Green Cross Man
Six-twenty on a Sunday morning, cruising along the road to Salisbury at a speed that can only be described as “Good Lord Officer, I didn’t notice the needle creeping up that far”, listening to the lovely Alison Goldfrapp singing about her infatuation with a strict machine. I had the road to myself, helter-skeltering past the Tree That Looks Like A Duck, the morning sky a shade of red that would leave any self-respecting shepherd quaking in his boots, as the morning mist rolled off the fields.
Then: an explosion of brown from the bushes not twenty feet in front of my car, closely followed by an explosion of brown in my trousers. Into the half-light sprung a fully-grown deer, leaping into the middle of the road as my right foot hammered down on the brake pedal, missing the thing by no more than a hoof’s width.
Barely breaking step, it disappeared into the field on the other side of the road, where he took a proper bollocking from a clearly livid Tufty*. The whole episode lasted no more than two seconds, and my rampant braking has taken no more than 20mph off my speed, so a collision would have been a right bloody mess.
My first reaction: “My God, that would have buggered up my car”, was probably not, in hindsight, the correct one. Nor was the second “There’s good eating on one of those”, come to think of it.
Third time’s a charm: “Bloody hell, I nearly run over a deer!”
And then, in a cloud of feathers, I reamed a pheasant. Sorry.
* Renewing my car insurance this week, I am still obliged to mention a certain incident in 2002, in which the elderly Tufty Club lady drove her Metro into my car at about 10 mph. A classic accelerator/brake confusion that's done for many a farmers' market in the past, her cries of "Forty years! I've had my no claims bonus for forty years!" fell on deaf ears. You would have thought she would have known better.