Saturday, July 11, 2009

Peek in the Past - Watling Street and Old Aggie's Wisdom Tooth

In my last post, I mentioned a scary incident where one of my stories diverted family attention from disaster. More about this adventure today.

In 1950s England there were no motorways (freeways), and little old English roads wandered here and there through villages and towns in whimsical fashion. And still do, by the way. However, ancient Roman Roads connected larger cities with straight/ish lines. Most Roman Roads now have new roads built over them, such as the A5.

The A5 is a major road in the UK. It was also the first Roman built road in England hence the name Roman Road. It runs for about 260 miles from London to Holyhead, Wales, following in part a section of the Roman route which the Anglo-Saxons name Watling Street.

Although the A5 was an improvement on minor roads, in the 1950s it had many bends, bridges, and narrow places. It was on one of these winding, tight roads that our family drama took place. I still remember details to this day.

My Mum and Dad were in the front seats, with Dad driving. I was in the back, sandwiched between my twin siblings (no seat belts in UK then), telling them a story. I was about 8 and they were 5½. We were returning home from a visit to our aunt and uncle who lived in Watford, Hertfordshire.

My story had reached a gripping moment (Minny the Tooth Fairy, who lived in old Aggie’s wisdom tooth, was about to be slaughtered by the dentist), when both my parents gasped and my Dad let out a scary yell. And nope, they weren’t engrossed by my zany tale. The horror was on the road ahead.

We had crossed a narrow bridge and were about to round a blind bend. I looked up and saw a massive lorry (truck) coming at us, using most of the road. By some miracle, Dad managed to flip the wheel and take us up the embankment, teetering along the edge before lurching back onto the road the other side of the fiercely hooting lorry.

Fortunately, because they were still living in my fairy tale, the twins didn’t panic. They were low enough in the seat to miss the drama, and simply poked me to carry on with the story. I’m sure my voice must have trembled. I can’t remember how Minny escaped from Aggie's tooth because my brain still clings to reruns of the near crash.

Looking back, and knowing what I now know about angels, I think one must have been helping us that day. Come to think of it, I've had more than a few narrow escapes on British roads. Another incident much later in life was equally frightening. But more about that another day. And yes, it was writing related :-)

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JoAnn Arnold said...

I agree with you. I think angels are with us everyday. Thank you for sharing.