About twenty years ago we lived in rural Aberdeenshire; just outside a tiny village called Monymusk.
It was an idyllic location with no neighbours for at least a mile. Our house was completely on its own, on a road that ran alongside the beautiful River Don. It wasn’t quite the edge of the world, but you could definitely see it from there !
All the roads around were so narrow that they were more C roads than A or B, and they had those little passing places where one car could squeeze in to allow anything coming in the opposite direction to slowly slip past. Luckily there was hardly any traffic bar the occasional tractor or intrepid fisherman
I drove a Mini at the time that had nothing in the way of brakes. It actually belonged to my son, who was an apprentice motor mechanic.
He was “doing it up” and I didn’t have a car of my own then. Well as the roads were so quiet I didn’t see much traffic so I soon mastered the art of changing down to slow the car and I found that I could coast into parking spaces in town. In fact I got so good that I forgot I had no proper braking system.
It all went horribly wrong one day when I was hurtling down a fairly steep hill, taking my daughter to ballet classes.
The road was completely deserted and we had built up quite a head of steam and then way down in the distance at the bottom of the hill I saw a farmer moving his sheep from one field to another, with the aid of two sheepdogs.
Now this hill was a very long slope so I started to brake and change down and pray as fast as I could and thankfully the farmer saw me and got all the sheep into the field. I had slowed down quite a lot by now and was probably doing about 15mph as I came up to him. Well, just then, one of the dogs looked away and a sheep saw its chance and darted out in front of me and I hit it, full on.
Well that stopped me of course and I was shaking and sobbing …….. my daughter was sort of snivelling. The farmer came over, all concerned, to see if I was OK and I knew the poor sheep was probably breathing its last at the front of the car . The bonnet of the Mini was ………well ………not bonnet shaped. I wanted to die. Then, all of a sudden, the sheep jumped up, shook itself, glared at me, glared at the sheepdog and then trotted off into the field !
I was a complete wreck !!
I called on the farmer the next day and the sheep was fine. I had spent all night worrying about the consequences and the farmer had been worried that I was going to report him for not being in charge of his flock !!!
I think the sheep and I both got off very lightly ! …………….and the farmer, too, for that matter. A lesson for us all ……..
The Mini had new brakes the very next day !