19 September 2008

Back to Spain and running from the police...

After a fairly full on week in the office I have come back to northern Spain for 4 days of field work. In Cantabria with Simon and Toby looking at dolomites with our new hyper spectral scanner.

Will post more when I am not so knackered in the meantime here is a story from a few years back...

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! I look down at the speedo and it registers just over the ton, not so fast but considering I am in a 30mph zone and I just got all four wheels in the air as I passed a cop car lurking in the shadows … FUCK!

A quick glance in the mirror shows a burst of activity in the otherwise darkened astra. Huh, this guy must have been asleep or pretty close to it. It is after midnight and this is the middle of bum fuck nowhere, Mid Wales. I am probably the first car he has seen for an hour – and now I am going to make is evening, probably his month, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!

Heading from Liverpool to Pembrokeshire, it’s a four an a half to five hour journey but I am late and I have no intention of spending that long on it. There is a beer and a bed waiting for me at the other end and I have had a very long week. Its late at night, the roads are empty, it’s a clear dry evening and I grew up driving on these roads. I was driving on roads like this before I had a license, I love these roads. The car is not the best, nothing special but its fairly new and quick enough. Four an half hours, fuck that I’m gonna get there are fast as I can.

That was until I went through that tiny village, crested the brow of the hill and saw the police car hiding in the blackened out pub car park. Sneaky bastard! But there isn’t much point hiding out if you are going to fall asleep on the job.

I look in the mirror, the village and the pub car park are in the distance, far back and disappearing fast. No sign of Mr Plod yet. I contemplate what to do, my heart is racing. Maybe he won’t come, maybe he can’t be arsed. Hope, pray!

I look back again and while I stare into the mirror I see the tell tale blue flashers come on. FUCK! But they are a long way back and my mind is racing. I wouldn’t normally take a chase, especially in a car like this! Maybe on the bike but not in a VW Passat. No, I am pretty law abiding, 3 points and a fine is better than a ban and a jail term. Three points is part of the deal, you drive fast, they give you some points and its on you way. Everyone knows that’s the way it works and as for the fine, its just another tax. You go fast and from time to time they tax you. That’s life.

So my mind is racing, if I stop immediately will that make me look good, on the ball? A nice guy? Maybe play the doctor card? If I don’t stop it will definatly piss him off. But then again, at those speeds he's gonna roger me whatever and why should I pull over before he catches up with me? He must be at least 3 miles behind me, fuck it I can only see him occasionally, and that because I am looking. Bollocks to it, I’ll stop when he catches me up – if he catches me up.

This spurs me on, I switch off the music and concentrate. Push a bit harder, breaking later and a bit heavier into the bends, faster and more aggressive out of them, drawing on my past, watching the signs, following the line of the hedge in the distance, studying the road surface, feel the wheels, just on the breakout point in the corners, screeching ever so slightly. Concentrate, drive fast but smooth, nothing too jerky, stay in control, the last thing you want is to end up in the hedge. I look in the mirror at the end of the long straight, yep he is still coming. He must be thrashing the arse off the astra – ha ha ha! This is actually fun. I’ll stop when he catches me up – if he catches me up.

This goes on and on. Progressively I notice he is falling further and further back! Wanker! These are his roads, this is his patch, he should be better than this. My heart is still racing – I am waiting for the chopper to appear. Do they have one in this part of the world? Does it fly at night? If so then I am fucked. Has he been on the radio, will his mate be waiting up ahead? I know that in these rural parts there are very few coppers on duty, but you can never be sure.

Occasionally I look down smaller side roads. I consider trying to pull off and kill the lights, let him pass. But its risky. I don’t know the roads and if I do that and get caught I’ll never be able to say Sorry officer I didn’t see you behind me, was concentrating on driving

Anyway I am making ground on him, my driving is smooth a fluid, sometimes it just comes together and this is one of those times, hit every bend on the racing line, tyres stick to the dry tarmac and flooring it in the straights, hitting 120, 130. Its only a diesal passat but it rises to the challenge.

After 15 minutes of high octane adventure I approach the outskirst of Cardigan, a small town. I hit a roundabout with 4 exits and take the one to Pembroke Dock. I slow right down and relax. There is no way he will know which way I have come, in fact this is probably the least obvious of the choices – fuck me I got away with it. Drive slow, don’t want to attract any attention, at least to the other side of town.

I arrive in Narberth 20 minutes later. My boss asks me how the drive was. I tell him I did it in 3 hours, he doesn’t believe me till I show me the petrol receipt from Liverpool with the time showing 9:56, its now ten to one. That is 177 miles in less than three hours on some very shitty roads. He laughs, buys me a beer at the camp site bar and calls me an idiot! I don’t tell him I had some help along the way because its his car!

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