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Thursday, 13 September 2007

What Counts For Me As A Near Death Experience

Blimey, it was scary and it took a minute or two to realise that I hadn’t actually died on this glorious blue day, time in which, meanwhile, a couple of the other drivers kicked straight into useful action. Masculine and efficient, wannabe firemen, they pulled in their own cars to a lay-by and lent their weight to the back of my motor, realising the urgency of moving it ASAP, and actually doing something about that urgency rather than bouncing on the spot all twittery which I fear was my part in the adventure.

The man who had managed to brake, hard, directly behind me, was kindest of all. Trashing his tyres for his troubles, and landing scant inches behind me, while I stared, eyes stretched in impotent horror, at the rear view mirror while his car rammed towards me, bigger and bigger. Certain I was that it would never stop in time and that I was locked into witnessing what I took to be my last minutes on earth. I was wrong.

We were very polite to each other but I obsessed that the “Cotton Traders” logo on his check shirt was unraveling, and panicked that my hand might stray to it and pluck at the dangling length. Which would surely be Inappropriate. Depressingly, my snatch from death was marked by an instance of predictable trivia when couldn’t it have made a better, less random, person of me?

Most of the other drivers drove by, smug in their perfect cars, their passengers smugger still with maps on their laps, bearing small frowns, pursed lips and double chins. Rubber-necking, they slowed disapprovingly, all but mouthing “silly cow”, clearly thinking, “what’s that silly cow doing leaving her car in the middle of the road. Honestly!” Tut-tut, head-shake.

For what had the silly cow done? Why, had been driving her car to the garage because it was Making A Funny Noise, when it seized up, the brakes locked, the gear shift went baggy and the car died abruptly, violently stopping bang on the spot like only a cartoon car could. Only a cartoon car and mine.
The seat belt works, though.

But what were those sneering drivers thinking? That my actions were somehow recreational? Hey, let’s stop the car right here and annoy everyone and, if I pop dem ole clogs in the doing? Well, but a side-effect, a bauble of detail, it happens.

For naturally, my moment of excitement took place upon the most lethal stretch of road in the locality: the kind which many of us have too near to us, where the wall opposite is routinely smashed into (keeping local builders, at least, in semi-permanent employ), where bunches of flowers are left tied to telegraph posts, and where the police can drive to blindfold.
A long, fast A-road, motorway-like in aspiration, heaving with lorries, with a bend just before a cross roads, out of which I had just turned left. The most vulnerable spot on a frightening road, since you have to build up speed so fast before everything hurtling round the corner – which you couldn’t see when you turned out – flies up behind you all impatient.

Cars scream down this road at 80 or 90mph – which seems to be the new 60 – so I put my shaky feelings in my back pocket, armed myself with my pink straw basket, being the nearest thing to a sensible red triangle, and tottered towards the bend to flap my arm feebly, in hope that people didn’t plough into me, or cause the next pile-up at killer corner to make the Echo front page.

However, another side-effect of the perilous nature of this road is the siting of a garage (like the builders: one man’s crash is another’s livelihood) and a gorgeous mechanic did the manly thing with a big bad truck and another dear smiley chap drove me home while I jabbered as if drunk and now, I am shaking.
Armed with my friend black coffee, I am trying to still my wobbly fingers by making them type fast, because it’s now that the Thank Gods and What Ifs slide in.
I’m before the “Blimey, can we afford the £800 it’s bound to cost!” stage and well immersed in the re-living of a near car crash where the car behind did go into me, where all the on-coming cars failed to spot my weedy pink basket and where I am the next in a set of grim statistics.

Sorry for returning to blogging like this. But thought you’d be nice to me!


toady said...

Oh Milla poor you. I had a Metro that gave up the ghost on our only official bit of fast road. It didn't stop dead but lost power and did not respond to anything I did. I had only been driving a couple of months and it scared me s***less. Now big deep relaxing breaths and think calming thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Cars can be dangerous machines. Our main road up here, the A1, is notorious and a dice with death everytime you use it. Mainly because of the impatient idiots that think it's a race track.

Do take care,
Crystal xx

Anonymous said...

Thank God you're still with us Milla, that was a close one!

Had something similar years ago on our M50; darling little Renault 9 decided that it was time to pass forth into that great parking space in the sky; and a hulking great container lorry bearing down on me. Just about made it to the layby on chugged jumps and more prayers than you'd hear in a convent.

Sit back, relax and have another coffee while the nerves settle.

elizabethm said...

what a way to return to blogging. so glad you are ok. we once had a car where the engine fell through the bottom onto the road - not a good day.

ChrisH said...

Sheesh! Milla, be very, very kind to yourself for the rest of the day. Thank goodness you are in one piece. It's not exactly the return to blogging from you we were expecting but it's good to hear from you. Love Chris

sally's chateau said...

It's the most horrifying thing to happen, I've had that feeling too with two small children strapped in the back, take care and don't under estimate the after shock x

Frances said...

Gosh, Milla! Shaking a bit over here just reading about what happened to you.

Please do get some enormous red tablecloth and keep it with you forever more. How terrifying.

And to think that only a few days back you gave that great party with all the preliminary thinking, planning, worrying.

Such surprises life can toss our way. Glad that you did have a rescue and safe ride home. Bet that your family is giving you some crushing hugs. And sure that Lolly has her own way of knowing how to help.


bodran... said...

I can just see you waving your basket!! how frightening.....deep breathe now and try not to think of the bill..[ not your bill the money bill]xxx

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

Thank God you're alright, you dear one. Though doubtless the nippers will absorb the tale with round-eyed wonder, only to ask seconds later "What's for supper?" Think gin.

(I deleted the earlier comment owing to a fruiterer's apostrophe)

Suffolkmum said...

Ooh Milla you have my heart racing.As others have said, not the way we expected you to return to blogging, but at least you're in one peice to make said return. What a nightmare. Lots of sweet tea beofe you hit the gin, she says, getting all bossy.

Hannah Velten said...

Gosh, I read that with baited breath - no wonder you are in post-incident shock mode. Thank God for your weedy pink bag and the man with the good brakes - hope you manage to calm your nerves soon.

Mootia x

LittleBrownDog said...

Poor Milla - I hope you treated yourself to a stiff drink when you got home. Yes, who are those self-righteous rubbernecking drivers who always seem to look so smug when you find yourself in a bit of a pickle? Glad to hear you're ok, though (and hope it doesn't cost too much - another stiff drink, perhaps?)

Pipany said...

God that sounds horrific Milla. Afraid I would have been useless and not even thought of flagging down other drivers so don't be too hard on yourself. Why though do they always assume you are doing it for larks!!! Poor you - large gins all round I think xx

@themill said...

It's let me in - this should make 14 (or will it be 15?) so hope that makes you feel better.
My remedies for such horrendous happenings are gin, fags and chocolate. Mind you, I'm probably not a very good example.

Grouse said...

Milla!!!!! So glad you are back with us!!!!!
Scary stuff, to be sure. If someone makes a mistake or has a problem I always give a cheery laugh....the responding grateful laugh makes my day and theirs. But if a female has broken down,,,even if she appears to be talking into a phone, I turn round and go back and CHECK. I once ended up taking a girl home with me for the night........dread to think what would have happened.....
Courtesy - most important social grace for so many reasons.....

KittyB said...

Oh dear - that sounds horrific. Thank god the driver behind managed to stop. I would have been a gibbering wreck for hours afterwards - were you all teary?

Casdok said...

Wow you were lucky!!

CAMILLA said...

Cerikey Dear Milla, How absolutely awful! I would have been a nervous wreck. Why is it that people just drive by when there is an incident like this, I bet they would not like to be in that position. I am so glad that you are alright, even though I should think still a tad shakey. A horrid experience for you to have to go through, your lovely Bill and Offspring will be very glad that they have their wonderful Milla with them today. Now - go and pour yourself a very large G & T, think you deserve it.


Exmoorjane said...

Somehow missed this at the useful stage of commenting! Flipping heck, Milla, ploody terrifying. My worst nightmare. I'm a bit perturbed that this is what it takes to get you blogging again! Hopefully we'll be back to tales of Mad Bad Lolly and Dysons and builders....no more nasty cars please, my nerves can't take it (and nor can yours no doubt).

btw, LOVE the bit about the thread unravelling....I would have been transfixed by that too.

The Country Craft Angel said...

So good to see your blogs back. However sorry that it took such an experience!

Thank goodness you are all ok.

warm wishes