Saturday, February 17, 2007

Third in the Snowman's Rally

We have workmen coming on Tuesday to do something with the ceiling by the back door. For a long time we had a bath that leaked, and the water dribbled through to the hall downstairs. It is quite scary watching as the light bulb on the ceiling used to fill up with water.

Well when we finally got around to replacing the bath, someone suggested that we might be able to claim on the insurance to get the downstairs ceiling repaired. A survey revealed that there is asbestos lurking, so we have people coming in to dismantle the thing safely and build us a new ceiling. The insurance will also cover replacing the wallpaper.

All of this is just one huge introduction to something entirely unrelated to all of that! Having to clear out the back end of the hall of all the rubbish we have hoarded, we took a couple of boxes of stuff down to the recycling centre. Much of it may not be worth recycling, but it is someone else’s problem now.

On the way back home, we went by way of the Caledonian Thistle Football ground. I thought it would be a quiet road and an easy roundabout to negotiate on the way home. I was wrong. The car park was full, and at first Joe thought maybe Calley were playing at home, but that was not the case. The car park was full of lorries and racing cars. It was the starting point for the Snowman’s Rally. The route takes in the road to Loch Ness and surrounding forest trails and things.

We have very fond memories of the Snowman’s Rally – Joe likes to think that we came third one year! We must have been married at the time and it being near to the Valentine weekend, we had booked a hotel on the edge of Loch Ness. I think we hired a car. On the way out towards Loch Ness, we noticed that at every lay-by along the road there were hulking great lorries with men rolling tyres down ramps. It was all very curious.

Suddenly from behind us there was a whooshing sound and a race car shot past us at very high speed. I think we blinked, not quite able to believe it. This was closely followed by another whoosh as another race car sped by.

The local paper warns people long in advance about the race and the course. They don’t close the roads or anything, you just take your chances. We were on the middle of the Snowman’s Rally – currently third, according to Joe.

My first instinct was to get off the road quick, but all the lay-bys were taken over by the lorries. I drove to the next village, Drumnadrochit, and took a right, assuming I would be off the route and safe. Whoosh, another racing car sped by – the race route also took a right at the village and we were still in the race – currently fourth!

We finally managed to get off the road, when the route took a left into a forest track, but our troubles were not entirely over. Spectators had parked along the road – both sides of the road, and coming towards us was one of the big lorries. Remember, I was in a hire car at the time. I had hysterics! Somewhere in that moment I just lost it! I was all for abandoning the car and walking back to the village to find a bus stop. I hauled my nerves together, and I might have closed my eyes too, as our car and the big lorry passed within millimetres of each other.

So, yes, the Snowman’s Rally! I wanted something stronger than a cup of tea when we found a cafĂ© a mile or two down the road.

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