Disaster Averted

This morning Jesus beamed down on the Isle of Wight and The Needles as we drove to Milford on Sea to collect repeat prescriptions.

A black crow menaced a pair of white gulls settled on the wet tarmac of Paddy’s Gap car park.

We continued to Keyhaven and ignored the initial Road Closed sign at the entrance to Saltgrass Lane because we knew that at high tide this narrow, winding, thoroughfare is always

closed, because the road is often awash.

This was a shame today because I couldn’t approach the kite surfers who were enjoying

their acrobatics fuelled by the blustering winds.

Overwintering Brent Geese gathering in a field were intermittently joined by

flying couples

and straggly skeins clearing Hurst Castle

and its lighthouse.

As I photographed these two views and yachts risen to the surface on the tide

Jackie pictured the whole stretch,

and me.

Venturing further inland we found Undershore decidedly damp – reflecting pools stretched from side to side and mud washed down from the verges threaded longitudinal serpentine streaks down the centre.

Even as we neared midday the sun was very low in the sky, and most dazzling as we ascended the steep incline of the narrow Holmsley Passage with its eroded tarmac. When a cluster of two abreast silhouetted cyclists emerged at speed over the brow of the hill there seemed no way they could possibly avoid splatting lycra across the bonnet of our Modus. At best, their brakes would send them into a spin beneath our wheels.

Fortunately I am often observing that simple self preservation would prevent me from speeding around bends and down hills in the way that many of these enthusiasts do. “How could they possibly stop?” is my mantra. And even more fortunately Jackie is an excellent driver with sensible reflexes. She knows to anticipate such menaces.

Even so, had she simply applied her brakes and stopped, collisions would have been inevitable. She did the only thing she could. She took the car off the road.

The main bunch of riders continued down the hill and Jackie’s axle crunched the eroded road surface as her off side wheels dropped into the lowered lacuna.

The two following cyclists stopped and came back to help. Of course the car had needed to be relieved of my weight. This had not ceased the terrifying crunching sound. The driver of an oncoming car added his observations, but without the two cyclists we would have been in real trouble. The gentleman crouched on his hands and knees to see what was happening and to guide a reversing manoeuvre. Jackie felt relieved that she had not been standing behind our lycra clad samaritan as he adopted that position.

Eventually we were on the road and the oncoming vehicle reversed to allow our passage.

Back home, as we entered the porch, we rejoiced in a pink climbing rose,

cheerful pansies in a hanging basket,

and nasturtiums still scaling the garage door trellis All was well.

This evening, for our dinner, Jackie produced succulent lamb steaks; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips and onions; with crunchy carrots and Brussel’s sprouts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more wof the red Bordeaux.


  1. Well, that was lucky – on at least two points I note πŸ™‚ The world seems to be full of ignorance these days – thank heavens that horde was closely followed by three folk who weren’t. Close calls always seem to make us more appreciative of the ordinary beauty of the day, don’t they.

  2. Idiots. Don’t they know that you do not surrender to the force of gravity on a bicycle unless you can see ahead or know that the traffic is one-way? Doing a kamikaze is asking for disaster.

  3. Hooray to the careful motorist and a gentle boo to cyclists who were going faster than they could see to stop safely. A lovely rose to give a peaceful end to your post.

    1. Thank you very much, Tootlepedal. The problem is that those who come here for pleasure do not know these roads and a minority behave as if they were in a velodrome.

  4. I’ve been helped a time or two by good ol’ boys in pickup trucks who were more accustomed to things like soggy soil than I was. No close calls in my case, but I do carry a tow strap in my car now, just in case I land somewhere that’s a bit mucky.

    I’m glad no one was injured in your encounter, including your car. We seem to be hearing about more bicyclist injuries here these days, often due to riders cruising through stoplights and otherwise ignoring rules of the road. It’s not all of them, for sure, but it’s a concern — not only for the bicyclists, but also for the drivers they could put in danger. I would have been focusing on the flowers when I got home, too.

  5. Thank goodness for Jackie! And those cyclist helpers! I’m glad everyone is safe!
    Things can happen so fast…it’s scary.
    Those sweet pansy faces always make smile!
    I really enjoy the photos Jackie takes of you while you are busy taking photos, Derrick! So unique and wonderful! πŸ™‚
    You could do a whole post of those photos some day! Maybe?!? Please?!?
    HUGS to all!

  6. All’s well that ends well, I suppose, but that must have been a very traumatic event. Many cyclists seem to behave as if they are superheroes, immune from all harm.

  7. Well, that was an interesting outing, scary too. We notice the very same, cyclists in large groups who come out from the cities and take over our country lanes with no thought to those of us who live here or may be just around the bend.

    Love those dark clouds with beams of light.
    We have our first winter snow this morning it looks very pretty but I hope it doesn’t set in for the day.

      1. I live on a narrow, winding country lane where some parts are not wide enough to overtake one cyclist, and the groups coming towards us from around the bends are an accident waiting to happen. Thanks Liz.

  8. A bit of a rough outing yesterday – I sure hope today’s goes more smoothly. Nice of the cyclists to come back to help though. Here in FL, cyclists on our A1A route along the ocean feel they own the roadway – so much so that they have brought cases to court.

  9. What a day! That seems to have been a close shave for the cyclists, courtesy quick-witted Jackie, and the mantra β€œHow could they possibly stop?” Having said that, the said mantra is more a rule out here in India. The rising rose and her friends have duly welcomed you back home.

  10. Derrick, I should say, you and the bicyclists avoid disaster. Oh, my! They need to be more cautious on narrow roads. I liked your description of the β€˜serpentine’ lines in the road. Keep up the great writing and photo journalism!

  11. Thank goodness for Jackie’s quick reactions and thinking Derrick.. Or real disaster may have struck those cyclists.. And fortunate there are some good Samaritans about, Loved the photos Derrick, and Yes, sometimes I feel some one is looking down on us..
    Take care.. So happy to be reconnecting in WP this weekend and saw this post Derrick..
    Have a Wonderful Christmas both of you, Take care and stay safe..
    <3 πŸ™‚

  12. I’m thankful the cyclists stopped to help and that Jackie is such a good driver. May you continue your adventures in the days ahead escorted by guardian angels.

  13. It’s been my observation, both as a cyclist (wearing loose comfortable clothing) and a driver, that with these sorts of idiots the tighter the lycra, the less chance the blood has to get to the brain . Thank goodness all was well in the end.

  14. It is always good to hear disaster has been averted! I am glad everyone is alright.

    Some of your gardens are still trying to bloom! That is a welcome sight in winter.

  15. Well done Jackie! These lycra-clad cycling teams are a menace here, too. I am pleased a couple stopped and helped you. I love the ‘Jesus’ beams and the pretty flowers!

Leave a Reply