Sarah Jane Butfield is the author of international
best-selling and award-winning travel and nursing memoirs. These include:
Glass Half Full,
Two Dogs and a Suitcase,
Our Frugal Summer in Charente and Ooh Matron!
Sarah Jane shares her writing insights, chats to fellow authors about their writing journey or promotions and helps new and aspiring authors find an audience for their books.
Friday, 6 December 2013
Perils of night time driving on the Plenty Highway in Outback Australia
Extract from Glass Half Full, our Australian adventure.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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 likethat.’
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 mylight. As the light from the torch shines on the uneven, corrugated road
surface there, as if placed for exactly this type ofroad 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.
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.