I thought it was funny when my mobile rang at 11pm last night, as I answered it I simply said “who’s slid off the road”? It turned out (at that point) that no one had and I was asked if I could take an urgently required trailer (reefer) to Sparkford.
11:30 I open my front door, I look down at the four inches of fresh snow and noticed no tire tracks down the road or foot prints. Bemused I thought to myself “hmmm, that wasn’t there before”. As I step onto the snow my foot started to slip straight away, and noticed the snow didn’t actually look like the normal stuff, the flakes looked like inch and half flat pieces of ice and there was also a layer of ice below it. So I start walking to where I had parked my car at the bottom of a hill and pondered (looking down at it) how easy this would be to get out of. Thankfully and armed with previous Land Rover knowledge I got up the hill and onto the main road. Stopping the car was an issue, so it was down to first and second gear as I opted for the main highway route to work avoiding the countryside’s back roads. So, I arrive to a yard covered in one inch of clear ice and got a truck sorted out. Raised my tag axle, selected traction control, diff lock on and away we go.
No problems at all, made good time and arrived in Sparkford to 8 inches of snow and bedlam! Sparkford yard is very small and is the local areas main Milk (ex-farm) collection hub. Normally you would expect that enough movement of vehicles would melt the snow but not today, and for some reason I could not fathom, no one had gritted (salted) the yard. I could not for the life of me get the trailer anywhere near where I needed to put it as the ice simply would allow for it. Eventually I found a place out of the way and set off on my way back ‘bob-tailing’ (without trailer).
I don’t think I’ve had more fun driving a truck in my life while driving back, and if it wasn’t for the trucks last night, the road would be impassable for cars now. But as other truckers know, with no weight on the back, you get the fun of all the horsepower straight to the drive wheels (albeit our trucks are limited to 56mph and average 8.4 to 12 mpg because of it). Back at the yard 3 hours after I left, 3 and half hours total work and get paid for 8hr work – result!…
After talking with a couple of guys who live near me I decided to take the country road home as they said it was ok with care. Now the road has tight bends, it’s narrow – not to mention hilly… The main hill is called Henbury Hill and once on top it’s time to lose all speed as there a small ‘wannabe’ hairpin bend on the way down. I select first gear and let the tick-over of the engine take me down. But it was to no avail as the road entered the cutting and bend. At the last minute before I thought I was about to hit a telephone pole while I worked the wheel and added a little gas (IRF, all important right foot) , the car went sideways and broadsided the embankment in which it then bounced me around to hit the opposite embankment head on. Thankfully no air bag deployment but I was now stationary, In the dark and under the blind spot of this bend. Quickly I reversed back and carried on my way. As soon as I got back under street lights I stopped to survey the damage. Other than a cracked head light lens – no damaged at all!!! I drove home and pulled in. A moment later one of our milk tankers appeared and pulled in behind me. He asked if I seen anyone trash their car because of all the marks on the road he’d seen. He laughed when I told him it was me and then asked if thats why a buy crappy old cars – I simply said “yup” and smiled.
But the guy was on his second £140,000 milk tanker of the night – as he left the first one in a ditch.
It’s odd that I can drive ‘Ar-tics’ (semi) to hell and back, yet I appear useless at driving my own car – go figure!