Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ever felt an idiot?

On Thursday I set off at 6.15pm to drive to my parent's house, an easy hour and a half straight up motorways. I had picked up a last minute brief for Carlisle County Court at 10 am the next morning and was taking advantage to stop off in Penrith en route and to deliver some stuff Mum wanted for our collaborative quilt.

Just south of Lancaster, I was in the middle lane at 60 pmh, in the dark and rain, overtaking a lorry. There were several cars in front of me. Just as I drove into that momentary blind spot when you get the sudden heavy blast of spray from the lorry, I realised that a car had sped up the fast lane to my right at at least 90 pmh and was about to hit a car, which has pulled out of my lane. I saw him slam on his brakes, then I got that blast of spray and could only just make out his lights seemingly going sideways and realised that there was going to be a pile up. In fact he must have managed to swerve - or skid?- through the gaps and end up on the hardshoulder and there was no collision at all.

Even so it was a shock. A mile or so later I then had to drive through a set of roadworks with cones with the lorry still close to me. I don't particularly like that, as you will remember my car got smashed up last year due to a lorry clipping the cone on a motorway and causing me to swerve then skid. I was a little nervey so I decided to pull off at the next services and take a breather. I parked, turned the engine off, burst into tears and realised I was afraid to get back on the motorway in the dark. I felt really silly - I am such a confident driver, but I was really scared.

So, at the ripe old age of 37, I rang my long suffering parents to come and get me! Mum prescribed a hot drink and a Mars Bar for shock while I waited - only I could hardly walk to the cafe becuase my legs were shaking. I was only 1 mile from a junction so after some sugar I made it to a pub off the motorway and they drove 50 mins or so to meet me. I agreed that I needed to drive again very soon so Dad sat with me and Mum drove in front of me so I would have some slow brakelights ahead of me over the rather high isolated partof the journey known as Shap where the weather often gets quite bad.

So off we set and Mum misses the turning for the M6 North. I, gripping the steering wheel tightly, just follow her like we still have the umblicial cord thing going on and we have then no alternative but to go South to Preston. This is a detour of some 35 miles which requires me to drive not just past the scene of the accident that didn't even happen but also through the roadworks again - twice!!!

Meanwhile I have the helpful company of Dad who keeps leaning forward right over the dash board and making me jump - turns out he was trying to read the little map that comes up when I don't put a destination into the Sat Nav, only he didn't have his glasses on. He then starts rummaging in my dash board and eats the dried fruit I have in there. I am going through cones clinging to the steering wheel so hard I actually give myself cramp and he's holding the bag out and saying, 'Do you want a tootie frootie?'

We get to Shap and there is fog. I am muttering "Oh,oh oh, Fog. I can't see. I don't like this" and all I get in repsonse is, "Fog? Your generation has never seen real fog. This is just a bit of mist. In my day we had real peasoupers...."

At least the aversion therapy worked and when I saw the lights of Penrith I left Mum behind and did the last bit all by myself ( big, brave girl.) and we finally got there at 10.30pm! I did another half hour in the morning up to Carlisle without batting an eyelid - at least until I got there and found that in fact the case was listed at 2pm and I could have come up on the day in daylight after all!

(Purple Missus - that story was for you in particular!)

Oh and the other reason I feel an idiot is that I have, finally, almost cut out all the pieces for a quilt kit I was given for Christmas last year. Only almost, because I turned my ruler around and cut three strips at 4.5 inches not 5 and now I am 30 cm short of fabric and have to find some more. The most likey opportunity is when I am working next week near the shop that sold the kit , which is located - guess where - yup. South on the M6 motorway.


Jennifer said...

Oh Helen, I'm sorry you had to go through all that, but what a wonderful thing to have your parents there and available to guide you through (even in the roundabout way!). It IS shocking when things like that happen on the road. Best thoughts your way---

Diane said...

Oh, Helen...poor you. But I'm glad you got back in the car and made a strong effort at conquering the beastly highway.