|Part 5: Whatever happened to Flossie?
A very small church
We clunk slowly to the end of the Sea Wall and
head towards Lomond Road.
Somewhere to our right is Limavady junction - a relic of the town's short flirtation with the railway age. Rich fields stretch to either side and ahead we spot the little church of St John.
We turn into Broighter Road before we get there though. Broighter (pronounced Broiter) is a famous name in the valley because it is here that the fabulous hoard of gold which carries the townland's name was found. The Broighter Gold is a unique collection of bronze age gold ornaments which is (of course) exhaustively dealt with elsewhere in these pages.As we are in the middle of 'gold country' we stop the car and get out to prime the metal detector which we happen to have brought along.
It's about the only thing that Flossie didn't nibble to death before she was so unceremoniously confiscated. If there was gold available around here in the past, there is bound to be some left for modern treasure hunters.
Our greed takes us into a large field. The detector instantly emits a loud noise that has 'precious metal' written all over it. There must be gold in this 'ere field. We start digging when we suddenly hear a strange whooshing noise. As we look up we see a huge bale of straw rolling down the road. It bounces off the squashed roof of the car with a sickening noise and tumbles into our field. In my panic I drop the metal detector and run. A great mistake - the bale-out-of-nowhere lands right on top of the instrument. This produces a final terrified screech and we are suddenly poor again.Evidently something around here doesn't allow treasure hunters to loighter in Broighter. We abandon the unfound bounty, squeeze into our now even lower conveyance and bale out of there!
A bale of straw
Our engine starts to make some very strange noises but we don't care: we are delighted that it makes any sound at all. An ancient bridge leads us across the Burnfoot river where we turn into Farlow Road, because we may as well drive past Sampson's tower - a Victorian folly which is built in such a hidden place that one can see it only from very few hidden corners of the landscape.
The artefact is obviously adequately described in another place, so we don't actually have to stop. We may as well drive on.
Soon we reach the main Limavady - Ballykelly
road just opposite the Rough Fort. The fort is all that remains of a
stone age farm and guess what - it also has a page for itself.
We manage to clatter into Ballykelly without either having been arrested by the traffic police or having suffered further loving attention from the 'goddess of eventful journeys', who has been favouring us all day long. We drive past the model farm and an awful looking fried chicken place from Kentucky and push the car for the last few yards to the garage. There we are welcomed with a hot cup of coffee and some curious stares - what a civilised place this is.
The manager examines the car personally. He has a
rather peculiar expression on his face:
"Is this the vehicle I sold you six months ago?"
We nod with two slightly embarrassed grins.
"It was much newer then, wasn't it?"
Another couple of wistful nods.
"Just testing" says he and picks up what's left of our our windscreen wipers:
"Whatever was this, when it was something?"
"Windscreen wipers" I answer. "Some birds ripped them off the car, swanned off and
later dropped them onto the
He makes his disbelief obvious by scratching his nose with the bent artefact. He is instantly convulsed by a violent sneezing fit, brought on by the last few vengeful fluffs of feather.
"How did those holes get into the side of the car then?" he asks rather watery.
"Oh, that's easy. A little lamb called Flossie
He sticks his index finger through a dangerous looking bullet hole which had entirely escaped our notice - what with all the other mishaps that happened today.
"This wasn't made by a lamb though" quoth he.
"I know. We must have got that one up on Benevenagh.
They were shooting pheasants!" I explain with great authority.
"Shooting pheasants? With bullets?"
"They didn't want to eat him" I explain "they just wanted
to shut him up."
He looks at me strangely and when he spots our dented front wheel he inquires wonderingly:
"And how did this get into such a strange shape?"
"You wouldn't believe me."
"It was hit by a dud torpedo".
"I don't believe you" says the manager and -
after noticing bits of hay on the roof of the car - continues with a
"and that roof was squashed by a wandering bale of straw, I take it!"
"Yes, but only after that glider had landed on it first!"
He doesn't believe that one either. He hammers the keypad of his calculator for
couple of minutes and gives us a first rough estimate:
"This will take weeks to fix - possibly forever."
He examines the dented wheel with a large
magnifying glass and continues thoughtfully:
"I'll give you a discount if you donate this
wheel to my showroom collection."
The first bit of luck we've had today ...
"It's a deal. Will the guarantee cover the rest?" I ask hopefully.
"Not a chance" he answers, "you can't even call
wear and tear - it's more like smash and bash! In fact I would almost
call this wreck a .... ... ........ !!!"
Getting home in style
Meg butts in quickly before the descriptive
language exceeds the bounds of decency:
"Can you lend us a car to get home in at least?"
He looks at us strangely and says:
"I've only got this one vehicle at the moment, I'm not sure it's large enough .........."
Beggars can't be choosers. "Whatever it is, we'll take it" says Meg. She proudly drives us home in the new vehicle. I have to sit in the back because there is only room for one in the front.
Tudor has to make do with the roof!
As Meg drives us down Main Street and into the final sunset - which was specially ordered for the end of this unlikely adventure - she whispers wistfully:
what happened to Flossie?!"
The final sunset
to the start