The only predictable thing about life is its unpredictability.
I thought I knew the way my post was going to go today. In my head it was all mapped out – but then life decided it was going to head in another direction entirely.
The day started normally enough – with me in a terrific frame of mind. Yesterday had been a positive one, and I’d managed to continue my gradual downward trend on the scales.
It was also a food tasting occasion – and I’d decided to make a chicken Waldorf salad from the Slimming World Free & Easy cookbook, which seemed to turn out really well.
Everyone seemed to rather enjoy it (including me) and the food tasting event appeared to be a success for all concerned.
I spent the rest of the day walking and socialising – and by the time I hit the sack later that evening I was pleasantly tired and slept really well. In truth my quality of sleep was probably also because I’ve been drastically reducing my coffee intake since my vertigo incident last week.
Along with my ear drops this has helped and I’ve been feeling progressively better – even though my nose is still a bit blocked.
When I awoke today for the first of my two planned morning walks I was full of beans. I was meeting a fellow Slimming World’er and his excitable young pup (Reeba) for a few circuits of St Nicholas park.
His dog has some incredible energy. For every lap we did she must have accomplished at least another two, all the time chasing seagulls or running after squirrels and is basically the energiser bunny in dog form…
Despite the rather ropey weather it was definitely an enjoyable twalk, and I left the park feeling upbeat and positive.
I’d eaten rather a lot of fruit the night before (as well as a fair old whack of cottage cheese) and wanted to get a healthy number of calories burned.
I had definitely accomplished my starting objective – and already had eight miles under my belt by the time I reached home.
My next walk of the morning was due at 10am. This was to be through Crackley Wood and along a section of the Greenway near Kenilworth – and promised to be an altogether shorter and more sedate one.
Boris (my second canine companion of the day) is a much slower mover – and unlike the doggie equivalent of bottled lightning that’s Reeba he’s a plodder.
He’s also highly camouflaged.
Whenever I review snaps that I sneakily grab while he’s not paying attention (he refuses to look at the camera most of the time) I usually come to the conclusion that he’s the photography equivalent of a spot the ball competition.
Nine times out of ten he just disappears into the foreground or background.
By the time we’d ambled along the Greenway and around the woods for a while it was almost midday when I bid adieu to my friend and his blendy pooch.
I hopped into my car to drive home.
Then the day unravelled…
There are many many things in life that I’m thankful for, but today it’s the fact that I’m naturally very cautious. In fact I often think I drive like a pensioner – trying not to exceed speed limits particularly around town.
Often I’m well under them which today was an absolute godsend.
As I headed home from the Greenway I passed Kenilworth park. For some reason or other marshalls in high visibility vests had closed off the road that led through the centre of town and the only option was to turn left at their barrier at the top of the hill and divert around the road block.
Ahead of me (in the middle of the road on a raised central reservation) was a young girl in big furry boots wearing a puffa jacket. She looked to all intents and purposes like she was about to chance a crossing in front of me.
She was quite young, and I wondered if she’d have the sense to stay put.
I slowed more than I normally would just in case as I took the corner (bearing right) and indicated to turn left into the road next to the marshalls.
As I did the sun came out from behind a cloud in the street I was turning into and temporarily blinded me.
I could still see the girl to my right though and she hadn’t moved.
However an old man with a walking stick had moved – and as I turned into the road he had stepped in front of my car.
I completely missed this for a fraction of a second as the sun fell in my eyes and then when I’d could see again I was upon him.
He was suddenly about 6ft in front of me.
I immediately slammed on my brakes and thankfully (because I was travelling so slowly) I came to an almost immediate stop – but not quickly enough to stop the car from nudging him off balance and pushing him to the floor.
The marshalls and passers by quickly ran over to help him up.
I checked my rear view mirrors before turning off the engine and quickly stepped out of my car to help.
I was already shaking like a leaf, and as I rushed to his side I began to apologise profusely.
He wasn’t happy though and I couldn’t blame him. I was mortified that I’d come so close to tragedy and kept looking him up and down to make sure he was ok.
The man said that he was. He didn’t want help. He just wanted to go.
Everyone around him was staring at me with hard frowns and were also looking me up and down.
I wondered why for a minute – because it was him that had been lying in the road rather than me… I wasn’t hurt!
This was until I realised that they were trying to assess why I’d not seen him.
Was I impaired?
Was I drunk?
There was now a lady standing in between me and the man in a noticeably protective stance. She was staring at me very hard and looking very unimpressed.
‘I didn’t see him. I was looking at the girl.‘ I said to her. ‘The sun was in my eyes!‘
I turned around, pointing to where the girl had been. She was no-where to be seen and had carried on walking.
‘I’m so so so sorry! There was a girl there and the sun was in my eyes!‘ I said again to the man, looking around the woman and trying as best I could to explain to him what had happened.
Did he believe me?
‘I’m OK.’ said the man emphatically and also looked at me with disdain as he dusted his trousers off.
He said that he didn’t want any help and told the lady and the marshall that he was completely fine.
She looked at me again and stared hard into my eyes, assessing me.
The men in the high visibility jackets then pointed out that I was now blocking traffic and were on their walkie talkies to their supervisor. I needed to move my car they said – and I wasn’t to leave the scene.
‘I’ve no intention of going anywhere!’ I said. ‘I just want to make sure he’s OK.’
They looked impassively at me.
‘You need to move your car.’ they repeated. I looked behind them. The man was now moving slowly but surely away from us.
I looked at the road.
The traffic was beginning to build up – and they were right. I needed to move my car, so I quickly did so. Once I’d moved it further up the road and put my hazards on I jogged after him.
He was quite a distance away by now and looked irritated when I tried to stop him as he once again started to cross a road.
‘Are you sure you’re ok?’ I asked as I put my hand gently on his upper arm. ‘I’m SO sorry!!! I didnt see you at all! The sun was in my eyes and then you were just in front of me.’
He shook his head.
‘No it’s ok – I’m fine.’ he said.
He appeared to be ok. I looked him up and down for signs of injury. Was he shocked? Was he really ok?
The marshalls were also following at a distance, watching me and talking to their supervisor over walkie talkies.
‘Do you need an ambulance?’ They said to the man.
‘No!‘ said the man, still rather irritated. ‘I’m fine. I’m going home.’
‘Can I help you to get there? Can I walk you home?’ I asked rather weakly. ‘I’m so sorry – I just want to be sure you’re OK…’
‘I’m fine.’ he reassured me again.
I kept my hand on his shoulder looked him in the eye.
I was trembling.
‘Are you SURE?‘ I said once more. ‘I know you might not want me to after all this but I can give you a lift.‘
He turned to look at me and as he did his face softened.
‘Are YOU ok?’ he asked me.
‘You’re shaking. You look like you need a stiff drink. You should go and have a stiff drink.’
‘I don’t drink…’ I replied weakly ‘…and Ive never hit anything with my car, let alone a person. I was scared stiff. I didn’t see you…. the sun was in my eyes… I’m so sorry… are you sure you’re ok?’
He just looked at me.
‘The sun was in my eyes. I can walk you home. Are you sure you’re ok?’ I babbled. ‘You didn’t hit your head or anything?’
He continued to look at me, now shaking his head.
‘The sun was in my eyes. I’m so sorry.’ I said again.
‘Don’t worry.’ he said, and put his hand out, inviting me to hold it.
I put my hand into his. It was warmer and much larger than mine. His grip was both firm and confident. He started to shake my hand, looking me in the eye.
His hand was dry.
‘I didn’t hit my head. Thank you for stopping to make sure I’m ok – but I’m fine. No bruises and no harm. Go and have a cup of tea. I’m going home.’
He let go of my hand, turned to leave and walked away.
Another nearby marshall looked at me and also suggested that I have a stiff drink. I told her that I didn’t drink.
She too suggested I have a cup of tea instead.
I didn’t want one.
I stood there for a minute watching as he walked away, shaking like a leaf.
I could have killed him.
In the blink of an eye I could have ended his life and irreversibly changed my own.
Even now some hours later my heart is still pounding and I’m reminded not only that it’s a good idea to drive slowly, but that you don’t know what’s around any corner. I’m just thankful that he was ok and that the reminder I received to be a careful and considerate driver came without consequence.
Thank goodness he’s ok.