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Balls To The Baltic - Latvia or Bust



No really – About that song

It was about ten minutes down the road when Jonathan said “I’m glad I did that looking at a castle and not at a bus stop”.

We proceeded very, very carefully. The same can not be said of all the other traffic on the road, but then, they probably hadn’t just been stuck in a ditch. The roads were evil, although it has to be said that a laden transit van is probably not the best choice of vehicle to be using in such conditions. After a few more miles of windy, icy, and more importantly, seriously inclined mountain roads, we suddenly found ourselves at the back of a traffic jam. I can honestly claim that I have never been so happy to be stuck in a traffic jam in my entire life.

It was after a couple of minutes of silently staring at the tail lights of the car in front when one of us, and I don’t remember which, but whatever Jonathan says, it was probably the other one, started singing the song. The lyrics were remarkably simple (although they did become more complex in later versions) and it took about two lines before the other person (whichever of us it was) joined in. The lyrics went something like this:

We’re not in a ditch, We’re not in a ditch
We’re not, we’re not, we’re not in a ditch
We’re not in a ditch, We’re not in a ditch
We’re not, we’re not, we’re not in a ditch

Like I said, not overly complicated, but I’m sure you’ll agree there is a certain resonance in the lyrics. A resonance that all people who’ve been in a ditch, and who are no longer in a ditch, will fully appreciate. We sang it with all out hearts. The sides of the van probably vibrated to the joy of it. There are probably still people in Poland singing its catchy little refrain, even though they have no idea what the words mean, but they heard it once, while they were stuck in a traffic jam, and well, it just seemed such a joyous little ditty that they couldn’t help themselves from joining in. The hills were alive with the sound of musings on not being in a ditch.

We were stuck in that traffic jam for hours, and I don’t think either of us minded a bit. Every now and again people would walk up and down the queue of cars, and every now and again a snow plows would negotiate their way past which appeared to be quite an ordeal. We sat there, chatting happily, snacking on the various things we had in the van, and basically being happy that we weren’t in a ditch.

Occasionally we’d sing about the fact.

Eventually we wound our way around a stationary lorry, and the road in front of us was suddenly clear. Well, it was covered in snow, but it was clear of cars. So we were back to making our way at a few miles an hour along the mountain roads. My best guess is that the traffic jam was actually caused by the fact that lorries, on recognising the seriousness of the conditions had simply decided to stop where ever they were. We passed dozens of them simply stopped in the road.



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