatically increased when having to drive in fog that reduces visibility to less than 10 yards.

Pootling along the motorway from Calais, passing Dunkirk and then entering the killing zone of Belgium is actually better I thought with the benefit of less than clear visibility.

It is so much more comforting when you cannot see what you are going to hit, or what may hit you.

I am ashamed to have to say that it was an English car, well it could have been a Scot, that whooshed past me at not less than double my speed.

In fact, I am pretty sure it was a Scot because he was obviously trying to save fuel by going faster to the next petrol station.

Unlike the Scot, I actually made it to the destination, good news for me but not necessarily for the Antwerpians.

A view that was reinforced when I transferred to my bicycle.

Being a firm believer in everyone’s right to jay walk, not stop at red lights and generally work on the presumption that everyone wants to miss me more than I want to hit them, I feel pretty safe, but I do get some strange looks.

In fact, I seem to have a certain proclivity to attract bicycle policeman. What is worse is that they all speak English, in fact they speak it better than the policemen outside Kings Cross station in London, that is if you can find one, when at least they will not be on a bicycle.

Safe and sound to the diamond area in anxious anticipation I arrived.

All this haste was for an important meeting.

You could ask which meeting is not important but then I would think you were being obtuse.

I was heartened when those, all three of them, to whom I was to address my pearls of wisdom, sat and immediately as if given the command by the local Brigade of Guards Quartermaster produced pads of paper with a blank sheet to the fore, so to speak.

As you can imagine they were fascinated by what I had to say, so much so that when even I got bored with the sound of my own voice and got up to go, I noticed that not one word had been inscribed on any pad of paper.

Another 10 out of 10 victory for enthralling an audience, three is more than I normally get and therefore qualifies for the term ‘audience’, to the point of total amnesia.

Amnesia can be quite a pleasant attribute to the human mind.

Sometimes I like to think that my own and that which I induce in others is simply a question of my miss spent past, most of which, the working bit, was at the DTC. I am trying to rectify this number by staying in work elsewhere till the DTC time becomes the minority.

No one nowadays seems to be staying long enough at the DTC to get amnesia, it could be called the ‘unrest cure’.

But ‘curing’ has unpleasant connotations of brine, being left to wallow in cold salted water till being deemed to be cooked.

But dealing with the DTC the issue is never who is being cooked, that is quite obvious. One might as well as ask the guys outside the pot.

Still I have been told that the drop in the ITO’s is explained by the fact that clients can ask for what they want.


Yes, this creates a problem, because if everyone asks for the same goods, he who is ranked highest gets all… well should get all but then he is ‘capped’ in the cause of fairness and amnesia.

Nothing about the equality of the pearly gates, more the Bismarkian principle of ‘right is might’.

But when might some common sense come into all the allocations?

I suppose when the fog clears.

How frightening.