Friday, 6 December 2013

Perils of night time driving on the Plenty Highway in Outback Australia

Extract from Glass Half Full, our Australian adventure.
Chapter  10

Some of the other perils of the darkness are firstly the potholes; the car suddenly unearths them without warning, causing the car and its contents to plunge down and then up, whilst everything in the car including us goes into a state of motion. CD’s fly out of the rack, the mobile phone holder forgets its role ends up in the foot well with the mobile phone. The car fridge bounces off the platform, as Jaime’s head hits the roof, as she is already seated high up due to sitting on bedding and pillows. Just as you regain some degree of composure you hit another one, and the process continues, exhaustingly.

Secondly, in the darkness you do not know who or what could be lurking or prowling around.  There are families and groups of people who live ‘out bush’ in terrain that would appear uninhabited. In the under-growth, other inhabitants await unsuspecting visitors; scorpions, snakes and spiders, many of which are venomous, and a bite from some species would need more than a first aid kit. There is little to save you in the middle of the desert, with no means of summoning assistance.

Therefore, the last thing you need in this setting is a puncture.  Hearing that familiar thud as the deflated tyre makes a revolution on the corrugated road surface made us look at each other with that look of, ‘Not now. Please God, not now!’

 “Don’t worry we have a spare,” Nigel’s says reassuringly as Jaime stirs from her travelling slumber. “Just hold the torch. We will be on the road again in no time.”

Famous last words: I stand, holding the torch as Nigel loosens the wheel-nuts and places the jack under the vehicle, his tell-tale look towards the heavens tells me all is not going to plan.

 “We need a piece of wood; the jack doesn’t go high enough.” Laughingly he says, “A piece of two by four would be good.”

I can feel my head shaking, as my heart rate is increasing. I can see no humour in this situation, and my brain is saying; ‘fat chance, look where we are. No houses for hundreds of kilometres and you expect me to find something like that.’

I turn, as if to look, in what I know will be a fruitless task, and the torch turns with me. Nigel shouts, “Hey, I need the light here.”

As I turn back he shouts: “Stop!” I freeze, keeping as still I can although shaking with fear, expecting that Nigel has spotted a snake or scorpions approaching my light. As the light from the torch shines on the uneven, corrugated road surface there, as if placed for exactly this type of  road side emergency, is a piece of wood, if not exactly as near as damn it two by four.  Nigel picks it up and hysterical laughter ensures.

A gift from the gods, divine intervention or just bloody good luck, that piece of wood helped us to get the spare wheel on and we were trucking again.

Read more in Glass Half Full available at: