Thursday, 15 September 2011

Chill, Danger, Smugness And Itchy Bracken

It's the first true day of autumn. Following the rain and the winds of the good old British summer, some semblance of peace, stability and order has returned to the valley. The clear blue skies come at the cost of the cool air, almost frost-like and as a result the windows are fogged up .

 Perhaps it is a good time to reflect about the casualties of the storm. The North East of England has had its fair share.of deaths as a result of falling trees. In May a sixth former was killed whilst driving her car. The day before yesterday exactly the same fate befell the volunteer driver of a minibus. Terrible luck.

Several times I have been in close shaves during a storm. Driving buses in high winds is not fun. It is a case of gripping the steering wheel and gritting the teeth whilst the bus sways and rotates all over the road. This day it was particularly bad and the bus felt as if it could roll over at any minute.

A wood was visible on the horizon. I put the foot down and gripped and gritted harder in the hope that we would seek shelter from this typhoon. More fool me. As the bus entered the swaying trees, there was a crack, a bang and a tinkling sound. A branch had snapped, slammed into the windscreen and smashed the mirror. The reflective glass was dangling by a shard.

'That'll be yer mirror,' the passenger in the front seat helpfully observed with a smug grin.

I stopped in the next lay-by which was conveniently situated in the wood. As I struggled down the steps to check the mirror, the wind swept me off my feet and I ended up, flat on my back in the soggy green bracken by the side of the road.

'Is it windy, then?' asked the same passenger, with the same smug grin, who had stood up and was leaning out the main door.

I decided not to answer him. I needed my energy for a). removing the itchy bracken from somewhere under my flapping shirt tail and b) to think of how I was going to deflect the mechanic's take on losing yet another mirror, when I returned to the depot.

'Waht have you broken, now?' were his first words. 'You are a .....'

No comments:

Post a Comment