It was about 6:40am. It was dark, the wind was blustery. Sporadic bouts of rain spat down unpredictably. The side of the road was very rough, hard, and frigidly cold. It sucked what little warmth I had right out of me. I laid there on my left side. My right arm was raised as much as I could manage. I was dizzy. My diaphragm felt like it was biting me with every breath. My back and right side hurt. I had blood all over my face, hands and arms. It was sticky and dirty brown from having mixed with bulldust. The fine desiccating dust had coated me from head to toe. Some kind of vehicle drove past; then another, then another. None of them stopped. I couldn’t see them very well. My glasses weren’t on my head. Couldn’t exactly remember when they’d come off.

Something big and rumbly geared down and slowed. It’s airbrakes whistled that it was coming to a stop: hard. After that, more vehicles slowed and stopped. First one figure, then another walked into my blurry field of view. I heard one of them talking on the phone. It was definitely a phone kind of voice. Police and ambulance were asked for. A description of where was provided. My dizziness swelled up and I started trembling a fair bit.

Then Andrew came along. Nice chap. Dark hair, Round face. Small beer gut. He was wearing one of those high visibility vests that everyone hates being saddled with. Andrew put a blanket over me. It helped a lot. He got a towel or a sweater or some such under my head. I bled over the blanket and towel a fair bit. I feel a bit guilty about that.

Someone walked up with my wallet and my phone. Someone else (Andrew, I think) was asking me if I knew my name. It all got very chaotic for a bit. I answered questions as best as I could and tried very hard to lay as still as I possibly could. It was a bit uncomfortable when I moved.

After a while, it occurred to me that someone – probably a police officer – would phone either my best friend or my mum (or both). I didn’t want them to be upset. So I asked for my phone and dialed my mum. She has caller ID and knew I was travelling on the highway. She expected that I’d phone through the day. “So where are you?’ she asked. I tried putting a bit of strength in my voice. Took a real breath, one where the diaphragm did the biting thing and answered: “Laying on the side of the road. I am afraid there has been an accident.”

I can’t remember much about that conversation. Basically I tried to reassure her that I was fine. Unfortunately, I was a bit of a liar. I had pain in my back in several places; pain in my lower abdomen, I was not really at my best. But I really didn’t want her to worry. After a moment or two, I fumbled the phone over to Andrew. I was dizzy and the biting diaphragm was kinda getting to me. I can recall phoning my best friend later and waking him up. I can’t recall what I said or what he said. I can’t honestly recall much of the accident or the waiting for the ambulance bit. It was cold, damp, I was covered in bulldust, and I was not at my best.

The ambulance arrived and whisked me off to Tailem Bend. From that hospital, I was whisked off to Royal Adelaide Hospital. In all, there was about two and a half hours of being whisked in an ambulance. Then I was at the RAH. I could wax lyrical about the various phases of the journey. The enormous beer gut on the ambulance medic, the complete lack of services available at the Tailem Bend hospital, I could talk about the discomfort of being whisked (Now somewhat controlled by quite a lot of morphine). But I am not really sure that all of that is terribly relevant or riveting.

The main points are simply: I had an accident while travelling at 110km/h. I rolled the ute (Pick-up truck) several times before the scrub and a strategically placed tree stopped me. Apparently what caused the accident is that I hit a fox and my rear wheel blew. I am mostly fine now. It appears that I cracked some bones and tore some muscles off their strands or some such. So while I have a sore back, none of my organs ruptured, split, exploded, or just generally ceased to function. I am an extremely lucky fellow.

This wasn’t part of the plan. This changed everything. Moving house from Adelaide to North West Tasmania was now terribly complicated. I wouldn’t be physically fit for who knows how long. I didn’t even have glasses anymore (Which, when you need to lip read is a bit of a bugger). My Tree Change had definitely thrown up a new adventure. BUT. I am alive. I don’t appear to have any permanent crippling injuries. While the ute is completely and utterly demolished, I am not. So the Tree Change continues.

I don’t intend to blog about the convalescence. I don’t even think I will bother to detail the kind of headaches and complications that all of this has caused. Badger’s Tree Change is about the Crumbling Cottage and what adventures I find there. There is not much in this particular adventure that anyone would much wish to know about.


The ute after the accident