Clement invited us and Karen to inspect his new country pile. Charlotte, Alan and Charlotte’s mother, Lucia, were also asked along. They knew the way so we decided to follow them in their car. We took the Torba Road, one of the most perilous on the peninsula. It had been raining earlier in the day and the pot-holed, uncambered road was liberally puddled. As we approached a tight bend a coach conveying early bird tourists careered towards us. Liam slammed on the breaks. The car skated uncontrollably towards the coach, bounced off the side and performed a pirouette the great Margot Fontaine would have been proud of. Miraculously, the car came to rest neatly at the side of the road. Shaken but not stirred, Liam looked around to see which of his petrified charges had snuffed it. It was a relief that we were all still in the land of the living but my lower half had moistened uncontrollably.
Charlotte and Alan realised that we were no longing tailing them and returned to find us. They parked up on the opposite side of the road and crossed over to our car leaving Lucia in the front passenger seat. Within minutes, like a set piece from ‘Casualty’, a car sped around the same bend, skidded on the same oily wet patch and hurtled towards Lucia. The car ricocheted off the driver’s door and crashed into the ditched verge. Liam fretted that the driver had not survived the impact and ran to the rescue. Others ran towards Lucia fearing the worst. The ditched man climbed unscathed and smiling from his battered Fiat. It seemed he rather enjoyed the theatre of it all. Before we knew it we were all up to our ankles in mud attempting to haul his sorry wreck back onto the road. Lucia was extracted unharmed, a little shaken but otherwise in fine fettle. As the fiasco unfolded more cars joined the elaborate ice dance, skids and near misses piling up like a scene from ‘Wacky Races’. Fearful that she might join the casualty count Karen sensibly disappeared into the woods for safety. Lucia joined her.
The damage to both our cars was astonishingly slight and the matter was glossed over with the coach driver in a typically Turkish way – a nod, a wink, a half-hearted exchange of details and rounded off with a hearty handshake. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to Clement’s that day.