I am gutted. Inconsolable. My beloved Corsa Bas which, admittedly, only cost me £500 three years ago has been totalled by an idiot driver who seemed apparently unaware of the danger of speeding down a hill covered in snow and ice.
Mrs R and I were resting peacefully in our bed at 4am on Wednesday morning when our serenity was shattered by a loud bang and crash. Oh dear, we thought, another accident on Blackberry Hill, the main road which passes our idyllic little close in Stapleton. My wife nudged me in a typical wifely way and whispered: "Go and see what has happened?" She did it with a smile on her face, thinking she was encouraging voyeurism at its finest.
When I pulled back the curtain, though, my world shattered around me. There was some saloon car with its front nose buried into Basil's side.
It had been snowing all night and my first conclusion was that the car had reached the bend in the hill, braked and tried to turn, hit a patch of ice, risen up and over the little triangular green outside our house, passed between a big tree and some metal signposts and then smashed into Bas at what must have been a decent speed. Oww!
I went out and the damage was as bad as I feared. The bloke responsible - a taxi driver I believe who was returning home late at night - apologised and said he had just lost control of the car on the icy road. He then had the audacity to ask if it might be possible to move my car! Well, it was before he destroyed it, I almost said.
But, biting my lip and showing my new, calmer side, I dutifully sat in the driver's seat and released the handbrake, letting my wobbly wheels, now at right angles to the ground, carry me as far as they could.
He then inspected his car. "Phew, there doesn't seem to be much damage!" he said.
Well, whoopee do! I was about ready to do some damage myself at that point.
Instead, we swapped insurance details and off he tootled home to tell of his adventures.
I couldn't go to bed, though, so distraught was I. After three fags and a cup of tea to calm my nerves I then took up vigil by the front window. At this stage it was still snowing and every time a car came down the road it seemed to skid in the exact same spot and lose control.
I rang the police and advised them to close the road. They assured me they would do something as soon as they could.
Fifteen minutes later, though, and bang! Another car lost control and slid straight into my neighbour's vehicle across the road. As I watched a car that was following it at a distance then followed the exact same course and rammed the car which had caused the initial damage. It was absolute carnage.
My next door neighbour Nick had had enough. There were no police and no highways patrol officers. He strode up the road, found some cones and blocked it off. It didn't however stop people winding around the cones like it was some bizarre vehicle slalom event before proceeding down the hill.
Luckily, we have a grit box opposite and the few neighbours who had gathered in the early hours took it upon themselves to make the road safe again.
For two hours it had been like watching a demolition derby, one of those videos you see on U-tube or on in the background in some trendy sports bar. Unbelievable.
Of course, after all the legal work is done I will probably be lucky to clear £100 for Bas, the brave little motor that has transported me to London and back without a hitch since I joined the Screws six months ago. May he rest in pieces.
Next morning Mrs R and I went to see the midwife and heard our baby's heartbeat. Quite exciting and reminded me that not everything in the world is sh**, even though our boiler broke down on Friday, our shower has been leaking despite three visits from the plumber, and my car is now a wreck.
After the surgery Mrs R took me shopping, much to my frustration. I just wanted to get out of the bleak conditions with the snow already having wormed its way into my socks through my boots.
She was insistent though. She needed a new winter coat and some of her current garments were beginning too... well... stretch a bit. Anyway we called into a few places and found just what she was looking for. It was comfortable, with room to manouevre and in a couple of months it will fit pretty snuggly around her bump. Only one problem, though.
"I'm cutting the label off when I get home," she whispered conspiratorially.
I sneaked a peak when she wasn't looking... it's a size 20!!!
Cooked a very enjoyable meal with a big piece of bone-in lamb the other night. I will call it Italian lamb shanks.
A big piece of lamb shoulder, or some shanks
A chopped clove of garlic
A chopped carrot
A chopped stick of celery
A chopped whole onion
A tin of tomatoes
1/4lb chopped mushrooms
A pint of lamb or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons each of tomato puree and sundried tomato puree
Some pasta twists (or whatever fancy name they have)
shaved parmisan cheese
Set the oven at gas mark 9 (about 260 degrees)
Put in the lamb for about half an hour, then remove and wrap in foil
Heat oil on the hob in a hob-proof casserole
Add the chopped garlic, carrot, celery and onion and cook for 15 mins
then add the mushrooms and stir and cook for another five minutes
Add the purees and mix in, then the tomatoes and stock
Add salt and pepper
Turn oven down to gas mark 3
Add the lamb to the casserole then insert into the oven and cook for another two hours or so until the meat falls off the bone.
Remove the meat and return the sauce to the hob. Add the pasta shapes then bring to boil and cook until the pasta is cooked.
Serve the pasta on a plate, add juicy pieces of lamb then grate parmesan over the top.
I think it's a real winner