It was half three in the morning and I was fast asleep at the time, body resting, brain fizzing. George Clinton was delivering the milk as usual, in the distance there was the smell of honey wafting across a corn field – which may or may not have been on fire – and for some reason I couldn’t make my legs work fast enough to catch up with George for a chat as he walked away.
And then – KERRTHUMP! – a huge juggernaut drove straight into the back of George’s milk-float, and I sat bolt upright in bed, wondering.
But then there was another almighty crash, and this time it was real and just outside our house because I was awake. And I knew instantly what the sound was – that of one car making contact with another, followed by the unique tinkling of glass breaking as, presumably, the remains of a headlight scattered itself across the street.
I fired myself out of bed, ran to the front door, opened it up as fast as I could and couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing – which was a Golf being driven the wrong way up our one-way street, veering from side to side, clouting one car and then the next as it careened its way up the road.
By then it was far too far away to get the number plate. And then a dreadful thought punctured my still slumbered mind; where’s the 1M parked, and has it been clobbered by Mr (or Mrs, or possibly even Ms) stoned-out-of-their-mind VW Golf?
Fortunately the answer was no, the 1M was still in one piece. Unlike the Virgin Media van that was parked right outside our house, or our neighbour’s Peugeot 306, or the TT that lives a bit further up the road; each of these had been smacked, and smacked hard, by the Golf. And yet no one, it turns out, got the number plate.
Our quiet little street in Hove (well it’s a quiet enough street for Hove, put it that way) is still reeling in mild shock, not knowing quite what to do with itself, several days later. But what CAN you do when someone does something like that? Phone the insurance company, fill out the forms, go the police station, get a crime reference number – and then (try to) carry on as if nothing had happened.
Except in two people’s cases they will have no car for the weeks, if not months it’ll take the insurance assessors to put a tick in the box. And then their premiums will go through the roof…and we will all continue to wonder why it costs so much to insure our cars nowadays?