Saturday, 21 September 2013

In which I am attacked by a speed boat and Grace plunges under a train


I loved Greece.. I really, really did.  Only there was one ineey meeny mini bikini moment where it could all have gone a bit well ..I believe the expression is ‘tits up’.

We go on this boat to see turtles. We see a turtle. We pootle a bit further around the coast past beautiful coves and cliffs like this. A couple of times the boat stops and everyone jumps off to swim and snorkel. I don’t snorkel anymore but I too dive off the side into the warm, shimmering water and then clamber back up the boat’s ladder.

Only the second time I am clambering up I hear screaming from the boat.  Many people screaming at the top of their lungs in several languages...

Eh?  I think turning around.  That sounds bad for someone.

It is. For me.

You see a man and his wife had hired a twin engine speed boat and had decided for some insane reason, to pull up close to where people from our boat were swimming. A few minutes earlier, my snorkelling brother in law had dived down just in time as the boat had bumbled lethally over his head, engines churning the water to meringue.

The idiot man on the boat jumps off to swim leaving his wife in the boat. She doesn’t know what she is doing.  She pushes a button and the engines rise up from the water, one prop still turning slowly, blades dripping.


Only she hasn’t thrown down the anchor and the boat drifts fast on the current directly into our turtle boat and directly into me – pinning me up against the ladder. One blade of one engine cuts into my waist and the weight of the boat knocks the breath from me and beings to squash me, like a bug, against the side of the turtle boat.


I don’t exactly know what happened next.  I DO know that with my little tunnel of sight I saw exactly what I needed to see.. where to push – and I did - with all my might. And all that crazy intense training worked. The weight lifts and the boat is pushed back and away. I am not crushed...in fact hardly hurt at all.

When I am dragged up onto our turtle boat by tearful, yelling people who have all assumed I am either dead or horribly mutilated, I am quite calm and cheery. A Frenchwoman, whose kids had climbed the ladder ahead of me, weeps as she wipes blood from my side.

‘It’s a tiny cut,’ I say and it is but she seems not to hear me.

The tour guide Sue’s lips are pure white. ‘I can’t believe it..’ she repeats over and over.

‘I am okay,’ I say.  Her eyes are wide. 

My sister and Steven appear looking grim faced having watched it all from the water.  Tears pop into Rachma’s eyes. 

‘I am really fine,’  I say.  ‘Okay my elbow is a bit sore.’

The captain and crew bring ouzo to toast the miracle of me not being masticated by the motor boat.

‘I am absolutely okay,’ I say again. And I am. I suspect I may be superhuman.

We decide no more boats and spend much of the rest of the holiday at the wonderful little taverna I mentioned a couple of posts ago, Shoestrings, run by beautiful Christina and family and with Chef Jonathon cooking up wonderful food.

Shoestrings
I cannot recommend it highly enough. Go there if you are ever in Zante!

And now I am back and my tan is looking grubby but I milk the story as much as possible. In fact I told it a couple of times last week in Liverpool, whilst at a conference. (It was a cracking conference.  ‘Avoidance at the Academy’ and I meet many wonderful, like-minded and passionate fellow academics who may well feature here in the future... )

Tired but happy Grace and I are heading home from said conference and get as far as Bristol Temple Meads Station. 

We step off the end carriage but the platform curves away slightly so the gap is wide. Grace tries to jump across but the harness pulls her back and she slips, back legs first and plunges all the way down and under the train. 

I am not my superhuman self this time. I squat down on the train step, screaming like a banshee, refusing to let go of Grace’s harness even though I can’t see her in the darkness below.  I screech and weep and I don’t care.  People crowd around and in two minutes she is rescued UNHURT from under the train. I shut my mouth and wipe my eyes and carry on screaming silently for the rest of the journey home and for the next 24 hours. I am surprised when my hair doesn’t turn white.

Grace's round
Grace, however, is quite upbeat and cheery. ‘I am fine’ she seems to say.  ‘Really.’ And she is. Super dog.

2 comments:

The Bug said...

Wow - two close calls - brought tears to MY eyes! So glad you're both ok - and superhuman (er, superdog? for Grace?)!

Susan Shapiro said...

Good lord Tanvir I'm going to wrap you and Grace in bubble wrap from now on