Monday, March 17, 2008

Rallying Point (2)

So here I was stuck at the top of this windy wilderness, with a carrier bag, warrant card and instruction leaflet clutched between my stiff little (rapidly numbing) mitts, in desperate need of a pee, and nervously wondering when the race was about to start.

I guessed my first priority should be to cordon off these two roads of mine, so I trudged along and cast about to find them. Sure enough, there as promised, I found the lengths of rope next to the entrance that needed securing. I dutifully tied it off, and set about finding the other one.

It wasn't there.

At least not where they'd told me it should be. Oh, bugger.

It had to be here somewhere. I walked up further, tried the other side of the track. Nada - nothing. Becoming a trifle anxious, I walked back to where I'd started, heading down the way now, scanning for any hidden lane or concealed entrance I may have overlooked. Nothing. With visions of a tractor rounding the bend and slamming up the death rate,I put more urgency into my hunt.

It simply wasn't there.

Stemming my rising panic, I thought maybe I should phone the emergency number, ask what to do? I got dialing. The pillocks had only gone and switched it over to the answer phone, hadn't they? Well sod it, I'd tried. Consoling myself it was probably nothing to worry about (well, what was the point in fretting?), I focused on the other pressing matter of whether or not I had enough time to risk a quick crouch behind a bush.

The sheep looked a tad too friendly to my liking, so I opted for the field opposite, a rather more exposed venue than preferred, but it's not as though there were many available options.

Mid-way through the biggest relief of my day, my ears tuned in to the unmistakable sound of an approaching engine. Oh, for goodness sake! Talk about having a bad day.. I hastily fought to finish up, barely managing to pull up my drawers before a packed car load of teenagers pulled up behind the cordoned off barrier. I scrambled back to my post and tried to look nonchalant.

"Bloomin' heck, where did you spring from?"

As if I was about to tell him. With a nod and a smile, I willed them gone. Guess I looked official enough for them to think I had some clue as to what was going on, because the spokesman of the group, with his mates following in tow, ducked under the cordon to cross over to join me.

"Er, you're not s'posed to do that, you know - " (That told them.)

"Has Jo Bloggs passed yet?" (Nah, he didn't really ask about Joe Bloggs, but he might as well have, I wouldn't recognise a rally driver if he squished me beneath his wheels.) Since no one had passed, I was knowledgeable enough to answer him no. This was good news, they had time to pick out a better vantage point.

"Oiy, what do you think you're doing? Get back here!" I watched them disappear around the bend of the road.

"I could arrest you for that, you know." I bravely whispered. (Well, let's be honest, even assuming they would allow me to, what was I likely to do with them if I did.. tie them to the nearest sheep until help arrived?)

I decided to read the leaflet, see if I could pick up a tip or two - Lord knew I was in sore need of some. The opening paragraph hardly inspired confidence:-

"Marshals must carry a fire-extinguisher and a sharp knife with them at all times." Those rotten sods hadn't issued me with so much as a butter knife. Not that it mattered, reading further, I realised I was in the wrong job.

"In the event of a crash, extinguish any flames and pull the driver clear of the vehicle- "

Yeah, as if I'm about to dive in to an explosion. In the event of a crash, you can count on me diving for the nearest ditch, dialing a message for the emergency answer phone to hurry up and get me the hell away from there.

"Use an appropriate flag to signal the road closure."

Where were these flags I was supposed to brandish? They could at least have given me a flag or two, don't you think? Sheesh! Bunch of bloody amateurs..

I broke off reading to witness the first car swiftly approaching. Gee, this guy must be good, he'd shaken off all the other guys already! Didn't look as though it was going to be much of a race though.. I waited, counting the seconds between his lead. I kept counting. Two full minutes later, another lone car shot past. Two minutes after, another. Never slow on the uptake, I began to catch on. Oh boy, unlike the Super bike's, rally cars are not that big on over-taking. (Big girls blouses.)


I started to explore if I could unpick the sewn up pockets of my jacket, but my frozen fingers were too numb to cooperate. That's when I felt the first wet splats against my forehead. Could life get any better? The fat, cold water bombs increased in tempo, giving on to a torrential downpour. Ever the optimist, I began to cheer up, surely the race would be called off now? I fished the phone out and dialed up the emergency number. Glory be, someone actually answered (telling me in no uncertain terms to stay put,and to quit tying up the line). Charmed, I'm sure.

To stave off the onslaught of hypothermia, I considered lunch. Peeking ino the carrier bag, I found a bag of marmite crisps, a cherry diet coke, and an anonymous tin foil package. Who the hell these days makes up sardine sandwiches? I fed them to a friendly sheep, (upon closer inspection he turned out to be a ram) in return for bending his ear over the next hour. He was very sympathetic.

Ten minutes after the last car splattered me in back spray, I gave up looking for the Head Marshall's car, wiped the mud from off my lips and dialed for home. Two hours and half a tank lighter in petrol, they finally managed to locate where Billy and I were holed up, huddled together under a dry-stone built wall. I felt quite emotional bidding my little Billy farewell.

Chalking it up to experience, I'm thankful that - more down to pure chance than good planning - at least no one actually died on my watch. I'll never, ever, ever put myself through all that again. If my experience is anything to go by, it's little wonder there is so much carnage over our racing season. I know the rules have been tightened since last year, and that the bike marshalls at least now have to attend a two day training course. But for an island that relies so heavily on the revenue which these races bring in, it's high time we stopped depending upon the good will of volunteers, and to instead find the approriate funding to safely police them.

(nb. I let Sam keep the orange vest, I reckon I'd earned it.)


pat houseworth said...

Good Story...I remember my first MotorX on a 250 Kawasaki...on a snowy Novmember day...but that's for another blog!

SJ said...

Now you deserve the previously withheld compliment: you are super-awesome-amazing-wonderful ... at least your writing is ;)

quilly said...

And now -- of course -- you listen to every word out of your son's mouth. Mmmmm?

There are 7 (yes, seven) autistic children in my classroom. Sometimes we forget to listen. So far, the regrets have been minor, but I'm waiting for the day a kids asks for permission to walk home and one of us just says, "Uh huh."

Anonymous said...

You know how to make boring exciting.

Maalie said...

Tailesscatland very clear in the sunset seen from Mintcakeland this evening Shrinky. Could even see the Calf.

Scott from Oregon said...

At least Billy was there to ennervate you in the lonesome cold...

Shrinky said...

Hey Pat,

That I'd like to read!

Shrinky said...

sj, you little sweetie, you! (Consider yourself hugged..)

Shrinky said...

Oh quilly,

I sure hope you have a lot of support staff in your class! (And yes, he's certainly helped to focus my attention as of late.)

Shrinky said...

Um, Chewy,

Are you calling this post boring, perchance? (Slitty eyed stare..)

Shrinky said...


Didn't you see me waving to you?

Shrinky said...


Billy saw me through a lot that day.

Anonymous said...

No, your post is definitely not boring. You took a boring situation of standing by yourself on the side of the road and brought us there, found humor and teased us that something dangerous would happen. Thank goodness it was only a goat that "rammed" into you. (chuckle)

Shrinky said...

Oh Chewy, I was only teasing you (hugs). Speaking as someone well acquainted with boredom, it helps to live half my time talking with goats!

CrazyCath said...

I think you did earn it!

My goodness that would be funny if it wasn't so scary! Good job you're an optimist.

You DO tell a good tale though and you certainly make it sound exciting in what must have been one of the most mind-numbingly boring and fed up days you have ever had in your life!

Have you seen Billy since? ;0)

Anonymous said...

now that I would have volunteered for with out a second thought..nothing like a a rainy cold day to have some fun in...:))))

Mushy said...

Loved the "quick crouch"...told the whole story. Nice.

Alex L said...

Marmite crisps? I dread to think what they taste like, well at least you made a new friend in Billy.

Hilary said...

Well I have to thank David once again. He finds the most interesting blogs/bloggers.

I knew exactly what Chewy meant but was afraid to say it. ;) I could feel the tedium, discomfort and deep sense of "what the hell am I doing here?" Days like that are not usually story-worthy.. but your humour and tale-spinning has made it a winner. Thanks for the laughs.

Maalie said...

>I'll never, ever, ever put myself through all that again.

Even if your offspring are pleadng with you?

TCA said...

When did you ever capitulate to my pleading?


San said...

Hilarious, Shrinky! I'm so glad you were able to bend the ear of that sympathetic ram. And you got zipped up in the nick of time. And you weren't squished under anybody's wheels. I'd call your experience a major success.

When will you be going again?

BRUNO said...

Now you know why MEN are preferred for this sort of duty---we don't have to CROUCH!

Nope! Not even for NUMBER 2!

It's all in the angle-of-approach, my dear...!

The Future Was Yesterday said...

For some reason, every time I come over here, that quotation "As I laid down to sleep I asked myself: what is wrong with me? And this voice answered "this is going to take more than one night" comes to mind.
You don't write posts. You prepare adventures for me to go on, and I'm most grateful!

Shrinky said...

Hi CrazyCath,

Sadly, Billy and I have parted ways, but I shall always have a fond place in my heart for him (smile).

Shrinky said...

Yeah Robert,

It was a blast!

Shrinky said...

Hi Mushy,

Some things are best left up to the imagination..

Shrinky said...

Hi Alex,

I happen to like marmite crisps!

Shrinky said...

Hey Hilary,

Stoppit, you - you've gone and turned me ears all pink, now..


Shrinky said...


From here on out any further pleas will fall on deaf ears, scouts honour.

Shrinky said...


You never asked nicely enough (wink).

Shrinky said...


I think I'll opt for a different adventure next time around..

Shrinky said...

Bruno my friend,

I can always rely on you raise the tone of the conversation (grin).

Shrinky said...

Ha-ha Dan,

I gave up wondering what was wrong with me years ago - it' best not to fight it.. (wink).

Suldog said...

Magnificent. The whole thing. Just magnificent. "Pillocks." Heh.

Shrinky said...

Ah Suldog,

I can always count on you to make me smile!

John-Michael said...

I had a good time! What? You? Oh, I thought this was all about me, and I'm real comfy, thanks. The fact that you had to endure/overcome was simply fodder for my entertainment ... right!?

I do enjoy the dickens out of your life so well told!

So much s that I have linked you on my blog as "Savour a Moment with Shrinky" (and, YES. I did use that spelling thingy of yours ['Savour' not 'Savor']. 'Spell Check' be damned!)

Shrinky said...

Why thank you John-Michael, how very kind of you, and of course I'll be very happy to return the compliment(grin).

CrazyCath said...

Shrinky - thanks for stopping by. Your pin is not there, but never mind. Maybe it will give away too much. ;0) Now you know where I am you can see me waving at you (when this blasted rain stops...)

LZ Blogger said...

I don't know about the rest of your posts, (because I have not read them) but, I found this one VERY amusing! Thx! ~ jb///

Shrinky said...

Oh CrazyCath, I did try - I'll give it another go next time I drop by!

Shrinky said...

Many thanks lz,

glad you stopped by. (smile)

Rachelle said...

wow, I would have been quick to let all that temporary power go to my head and arrested everyone I saw, just to because I could!
Good for you to resist it!

Funny girl you are dear!

Rachelle said...

oh yeah, my son isn't even autistic and I do the same thing.
HA! must be a mother thing.

Shrinky said...

Hey guys, Rachelle's back!!

Hi there hon, we sure have missed you. (Padding off to your site as I type..) catch ya' soon.

david mcmahon said...

Loved it. I once drove in a car rally - must tell the story one day.

Am in Sydney at the moment, with the clan. Hence I've been very quiet.

Have a great Easter!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Hey Happy Eester, Shrinky!!! Hope yu get lots ov choccie eggs!!!

(I happen to kno they've got me a Simpsons wun. It's hidden in the kitchen. But not very well.)


Catmoves said...

Shrink you are a delight. The praise you've seen posted here is well deserved and all I can do is add my Huzzah!

Catmoves said...

On my way to visit Rachel and see how her Lama sales went. Ta.

Shrinky said...

Hi David,

Happy Easter to you too. Remember to take lots of photo's, huh?

Shrinky said...

Hey there BT,

I'm really weird, I don't like chocolate, I'll send my eggs over for you, huh?

Happy Easter, don't scoff too much, you'll get acne and a big belly..

Shrinky said...

Catmoves my friend,

How's wild thing doing? I've been meaning to ask. I must pop over.

(And don't let Rachelle hear you call her alpaccas lamas, she'll thump you! )

Shrinky said...

(Naturally, the last 10 per cent goes with the advent of kids..)