Joker's Bottle of Frogs

by JokerXL

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Wedding & Portrait Photography

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The aftermath

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Thanks for your comments & support on the previous post, sorry I can't reply direct just yet, still in France at the moment.

I'm alright, an hour after I went back to bed this morning my heart rate was still up at 110bpm, slept for about three hours though.
Now the biggest hassle is getting it all sorted out. Just got back from "l'hotel du police" where a brief report was made. No mention of the lack of interest from the Gendarmerie last night in the report though. I suppose I'll have to fire off a few Emails again, get the press involved.
Feller there was most impressed with the image quality of the pictures I'd brought in on a USB stick. (little does he know the amount of photo equipment stashed away in this cab)

The Dutch transport organisation TLN called me a couple of times, they're draughting a report to the Dutch consulate in Calais and want to know all the details. Apparently this sort of thing happens all too often in the Calais area (don't I know it) but they rarely get a full complaint or report from the drivers, (and why doesn't that surprise me?) if they can, the drivers just tend to write it off to experience and drive on. Consequently the local authorities are saying "problem? quelque problem?".

I'm at the Volvo "action service" garage now to get the windscreen replaced.
They've gone on a 90 minute lunch break. There's "action service" for ya!

I'd like to say a big "merci" to Mr. Cédric Facompre from Total who was very sympathetic and helpful this morning. He's been my guide, chauffeur and translator. Top bloke. If it wasn't for the couple of thousand lawless lunatics camping out in the immediate area I'd go there again.
26th Mar 2009, 11:48  


paintist says:

whoa! yes they are informative were so lucky not to have been hurt

26th Mar 2009, 12:02

minushabens says:

I'm happy you are out and well, from this horrible situation.

26th Mar 2009, 14:30

Geodyne says:

It's occurred to me: if the asylum seekers made it into the vehicle and crossed a border, would you have been liable?

26th Mar 2009, 14:30

Lyzardly says:

As paintist said, it looks like you could have been seriously injured. Good on you for taking the timeand energy to make a full report and follow up as much as you can. It's evidence of you giving a sh*t about all those other drivers who couldn't be bothered to give a sh*t about you while they "slept".

Wishing you a safe journey forward.

26th Mar 2009, 15:22

Tori says:

I'm glad you are safe. What a horrible experience, all the way around.

26th Mar 2009, 15:43

Caine says:

I am relieved you came through safely, and had a bit of help at least. I hope you're relaxing now you're at home. Excellent shots and evidence.

26th Mar 2009, 19:03

JokerXL says:

Yes, could have been a lot worse, if I think about it, which I'm trying not to too much, at least not negatively.
Brings it (back) home to you that there are still enough bad people out there, just try not to bump into them too often, that goes for all of you, watch your backs out there, keep your phone on and close to hand, stay out of the shadows.
Back in a "proper" country again now, just had a giant Mac Donald's and I'll be parking in our yard overnight tonight, we have 10,000 volts running through the perimeter fence (yes, really!) home tomorrow afternoon.
And yes Geo, the driver is very much responsible for any "Clandestines" that stow away and make it into the UK. 2000 pounds per person and often more than that for the registered owner of the vehicle.
It was about three years ago, posted on this blog, that four Somalians got in to my trailer (I'll put a link in here tomorrow night, it's a bit of a chore through the phone's screen but I think the title was "Clandestines")
this time I was heading out of the UK so they'd be going the wrong way anyway though I've had them do that before now too, kicked two of the sorry-arses out in Antwerp one Saturday morning, 200km walk back they had, how I laughed!

Clandestines in bushes

Clandestines in the trailer

26th Mar 2009, 19:42

cariadus says:

Wow, that's quite a story. Glad you're OK and hope you get some resolution.
Just shows the value of having a camera or cameraphone handy in this kind of situation.

26th Mar 2009, 23:30

JokerXL says:

Ah Mandy, but that's what they pay me these vast amounts of money for,
oh, wait a minute, er, they don't.

Cheers Cariadus.
Yes, I'm a great believer in the power of the camera as a "weapon", of deterrent mainly. Taking a pictures of a potential threatening situation can often make people think twice about what they're about to do (assuming they're not in a position to take the camera from you) you have, after all, captured their image for future reference.
Unfortunately in this situation they were all masked, desperate and totally indifferent to the rule of law.
Plus I was more concerned with keeping them out at the time and bringing a couple of thousand pounds worth of Nikon hardware into view might not have been the best option.

27th Mar 2009, 06:15

popped in to see how you were doing. Admire your balanced approach and pragmatism very much and am so, so relieved that you're OK and are managing the after effects of the shock well

Many years ago I diffused a situation by pretending to take photos of the putative bad guys. Little did they know there was no film in the camera at the time...


27th Mar 2009, 06:49

JokerXL says:

Very "tough as old boot", me D.
see how a camera can be as good as a big stick in some situations? But I'll keep the big stick close by too, if you don't mind, just in case.

27th Mar 2009, 07:36

tex says:

Wow,just read your terrible experience.Glad you are OK.

27th Mar 2009, 16:18

JokerXL says:

I'm all right Tex, rufty-tufty old tankie, me.
Good under pressure, had a good teacher, remember?
Another five minutes and I'd have had the lot of 'em!

27th Mar 2009, 18:52

Mike says:


just read both posts.. this is shocking. but I'm glad you're okay! I'll be on my way to you in a few minutes, gotta take a shower first ;)

28th Mar 2009, 12:21

MaggieD says:

Just read the last two posts ...... gobsmacked ..... so very glad that you are OK .... lots of hugs

28th Mar 2009, 18:36

glenn(glen_muller-at-hotmail-dot-com) says:

w t f happend

29th Mar 2009, 11:45

anthonydillon says:

hi, im a hgv driver and sometimes i go over the water. i dont believe that people understand the danger that hgv drivers face abroad and at home, im glad you are ok and hopefully something will be done to make calais safer for all of us.

30th Mar 2009, 18:32

JokerXL says:

safest thing is just to avoid it as much as possible I recon.

2nd Apr 2009, 08:31