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Sunday, 8 December 2019

A Milford Bloke Trapped in Guildford

Skimming through the archive I came across this ridiculous story from December 2010. As this is our 500 edition I thought I would share it again:

As some of you may know I have to return to Guildford every now and then to do some occasional ‘real work’ in my business.

Our house in Surrey is on a hill with nice views of Guildford Cathedral and the South Downs. Normally this is a pleasure, but Wednesday turned out to be slightly different.

The more observant amongst you will have noticed that there has been snow across the country recently, and we had already been genuinely snowed in for two days. No worries though, provisions were high and my wife was unusually calm and friendly. Wednesday morning greeted us with the delightful scene of the crisp white undulating landscape, and with the glistening snowy rooftops of the town a joy to be seen. In an idyllic family scene the dogs were soon frolicking in the eight inch snow, and the laughter of children rang excitedly across the sparkling snow covered streets. That was of course, until my wife ran screaming into my study, shouting something about a pigeon that was stranded in our garden. I think she is under the misguided impression that I am some kind of ‘Bill Oddy’ style wildlife expert or a professor of ornithology at the local bird school. I helpfully said I would ‘see to it in a minute’ (& as you guys know, this is never the right answer from a husband). Apparently the dogs couldn’t return to the garden due the risk that they would eat our uninvited visitor. However conversely, they needed to go into the garden absolutely immediately, or their bladders would increase to the size of a hot air balloon and they may then disappear into the sky on their way to the industrial North. (Little does she know, that when she is out, I leave them for hours on end without a visit to the garden, and neither of them has exploded yet!) As I did not immediately jump to this mammoth crisis, ‘Eskimo Nell’ kitted herself out with arctic clothing & headgear, and made her way out into the drifts of eight inch snow, all without the aid of snow shoes or the back up of an air ambulance. Once her one lady rescue mission reached her patient - it was stone cold dead. I ignored her sobbing, and helped out by passing my little Inuit a black plastic bag. A hot drink or two later, life had returned to as normal as our life can be.

Well, that was before we saw my wife’s car drive past our house. This was only slightly strange. To explain, my wife’s car had gone in for a service a couple of days earlier & the ice and snow on our hill had made it impossible for it to return the day before. It was also impossible for it to return today, but for some reason the garage hadn’t seen the latest weather report in Guildford. As we were discussing how the car had managed to get up the hill at all, we spotted Pat (the man from the garage) taking the (unused) temporary hire car he had left with us off of our drive. We watched slightly bemused as he reversed out, and then just slid almost gracefully from view. For some reason we did not spot him passing our house again to get into my wife’s car just a little way up the hill. The first we saw, was when my wife’s car was being driven towards the drive of our house, - and then past it uncontrollably, straight into the back of the temporary hire car. By the time we had donned our outdoor gear to investigate, our friendly ‘garage man’ has left his hire car, which was now at a right angle across the road. He was determined to complete his mission to deliver my wife’s car to her. Although I think he was soon to wish he hadn’t bothered, especially when he tried to enter the drive again, but this time just slid and wedged the car against the gate post. My wife was not too happy, but I reminded her that quite a few of her car panels hadn’t been damaged at all. Obviously things could not get worse. That was until I decided to help the guy rescue both cars. First we released my wife’s car from the vice like grip of our gate post, discovering in the process that buying a four wheel drive Audi for snowy conditions was actually a waste of money. The best we could do was dump it somewhere near the kerb in the hope no one else fancied taking a chunk out of it. Next, we were off to save the hire car blocking the road. Spade in hand, we dug & pushed to get this little mechanical monster facing the right way. It would be hard to believe that as I went inside to get some gloves, that Pat 'the garage man’ had now managed to lock the keys in the car! A full one & a half hours later the car was released and somehow we had got it to the bottom of the road to let Pat on his way back to wherever he came from.

Thinking the drama was over for the afternoon we settled back down to do some work. So far no cars has made it successfully to the top of our mountainous road. That was until we saw a flash BMW 4x4 stride effortlessly past our house and park further up the hill. The driver then trudged knee deep in the snow past our house, and we gave him a spontaneous round of applause. No sooner had we started clapping, he disappeared without taking a bow. About ten minutes later we saw his BMW 4x4 again. This time he was not in it. The car had simply slid down the hill from its previous parking slot, only stopping when it crunched into the neighbours car opposite. To spectacularly finish the ‘Strictly Come Dancingesque’ manoeuvre, the car then spun gracefully to directly face our house, and conveniently provided a new road block for our cul de sac. My wife had the great idea that ‘I should do something?!’. When I asked what I was supposed to do about the two ton driverless locked car spread across the road? She just said ‘typical, you are useless in a crisis’. Great, all of the sudden the skiing BMW had become my problem, and It wasn’t even our car involved this time!

As we watched various unconnected observers visit the scene of destruction there was still no sign of the car’s driver. About an hour later the bewildered man reappeared, and it will come as no surprise that he was shocked to find his car not quite where he had left. Once again I was sent outside under my wife’s instructions ‘to do something’. As I approached the shocked driver he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, so I just asked him ‘have you been driving long?’. I have to admit an undisguised snigger when he told me it was actually his wife’s new car. Our neighbours crushed bumper was still caressing the BMW’s back corner as my new mate from Reading tried to examine the damage. Not being able to see clearly he decided he should try and move his car to see the carnage his lovely wife’s car had caused. All was going to plan, that was until his front wheels were facing down the hill. Before he knew it, the car was on an uncontrolled slalom down the steep incline. I could hear his expletive ridden screams & curses as he missed my wife’s car (just), avoided a stranded BMW 7 Series and finally swerved again to miss the Toyota 4x4 towards the bottom of the hill. If it were not for the enormous crash he made as his new 20 inch alloys hit the kerb with an almighty smash, he may well have ended up in a nice couples garden across the other side of the road at the bottom of ours. Shaken and shocked yet again, he struggled back up the hill, falling over only once, saying ‘I didn’t mean to do that!’. As he left to inform the owner of the innocent and distressed vehicle with a smashed front, I wished him well on explaining to his wife what he had done to her new car.

Later that evening my mate Colin e-mailed me to say Milford on Sea had received a 'dusting' of snow, but they were coping! He didn’t mentioned if his car had survived the day undamaged, but I guessed it had. As the evening drew to a close it was a pleasure to retire to bed, even if it did mean sleeping with ‘Scott of the Antarctic’ dressed in two nighties, woollen socks and a bobble hat.

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