‘Like lots of other adults across the globe, I have an awareness that bulls can be dangerous. By ‘awareness’ I mean I know they’re pretty big and you get signs in fields warning you to watch out for them…’
What I did NOT know, however, is that, even when you haven’t walked through its field or waved at it with a red rag, they can still be quite dangerous. I found this out last week, much to my shock and…well, amusement, if I’m being honest.
The scene: It’s a normal day. I’ve been at work and have now returned home, parked my car in my driveway, and gone to bed as I’ve got a hellish toothache.
Sweet dreams are (not) made of these…
I awake from my achy slumber by the noise of loud engine noises outside my home and the sounds of people talking. I assume, as my parents are visiting with two of my nephews, that they’re outside weeding my garden (it could do with some work out front) and chatting about how much they want to surprise me with it later on because I’m such a great daughter/aunt. I allow myself a smile – as much as my sore face will allow – and roll over.
A few minutes later, there’s a gentle knock on my bedroom door and my mum enquires whether I’m sleeping. I am not. Her next sentence remains one of the strangest things she’s ever said to me. ‘You might want to come downstairs, some cows have jumped on your car…’
If this had been uttered to me by, say, my younger sister, or one of my nephews, I’d have laughed and gone back to sleep. But you don’t do that when it’s your Mum. Mum’s don’t tell you stuff like that for a laugh. They’re good people. Sisters and nephews are mischevious. Or mine are, anyway.
Half awake, I stumble downstairs, step outside and find that the story is true. Some cows have, in fact, jumped on my car. As it turns out, it was just a bull, but we didn’t know that at the time.
My little Toyota Yaris, which still bears the scars on its rear end from when some non-bull human man (I call him Les) hit it off a concrete pillar in a multi-storey car park in Chester, now has a matching dent on its front passenger side. In addition to the dent, it has broken paintwork and the bonnet has been pushed with enough force, it’s shifted position.
I stand and stare it, focussing on the fact that it’s parked next to a stone wall and there’s really not enough room for a person to squeeze through the gap, never mind some cattle. And this, obviously, has been the problem. Apparently, bulls don’t have much spatial awareness, so knowing passing my car on the OTHER side would have provided a bull-sized gap, was of little consequence to this beast. No. He wanted to exit my driveway between the car and the wall and, by God, he was going to do it. Besides, what the hell was anyone going to do to stop him??
Closing the gate after the bull has bolted…
I live on a farm track with a spattering of croft homes and a farm. It’s well away from the main road and it’s a private road and a dead end, so we get no traffic. Every few weeks, I’ll arrive home from work to find my garden gate locked. We never close our gate. Rolling my car down to the gate, hopping out, opening it up, hopping back in my car, rolling it through the gate, hopping back out, closing the gate and then hopping back in my car before driving away is SUCH a hassle. Doing that before and after work is not my idea of a good time. Therefore, we just leave it open.
On the occasions one of us has arrived home to find the gate closed, we assume that the postman might have done it, or the farmer down the road, or maybe just someone who gets annoyed because we’re the only house out of the 4 along the track that refuses to close it ourselves. Basically, what I’m saying is; we don’t know why it’s sometimes shut. And we don’t much care, aside from the heavy sighing I do when I realise I can’t reverse my car in until I open the damn thing.
Anyway, not until the day the bull decided to come visit did we realise the *actual* reason that our gate is sometimes closed. It’s a clever tactic designed to STOP bull to car combat. Yes, folks, the farmer’s son closes the gate when the cattle move between the fields that surround our home to stop his cattle entering people’s gardens. On this day, he’d forgotten. The bull saw his chance and took it.
When one has a bull-related car incident, it can be difficult to know quite what to do. Fortunately for me, the farmer was on hand at the time. His wife called me shortly afterwards to apologise profusely and tell him he’s insured (the farmer, not the bull). However, he would have to call the National Farmer’s Union and tell them his bull attacked a local car. Apparently, they didn’t bat an eyelid, so I’m guessing they hear this stuff quite a lot. Me, from a large town just outside the capital of Scotland, had not.
I was slightly concerned about telling my own car insurer about the situation as I wasn’t entirely sure how many of these accidents are reported to AXA on an annual basis. I mean, I told my boss about it (a man from rural North Wales, not far from where I live) and he gave me an odd look. After this, I figured I might have a more challenging time being believed and that just saying to AXA ‘I live in a rural part of Wales! It happens daily!’ wouldn’t suffice.
So far, I haven’t told them and I’ve just been dealing with the farmer’s insurance agent. Incidentally, I renewed my car insurance last week and decided to go for fully comp cover with extra roadside assistance, windscreen cover, legal costs and handbag and mobile phone insurance. It would appear that you can never be too careful around these parts. Always best to be prepared.
On Friday morning, during a visit to the farm down the road, the farmer presented me with papers from NFU in which we were to detail the events of the accident. The documents asked for details of any witnesses, to which we had a good laugh before noting down, ‘Bull, aged 6 months, Welsh, no licence, fine with red rags, but not so much with silver cars…