This is the story of something that happened to me a couple of months ago. I had lunch yesterday with Mme Benaut, dear friend and inspirational blogger, and she suggested I should recount this for the edification of others. And to serve as a cautionary tale.
It was, as they say in the classics, a dark and stormy night. In fact it was the night before I was to leave for a weekend in Sydney to celebrate my friend Nina's birthday. Being away from home of course necessitates putting my canine children (Fergus and Scully) up in a boarding kennel, much to their disgust. We've become accustomed to using a very good one at Mylor, (Top Spot Kennels) which although some distance away in the wilds of the Adelaide hills, looks after the dogs really well.
This particular night saw the onset of the autumn rain, with a vengeance. It had been raining steadily all afternoon and by the time I'd dropped the dogs off and turned back towards home, it was already pitch dark at six o'clock or thereabouts and absolutely teeming. While the rain was like manna from heaven to this driest of dry cities, it made driving conditions hazardous in the extreme. This wasn't helped by the fact that the stretch of road between Mylor and Aldgate, the next hills town, is very narrow, winding and dark.
My night-time eyesight is not all it could be, along with all the other failing faculties, so I was peering myopically through the windscreen and feeling fairly anxious already when a huge greyish white apparition loomed up out of the blackness to my left. With an enormous thud it smacked straight into the passenger side of the car knocking it off course and then seemed to disappear. There was nowhere to turn off the road and cars were right behind me so somehow I managed to keep driving, but very hesitantly as I didn't know how badly the car was damaged. I was also in a state of panic because I didn't know what I'd hit. For all I knew at that stage it could have been a person or a child. Visions of being convicted as a hit-run driver flashed before me. A bit further down the road there was a muddy turn-off to the left so I managed to pull in off the road and stop, very shaken. The drivers of two other cars behind me both stopped also to see if I was alright, which was kind of them.
One of them, a young girl, came over and I tried to open the passenger side door but it was stuck. She told me I'd hit a kangaroo as she'd seen it bounce off my bonnet and disappear over the other side of the road. The other driver who stopped was a young man who was really kind and thoughtful and had a very close look at the car for me to see whether it was driveable. He was soaked to the skin, it was raining so hard, but he still got down in the mud and looked under the car to see whether any oil or fluid was leaking out. He then offered to drive in front of me until we got to Aldgate, as by now I only had one headlight. I don't know who he was but I am very grateful for his help. It seemed like the car was alright to drive, in that it had no mechanical problems. Just the slight problem of a busted headlight and missing rear view window on one side, which had apparently been sheared off by the kangaroo.
I felt pretty bad about the kangaroo and was afraid that I might have killed it or at least seriously injured it, but there wasn't much I could do. Subsequently quite a few people told me they are actually pretty tough and unless you hit them full on with a vehicle with a roo bar attached, they often survive without too much ill effect. So I hope that was the case with this one.
It was a hair raising drive home as although I'd negotiated the rest of the narrow, winding hills road I was on, the remainder of the route was not much better and of course it was still raining heavily. Visibility with only one headlight was appalling so I had to keep the working one on high beam, which the approaching drivers probably didn't appreciate.
Finally I got home in one piece, which is more than I can say for the car. I still went away for the weekend and left the disaster locked up in the garage to deal with on my return. It needed quite extensive repairs as it turned out, although fortunately the insurance paid for them, all except the unavoidable excess.
Running into a kangaroo was the last thing I would have expected to happen so close to the metropolitan area, thinking they would only be a concern out in the middle of the outback. But apparently they are not uncommon in that area, and of course there are also lots of koalas. It made me realise that wherever you drive where there are trees and bushland, it's important to be aware of the wildlife that may be around and keep alert to the possibility of an animal getting onto the road. Of course in the case of this one, as it seemed to literally launch itself out of the bush on the side of the road straight into my car, there was little I could have done to avoid it. But I will be a lot more wary driving through those parts in future.