When I visited my Grandma’s farm out in the countryside in the early sixties, I drove there by a relatively new motor scooter; always good fun! On arrival, following a nice cup of typically English tea, I was asked if I could carry a load of hay bales from over the other side of the farm over a covered barn from the field beyond. Well, I thought, a walk in the park. Or as it transpired, a walk on the farm.
Whether ingenuity, plain laziness, or knowing that straw bales weighed a theoretical tonne, dragging each one from the field beyond, would have been rather challenging. Suddenly, a bright light sparked in my teenage mind, and my heart decided to do it the easy way; at least that was the initial idea.
Brilliant! Just put a bale of hay at a time on the scooter’s luggage rack. A walk in the park! Well initially I did try two bales; loading them onto the back of the scooter with the mission of reducing the task by half, but it proved rather challenging to navigate a two-wheeled scooter with the front wheel pointing skywards. Ready for take-off? Scooters and hay bales are not exactly made for such adventures.
Driving up and down the field at quite a pace (for a teenager there is only one speed: fast). A few trips and the bales were mounting up rather well in the barn. Even one bale at a time and ‘flying’ to and from the other field, the bale run was almost accomplished.
Then, loaded with yet another bale of hay, belting along the grass field, a seemingly invisible force bordering on what could have been a primary barrier or event horizon leading to a different space-time continuum, lifted the front of the scooter skywards as if sending the scooter and myself up and up at the speed of light into the stratosphere, heading for the Infinite Universe.
The bale of hay went flying (well it fell off the rack, but it felt as though it was escaping the wrath of Nature). Then suddenly, like a catapult, the scooter powering away at full throttle, yours truly hanging on for dear life as if trying to remain on the saddle of a runaway horse, and faced with choosing a trip to the Universe, or a sudden landing, the scooter flew backwards as if a primary force was preventing access to the field with the diminishing number of hay bales.
At the time; perhaps the Universe possessed intuitive vibes and vibration from the scooter’s howling engine. Thank goodness the scooter had a windscreen. Not the most trendy accessory in the sixties; there being mods and rockers and in those days a windscreen would have been seen as over-safe suggesting the owner feared the wind and rain.
Never the twain shall meet. Time to ’bale’ out as if it was the last straw (apologies for the pun).
Then experiencing what seemed to be a force beyond planet Earth’s gravitational pull or perhaps the Moon’s tidal force having moved inland to play games with a mere human daring to encroach upon its territory, I eventually came to earth.
Eventually, after what seemed to be a lifetime suspended in a zero-gravity environ, the scooter relaxed and came thumping down to reality. Now reality was not such a pleasing scenario! Until it dawned upon me that reality was a continued existence.
I had escaped brutal decapitation (well in theory, more of a ripping yarn).
Having missed the gap in the fence, and not even seeing it, I had flown into the barbed wire; almost invisible behind the plastic windscreen. Then experiencing what seemed to be a force beyond planet Earth’s gravitational pull or perhaps the Moon’s tidal force having moved inland to play games with a mere human daring to encroach upon its territory, I eventually came to earth.
Taking a few moments to reflect upon the near off-the-scooter maelstrom potentially sending me spiraling up then down into a vortex of illusional terror, I rose to the surface wondering whether it was an out-of-body experience. On seeing the enormous gashes on the windscreen, the full horror of the potential disaster came home to my mind like a thump on the head by a flying hay bale of hay. Well, what else?
Now the moral of the story is, although optimum to make hay while the sun shines, trying to fly through a barbed wire fence without a windscreen would have potentially released my soul and dispatched me to Heaven; well as a teenager, naturally.
And what would I be told on arrival at Heaven’s door? Or at least the screening.
“Hay! Wire you here? Do you expect to be ‘baled’ out?”
Down to earth and time to reflect! I drove back gently, the scars of carrying a bale of hay through barbed wire, visibly ‘resplendent’ on the windscreen for all to see. But would anyone believe my story? It would be more credible to say that a giant eagle had attacked me.
On popping in to say goodbye to Grandma, she thanked me for completing the job and commented that it must have been warm work as my face was red and glowing like a torch in the darkness! And where did that eagle come from? Well, where eagles dare, angels fear to tread.
All I can say is, God drives a motor scooter. Later in life, it became obvious that God preferred to drive a 4 litre Jeep Cherokee, And that reminds me of another anecdote…