Listening to: Should I Stay Or Should I Go (The Clash)
Drinking: black coffee (run out of milk)
Weather: hazy sunshine
I was running late, driving to the airfield to pick Sally up after a week at work. I wasn't driving that fast though, maybe 55mph.
A jeep and livestock trailer was trundling along in front as I got to the long straight that leads up to the Kirk. I pulled out to pass, closed in and suddenly he turned right into a side lane. If there was an indicator, I didn't see it.
I had no room to brake in a straight line, so I heaved on the wheel, narrowly avoiding the back of his trailer. The rear tyre collapsed (it was soft and awaiting replacement) which ruled out all possibility of regaining control. I was off the road for a moment and came to an abrupt halt as the Land Rover smacked into a concrete straining post.
The other driver can't have seen me even after the impact as he didn't stop.
A little shaken, I searched for casualties. The post was snapped off at the base - fortunately there were no animals in the field. Lennox the Land Rover had lived up to his name (big, black, way past his best, but still good in a fight). A bent bumper and very flat tyre were about the limit of the damage.
I was amazed to find I could reverse back onto the road and park up properly. I tried to pull myself together and change the wheel. Sod it! I'd left the wheel and jack back at the croft. Nothing for it but to walk the mile-and-a-half.
Billy, a friend, pulled up and asked what I needed doing. 'Collect Sal and tell her I'm OK.' Moments later our neighbour Alena drew up and gave me a lift back home to pick up the wheel and jack. I grabbed all the tools my scrambled brain allowed me to remember and set off back, getting the car's upholstery filthy in the process.
She set me down again and said she'd get her husband Tommy to come out and check I was getting on all right. Knowing that changing a Land Rover wheel isn't that easy at the best of times, I'd already called Eric (Mr D) and he was soon on the scene, along with Billy - back from dropping Sal off.
Shortly afterwards, Tommy rumbled up in a 4x4 big enough to give an eco-hippy palpitations. Tom - at about 6ft 6in and 20 stone - unfolded himself from the driving seat and with eight hands now available, the least useful two (mine) were left to cheerleading and tool-holding (no sniggering at the back there). The wheel was changed, the spare having first been taken away to be pumped up (I really need to get organised) at the nearby house.
Billy set about unbending the bumper enough so it didn't catch on the wheel. The plastic cornerpiece was proving a problem, the bolts having rusted solid. No problem, Tommy fired up his stonecutter and it was off in a moment.
Stopping to explain and apologise to Marcus for wrecking his fence, I drove very carefully down to Eric's where he checked the tyre pressures and I was revived by a cup of tea and one of Mrs D's flapjacks.
Two days later I'm still wondering at just how tough Lennox is and at how brilliant friends and neighbours can be in a crisis.
Thanks everyone. It won't be forgotten.