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Friday, January 26, 2007

Journey to Oxford

I left the pub at approximately eleven o'clock on New Year's Eve with my mind in a whirl. Was Helen trying to spare me worry by saying that they were okay? Surely, if they were okay, why the need to go to the hospital. The journey took place in a daze. I took a couple of cans of Red Bull from the bar and also bought a packet of ProPlus tablets from a garage en route. The road was empty and the weather was clear, at least this was in my favour. I had my mobile phone handy and hoped that Helen would be able to contact me with an update, but I knew that she had left her phone in the car and the fire brigade had not let her return to it. Although I had drunk the Red Bull and taken a couple of the Pro Plus tablets I was still very tired, I had slept less than four hours in the past forty one hours and I was aware of how hypnotic motorway driving can be. It took about two hours to reach Bristol and by the time I got to the Gordano service area I was very close to falling asleep at the wheel. With discretion being the better part of valour I decided to stop for a small nap and cup of coffee. I pulled into the car park, dropped my seat back, set the alarm on my mobile phone for fifteen minutes and shut my eyes. At this precise moment my legs started to cramp. I was in agony and I hobbled out of the car. Now you have to remember that it is approximately one thirty in the morning and anyone who happened to be watching would have seen a man who is now bent double, fall from his car and proceed to hobble around the car park like a demented duck! So much for sleeping. I eventually managed to get my legs back to normal and straighten myself up. I went to the men’s washroom, splashed cold water on my face and then headed off again onto the M5. I drove for an hour or so; all the time I was worrying about what I would find at the hospital, my mind was creating all manner of scenarios that are too painful to put down here. Eventually I stopped at the Leigh Delamere service area on the M4. Rolling to a stop I didn't even bother to put the seat back, I simply set the alarm, closed my eyes and drifted off. My mobile phone started ringing and I awoke with a start. It was still dark, so I figured that I hadn’t slept too long. Looking at my watch showed that I had only been asleep for five minutes! It was Helen, checking up on my progress. I didn’t want her to worry so I didn’t mention my tiredness, but decided I should press on. I drove for the next hour and a half until I finally got to the hospital. I rushed inside and was pointed to a treatment unit where I was told Helen and the boys would be. I found them in a side ward. The two boys were top to tail on the bed fast asleep and didn’t appear to be injured. Helen was sat at their bedside and looked tired and worried. I won’t bother detailing the next couple of hours as it was all very emotional and trying for Helen. She was in a very self accusatory mood and nothing I could say would change her outlook. To me it had been an accident, a bad one granted, but an accident all the same. They were all okay and able to come home with me. That morning I took them back to our home in Northampton and set about sorting out the insurance, vehicle recovery and a myriad of other details that this sort of thing throws up in its wake. The car was taken to a local garage for assessment and later that day I went to see it. I was staggered at the state of it. How anyone could have got out alive is beyond me. Anyway, I arranged for Helen and the boys to come back down to Devon with me later that day and we attempted to get back to normality.

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