A more recent occasion when I neglected to grab a camera, was a couple of weeks ago while driving on (I think) the M6, to visit friends in the north of England. We were in the fast lane of four, when traffic came to a crawl. In the distance we could see smoke and, as we moved nearer, the smoke turned blacker and there was certainly more of it. We were already worried but became extremely alarmed when we were close enough to see that it was coming from a vehicle that was on our inside lane. Traffic had started to move faster as everyone wanted to pass it as quickly as possible.

To our horror, as we grew closer, the vehicle, a car, suddenly burst into flames and, of course, the traffic slowed almost to a halt. The driver and passengers moved well away from the vehicle and were waiting for the assistance we could hear coming, in the distance. Within seconds, as the flames grew higher, it seemed that drivers alongside couldn’t pass fast enough but when the flames grew fiercer, everyone became more cautious. Quite soon, we found that all the traffic in front of us, between frequent stops, had driven on, leaving us heading the queue behind! We could visualise an explosion at any moment and didn’t want to be opposite it, within yards… What to do…? No fire brigade around… Nobody waving directions!

Then, luckily, a huge vehicle started to move forward on the lane next to us and my daughter, at the wheel, took a chance and relied on its protection should the worst happen! We couldn’t get away fast enough and, not surprisingly, the road was far less crowded for miles afterwards. We sincerely hope that nobody was injured but too much was happening in the limited time we spent at our destination for us to follow TV News or read papers.

I couldn’t have guessed then, that our own car would have to be carried off the motorway in France! In the yard there, the following week, I saw, within three hours, seven more cars carried in and lined up, awaiting instruction from insurers. Looking at the state of most of them, our own misfortune began to pale into insignificance.

Come to think of it – I wonder where our car is now… Could it be on its journey home, riding on a transporter? Will it arrive in Spain tomorrow? There is no point in worrying, especially when I reflect on just how awful things might have been.

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