Tuesday, 6 November 2012
The High and the Mighty
I'd awoken from a particularly vivid dream which involved me hunting round for a petrol station with my fuel gauge teetering on empty. I suspect the dream was partly fuelled by the Saturday afternoon film, an early near disaster movie "The High and the Mighty". One of the tension tricks was to have the poor unfortunate navigator miscalculate how many miles the stricken plane was from safety and the last 10 minutes of the film ran on near empty tanks. The passenger accommodation looked extremely comfortable, despite the hurricane winds and poor acting. Tony Ryan should be forced to watch this at least once a day to get some idea about how to treat customers.
When I saw the film listed, I recalled that the novel on which the film was based was contained in my Mum's "Reader's Digest" compendium of the year 1953. It was stitched up with "The Bridges of Toko Ri, another novel which also became a film in 1954. I now recall the "Reader's Digest" was next to "Healthy Minds and Bodies" in the book case - more about that at some later date.
Back to my dream. Its main spur was our driving adventure on Sunday. I don't really like driving on motorways, in the dark or in the rain. On Sunday evening coming back from some friends I had to contend with all three. The petrol gauge was below a quarter full and during our journey to our friends dropped into the danger zone. They'd told me there was a large Sainsbury's petrol station just before the motor way - easily found.
On the way home, we missed one turning and found ourselves driving over the motorway in the wrong direction. I knew we were on the wrong road because the last time we'd visited these particular friends we'd done exactly the same thing. Turning round, at the next roundabout we headed for the sign "M25", missing the bit that mentioned Watford and all points West. The opposite direction we should be heading in for the petrol station and home.
Driving at a speed I hoped would conserve my fuel, it took an age to reach the next exit and then drive on the opposite side of the M25 to all points East. Luckily the petrol station was illuminated like a super nova and after some continuing uncertainty and confusion; I managed to refill the car. We continued our journey home safe in the knowledge that we could get lost again without worrying about running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere.
The thing is: the previous weekend I had driven my wife to the Women's Institute College in Oxfordshire where she was teaching over two days. I drove her there on the M11, M25, M40 and didn't get lost, I drove back the same way faultlessly. On the Sunday, driving down to picked her up I was full of confidence, and arrived on time in the right place. For some reason, driving back I had a mind warp and we found ourselves heading confidently, but incorrectly, towards Birmingham.
I've nothing against the Black Country and its accents, but the missus was rather upset that we might be making an unscheduled visit to the place, instead of returning her to the bosom of our ancestral home in Walthamstow which was in the diametrically opposite direction to the one we were travelling at that time.
Luckily, the M40 whilst it goes to Birmingham, also goes to London, so after an hour we found ourselves considerable out of our way, but at least heading in the right direction. We returned home without further adventures.
Hence my vivid dream the other night. Also so far in 6 months I have driven less than 2000 miles: a considerable number of them unintentionally. This knowledge and my dream was the cause of my comment "I think we'll give up the car".