Sometimes you write just to get things off your chest. So I write this now because yesterday my chest was very nearly an ex-chest. Somebody inflicted GBH on Peaches. And damn near killed me.
I stay at work in a quiet corner of the car park next to a field on the edge of Exmoor during the week. It’s too far for a daily commute, until I start my new job in Plymouth. But this week we have our old buddies Eric and Ivana in from Bratislava for a couple of days home here in Totnes. They were going to come to work with me to see a British school – until they clocked Totnes (and realised it would mean leaving at 6:30am) and decided to spend the day here. Cooked us a meal for when we got home – nice house guests! So I was at home Monday night. Tuesday was the early commute of 65 miles. I am a few miles from work on the windy (as in winding not blowing) A road along the Exe Valley between Tiverton and Bampton, driving quite nicely if I may say so myself, when a truck appears round the corner on the wrong side of the road, trying to overtake a line of cars at speed. It is true what they say. Time does slow down to milliseconds. There is this truck heading straight or me on the wrong side of the road outside a line of cars into which he can not pull in. He fills my windscreen. I swerve on to the verge on the wooded bank down to the river and come to stop. The flatbed slams into Peaches’ door, carving her open like a can of tuna fish, straight through the steel. With the mirror gone I can not see what happened behind me next. No-one was seriously hurt but all are very shaky when details are exchanged.
So I limp to work with Peaches’ offside a mess. Then to the insurance phone calls. They send out a rescue truck which arrives after an hour and forty minutes. My body has stopped shaking but has now started aching. I go with the man in the rescue vehicle towards home. But the insurance broker had not informed the insurance company of our recent change of address, who in turn had not informed the rescue company so they are only contracted to take me to my old address six miles away. There I was left for a couple of hours. Then there is a phone call from the new rescue vehicle. They have reversed the job details so are now at Station Road Totnes, home, rather than Station Road Bampton, old home. I sit in Peaches , photograph the damage and worry that she is a write-off.
The doorframe is detached from the sub-frame and the door itself is just carved up into sharp jagged steel.
I look at the fridge magnets – all the countries she has seen us through – the stickers from festivals. I contemplate the trinkets we hang around Peaches for a homely feel, keep getting flashbacks of that truck on the wrong side of the road filling my windscreen and feel unspeakably sad that she may well turn out to be a victim of murder, not just GBH. At least Eric and Ivana had stayed at home. Memories of all the good times with Peaches float around my head during the next three hours of waiting. I am home at six, but still worried that the insurance assessor may write Peaches off. I need to go to the quack’s tomorrow… and sort out the assessor….