Saturday, 16 April 2011

Pork chop crash

There’s never a dull moment in the village. We were being lazy – hot pot of coffee, reading the news (on Facebook -not weekend papers) when we heard an almighty bang and then subsequent crashing metal noises. My initial thought was that the phantom tractor driver was back to destroy more cars parked in the lane.

My dearest, wearing only boxer shorts, rushed upstairs in search of combats while I considered wearing my spotty pyjamas with green wellies to face the scene; I decided to leave him to deal with the crisis.

He came to report that an old boy had crashed into a parked car and rolled his own over - creating a bit of a mess. By the time ‘the hero of my life’ arrived a few villagers were already standing and staring whilst the old boy sat stunned, airbag inflated and blood pouring from a gash in his head.

It took only a few moments to assess that no-one was actually doing anything so as usual, ever the interventionist, ‘Mr Fix-it’ got stuck in. This involved persuading the rather muddled motorist that it wasn’t going to be a good idea to drive home straightaway, especially without a windscreen, and that maybe a roll of loo paper might be applied to the side of his face.

By this time the Church Warden had started sweeping the road, his wife was calling for emergency services (which we all knew would take at least 15 mins to get through all the lanes) and Mr Garage man came down to generally join in the throng.

‘Mr Fix it – wonder man’ had turned off the engine, put the handbrake on, applied toilet roll and begun piecing together the story. The old boy had just come back from Pool Market with his weekly shop of meat and was worried:
“My wife will kill me,” he fretted. Thus began a pastoral conversation, a soothing chat that whilst wives may be bossy and possibly angry at their husband’s driving techniques it was ever likely she wouldn’t actually be cross but rather concerned.

Of course once the paramedics arrived, after a brief promise to pray for the old boy, my beloved returned to luke-warm coffee. It was a sad moment. We considered how this would most likely be the last drive for the old boy. I was reminded of my own mother’s scrapes with parked wing-mirrors and sides of cars before she finally got so lost around a roundabout that she admitted defeat.

He has probably been pottering about the lanes of Cornwall all his life, and will now have to rely on the pitiful provision of public transport. It was then I considered his weekly shop. “Hadn’t we better put it in our freezer?” I suggested.
“Good idea”, Mr Fix-it said bounding out again.

He thinks the police-officer was rather amused. But for those that are familiar with Pool Market meat wagon – it is hardly Waitrose and probably supplies most pensioners and benefit recipients in West Cornwall.The boot was opened to reveal the largest bag of Pork chops imaginable. After some deliberation it was decided that Mrs Garage owner should look after the butcher’s bounty.

“You are officially the keeper of the Pork chops,” she was told as they were handed over.

Maybe it will be last time this elderly couple will manage to gather their own produce for a Sunday roast. I am slightly comforted by the knowledge that we have one of the last, surviving ‘meals on wheels’ in the country (run by village volunteers) but even so there is a poignancy in witnessing another’s youthful vigour pass into frailty.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Power surge

I’ve succumbed to old-fogey paraphernalia. It started with reading glasses (ugly pair by the bed, sophisticated pair by the patchwork) and has progressed to garden kneeler and finally a ‘hidden extra’ on the bicycle.

In my defence it is discreet; from a distance I look like an old-fashioned midwife. The Somerset-levels wicker is already ensconced on the front and the frame is of classic design. However, sneaking behind the central ‘thingy’ (the bit that the saddle sits on) is this rather super-duper power surging battery. Oh, the freedom!

It is almost like being on a horse but not. I simply power up the hills, arrive sweat-free and don’t pass out in hedges – it is marvellous.  Obviously I am very road aware, but despite this, I have noticed a few admiring glances from traffic queues, as I power up the hills – dressed in my becoming 1980s trackies, found on the beach shades, safety helmet and bright green mac’. They obviously think I’m  a very fit plump lady.

For those familiar with the territory – I nearly made it up to the top of Maenporth hill. It feels like a ‘big daddy’ is pushing you along – he obviously conked-out in Cornwall.

So I shall be venturing out on my new wizzy gadget – ringing my bell and generally whiffing those country smells as I go. I must try hard to avoid swallowing a bee, which I did whilst haring down that mammoth hill at Lacock  (with Sam Godfrey and Claire Lillystone for my Sheldon readers) aged 16.

I am slightly troubled by the fact it is similar, in principle, to one of those power scooters and I am painfully aware that I don’t look like one of those frog-like, lycra-clad Sunday road congestors  - but at least I am as happy as the day I first rode without stabilizers  - which is all that matters.