Posts Tagged ‘motorway’

Big trucks and Michael Buerk

Did anyone else used to love those programmes where they reenacted terrible/unusual accidents? There was a programme on when I was younger called 999 and the presenter was a guy called Michael Buerk. I loved Michael Buerk. He seemed terribly grown up and in control.

I remember quite clearly a few of the accidents we were shown on 999 (which, by the way, if you asked me the theme tune to, I could easily sing for you). One was a boy who was climbing on some scaffolding near a park fence. He fell from the scaffolding and was impaled on the decorative upward spikes on the top of the park fence. I used to love the reconstructions. Love them! I’m not sure why I was so fixated on this programme and its theme tune and its reconstructions. But I was.

Something that happened with some regularity on 999 was people getting trapped in cars when they had either flipped over and landed in a ditch or something bigger and heavier than them had fallen and crushed them.

The reconstruction would usually consist of someone at an awkward angle, surrounded by crushed metal groaning and moaning a lot while some firemen tried to cut the roof off the car and free the trapped person. Often there’d be a kindly fireman who had wedged himself in at a dangerous angle to talk to the person and try and keep them awake. These talking-firemen were my favourite. Almost as favourite as Michael Buerk.

I bet you’re wondering what on earth anything here has to do with anything ever in the world ever, what am I going on about, etc etc. Well, Emily and Kelly have given their instructions and so I must obey. This week, they want me to write about the time I got scared.


And this obsession with the 999 programme has had a lasting effect on my adult self. If ever I am driving on a motorway (it’s specifically a motorway), and I’ve decided it’s time for me overtake a lorry in front, there’s a brief fleeting moment, as I pass it by and I look at it’s great mass towering over me (if there’s any wind causing things to sway, the feeling is much more intense) and fear is struck into my heart. The next ten seconds of my life flash in front of my eyes and they consist of the heavy dull crunch of metal, immediately followed by the theme tune to 999 and Michael Buerk’s face.

I put my foot down a little harder, speed past the impending doom and tuck back in in front of it, in relative safety, and breathe a sigh of relief that Michael Buerk can stay at home today.

Dicing with death in Richmond Park

The day before yesterday, I had a day off and decided I was going to do an epic trip around some of London’s open spaces.

I started the day by watching the Olympic torch pass by. While I didn’t feel especially excited, I thought that in the spirit of Getting Excited About Stuff (a challenge I set myself a little while back), it might be good fun. And sure enough, it was. The build up took a while, one convoy came, then some motorbikes, then some running people. It went on and on. And by the time came, I barely had time to take one, slightly rubbish, photo and then it was gone.


It was fun though, and the atmosphere was lively.

Then I headed up to Richmond Park to start a walk which also took in Putney Heath and Wimbledon Common. As I came out of the Roehampton Gate of the park, I managed to catch this amazing picture of a butterfly on a flower.


I went to university in Roehampton so was back on familiar ground as I followed the road toward Putney Heath. I couldn’t resist popping up the little high street to a place called Dong Phuong’s, which we ordered from with such regularity that they didn’t even ask our address when we ordered anymore. O, the junk-food-related memories…

Next I was on Putney Heath and starting to feel the heat. I rifled through my bag and came up with some Body Shop body butter so slathered myself in it and hoped for the best. It didn’t have any sunblocking qualities. It was just moisturiser. But it was the best I had.

I fought my way through thick foliage…


…until I suddenly stumbled onto an open playing field and a beautiful little hidden country pub called The Telegraph.


From here it was a short walk to go under the motorway and on the other side I was greeted by Wimbledon Common and a beautiful pond, called King’s Mere. Virginia Woolf apparently called this end of the Common, ‘the bleak end.’ Now I don’t know Miss Woolf personally but I would argue that the bleakness was maybe not in the Common but in herself because this end of the Common is fabulous. It’s a riot of overgrown trees and paths. Everywhere I stepped, wildlife teemed. It was on this stretch that I saw two rabbits, a mother and ducklings, could hear the constant sound of birds and lots of dog walkers wandering about too. Not bleak at all.

This was my view during my Chocolate Stop (I was walking this one alone so was allowed a Chocolate Stop whenever I wanted).


From here I walked toward Putney Vale Cemetery, which was essentially overflow, when all the church graveyards nearby were too full. At the end of this was a war memorial and some rugby grounds and that’s when I started getting hot again. The sun was out full blast. No clouds, just raw, untarnished, skin-cancer-inducing sun. I’d been shaded by trees for most of my walk until now. But as I crossed over the road and re-entered Richmond Park by the Robin Hood Gate, I started to worry and applied a second layer of my verging-on-useless body butter.

As I struck out across country, trying to get through the park as quickly as possible, I found myself with zero tree cover and started to regret my decision to wear jeans. Hotter and hotter, I got. I started to wonder if it was possible to die of heat in England. My water supply was rapidly diminishing and suddenly… I was in the middle of a group of extremely threatening looking deer with massive antlers!

Shit! How had that happened? Was I in such a heat daze that I hadn’t noticed them? I stopped…. They were heading straight to me…. I wasn’t terrified as such but I was quite nervous!

I started to edge sideways into the long grass and crouch slightly, trying to become invisible. Then I worried that they might think I was crouching ready to attack so I stood up tall again. They split and started walking either side of me. So close!


They kept walking a few steps, looking at me, going again, stopping to look… Etc. It went on for what felt like ages until they were eventually all on one side of me. I carefully edged away from them, the deer looking back at me threateningly all the while. After about ten minutes of creeping and trying look as inconspicuous as possible, I continued on my path, heart racing. It was all very exciting/nerve-racking.

Shortly after this, because I had gone into the long grass, I stumbled across some mushrooms and was beyond tempted to take one home and cook it! I didn’t though, because I have no idea about which mushrooms are safe to eat.


It wasn’t long after this that I reached Richmond Gate, my start point, and some trees to hide my burning shoulders under. I think I might wait until late afternoon next time I want to do a five hour trek in the open!

Lessons I have learned from this walk = don’t wear jeans on a long walk, always carry suncream, make sure the t-shirt you catch a tan in, is pretty much the same shape of most of your other t-shirts. I am suffering the teasing of having an odd shaped tan at the moment.