I was forced to make an emergency call yesterday:
‘Hola Fernando . . . ‘
‘Hola, Hola. How’s it going?’
‘Good, good, thank you. You?’
‘Good, yes, good. The olives are done, now the rain . . .’
‘Yeah yeah. Are you at the farm?’
‘Yes . . .’
‘Do you think you could you possibly come down to the track please?’
‘Sure, what’s . . .’
‘Can you COME. NOW.’
‘I’m on my . . .’
‘NOW! NOW! NOW!’ I shriek hysterically. ‘I”M STUCK! . . . I’M SLIPPING! . . . OH *&%$£*!’
Ah yes. I’m amazed I had my phone on me. I hung up and hunted around in my bag for a book, a chocolate, some form of distraction – nothing – while forcing my entire body weight on the brake pedal. And then I studied the sky (at which the car was pointed) philosophically, and whistled a little and thought about my To Do list and how funny cats are as the Peugeot eased softly backwards down the track towards ditch, gully, curve, and concrete sided culvert because THE BRAKES NEED FIXING, the tyres are for cities, and the track is made of WET MUD.
Some minutes later I saw Fernando’s head appear over the top of the hill. I gave a silent yelp of relief, although, as he pointed out when he reached the car window, there wasn’t a lot he could do. ‘Can’t you get in?’ I wheedled. ‘Nope’, he said. We were a badly miscast Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in a pastoral, low key version of Speed. If I took my foot off the pedal, the car was going to go down the hill, and there was too much mud to go up it. Fernando offered to push it up the 45 degree incline, but I didn’t think that was going to work.
In the end I was persuaded to lift my foot a fraction of a millimetre and to allow the car to slither, with his guidance and persistent entreaties, back from whence we’d come.
After a similar amount of time, I was persuaded to attempt the mount once again which I did from a racing start with plenty of frenzied attack, not only getting to the top this time, but flying over the summit, albeit sideways, and coming to rest beside the farm gates.