‘Ah well, it can’t be helped,’ said the builder boyfriend. I call people who talk like that civilians. Nut jobs like me can’t process misfortune in such a way.
He shouted and screamed for two days about the accident and then he just got over it. ‘Ah well, it can’t be helped,’ he said, after telling me his insurance company was accepting liability.
‘Hang on a minute,’ I said. ‘Before you take the blame for the whole thing, you did tell them a police car drove the wrong way down the street, the car in front of you slammed on its brakes and you went into the back of them? You did tell them you have witnesses who saw the patrol car, never mind what the police are saying about it never having been there? Did you tell them you can’t work without your truck? You do realise, don’t you, that you won’t be able to afford the insurance on any car you can put your ladders in when they calculate the cost of the damage to that brand new Range Rover you took the back off?’
The BB shrugged. Then he pottered off to do roofing work in a VW Polo he has borrowed from a friend of ours while he looks for another cheap pick-up truck.
I decided to go and ride the horse for the first time since my neck got twisted out of shape, and despite everything, I had a lovely time cantering over the heath on Darcy with the dogs running alongside. On the way home, I felt almost relaxed as I wound down the window and let the warm air rush in.
My mind wandered off into some random musings. And in this moderate mood, I drove at 25mph down the windy lanes between the field and home. And just as I went past the sleepy old parish rooms, there was a deafening bang and an explosion of glass in front of my face.
I slammed on the brakes, came to a halt and sat in the car staring at my hands on the wheel which were flecked with blood and glass. I sat like that for a while, I don’t know how long, and then I realised I was covered from head to foot in a dusting of tiny, glistening specs.
I thought at first the windscreen had smashed but no, it was still there. On top of the dash, just inside the windscreen, was a partial square of glass I recognised as part of my wing mirror.
The rest of it was scattered about in shards around the car, some of it in my hair, some of it embedded in my hands, though thankfully, it seemed, in very small pieces.
I looked behind and the dogs were all right, safe in their crate in the boot. Thank goodness I hadn’t let them sit on the back seat which I sometimes do when it’s hot.
I still had no idea what had happened. But something had come out of nowhere and smashed into me, catapulting the wing mirror at speed through the open window.
A shard of it had embedded itself into the steering wheel, I now saw, about a centimetre above where my hands were holding it. I reached up and felt my face. It was fine.
I picked the bits of glass out of my hands and called the BB who had just turned off the main road and was headed for home on the same lane. He pulled up behind me a few minutes later. He ordered me out of the car and got me to turn upside down while he shook all the glass out of my hair.
Then he walked back up the road and started picking up chunks of something. He came back with several large pieces of a Mercedes. We knew this because the make and model was written inside one of the chunks. Where the collision had happened, we saw that the hedge was overgrown. Most likely, the driver of the Mercedes swerved across the centre line at speed to avoid his car getting scratched.
‘Right,’ the BB said, looking suddenly very red in the face. ‘You go home.’ ‘Where are you going?’ But he was climbing into the Polo. ‘Oh dear. Don’t do anything silly.’
But ten minutes later he was back. He went to the local pub hoping to find a smashed Mercedes in the car park but there wasn’t one.
His Zen-like calm had evaporated. After hoovering the glass from the Volvo, he said: ‘I’ll sort your wing mirror tomorrow. What a thing to happen. What is wrong with people?’
I looked at the miraculously tiny cuts on my hands and all things considered I decided to give it a go. ‘Ah well, it can’t be helped,’ I said.