When the Warburton’s lorry driver asked “what damage?” I knew that he was lying to me.
I had just arrived back from town when I noticed something outside my drive that bore a striking resemblance to a traffic jam. One of the nearby main roads is closed for repairs and we are getting very heavy traffic down my road, which is not suitable for heavy traffic. In fact, it is not even suitable for lorries. The road has a weight limit, is littered with speed limits and in places classified as a single track road.
You see, these small, local roads work on local knowledge. Every regular user knows where to stop and let oncoming traffic pass. The people, who use this road as a shortcut, for which they even have to go past a ‘road closed’ sign, do not know about the rules that have been handed down the generations. They race in the middle of the road, refusing to slow down or stop for any other road user or crossing chicken. This meeting of the stubborn with the impatient could be a scene from a Fellini movie. Good old Federico, may he rest in peace, would have liked the idea. Actually, he did like the idea because he used it in Roma.
Or the scene from the Pink Panther, the original movie with David Niven (may he rest in peace), where two old men take out chairs in the middle of the night to watch a car chase with much enjoyment but no visible signs of emotion. Good work, Blake Edwards (may he rest …).
Why is nearly everybody in this blog post dead, I wonder?
As I was emptying my car I watched the lorry backing, hitting one of the standing (“sarsen”) stones at the side of my drive, stopping, crawling forwards and reversing past the damaged stone.
I walked the short distance to speak to the driver, who by then was busy nearly reversing into the next vehicle in the queue, and asked him whether he wanted to see the damage that he had just caused. It was then that his question “what damage?”, which sounded more like a proclamation of innocence, gave him away.
He would not have stopped out of his own accord and, had I not been there by sheer coincidence, would have driven away. We exchanged details and Mr. A. Illegible (I cannot read the name that he scribbled on a scruffy piece of paper. He is in fact Mr. A. Sal..something.), who should not even have used this road, made some rather pathetic noises.
“This has never happened before”, he whispered. I could tell from his sad gaze that he thought of his freshly ruined reputation. The incident was rather insignificant but he was suffering.
I grinned at him and very nearly felt sorry but when you start to feel sorry for people, one thing leads to another and I might end up making him a cup of tea (he is probably a ‘white, two sugars’-type) and who knows, I might get to like him. No, sometimes you have to be firm.
Mr. A. Sal..something was punished further because he had to sit out the traffic jam for the next half hour. Even the police had arrived not to deal with my stone but to watch the stoppage, which had been caused by two impatient drivers, who had met at a particularly narrow section of the road and could not agree on who should go first.
I think I will write a letter to Fleet Support Group now, who apparently provide the transport for Warburton’s. Write because I really cannot face talking to some telephone operator and spelling everything from my name to my address, telephone number and blood group. I am not good with phone line operators. They wear me down, which, I realise, is in their job description.
You would think that a photographer had more important chores to perform but no, I have to deal with a lorry driver’s inability to use a mirror. Perhaps I should take a chair out onto my drive and watch the traffic creeping past for a while. In the battle between the stubborn and the impatient, the next accident is only a matter of time and could be a great photo opportunity.