The incident with Mum’s scooter!
While staying in Essex (1965), it was decided that I could use Mum’s Lambretta scooter occasionally. One day, I thought it would be nice to visit Peterborough and so, with their consent (of course), off I went.
At about an hour into the journey, I was traveling probably around 55-60mph along a country road when something went very wrong (it was later determined that the engine had seized up). All I knew was that the scooter started to hesitate, and then I woke up on the grass at the side of the road with dirt in my mouth. I could see the scooter in the roadside hedge.
A number of cars slowed down, but did not stop (seeing a man lying on the grass at the side of the road and a motor scooter in a hedge nearby was clearly insufficient reason). In a short time however, one person did stop. I crawled over to the car and tried to pull myself up to his open window, but could not put any weight on my legs, so the car driver said that he would call an ambulance for me.
After he had gone, I tried once again to stand up and, after a few attempts, did manage it. Clearly nothing was broken. I walked around with a little difficulty (presumably strained muscles), until I felt that I could pull the scooter out of the hedge… which I duly did. The only obvious sign of damage was what was left of a shattered windshield.
I put it on its stand; sat on it and, being a smoker at that time, did what every smoker does in that situation. I had a cigarette! I happened to catch my face with my hand and was rather disturbed by the amount of blood now on my hand! I realized then that I must have gone through the windshield! Regardless, I was sitting on the scooter feeling relatively good (considering the circumstances) when I saw flashing lights coming in my direction. It soon became obvious that it was an ambulance, and I watched with interest as it went speeding by me, presumably on its way to an emergency.
About 5 minutes or so later, it came back and stopped. They were apparently looking for an accident scene and just saw me as a scooter rider who had stopped and was having a break! The situation was resolved and they took me to a hospital in the nearest town, and made arrangements for the scooter to be picked up and taken to a garage very close to the accident location. Other than many superficial scratches on my face, there was no damage.
After having all the scratches cleaned up, and a general all over check, I was discharged from the hospital. This posed a bit of a problem because I did not know the area I was in, and had no method of transport. I found out the address of the garage where the scooter would now be, and also that there was a rather infrequent country bus service which passed relatively close to that garage.
I think I had to wait about an hour for the bus but during my eventual ride, and considering how I must have looked, the driver was obviously inquisitive. He decided that, as I was the only one on the bus, he would detour and drop me off outside the garage. Such a nice driver!
Sadly I cannot remember how the story ended. I think (not too sure) that the garage owner arranged to have the scooter transported to a garage nearer to home. Did I go along with it? I could have been picked up by my Dad on his scooter, but how would I have contacted him? They did not have a phone, and I have no recollections of ever calling him at work. Those details will probably always be a mystery… but all ended well (with the exception of Mum’s scooter which needed some engine work)!