Subject: Maintain Rural Peace: Fit silencers!
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 1996 10:56:42 +0100
> I've been on holiday for a couple of weeks camping round Bodmin Moor.
> I've been regaled by the locals about shotgun-waving feuds between farmers -
> they don't fire them, just wave them in the air and shout inarticulately in
> Cornish down the track!
Sounds a bit like TWC-L, except Bodmin Moor is probably more densely
populated. Perhaps if the feuding farmers could be coerced into fitting
silencers, the area might be the perfect venue for the Terminal Wingding
Club "Send Off" jamboree.
Anyway, I hope you had a good holiday. Camping still appeals to me in theory
but the last time I tried it, I couldn't resist going home to bed at night,
leaving the tent and sleeping bags to their own devices. On the positive side,
I was back very early each morning for a healthy outdoor brekky.
In the early 70's I lived in a little cottage by the cliff at Lands End.
The mysterious things that went on there beggared belief. I was enjoying
chemically enhanced susceptibility at the time but I'm sure the location
had a lot to do with it.
When I revisited the area with Melanie on a motorbike a couple of
years later we drove up a likely looking dirt track in the dusk of the
evening. Looking for somewhere to put the tent. I knocked on a farmhouse
door and was very heavily poked in the eye with a double barrel shotgun.
A convincing statement, which I acted upon immediately.
Thinking that the motorcycle image might be a disadvantage on these
rustic socials, our next west country foray was made on bicycles with cute
little panniers. What a trip that was.
We'd cycled from Stoke, down the Welsh border towards Bristol, cooking
and spending the nights in some luxurious Swiss chalet type bus shelters.
The weather got progressively warmer and by the time we reached the
Devon-Cornwall border the heat was intense. We were so thirsty but there
had been no sign of shops or houses for hours. We came to an area shaded by
very tall, cultivated hedges and stopped there to cool down.
Seeing a "Holiday Centre" sign pointing to a side road, we got out our empty
plastic bottles and strolled around the corner to see if we could get them
refilled. A wide, newly constructed drive opened onto a village sized concrete
square. Laid out there, with great architectural panache, was an ultra-modern
holiday complex. We walked slowly around the buildings. The well stocked bars,
restraunts and entertainment centres were silent. Not another person in
sight. Not a bird singing. Stillness.
Everywhere we looked windows were shattered and doors beaten in. Glass
splinters littered the floors and tables inside. Fresh food and drink stood on
the counters. It was like finding a modern day, land-locked "Marie Celeste",
frozen in a shroud of broken glass. We filled our bottles at an outside tap and
left quickly to escape an intense feeling of unease.
After cycling for only about 15 seconds, we came around a bend in the road
to find a devastated bus shelter. It was one of the modern type; flat roof and
grey tubular pillars with rectangles of glass suspended between them.
The whole construction had been squashed. The metal corner posts bent like
straws after a storm. It was so flat that no part of it was more than six inches
from the ground. Granules of safety glass were spread all over the pavement and
road like someone had dropped a hundred kilo bag of diamonds from a passing
As we carried our bikes over the hazard, something that glinted with a different
light caught my eye. I stopped and bent to look more closely. A tiny, brass
pixie-like figure grinned up at me from the debris. It was one of those cheap
souvenirs, the kind sold to tourists in holiday town gift shops. Not knowing what
else to do with it, I put it in my pocket and we moved off into the afternoon as
the sky began to darken.
We came to a long downhill stretch that dropped steeply into a narrow valley,
then up again into the distance. The bikes were heavily laden and we'd got used to
conserving energy by taking the down-hills fast and letting the momentum carry us
up the other side. Melanie went ahead and as I started down after her, heavy rain
began to pound the road, falling in dense sheets from the blackness overhead.
I was travelling fast, eyes squinting as the water streamed down my face. About
300 yards ahead a car pulled slowly out from a side road. I tensed and began to
apply the brakes gently, estimating that the car would turn and pull away before
I got much closer. The car seemed to slow and instead of curving off down the hill,
it lurched to a halt, broadside across my path.
I was travelling at about 55 miles per hour. I squeezed the brakes so hard
I began to feel the levers bending. There was a lubricating film of water between
the rubber blocks and the wheel rim. I continued to pick up speed. I dropped my feet
to the road surface, hoping to cause some friction but my rubber soles planed over
a sheet of surface water.
The bike slammed into the car. The screeching of tortured steel tubing and the
snapping of spokes barely masking the sickening thump as flesh and metal came
together with destructive force. As my pulped head, rolled across and up over
the car I caught a glimpse of a shiny yellow face grinning at me through the
gaping side window. My shattered hands instinctively groped for my pocket where the
tiny effigy crouched. "I've got to make it to a parallel universe fast" I thought
remembering previous terminal events where I'd been dangerously slow in making a
suitable transition. "And this little bugger isn't coming along for the ride" I
yelled, as my shredded fingers closed on the squatting miscreant, then lobbing him
out into the spiralling vortex.
"Just in time" I sighed with relief as I inspected the punctured tyre that had
brought me to a halt. As I got out the repair kit, the warm sunshine was drawing a
lazy mist of steam from my shower dampened clothes.
-- Tony Halmarack =(*)= Tony@halmarax.demon.co.uk
Sometimes it's a bit tricky but I'm sure that with the right medication relative TWC success can be almost guaranteed.