Stuck with him

Yesterday we planned a picnic breakfast in the bush as we did so successfully 2 weeks ago. Saturday night was wet though, very wet; incessant rain which after a first initial showy downpour dribbled on for hours. But it had stopped by morning, so I packed up the requisite and off we went.

As we drove I made concerned little comments to husband like, ‘’it was very wet last night’’, and ‘’gosh it looks soggy in there’’ indicating the bush on the side of the road. He ploughed on regardless, ‘’it’ll be fine; stick with me …’’.  

We took a track off into the bush in the direction of the dam and within a few hundred meters of the road were in a wheel spin. We clambered out, put the wheel locks on, engaged 4WD and tried again. Too late. We had begun to sink into ground the consistency of a sponge. The water table here is very high anyway, six months of rain and it’s saturated, overflowing, nowhere left to go. We tried pushing but all that happened was the wheels spun and the car dug itself in deeper. We tried digging the wheels out and pushing but all that happened was the wheels spun and the car dug itself in deeper. We were in mire up to – almost – our axles.  

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I think I’ll just call Tom, said husband a mite sheepishly. (I had held my counsel and didn’t said anything tempting like, ‘’tried to warn you’’ or ‘you were right … stuck with you’). Luckily we still had network coverage. Just. Tom, poor bloke, had been up partying till 3am the night before. I don’t think he was pleased to hear from a mud bound family at 10 on a Sunday morning. Not that he said so, he graciously promised to come and rescue us.

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With that husband and dogs disappeared off to the road to flag him down since he’d have no clue just by looking which portion of the bush had swallowed us up.  The kids and I continued to dig and collect branches to lodge beneath the wheels.

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And an hour later husband appeared – on foot, sensibly this time – guiding Tom towards our car. Tom inspected the mess we’d got ourselves into, backed his car up, keeping what he hoped was a safe distance from the boggy ground we’d sunk into, hitched us up with a tow rope and began to pull. To no avail. Indeed worse than no avail. All that happened was his wheels spun ineffectually and began to sink. First one rear wheel and then the other.  

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The sky had begun to abandon all promise of blue for the day and big, black clouds were banking to the north. If it rained, we thought, we’re here till June.  

We gathered more branches, jacked Tom’s car up, first one side and then the other, with the jack slipping and sliding and sinking a foot into the quagmire, and we lined branches beneath the wheels. After several attempts we got Tom’s car unstuck. Tom drove his landcruiser to higher, safer, sandier ground whilst ours continued to languish muddily in the swamp we’d driven it into.

I don’t think we’ll try towing again he wisely said. On my suggestion – what would they do without women these men? – we jacked up every single one of our four wheels, one at a time, with the jack balancing precariously on a raft of wood in order to try to steady it and stop it from submerging beneath the gloop, and lodged branches beneath each of the wheels.

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With fingers crossed husband piled into the drivers seat, we all pushed like crazy and the car popped out of its muddy dilemma like a cork out of a bottle.  With that the rain began to fall in earnest. We – and two somewhat bemused dogs (I could imagine them commenting to one another on the drive home, ‘was that a walk then?) – clambered back into the car, all of us covered in mud and foot sore having lost flipflops in the stickiness and trodden on umpteen thorns, and were home before 2.

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We were stuck for more than 3 hours. An afternoon of hot baths and television ensued as the rain continued to fall. We have decided to abandon any more excursions to the dam until the rains have well and truly gone.

 Stick with me, he said; I didn’t need to be asked: tomorrow – April Fool’s Day -we celebrate 19 years of marital bliss. Irony abounds

 *********************** 

I have woken much earlier than the rest of the house, before half six, in the demi gloom that is the Outpost at dawn – our distance from the east coast means sun up is slow to reach us, that and everlasting rain darkens our mornings. As I wrote my office came to life with a million flying ants; their nests or eggs or whatever it is that lies dormant beneath the floor – both probably ? – have come rather splendidly to life under the cement (they must have extraordinary teeth? To chew through that and emerge?). The rattling of one or two pairs of wings has – with ten minutes of my putting the light on – morphed into the howling of a squadron that persistently dive bombs me as I sit at my desk – what with flying ants and – I notice – two toads hopping about, the place is a veritable wildlife sanctuary borne by weeks of rain. I never thought I’d be longing for the dry – for the interminable dust and irksome water shortages – but I think I might be now.

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15 Responses to “Stuck with him”

  1. nuttycow Says:

    Happy Anniversary for tomorrow!

  2. Tom Says:

    Jacking the vehicle just makes the most sense, but men (me included) need to spin those tires even when the treads are full of greasy clay. I’ve been stuck a handful of times over the years and the jack has saved me every time. I just had to waste time jamming sticks under the tires first.. It’s a man thing

  3. R. Sherman Says:

    Congrats on the anniversary!. We’re heading toward twenty years in two months. Time flies, as they say.

    Cheers.

  4. Jane Says:

    I can totally visualize this! My issue is why it’s a matter of pride for men to keep from engaging 4WD until ABSOLUTELY necessary. Fortunately we’ve never been stuck yet once 4WD is on.

  5. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks Nutty! And congrats Mr Sherman – yup. Time flies. the older you get, the faster it goes.

    Jane. Quite (and thanks for reaading). I think Tom’s response explain why men have to wait until absolutely vital … yes Tom?

  6. Iota Says:

    But your foot manages to look glamorous in spite of all. How do you do that?

  7. Expatmum Says:

    Yes, I’m coming up on 18 years and sometimes I wonder. Anyway congrats, and sorry about the ruined picnic. Makes for good photos though!

  8. Potty Mummy Says:

    Flying ants? I would be booked on a flight somewhere – anywhere – else in rather a hurry…

  9. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Oooh thanks Iota; practice, love, practice. I live by the mantra, ”don’t let it all go to pot, even when you live in an outpost”. So I haven’t. Not all of it: my feet remain last vestige of sometimes feminine glamour. Besides, the paint hides the dirt that lurks beneath nails.

    Expat Mum – au contraire: not ruined at all. Just delayed. We ate brunch instead. Whilst digging and jacking and generally getting very dirty.

    PM: really, they’re not as bad as they sound. Merely irksome. THe dogs and cats love them: like to eat them. And I noticed a dozen hawks sitting on a tree outside waiting for flying ant breakfast too.

  10. Mapesbury Mum Says:

    Getting stuck in the mud – many f’ond’ memories of that. I think my father and your husband have much in common! I managed to get stuck in the mud going to church on Christmas day, was vey popular with the men who were all suited up!

  11. K Says:

    I remember one Christmas Day on Galana Ranch (in the late 70’s…)when we jacked up each wheel four times – a total of 16 jacking exertions! How the men loved it! All good fun as long as one can eventually get home and have a shower then finish the picnic… I miss the flying ants – somehow that wonderful smell of new rain on the earth isn’t complete without swarms of flying ants and terriers going mad trying to catch and eat them (not the wings though!) as if they were dolly mixtures!

    How I love your blog. Road Trip and the Little Things were a true feast as was catching up on them all really after a month away.

  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Mapesbury Mum – bet they were pleased they had somebody to blame. Bet they’d have got stuck had they been at the wheel. But much nicer to point fingers at somebody else; esp when its a woman!

    K – how lovely to hear from you again. Thanks from dropping in and for being so kind. Galana … what a beautiful place. My husband used to work there. I think the loneliness prepared him for places like outpost. I know, nothing like the scent of rain on dust – and I agree, the accompanying sound of thousands of flying ants taking to the air adds to the spectacle. I loved the mental image of terriers and dolly mixtures. My labs and the cats vye for flying ants. With the hawks. And the toads presumably?

  13. carol Says:

    Great photos of getting stuck. Reminds me of when a friend and I got stuck n Nairobi Park. We didn’t try any of the pushing out or jacking up (we are female after all) – just stood on the roof of my car and yelled for help (before mobile phone era). Help came – eventually – we had been there for 6 hours and it was now pitch dark. I remember it very well but don’t have any photos to help tell the story.

  14. foxhollowjewelry Says:

    Ants…why did it have to be ants?
    I despise them…flying, crawling, fried-doesn’t matter.
    And I completely understand men and the women they need to run their lives…
    Mine is the king of computers…until one day he couldn’t find out how to turn on the wireless of a new laptop…two hours later I walked over and pushed a button, and Bam…internet.
    He hates it when I tell this story!!!
    Great posts…

  15. Please don’t turn the lights out « Reluctant Memsahib Says:

    […] Quite a lot actually, quite a lot about being stuck. […]

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