An April Day (2007) to Forget!
During the previous few months we had moved one of our fences in quite a bit. It was down the far end of the garden that runs alongside a neighbour's garden, as he'd been having a garage built (that had taken a year to be completed!) and we'd done this to allow the workmen access.
One sunny and very hot day towards the end of April our neighbour said that he wanted to fill the gap between his garage wall and our garden with all the rubble that he'd been collecting from making a driveway down to his garage. We said okay and he trundled round in a mini digger that he'd borrowed a day or so earlier. Terry told him straight away that this machine wouldn't be man enough for the job so Monsieur Neighbour borrowed a friend's farm tractor with a large and heavy, ancient trailer. We pulled back more fencing to allow the tractor access into the garden and it trundled across our grass, breaking a few branches from our hazelnut tree as it went. I decided to take myself off to do something else, I'd seen this friendly neighbour in action before!
After a fairly short while, Terry appeared at our back door holding his arm. It was purple and swollen and he was clearly in quite some pain. It turned out that the mechanism of the trailer carrying the rubble wouldn't tip up to pour its contents into the gap and Terry had told the neighbour that he'd see what was the matter. Meanwhile the neighbour decided he knew how to fix it so pulled out a pin and the trailer tipped up and embedded itself into the earth but dragged itself down Terry's arm from the elbow to the wrist as it dropped. Terry had acted like lightening and pulled his arm out as the trailer fell but too late to prevent it from catching his arm.
As I'm sure that I've said before, Terry is a hero and as such he is unable to visit any doctor unless he is clearly dying and he naturally took the same stance for this injury. Therefore, I very gently stroked arnica gel into the damaged area and told him he should rest it as he was clearly shaken up. He refused however, as our neighbour was still in the garden and went back out. I accompanied him this time and the neighbour was sitting there holding his head in his hands full of anguish at having injured Terry. We patted him and consoled him and they considered the situation.
The trailer was so deeply embedded in the earth that it couldn't be dragged out with the borrowed tractor, though Terry suggested that he might be able to move it with a jack and levers. Our neighbour dismissed that idea and phoned another farmer friend to come round with his larger and heavier tractor. When this arrived the time was about 11.45am and the arriving friend suggested that they had aperos at the neighbour's house before tackling the job! The two of them agreed it was a good idea and asked Terry to join them. Terry couldn't believe it and just wanted both tractors and the trailer out of our garden so that the job could be finished and we could relax, so he refused.
Whilst they were gone, Terry got out his jack and levers and managed to raise the trailer enough (he is very strong and used to be in the Royal Engineers so knows a bit about how to tackle such tasks) to move it from it's earth tunnel, so when the two French chaps eventually came back they were most impressed and were able to pull it out with the larger tractor and continue with the rubble tipping.
Eventually the two tractors, the trailer and the two Frenchmen were gone and Terry could give in to a little pampering care on his arm. It was pretty bad for a few weeks and I worried that he'd done some permanent damage but Terry just shrugged it off and it eventually repaired itself. Fortunately!
Later that day I managed to have my own personal accident - unfortunately! Our neighbour and his family including his 98 years old mother-in-law, his wife and their two young grandchildren had all been sitting on or standing around our bench in front of the house having an evening natter over the day's adventures (which had included our neighbour tipping the borrowed mini-digger over on its side when he was manoeuvring it in his own garden after the incident in our garden!) .
My old Peugeot had been parked all day on our land over the road, so as we all started to drift off I decided to put the car in the garage (barn). It was an automatic and I pulled her forward then put her into reverse to action a three-point turn as she was facing the wrong way. Unluckily, I'd had a bit of a stiff/sore neck for a couple or so days, so after I reversed a bit, I had to take my foot right off the pedal and turn my whole body round to be able to see where the stone wall of our pig-sty was behind me. That done, I put my foot firmly on the brake (I thought) ready to take her out of reverse but in reality I'd put my foot on the accelerator pedal and my poor car shot back at quite an amazing speed into the granite pig-sty. It made a really solid bang and I just sat there (holding my head in my hands this time) saying over and over the equivalent of the French "merde!" - though in English. The word just sort of popped out and wouldn't stop and I was so very angry with myself.
The neighbours all came rushing back to see if I was hurt - but only my pride suffered, though my neck is still not quite right.. Terry was so good. I'd expected a little bit of anger or frustration as we had that year reduced the cover on the car to Third Party Fire and Theft but he was so good, more worried that I might have been hurt and shrugged and said "it's only a car".
The car itself became the only Peugeot 306 around here to have a frilly left rear wing! At first the boot wouldn't close - which would have been a problem as our dog travels in the "boot" (it's a hatch-back) but Terry managed to sort that out via a bit of banging with his chisel and mallet. The rear wing however could not be reached because of the inner skin, so in the end we sourced the nearest colour paint that we could find and sprayed it (it almost matched!) thus really improving the accident damage! My friends agreed that it was quite pretty really.
On that day my diary started off with "Oh what a day! I wish we could turn back the clock!".