Saturday, 28 August 2010

Yes. There really is no general speed limit on the autobahn.

With my super duper 1.9litre engine it is very easy to suddenly find myself zooming along the Autobahn at around 170 kilometres per hour. Which isn't too bad as long it's on the stretch close to where I live which isn't encumbered with anything as crass as a speed limit. It's also a nice stretch with a smooth surface and no bends.

Of course, it only has two lanes which means I have to be sure to be in the outside lane so that I don't have to slalom between the Puntos and the lorries.

A couple of kilometres along the A46 I have to change over to the A61 and that has a 120kph speed limit on it, so I do have to slow down and pay attention. It's prtty much the same until I get to work, but since that's where the traffic starts to build up. Actually I'm lucky if I get as fast as 100kph for the rest of the journey.

So much for my route to work. Now let me take you back nearly forty years. Imagine the scene: it's the small housing estate in Windsor which joined on to the Army camp where my father worked. It was late summer and I was eight or nine. (See: nearly forty years...) There we all were, my friends and I, playing outside skating up and down the (hardly used) road on our roller skates.

It had been a good summer - for insects. Specifically Crane Flies. Back then I had long hair, and since I was already home from school my bunches were a thing of the past. Anyone ahead of me here? So there we were, skating up and down, hair flying around in the middle of Crane Fly season.

Crane Flies are harmless. They don't bite. They don't sting. They just sit on walls or clamber in a most ungainly manner in the long grass. Or they fly around and get caught in your hair and dangle their long legs in your face.

Remember. Nearly forty years ago. But even writing this, nearly forty years later, the hair on th eback of my neck is standing up and I have goosebumps on my arms. In fact, the hair all over my head is standing up and I'm typing more slowly than usual since I am constantly checking the room for long legged beasties. It's the season for them and it's been a hot, then wet, summer. Perfect for the horrible creatures.


So why am I relating this now? You might well ask. In fact, I'm so caught up in my memories that I have nearly forgotten. Nearly, but not quite.

Now I've rejoined the car-owning classes I'm back to doing the family grocery shopping during my lunch-breaks. On Wednesday I'd been shopping, and when I got home my Chef helped me get the boxes out of the boot. I noticed something fly into the boot, don't forget it's an estate (station wagon, combi) so it's a big, open interior. I looked around but didn't see anything. Not to worry, I thought, I'll make sure to drive with the windows open. I don't want bluebottles in my new car.

On Thursdays the gym near my office opens at 7am. That means that if I don't have to put the Gruesome Twosome on the school bus at 7:30, I can leave early, get to the gym at opening time and get a bit of exercise before work. That leaves my lunchtime free for reading and coffee. So, raring to go and wondering if I was up to a jog or just the cross-trainer, I hit the autobahn and put my foot down. There wasn't much traffic and I was just thinking that I might as well enjoy it while I can - school starts again next week and the autobahn will fill up again.

And what flew into my face? Oh yes. My old friend a Crane Fly. Now, most people who know me can tell you that I'm not actually a very girly girl. Apparently I drive like a man, I used to be in the army and for fun I like to mess around with power tools.

The only thing that stopped me screaming was the fear that the Big Beast would go into my mouth. But there I was, whizzing along the autobahn at 6:45am trying to fend off my Nemesis. I managed to get the window wound down (giving silent, closed mouth, thanks to whoever invented electric windows) in the vague hope that I could use my hand to flap it out. The stupid thing didn't comply with my wishes and thus met it's untimely end squished to jelly by my own fair hand against the driver's door.

But it was a very shakey Sheona who pulled into the car park, took four attempts to park the jalopy and staggered into the gym to use the cross-trainer. It's amazing, given that I was driving quite fast at the time, that I didn't end up wrapped around the central reservation.


Youth Advisory Committee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph Ferrett said...

I have a semi irrational fear of wasps (I am a bit allergic to them I think, stings make me swell right up and feel ill for days).

When I was driving I was always in fear of a wasp getting into the car because I was scared I would get so distracted I would crash.....

Nasty stuff. Good skills on vanquishing your foe BTW!

Drake Sigar said...

Sheesh, close one! If there's one thing I hate most in this world, it's bugs, and what does England have? Bees. One time we were in the conservatory when a Queen flew in. I was standing between my brother and the kitchen door at the time, so he quickly threw me aside, then locked the kitchen door behind him, trapping me in with it. With terror on his face he says "You might let it in, I can't risk it" like we're in some low grade horror movie.

Sho said...

Oh wasps are totally pesky. I had a wasp in my handbag a few years ago (an interloper, not a pet) and it stung my middle finger which promptly swelled up so much I thought the skin would split. I couldn't even hold my finger normally as it wouldn't fit where it normally should.

So I understand your fear - I don't think it's irrational at all. (btw: my doctor said you should be extra careful if you ever get a sting on the neck if you even have a slight allergy to wasp stings)

But yep - feeling pretty proud of mashing that crane fly to a pulp with my bare hands!

Sho said...

LOL @ Drake, but I understand that one too. Actually, knowing how many things I am allergic to (including, bizzarely, chickens - the live ones) I'm always a little worried about bees, but not overly so.

Crane Flies, now - that's a totally different story. They reduce me to a gibbering wreck!

Drake Sigar said...

Pfft, what do they need all those legs for anyway? I'll tell you, for crawling all over your face in the middle of the night, that's what! :P

Ralph Ferrett said...

Is that like with spiders who apparently drink water out of oyur tear ducts at night? Surely must be a load of hokum but loads of people say it!!!

Sho said...

Oh like the one about how we've all eaten a spider in our sleep?


Although, now we're on the subject (nearly) i have eaten beetles and worms. Deliberately. But that was in a previous life where I did that sort of thing for a living.

In fact, the amazing thing is that - given the amount of time I did actually spend out in the field as a girly-soldier - it's incredible that I never came into contact with a crane fly. I used to have a sub-machine-gun and no crane fly would have been safe...

gruesome nuber 2 said...

hihi no speedlimit
i want to just soom down the road
in the dírektion of clothes shopps :D

Sho said...

You have more clothes than Queen Clothes from the land of the Clothes People, missy!

But maybe we'll go anyway and I'll let you look in the shop windows.
*evil grin*