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Writing Workshop 2

October 20, 2009

This weeks Writing Workshop topics were brilliant once again but as I have a severe lack of imagination (no time to think creatively is not doing me any favours) I have gone with :

4. Tell us about a close call, a miracle or a lucky escape.

When I was 7 my Grandad, Dad’s dad died. It wasn’t unexpected, he’d been in hospital with bronchitis for a while. I don’t remember much about him. He was very tall, had a scratchy moustache that tickled my cheek when he kissed me and used to give me my favourite strawberry lollies. I don’t remember feeling particularly upset when he died, I didn’t really understand. I was however, totally devastated seeing my Dad cry for the first time.

My parents needed a change of scene and after the funeral they decided to take us on holiday in our caravan to Anglesey. My Dad couldn’t get a full 2 weeks off work so he would drive the caravan down there, with me and our black lab Ben and my Mum would follow with my sister and Grandma (Mum’s mum). The morning we left I woke up with a temperature and rash. German measles. Fabulous. I was frog marched to our next door neighbours, who’s also a nurse who agreed with my Mum that with some Calpol, plenty of fluids and TLC and I’d be fine. There was no point cancelling our holiday.

Off we went. I was so excited to be in the front seat with my Dad, to have his complete attention without my annoying then 3 year old sister competing with me. We hadn’t driven far, maybe half an hour or so. We were on the motorway, driving down a hill in the strong winds when the car and caravan started weaving from side to side. My Dad used to do this in the car with us to make us laugh but I wasn’t concerned to start with. After a minute or so I started feeling a bit sick and asked my Dad to stop. He didn’t answer me, just kept gripping the steering wheel tightly, his face white. He kept looking in the rear view mirror so I looked behind us. The strong winds had pushed the caravan onto its side and the car and caravan was out of control. The car started flipping over. It must only have been a couple of times but it felt a lot more. My Dad kept falling on top of me and I think I blacked out for a few seconds.  The car came away from the caravan and travelled the rest of the way down the hill on its roof. With my unconscious Dad’s arm dragging out of the broken window. I don’t remember much after that. What must have happened is the car stopped, the caravan about 100 yards from us. I was really lucky with just some cuts & bruises, my Dad’s arm was a mess though –the skin hanging off in tatters and covered in gravel, glass and other detritus from the road. The Fire Brigade and ambulances were there as were our next door neighbours who had come to help and support us.

A little while after the accident I still hadn’t seen Ben. I started screaming for him. The firemen misunderstood me at first and thought there was another child in the car but were soon told it was our adored dog. They came back a few minutes later with a very shaken but perfectly fine Ben. They told me that he had been found stood on his head in our upturned car. I still have that image in my head even now. My Dad was taken to hospital and given gas & air while they scrubbed his arm with a scrubbing brush. He said he passed out a number of times but they didn’t give him anaesthetic, something I remember thinking was unbelievably cruel (still do). I think I cried more about that than anything else.

It’s funny the few things that I remember about it now. The feeling of my Dad landing on top of me when the car flipped over, swearing I was never getting into another Ford Sierra as they were dangerous, how our towels in the caravan had bleach spots on them from the caravan flipping over and knocking all the contents out of the cupboard, my neighbours faces when they saw the state of the car, seeing Ben shaking when the firemen brought him to me, the huge bandage my Dad had on his arm for months after. What I try not to remember is how sick with fear I felt when I knew the car was going to roll over, the thought that something could have happened to my dog and the nightmares that my Dad was dead for months after. I look back now and think about my poor, poor Mum in the car behind the caravan, seeing it all. What must have been going through her mind when she saw the car her husband and daughter were flipping in the car and rolling down the hill upside down? Did she see my Dad’s arm trailing out the side? She must have been in hell.

A couple of months ago my Dad rang me very excited. The arm he had hurt in the accident, long since healed and fine if a little scarred, had been aching and bleeding randomly for a few weeks. That day at work he’d felt a lump, squeezed it and a piece of glass from the accident 22 years ago had come out! He’s now put it in a little jar in a cupboard to be brought out, no doubt, on boozy occasions with one of those ‘Can you believe this?’ stories.

Incidentally we went to Anglesey a couple of weeks later, this time staying a static caravan as ours was totalled. My Mum drove, we had lots of fun and I recovered from German measles.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2009 1:03 pm

    Wow. You had me glued to my chair.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      October 21, 2009 8:04 am

      Really? Oh wow, that’s brilliant! Thanks!

  2. October 20, 2009 2:15 pm

    Amazing story – thank you for sharing it. I had shivers running down my spine.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      October 21, 2009 8:10 am

      Thanks Catherine, that’s really nice of you!

  3. October 21, 2009 9:12 am

    That was definatly a close call. I am so glad that you were all OK.

  4. October 21, 2009 11:52 am

    oh wow – can’t believe they would do that to your dad – cruelty indeed.
    but a wonderfully told story, thank you

  5. October 21, 2009 12:14 pm

    Oh wow, that could have turned out so badly. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for your mum watching that. Scary.

  6. October 21, 2009 1:34 pm

    My goodness! What a story!!!

    Beautifully told too of course – Mwa was right, I was glued!

    The glass in the arm thing was like something you’d read about in a magazine – your dad should sell his story! (written by you and with photo of the glass of course!) I can see it now… Take a Break here you come x

  7. Aly permalink
    October 22, 2009 7:45 am

    Wow! That had me gripped! Thank you for sharing such a amzing story.

  8. October 24, 2009 1:56 pm

    What an amazing story. You were all extremely lucky (apart from your dad in the hospital).
    A brilliant piece of writing x

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