Convoy!

I couldn't see and I was very scared

One more chapter to go after this! Attached is a photo that attempts to capture my journey back from Thetford.  I remember the blizzard being much worse that this, but you get the idea.  Norfolk is known as ‘Little Holland’ because it is completely flat.  I felt like I was driving on a huge ice rink and I was truly terrified.  With little driving experience, I slowly ploughed my way through the driving snow, thinking at any second, I would end up in a canal. Tears rolled down my cheeks, but I kept going.  Want to see what happens?  Keep reading.

Chapter Seven

It seemed like I had been on the road for hours, crawling along in the awful blizzard at about fifteen miles an hour.  I glanced at my watch, it had been just over an hour, I had probably only driven about twenty miles.  The blizzard continued.  If someone was watching over me, and helping me through this (if I had actually heard a voice and wasn’t hallucinating or having some sort of ‘flash back’”) why couldn’t they stop the snow?  I laughed a little, who did I think was watching over me, God?  I think he had much more important people than me to take care of. I laughed a little more, that was a good sign, I had my sense of humor still. BANG, my car hit something! I skidded a little and then braced myself for a splash, feeling sure I was going to end up in the icy canal. The car stopped! I think it only skidded sideway a little. I couldn’t see what I had hit. It felt like my left wheel so I had probably been driving half off the road and hit a rock or something. I shifted into first gear and pulled forward, the left side of my car was on rough ground, I had definitely come off the road now.  I slowly eased forward, but my wheels were just spinning, I was going nowhere.  I started to cry. The light at the back window had gone, I was alone again. Or maybe not!  I looked at the ariel on the side of my car, there was something tied to it.  It was a pink ribbon, my guardian angel was with me.  If I had ever doubted this little girl, I didn’t anymore, I had seen her or felt her once or twice (I thought), but usually before something happened. I hoped if something was going to happen now, it was going to be something good!

            I heard something other than the storm behind me, it was loud!  Now I did feel scared, I almost felt the ground shaking. Whatever was approaching was BIG! If it wasn’t for the flatness of my surroundings, I would have thought it was an avalanche. I really was scared. I saw a huge shape emerging out of the snow. It was big and dark, I had no idea what it was, but it was about to finish the job of pushing me into the canal……! I leaned on the car horn in the middle of my steering wheel. I honked and honked, not sure why, or if anyone would hear me, but I needed to make some noise…..my yellow car was usually noticeable, but I guessed that at the moment, I looked like nothing more than an igloo at the side of the road. I tried to pull away, but my wheels were just spinning and I was sliding sideways. I was going to get out of the car and run, but what good would that do, I couldn’t really see where I was going anyway.  I would be lost in the blizzard in no time.  The noise stopped.  I looked in my rearview mirror, the shape was still there, but not moving.  I sat motionless, wondering what to do. I daren’t try to pull away again because I knew I was perilously close to the canal. “knock knock” SHIT! I almost wet myself.  Someone was tapping on my window. Dumbfounded, I wound down the window and just sat there looking at a soldier standing in the snow. Where the heck had he appeared from?  I must have looked stupid because the soldier looking in at me shouted for a medic.  Then I started to laugh and cry all at the same time, what an idiot. The huge noisy shape behind me was a four tonner.  I was being followed by a convoy.  I told the soldier I didn’t need a medic, I was OK, just scared because I didn’t know these roads and had skidded and couldn’t get going again.  He told me he was going to pull me back onto the road with his big truck and I would be OK.  I started to get out of the car and he told me to stay put. “It’s a bit slippery love, and there’s a big old canal just down the bank here. We don’t want to be fishing you out of there” ‘Too True’ I thought.

            So I sat in the car, with the engine running, nice and warm, but a little apprehensive as the squaddie tied a tow rope to the front.  He ran to the front of the big truck and gave thumbs up sign to the driver, who then began to slowly pull away.  The rope trailed along the ground for  a little way and then was taut, the was a funny creaking  noise that felt like it was coming from the chassis of my car, it felt like the car was going to break in half, and then, miraculously, it moved. I was slowly pulled back onto the road. The truck pulled me forward for a little way until the car straightened up and then he stopped.  I was so incredibly relieved.  Ron (Corporal Whitesmith) came back and untied the rope from the front of my car, and threw it into the back of the four tonner, he then came back and said “Looks like you are going to be part of my convoy darling, just until we get to the A1, then we are heading south and I think you are going north” “Who told you I was going north?” I asked “He did” replied the young Corporal and pointed to someone across the other side of my car.  With that the door opened and Steven got in. It was pretty funny actually, he looked quite embarrassed.  Not sure if it was because I had to be pulled out of a snow drift or because he had to kiss a girl again, but I threw my arms around him and gave him a big hug.  “I can ride with you until we get to the Motorway” he told me.  He looked quite pleased about it too.  I was more than pleased, I was thrilled.  I thought I was going to die on that long straight road, now I just had to follow the big green monster in front of me.  There was a loud honking noise from behind, so I pulled away, didn’t want to hold up the convoy.  I swear as I pulled away I heard a tinkling sound in the car, like laughter. It took a little while for my tyres to grip the road, but they did. Steven put his hand over mine on the steering wheel, just to steady me. “Want me to drive?” he asked. “No, I am going to be OK.  I didn’t know you were going to be coming this way” I told him. “We weren’t” he said “The plane we were supposed to be using had to be taken out of operation for maintenance problems, so we are taking a civvy flight instead, from Norwich.  Must have been fate” “Must have been something” I replied “You saved my life” He laughed “A Gay Hero!”  I was glad he could open up to me and joke about things. Life in the British Army wasn’t going to be that easy for him. Following the truck, now that was easy, I almost felt like I was speeding, my speed had increased to a startling 25 miles an hour.  The trip was much more pleasant now that I had company.  “What’s with all the pink ribbons?” Steven asked as he looked at the ariel, where there were now two pink ribbons blowing in the snow.  I had forgotten about them.  “Good Luck charms” I told him. “Speaking of Good Luck Charms, how close were you to your Grandma, the one that gave you the ring?” He asked why I was asking and listened quietly when I told him I thought I heard a whisper from the back of my car when I was crying in the snow.  I told him about the ring sparkling brightly.  He smiled and told me they were very close, and that she had taken care of him during the summer vacations from school when he needed to escape a house full of sisters. He had, in turn taken care of her when she was sick and no one else had time. He spent his school vacations there right until the day she died, and he had been with her when cancer finally killed her.  I asked if he had ever seen her, or felt her presence after she died, and he said he had not, but he believed I heard her in the back of my car because she knew I was special to him and so was guiding me through the snow. Maybe she guided the convoy this way too.  ‘Yes that, and my little guardian angel with the pink ribbons’ I thought, but I kept my thoughts to myself.  One visitation was enough to digest.

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