It was the last day of our holiday and we had just been smugly congratulating ourselves on how epic-free it had all been. Three mums let loose from their families for a week of climbing together, we had swapped responsibility for little ones for the simple responsibility of getting ourselves from crag to crag and up some rock faces. Simples. Especially when underpinned by blissful nights of uninterrupted sleep. We were unstoppable.
Until that afternoon when we rounded an uphill bend to see a massive articulated lorry sat in the road ahead of us. We came to an abrupt halt. The massive truck shuddered and shifted and started emitting a high pitched beep. S*%t! It was reversing straight at us. Having overshot its junction it was now trying to get into position to make a sweeping left turn. Unable to overtake due to oncoming traffic we joined the trucker in reverse gear and started pulling slowly back to
get out of the squish zone give him space to make his manoeuvre.
In retrospect, we should have just loudly honked him and stopped him in his tracks instead of meekly backing out of his way like the polite middle-aged ladies we are. If only we had, then we wouldn’t have found ourselves, seconds later, with our off-side wheels dangling over the sheer edge of the foot deep concrete verge with our hire car teetering back and forth. Oops.
Now we had no choice but to overcome our middle-class, middle-aged niceties and honk our horn for all it was worth to stop the truck advancing upon us as we had nowhere to go, our offside wheels hopelessly spinning into space. Fortunately he stopped. Then he proceeded to make his turn and disappear off to the bottling factory, leaving us hanging. Literally.
I ran into the road and stopped the first car that came past. A polite, buttoned-up chap in a shirt, tie and v-neck jumper, the driver scolded my thoughts of a rescue via brute force and ideas of lifting the car out of the trench it teetered upon. Without removing himself from the car he poured withering scorn upon my hopelessly optimistic plans. Ok, so he was right. We did nearly flatten ourselves under the rental car with our misguided, middle-aged attempts at lifting the car between the three of us. Even so. I just didn’t like his attitude.
Dejected, I rejoined my friends on the steep-sided bank alongside the car. Far enough away so it wouldn’t topple on us. As we scoured the car hire paperwork that we had hastily snatched from the glove-box, looking for tow-truck details, a shadow appeared on the horizon. Six, maybe eight, men dressed in black came swaggering towards us, blotting out the sun as only baddies in a low budget spaghetti Western can do. Could things be about to go from bad to worse?
It turns out not. It turns out that without the buttoned-down personality and the v-necked shirt it really is possible to just lift a tiny hire car out of a steep-sided trench and put it back on the road.
So what else could we do? Flooded with relief and gratitude we made our way to the village bar (from whence had strode our rescuers). ‘The beers are on us’, or some Spanglicized approximation thereof, we cried. And so ended our holidays. It wouldn’t be a proper holiday without a little epic now would it?