So with great amusement, I found a photo of a car that is exactly like the first car I owned. My dad gave this to me, it was a Vauxhall Viva! I loved it. Back in 1975 (yes I am that old), this was quite a car. As I am leaving for vacation soon, I am posting a chapter this week and next week so you don’t have to wait so long to hear what happened to me in snowy Norfolk. I hope you are enjoying my story. I wrote this especially for my blog. I hope you are hooked. Enjoy chapter six and feel free to comment with your opinion. I love feedback.
I got into in my car and drove back along the road to Thetford, stopping for petrol on the way. The boy who filled up my car also looked to make sure I had de-icer in my wiper fluid bottle as he said it was going to get much colder and the snow was going to set in for the day. Great, my journey home was going to be a long one. It was a little before noon when I got back on the road again. The sun was no longer visible and the clouds were dark and heavy with snow. I drove back through Thetford and picked up the A11 again, the roads were pretty easy to remember A11 to A14 to A1(M). I always memorized the road numbers before I set off, so I didn’t have to stop and look at the map. As I got out-of-town, the roads got pretty icy and I had to slow down after skidding badly at the stop lights. Also the wind had increased bringing the snow down sideways. I had never been too bothered about driving in snow, we got a fair amount in North Yorkshire, but this was a little different, the roads were completely straight and it was very flat so everything was blowing and drifting. It was really hard to see where I was going. It was a white wilderness, foggy too. I slowed right down, at first I was very happy that it was a Sunday and there were no other cars on the road, then I became very scared because it was a Sunday and there were no other cars on the road.
On my trip to Thetford I remember that for the last hour or so of my journey, there were canals at either side of the road, some were very wide, with boats on them, some narrower with footpaths running along beside them. There were lots of marshes and high reeds too. It was picturesque, so pretty that I had pulled over to take a better look. It had been a bright, but cold day for my journey to Thetford, now it was certainly cold, but it was no longer bright. I was driving through a thick snow. I couldn’t see very far ahead of me, or to either side. Even when the snow eased a little, and I could see further, it didn’t help much, it was like driving on top of a big white iced cake, it was completely flat. You couldn’t see where the road ended and what was even more perturbing; you couldn’t see where the canal began. I knew the water was there, but I couldn’t see it. There was nowhere to pull over and ride out the storm, because I may end up in a canal. I couldn’t stop where I was on the road because the visibility was so bad that if anyone did come along the road, they would drive right into me. In 1974 we didn’t have mobile phones, there was no way to contact anyone. I was completely on my own and I was scared. I was very scared. I was seventeen with very little driving experience. Like most seventeen year olds, I thought I knew everything there was to know, I wish I knew what to do then.
I had absolutely no choice other than to continue driving. I knew the road were straight so I just kept driving slowly, straight ahead. My speed dropped with each passing mile until soon I was doing less than fifteen miles an hour. I couldn’t see anything at all, I had no radio to tell me how bad the storm was, or what was ahead of me. I knew I couldn’t stop, I just had to concentrate and keep going, I started to cry. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it home. It had been such a nice weekend, different, an adventure in itself, but very nice. Was it going to end up with my drowning in a canal on the Norfolk Broads? It certainly felt like it. Something caught my eye, something glistening, I looked at my left hand, it was the ring, the beautiful old ring that had belonged to Steven’s grandma. The tears flowed down my face. I felt very alone now. The snow grew heavier, pretty soon, there wasn’t even a trace of a road to be seen, I felt like my car was just plowing through a field of snow. I was so tense, expecting any minute to plunge through a layer of ice into the depths of a canal, never to be seen again. My knuckles turned white as they gripped the big old steering wheel of my Vauxhall Viva, my beloved car.
The diamonds in the ring caught my eye again as they twinkled and shone. It suddenly occurred to me there was no light in the car, or behind the car, so what was making them shine. I had barely looked in my rear view mirror since I left Thetford, really no need too as my perils lay ahead of me, not behind me. There was a light in the back of the car, not a shape, just a light. It shone like sunlight through the back window, not terribly bright, like a car headlight, just a warm comforting glow. I watched the road ahead again, and then looked back in the rearview mirror. The light was still there, but much more faint. “Don’t go” I begged, not knowing why I was saying it or to what. The light just felt comforting. “I’m still here my child, I’m watching you”. It wasn’t much more than a whisper, and the light in the back of the car was fading. The ring on my engagement finger shone brightly though, as though the sun where shining on it. Maybe it was Steven’s Grandma, watching over her ring, not wanting it to end up at the bottom of the canal. It really was sparkling! I took a deep breath and wiped the tears that were running down my face. OK, I could do this. I focused on the snow ahead of me, and picked out point in the blizzard and just kept driving towards it. It was hard, the wind was blowing again, blowing the snow directly at me now, huge snowflakes that hypnotized me. I felt like I could see faces in them. I felt my foot easing off the accelerator more and more.”Don’t give up my child, keep going, don’t stop now”