Saturday, March 15, 2008
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?"
"Do you have a pulse?"
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..