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I had just got home when the phone went.

It was Trot’s, who asked me over for supper. She had just moved into the area with her (then) first husband.

Trot’s is a riot. Very funny, very entertaining and always larger than life. I 've never met anyone else who has spent an entire afternoon pretending to be a fire extinguisher as part of thier degree course.

She asked me to arrive at eight o’clock. That gave me time to have a bath and do a few other essential manly things.

I can’t remember where it came from but I had some rather nice grass at the time and rolled myself a joint before my bath.

In hindsight this is probably where everything started to go slightly awry. However, feeling much more relaxed, I settled into a warm bath. After a few minutes I glanced at my watch.

‘Shit. It’s ten to eight’.

For some strange reason I decided I must be on time and that if I was even one second late Trot’s perfect supper would be ruined and she’d never talk to me again.

It seemed so rational at the time.

I leapt out of the bath, dried and dressed. I grabbed my helmet, jacket and some cash and zoomed out of the door. I couldn’t arrive without a bottle of wine and I knew exactly where I wanted to go. I got on my motorbike and hared down Sheen Lane. I overtook all the cars waiting at the traffic lights and waited for the green light.

It seemed to take forever.

Eventually it changed and I accelerated to the wine shop and ran inside. It was 7.46 pm. I went straight to the white burgundies and quickly choose a Mersault. I paid for it and leapt back on my bike.

‘Oh shit ‘ I thought, I’m going to be late and she’ll never talk to me again. 7.49 pm.

Then inspiration struck. I could take a short cut and avoid the traffic lights again. Opposite the wine shop was a street that cut the corner. If I took the second turning to the right, a gentle forty five degree turn, it brought me back onto the south circular and I’d still be able to make her house by 8.00 pm.

Brilliant.

I had to wait ages for a car to turn into the same road I wanted to take.

‘Why were cars always so slow?’

‘Why couldn’t she accelerate a bit faster?’

Finally she turned right and I followed her down the street. Being an older part of Sheen the streets were narrow and the cars parked on both sides. This meant there wasn’t a lot of room for overtaking. About fifty yards down the road it widened enough for me to pass her.

Free at last.

I accelerated a bit more as I approached the gentle curve. I leant into the bend and looked for the road to straighten out.

It didn’t.

It got tighter.

‘Shit’.

It was the wrong road.

It wasn’t the one I was expecting. It was a ninety degree bend and I was going too fast to get round.

The first thing to do was put the brakes on. Very hard. I heard the ABS chatter as it reduced my panic pressure.

It was then a case of deciding which vehicle to hit. Try a broadsides and hope to stay on or just hit one up the backside.

It was definitely one of the times when things happen in slow motion. I choose to rear end a rather nice white Vauxhall.

In case my mother is reading this I wasn’t going very fast when I hit it. Probably no more than ten miles an hour because I’d been braking so hard.

There was a certain crunching sound as my forks hit the car and stoved in the centre of the car’s boot. The bike pitched a little left and I fell off. I remember my gently hitting the pavement with my head.

As is entirely normal in these situations I leapt up to see who had been watching.

Luckily there was no one in sight, but, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a twitching lace curtain .

‘Bugger’ I thought. I suppose I’ll have to do the decent thing and leave my name and address.

I duly found pen and paper and left the requisite note.

If I’d been brighter it would have said: ‘I’m leaving this on your windscreen because some one has seen me hit your car. I’m terribly sorry but it was entirely an accident.’

I heaved my bike upright and rode at a somewhat reduced pace to Trot’s for dinner.

I naturally regaled them with my tale. For some strange reason they promptly decided I should walk home.

I thought no more about it. I never heard a thing from my honestly, if reluctantly, left note. I even bought a new helmet in case I'd damaged it hitting my head on the ground.

A few months later, I was, as usual, sitting in the bath on a Saturday morning when the phone went.

I had got fed up with the phone going during my one hour soak so I had installed one between the bath and the loo. I thoroughly recommend it for a more productive life. Not only can you take calls but also make them (although it does sound a bit echoy) during truly relaxing moments.

I answered in my usual stupid voice expecting it to be one of my sisters. There was a slight delay from the other end.

‘Oops, it’s not some one I know’.

‘Hello, this is Stephanie’

She sounded rather nice.

‘Hi, I’m Jerome’

‘Do you live in Sheen?’

‘Yes, why do you ask?’

Perhaps I could get her phone number.

‘Well, I went to Thailand with my boyfriend on holiday for three months and parked our car in a quiet street in Sheen before taking the train to Heathrow.’

‘We thought ‘What could be better than a quiet street in suburbia where nothing ever happens?’

‘We got back a few days ago to find the boot had a big ‘V’ shaped dent in it. But then we saw your note and our faith in mankind was restored.’

‘We’ve had a quote for four hundred pounds to get it fixed. It’s a lot because the force of the impact has distorted the floor of the boot’.

It took me a while to remember the incident at all.

‘Oh shit', again.

After some negotiations I got them to take cash so they wouldn’t make a claim.

I also decided never to smoke and ride again.



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