IN THE SUMMER OF 1955, American Alfred Hobbs and his new Danish wife Jakobine were deeply in love. Arriving in Casablanca, Morocco, they discovered an old 1930’s London taxi. Fearlessly they set out on an adventure that would take them around the world in four remarkable years. It began with a daring solo crossing of the Sahara Desert and ended with them becoming TV celebrities in Japan. Along the way they had several brushes with danger and death.
For Jakobine it was truly a journey of a lifetime. But for Alfred it was deeper – it had defined him, and he would spend his life seeking another to equal to it. Jakobine thought their love and the memory of their epic adventure would hold them together forever.
Alfred grew more and more stir crazy, until one day, with little warning, he told her he was leaving. She was devastated. She would put her life back together, but she would never forgive Alfred. Nor could she ever forget him. Thus began a tortured struggle to keep their love alive in impossible circumstances.
Several years later, Jakobine found a way to forever reconnect them. She organised a party where she invited him into her bed. The timing was perfect. Jakobine became pregnant, giving birth to a baby boy. Together they now had a child, but it didn’t bring Alfred back. Niels grew up without a father, only learning about this man through the bedtime stories his mother would tell him about their incredible adventures in that old London taxi.
Despite the distances between them, Jakobine couldn’t let go, and Alfred wouldn’t let her. He’d appear in her life out of the blue, often at difficult times.
Then, when Niels was a young boy Jakobine met Rusty. He was a different kind of man and offered her a different kind of love.
Her life filled with happiness once again. Rusty accepted Niels and raised him as his own son. Alfred would still make his sudden appearances and Rusty would suffer them in silence.
Then, nearly half a century later, having lived a solitary life and never remarrying, Alfred Hobbs looked out his window at that deteriorated London taxi, his oldest friend, a symbol of the adventurer he once was and of a marriage he destroyed all those years ago. At 84 years old, Alfred had a plan.
Niels Hobbs received an email from his estranged father, with a completely unexpected proposal. With the last bit of money that he possessed, Alfred explained he wanted to bring the taxi back to life, drive it all the way across America from his home in New Mexico, eastward to Jakobine and offer her one last ride. Was it a journey to redeem himself or one last selfish adventure?
The only catch was he couldn’t make it on his own so he asked Niels if he would join him.
Months later, in a cloud of smoke, the taxi was running for the first time in 50 years. Niels arrived and the two were off. But it wasn’t long before the old taxi failed, and failed again. If not for the kindness of strangers, enchanted by this old car and where it was headed, they would never have kept it moving. As America drifted past, Alfred recounted the grand adventures of the taxi’s first great road trip. The stories were as fresh as yesterday and Niels slowly became his father’s son.
Jakobine had no idea they were coming.
After weeks on the road, exhausted from the impossible challenges of driving an 80 year old vehicle across America, the two men made the last few miles towards the rural farmhouse where Jakobine and Rusty live. Jakobine’s reaction to their arrival was telling, opening up all the wounds of her life yet offering the possibility of healing as well.
Alfred and Jakobine is a modern, contemporary love story of epic proportions - divided love, a broken family, the search for redemption and a final, coming home. It is about a woman who must reconcile the two great loves in her life and a selfish man who wants to do the right thing before he dies. At its core is Jakobine. We have access to her evocative travel journals and she will tell us about her sweeping love affair with Alfred and the heartbreak that has lasted a lifetime. When talking of him, we sense a deep inner conflict. Perhaps she loves him still, and maybe also hates him.
The story pivots around an unlikely object - an ancient London taxi cab that travels through time and space to bring two men and one woman together, as well as the son they all shared. What happens in the end is not at all what we expect, and perhaps not what Jakobine expected either.