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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rallying Point


Sam being Sam, he holds a clutch of obsessions dear to his heart. One of those is to listen with an ear glued to our local radio station. He can happily sit for hours trawling through the radio website, recognising each and every DJ at a glance. Of course he's also been down to do the tour there, gathering every t-shirt and mug his pockets can buy. Everyone made a huge fuss over him, further cementing Sam's undying loyalty to his favourite station.

Naturally, I receive regular bulletins and up-dates from the lad, as he thunders in to the room in that bull-horn voice of his, to announce what ever latest thrilling tit bit he's discovered. He is apt to get a tad more excited than most, and his enthusiasm is frequently downright exhausting. Much as I hate to admit it, I often find myself tuning out, nodding and oooh-ing in what I hope are at appropriate intervals. I suppose it served me right then, when it finally landed me in a such a bumper shed load of trouble (sigh).

Apparently, a call had gone out on air, appealing for more volunteer Marshall's. There was a threat the stock car races may not go ahead without them. This is nothing new, they NEVER seem to have enough Marshall's, be it for the stock car rallies or for any of the other many motorbike races that our island is legend for. They always seem to manage in the end, and as far as I can recall, not one race has ever actually had to be cancelled due to any shortage of helpers. The problem is, my lad doesn't deal in shades of grey, and once he gets the bit between his teeth, he never let's go. By stubbornly refusing to help out (as I said I would), the race would cancel, and it was all my fault. Worse - I'd promised! (Huh?)

The last thing I needed was for my smug eldest daughter to chip in, "Yeah, mum, you did - I heard you!"

Next thing I knew I'd been press-ganged in to honouring my word, the phone was thrust into my hand, and a band of witnesses had rallied (if you pardon the pun), to force their poor old mum into offering her services. I still held out the hope I might get out of it, after all, who in their right mind would want to put someone like me out there?

"No, you don't understand, I know nothing, nothing at all, about car rallies.."

"Are you under a hundred?"

"Um, yes."

"Do you have a pulse?"

"Probably."

"You'll do."

Bugger.

The next day everyone loaded in to the car, with me still protesting all the way. They booted me out at the allocated meeting point and then sped off to enjoy their cozy pub-lunch without me. I began to regret favouring my stylish jacket over my winter overcoat, and belatedly realised perhaps my high-heeled boots were not best suited to a rural setting. I approached the group with severe reservations. Drawing closer, I was further alarmed to note I was the only female present. Oh joy.

I sought out the bearded, pot-bellied guy who seemed to be organising everyone. All voices stopped as I tried to explain who I was and as to why I was there.

Mortified I might be seen as a "groupie", I hastily added I was only here because of my son, really.

"Oh, is he one of the driver's then?"

"No, um he's more - like a fan.." I decided to stop digging a hole, and changed tack. "So, what exactly does this involve?"

He thrust a carrier bag in to my hands. "Here's your lunch."

LUNCH? It's 10am on a freezing April morning - just how long were they planning on keeping me here? He gives me a form to complete and sign (why do they need my next of kin)? I'm told to raise my right hand and am astounded to learn I now have the temporary powers to arrest. Blimey!

The next thing I know, I'm being bundled in to the back of a rally car, with two middle-aged Hells Angel look-alikes, being sped off to destinations unknown.

Sometimes I think my family are a little too trusting.

All the main roads had been cordoned off by now, and crowds had gathered at the edges. All eyes were on us, so naturally the driver couldn't resist putting on a show. You'd be surprised at the lack of suspension these vehicles have. It's hard to pose for the masses with your head being repeatedly smashed against the roof. We zoomed past the town and villages, and soon found ourselves kicking up the mud in the back tracks of deepest countryside. The car skid to a halt and we all piled out. I had not a clue as to where we were. I realised this probably wasn't a good time to ask where the nearest loo was.

The tallest of the two gave me a rather less than fetching orange vest to don, and scrawled his mobile phone number on the back of a leaflet for me.

"If you see a crash, ring me. Don't try to take off their crash helmet, okay?"

You what? Hold up a minute, what the hell's going on? They're not about to leave me here(are they)? I try to reason with them, "But, what am I supposed to do?"

"Across the road and up a bit, you'll find some rope, cordon off the entrance there, and then find the other entrance a few yards further on. Make sure they're both shut off, okay?"

I nod, uncertainly.

"Don't let anybody walk on the road."

There's only sheep as far as the eye can see. I nod. "But, where am I? Will I be picked up again, afterwards?"

They exchange frowns. The little guy shakes his head, pulls the leaflet out of my hands, and marks a cross on a tiny smudged map there. "Look, this is where you are. I thought your hubby dropped you off? Just ring him and tell him to come pick you up after you see the head Marshall's car pass, at the end of the race."

I can't even read an A to Z, let alone an ordinance survey map.

"But I still don't know what to do.."

They pile back to the car, eager to get away before the race starts, "Read the leaflet, it'll tell you all you need to know. Good luck!"

And they were off. Humph. Course, this is where my troubles had only but started..

55 comments:

CHEWY said...

"There's only sheep as far as the eye can see." - I laughed so hard my cuppa squirted out my nose.

BRUNO said...

This story is gonna take a little while, ain't it?

John-Michael said...

OH NO YOU DON'T!!! Don't you DARE leave me hanging like this! (You don't play fair! I'm not playing in your yard ANY MORE! [sulk] [pout] [lower lip stuck WAY out]

You have 'The Gift' My Dear, troll that bait by ... get a strike ... and s l o w l y reel them in. Well done!

Mushy said...

Cool...they need you at Bristol tomorrow! Bring ear plugs!

Have Sam tune in:
http://www.nascar.com/

Shrinky said...

Ah Chewy,

What a lovely picture that paints! Hope Bob was at hand to tissue-issue you something to mop you up? (grin)

Shrinky said...

Bruno,

I know you don't like long posts any more than I do - I thought I'd break it in to two parts, that's all. (Wink)

Shrinky said...

Ah John-Michael,

You flatter me, thank you kind sir! (Smile)

Shrinky said...

Mushy,

Don't encourage the lad! (And if you knew how this ended, you'd know I'm the LAST person Bristol needs..)

SJ said...

I was about to compliment your writing style but by leaving me hanging like this you forfeit :)


And people do use "blimey" outside of fiction? The things blogging teaches me.

Shrinky said...

sj,

You are firm but fair, I guess (smile).

And what's wrong with "blimey"?

(Bloody foreigners - muttermutter..)

Maalie said...

>his enthusiasm is frequently downright exhausting

Yes, you'll have to keep an eye on this Shrinky. It will do him no good in future years. My "boyish enthusiasm" was cited as grounds for divorce in the petition for unreasonable behaviour. You must stamp it out right away.

Scott from Oregon said...

We did a few events down at Sears Point for the motorcross championship series years back...

But we had instructions and porta potties...

CrazyCath said...

Blimey! That was exhausting reading it! I hope yo do the next installment tomorrow. The edge of my seat might cave in....

I can't believe the daftness of not checking out a marshall actually knows what to do! LMAO Can't wait to find out...

I think I know where Craggy island is now... (smile)

david mcmahon said...

And you're not at today's Formula One race here in Melbourne BECAUSE???????

CrazyCath said...

Because she's been roped into marshalling somewhere THIS side of the equator. In the pouring rain probably! lol

Helena said...

shrinky!!SHRINKY!!!! I need your advice!!! PLEASE!!!!!

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Course, this is where my troubles had only but started..
I can only imagine!! You do have that way about you....:)

Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that you'd do this task in a Bikini, if that's what it took to make your brood happy?:)

Couldn't be cause love drips out of your posts like syrup off a pancake.... Nah!:)

Shrinky said...

Maalie,

Hahahahahaha! Why do I believe every single word of that?

If that's the best that could be cited, I guess you should hold your head up high, my friend. (Priceless!)

Shrinky said...

Scott,

Is that the porta-potty in your profile picture? Wish I'd been given one!

Shrinky said...

Hi CrazyCath,

Oh, it gets worse Cath, believe me! Yeah, Craggy island - mid-way between Liverpool and Ireland (wink). It would be a great place but for all us wierdo's living over here (grin).

Shrinky said...

David,

I was in Esteril, Portugal to see Nigel Mansell win (many years ago). I was the one waving the giant Union Jack from the open boot of the hatchback all over town.) Happy days!

Shrinky said...

Ah, CrazyCath,

I'd swop the weather of Craggy island for the warmth of Australia in a heartbeat. Maybe one of you can write my family a note excusing me for a few weeks?

Shrinky said...

Helena,

What's up, honey? (I'm coming straight over.)

Shrinky said...

Ah Dan,

Don't kid yourself, I do "mother-from-hell" best of all. Today I'm on form - I've chased everyone off with dusters and the vaccum to sort out their rooms, even hubby has been told that today is his turn to do the ironing (think I'll skip off to the beach now, tee-hee).

CrazyCath said...

Me too! Me too! I always wanted to got to Australia.
If I write a note for your brood will you write one for mine?
And do you think David and Mrs. Authorblog would find us somewhere to stay?
*Furiously packing cases and leaving notes on how to use the washer....*

pat houseworth said...

Being an "old" DJ myself, I can relate to Sam(plus my oldest son is named Sam)...when I was on the air and even before, I tuned into as many radio stations as I could find, day and night, to try to steal the best from all of the good ones.

Momma said...

and? And? AND?

Oh my...you know what they say NAVY stands for? Never Again Volunteer Yourself (or in your case be volunteered). I think it's a pretty good motto, but it sounds like you had a very interesting day!!!

Peace - D

Alex L said...

I'm sure you did fine... maybe you should sign up for the British GP this year, I'd quite like to see you fire extinguishing some speed racer after a big crash.

simon said...

I drive a wrx- well actually I drive what ever I like and am driving a Golf GTi

Giddeyup!

Shrinky said...

Hey CrazyCath,

I can feel a "Thelma and Louise" phase coming on! (Don't worry about Mr. and Mrs. David, we'll just keep our fingers crossed and turn up unannounced..)

Shrinky said...

Hey Pat, you are full of surprises! My boy would surely love you (grin).

Shrinky said...

Momma,

I never know when to keep my big mouth shut, I land myself in all kinds of crap. One day I'll wise up.. (fingers crossed)

Shrinky said...

Alex, funny you should mention fire extinguishers .. stay tuned!

Shrinky said...

Simon,

I'm the first one to admit I'm a lousy driver. In my single days I used to have a Lotus, I also wound up losing my licence for a year!

I drive a staid old people carrier now, which is probably just as well..

Daryl E said...

HEY .. no fair .. what happened next?!

Suldog said...

Oh, God, Shrinky. This does not look like a good day. I'm waiting on the edge of my seat for the finish, though. Good (belated) luck!

quilly said...

Harumph! John-Michael disliked being snared so much he lured the rest of us over here! This is my first visit but it's safe to assume it won't be my last. You do have a gift for story telling!

quilly said...

Wait! It wasn't John-Michael I followed. It was David! Either way, they both have interesting friends.

Hilary said...

OK fine! Make me bookmark yet another blog. Well worth it from what I can tell. Thanks.. to David.

Robert said...

Darn Darn Darn a two parter...I have to read the rest..I betcha had fun...:))))

BRUNO said...

Man, a fella has to go a LONG way down the list to reply around your house!

Aw-w-w, I don't mind long posts, just as long as I live to read the ending!

Wonder if they'd post your blog in hell for me?

On "time-delay satellite", of course...!

skinnylittleblonde said...

Lol...what the hell does a head marshalls car look like? Oh....this sounds like it could lead to either a very long day at the races...or a very short one!

Alex L said...

oh goodie... ;)

david mcmahon said...

I must post the story of how I drove in a car rally once!

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

Nose hugs!!!

:@D

Shrinky said...

daryl, it's posted (smile)

Shrinky said...

Cheers Suldog,

I seem to have managed to survive to write another day (grin).

Shrinky said...

Hi quilly,

how lovely to see you in here (and yes, we certainly do seem to have the good fortune of sharing some dear friends in common.)

Shrinky said...

hello hilary,

I'm glad you stopped by, I look forward to knowing you better. (Smile)

Shrinky said...

Gee Robert,

You couldn't be more wrong if you'd tried. (Sigh)

Shrinky said...

Ah don't fret Bruno,

I'll see you down there, deliver it to you in person! (WinK)

Shrinky said...

Hey Skinny,

You are such a perceptive girl, do you know that? (Grin)

Shrinky said...

David, you did what? Oh, c'mon, you can't hold out on us now..?

Shrinky said...

Hey lil' bear,

Nose hugs back to you too, my sweet bonny lad! x

San said...

OMG, Shrinky, I can't form a sensible comment. I'm too eager to read what happened next...