Saturday, 2 February 2013

Thank you for my friends


When I heard that one of my very closest friends had been involved in a car accident, my first thought was to her well being and hoping that she had not been hurt. Remembering back to when another dear friend of Curious Adventures had a nasty bike crash some time ago, my fears for dear Jan were somewhat serious. Fortunately Jan climbed from her ruined car almost unscathed, a miracle for which we are thankful.

So once she was home safe and wine had been drunk, we planned on how to retrieve the bits that she had been forced to leave in the knackered car. So last Monday I got my bike out of the garage and picked up Jan from her flat and we set out for the dealership that was assessing Jan’s car. After an hour we admitted defeat and stopped, pulling over into a safe place where Jan phoned the dealer. After a quick chat we rode home. The dealership had relocated from Weston Super Mare to Bristol. The rain had soaked us both.

On Tuesday I had a day with another dear friend which involved tasting Japanese fast food as a celebration of his Birthday. The evening passed joyously and upon my return home I pondered a trip to Bristol the following morning with Jan. I borrowed Carol’s Sat Nav unit and picked up Jan once again. This time we set out for Bristol, heading down the A370 towards the motorway. As we exited the roundabout and swooped into the sixty miles per hour speed limit I accelerated my precious Sylvie and we tore down the road towards the next roundabout, as our speed dropped we entered our lane and I brought the bike to a halt at the roundabout and waited for a safe moment to pull out. As we pulled away and curved into the corner the back tyre gave way and went completely flat. I managed to stop the bike safely and Jan and I were forced to push the bike to the safety of the side of the road.

Once parked safely in the supermarket car park, I phoned our friends Steve and Sue of Bridge Motor Works and requested a pick up and repair. Despite being swamped with work, Steve collected us in his fantastic works truck and loaded Sylvie into the back of the truck. She was carefully strapped down and Jan and I climbed into cab of Steve’s truck. We then unloaded from the truck once we had got back to Steve and Sue’s workshop. Sylvie was sat on a paddock stand and her back wheel removed, the hole was located and worryingly it was almost too large to repair. However we were lucky and Steve was able to patch us up. By the time we were ready to go again it had got too late and so we retired for the evening.

Jackie the dog, Sue & Steve our rescuers.
Thursday dawned bright and dry, so Jan and I decided to set out once again. The injury to my shoulder was now horribly painful due to the amount of exercise I had undertaken trying to ride my bike, so we decided to take Jan’s van. The engine purred into life and we prepared to go. I stepped out into the street and waved to Jan to back the van out. The gear box screamed and growled as she tried to get it into gear. The van resolutely refused to move, the clutch was completely unable to disengage the drive from the gear box making it impossible to change or even engage a gear. Defeated once again, we phoned Steve and Sue and arranged for the van to be picked up and repaired. This was after I spent two hours trying to adjust the clutch cable which was at the limit of its adjustment. That evening we retired to Scallys and played cards.

They are good Folks at Bridge Motors.
Friday dawned once again bright and sunny, a perfect spring morning and I was just about able to climb out of bed and climb into my bike gear. Jan was ready bright and early and finally we had run out of time, after Friday the car would be taken away and crushed. So once again we pulled Sylvie out of the garage, loaded up the tank bag and set off from Bristol. The pain in my arm, hand, shoulder and neck was horrible before we even passed the point of our puncture.

We passed over the motorway and descended onto the A370 to Congresbury, we had a lovely ride on quiet roads and I managed to keep just below the speed limit. Finally we hit the limits of Bristol and once again I pulled over to a quick rest and to switch on Carol’s Sat Nav. Once the Sat Nav was on, we promptly got lost and went in completely the wrong direction. After a hundred meters of travel, the small screen suddenly flipped as it worked out which direction we were moving in and by then it was too late to turn around, we were committed to a road of heavy traffic.

We stopped for another rest a short while later after nearly running a red light. The light had changed to amber as we approached and I had pulled on the brakes but with our momentum I had to pull a little harder, this made the bike dip her nose down and Jan slid forwards on her seat a little. As she slid forwards, she slid into me and I was pushed into the fuel tank, however we were still moving forward and I had to brake a little harder, which in turn caused Jan to slide a little harder into me! We stopped at the lights in fits of giggles and Jan readjusted her seating position!

Our break was in a lay by behind a resting coach, we spent a couple of minutes chatting as I rested my arm and shoulder before we remounted and set off once again. From there it was a few more minutes before we were pulling up outside the dealership. We parked up and wandered inside before being directed back outside and into the car park. Sat in the far corner was Jan’s Mazda, looking almost fine, yet as we drew closer I started to see the damage and was suddenly shocked and grateful for the safety of my friend.

One crunched car
The car was crooked, shorter on one side that it was on the other. The drivers door was staved in and firmly jammed closed. The drivers seat was stuck fast and would not move back or forward no matter how hard we pushed it. The rear door would not close due to the bent chassis and the drivers window would not fit in the door frame anymore. How Jan managed to avoid being hurt I just do not know and when she showed me how she had to crawl from the front to the rear of the car to exit though the left hand rear passenger door.

Jan and her protector
We cleaned out the car of the various things that gather in a car when it is used every day, empty bottles, a few biscuits and a duvet cover! We also found the few things that we needed like the CDs and the little mascots that we decorate our cars with. It was an emotional moment and then we climbed back onto Sylvie and headed our way back home.


In the day to day running of our lives do we ever think about those we hold dear to us? When I heard that one of my most beloved friends was in an accident, my response was of worry and fear. Seeing the car confirmed that I had been right to worry. On the way home I was thankful for the safety of my friend and when I needed a rest so we popped into see Wayne, another person I am thankful for.  


Be safe out there folks, the roads that we love can be a dangerous playground.