Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Bright Yellow Angel

What would we do without our Guardian Angels? But have you heard of a Guardian Angel that took the guise of a bright yellow van? No, nor had I until last week.
If you've a moment to spare, I'll tell you the story.

There's a building site adjacent to where I live. Every day an incessant convoy of lorries streams past our front door. Recently the components of this convoy have changed to allow for a new stage in the development. In addition to the lorries there are
now cement-mixers.
Understandably, everything in the vicinity has been receiving a regular dusting of cement. It penetrates the windows fronting the street, and each day I dust it off my car.

Rain would have helped to lay the dust and wash it away, but for many weeks prior to my trip to Somerset there had been no rain.
I travelled down a dry and dusty M4 motorway and, whilst I was away, the sun continued to shine from a cloudless sky. It wasn't until the day of my return that the long overdue rain was forecast for the south-west.

It was evident that rain was approaching as I started for home, and the lowering clouds grew heavier as I approached Bath. Soon it was necessary to put on the headlights . . . then the rain arrived. Not a gentle shower, but a torrential downpour that had clearly come to make its mark.

For the first time for many weeks, the windscreen wipers had to be brought into action. But, as they moved up and across the screen, they drew with them a thick, white veil. In shocked disbelief, I struggled to see through the veil to the rain-drenched road beyond.
What had happened? It was only then I realised. Unbeknown to me, the cement that I had regularly dusted off the screen had become lodged behind the windscreen wipers. Now, mixing with the falling rain, it was doing what cement dust is supposed to do . . . it was turning into cement!

The car was now approaching the M4 motorway with heavy traffic on all sides. It was barely possible to see ahead, it was equally impossible to stop. The rain grew heavier, the oncoming headlights flared off the cement on the windscreen . . . the journey was fast becoming a nightmare.

Once on the motorway I was spared the oncoming headlights. Instead, I could dimly make out a very bright yellow van travelling ahead of me in the near lane. Even through the veil of cement, the yellow van was unmistakeable. Thankfully, I tucked myself in behind this gleaming vehicle and prayed that it would lead me all the way to London.

It took nearly fifty miles for the last of the cement to finally wash away from the windscreen. As clarity of vision was restored I realised that we were approaching a junction. The yellow van signalled that it was leaving the motorway and sped off to the left, leaving me, for the first time, able to focus through the windscreen to the rainswept road ahead. The clouds were lifting. I switched off the headlights.

Thanks entirely to my bright yellow Guardian Angel, I reached London safely.
As for cement mixers . . . I'll be looking at them very differently in the future!