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Friday, 9 November 2018

"Hey, this motorway just isn't big enough for the both of us!"




The M25 is quite wide isn't it. Well it wasn't on this Tuesday evening.

I'd been to my mate Peter in St Albans. He and I have been friends since the early 70's and I was his best man at his and Sue's wedding over 4 years ago. They have this lovely house on the outskirts of the town and it's not a long drive from our place in Walthamstow. along the North Circular, up the M11 and onto the M25 anti-clockwise and in just over half and hour you're there.

We'd run out of Neal Yard Remedies Bath and Hand Wash and we were also low on Clinique. I checked out St Albans and Neal's Yard was there - well given the demography it had to be. So it was a nice run out to do a bit of essential shopping and meet up with an old mate.

The journey there was uneventful and arrived at Pete's place to be confronted by an enormous SUV parked in his drive. Then I remembered he'd told me he'd had an altercation with a large lorry on a slip road. He'd stopped in his VW Golf to join the main road but the lorry following didn't. Luckily the vehicle wasn't travelling too fast but the damage was sufficient for Peter's car to taken off to VW to have the bumps and dents removed. In the meantime he'd be loaned a huge white Hyundi SUV. He needed a ladder to climb into the bloody thing and it was rather like driving a tank. Peter and I had a coffee and went off into town. I drove us in my small Vauxhall Astra but still found it remarkably difficult to park in St Albans main car park - I am useless at parallel parking as well.

Anyway, we did my bit of shopping but couldn't get the Clinique because Boots only had it with a pump and then went to a local pub for lunch. And very nice it was too and thence back to Peter's place for a coffee before I headed home. Sue was at home and we chatted for a while and as it was getting quite dark I said I'd better leave.

So onto the M25 going home. I'm not a great motorway driver - I find everyone drives far too close and the lorries seem to travel along as express convoys. At night motorway driving is no fun whatsoever. Anyway I was in the second of the four lanes, keeping well away from the car in front and making sure that any vehicle behind me either overtook or didn't get too close.  When suddenly I saw this yellow indicator flashing at about eye level and parallel to me. The next thing I knew I was being sideways shunted by a large lorry. The driver realised immediately what had happened because in the next instant he'd moved back in - I having corrected my unexpected 6 inch shift to the right. And I drove on. I wasn't going to stop: it would have been really difficult to do that  - and continued on my way home.

I was imagining all sorts of damage to the car. I didn't fantasise about what could have happened. Being knocked into the next lane, colliding with other cars, spinning out of control across the barrier into on coming vehicles and being the subject of a Radio London traffic report of serious delays on the M25 as the result of a multiple car pile up.  I didn't imagine any of that on my way home because I was visualising the crumpled front and rear wings and side panels of my car and the huge repair bill.

I got home and parked up, gingerly got out of the car and walked round to where I expected to see major motor trauma. Nothing. I couldn't believe it. Looked again - I couldn't see anything major. So I went home, told the wife she was lucky to see me alive and drank a bottle of wine. I did wonder whether anyone had witnessed the incident and commented on Twitter; but nothing so far. Would have the overhead cameras picked it up and a letter from the police plop on the mat asking me to report to my local cop shop. I doubt it.

I was not keen to look at the car in daylight, nor too keen to drive it so soon after my dicing with death, but yesterday I had to go somewhere a few miles away so I decided I'd drive. I took my bus pass just in case I chickened out. In the day light the car still looked fine. There were a few scuff marks and a slight nick on the front wheel arch but otherwise it was my  old in one piece Astra.

The same day I had a call from Smart/Mercedes to re fix my cancelled electric Smart car test drive. That's next Friday. Their showroom is in Loughton just off the M11 - how will I cope if the test drive includes a spell of motorway driving.

A piece of good news came from Virgin Media informing me that my complaint about being charged for an iPhone and contract I hadn't ordered had been investigated and they acknowledged that I hadn't set up the account and the case has been handed over to their fraud team. The account's been deactivated and I will not be billed! I'm very happy with that. I have until the 5th December if I want to do anything else - like seek compensation for the inconvenience?

No, I won't push my luck anymore this week!


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