I was 32 and had lost my wife, who had literally "gone off with the milkman" a year before. I lived in a comfy flat in a country village in Hertfordshire, and travelled every day to this highly paid job in the centre of London, driving being impossible because of parking costs.
I had a weakness for collecting old clocks, and had been out in the dinner hour to a local market, where I had bought a very nice French repeater, that I was sure I could repair in my basement workshop at home.
Five o'clock arrived at last and I put my clock into my briefcase and headed home. Underground to Finsbury park and then on to the deisel to Bayford where I lived.
Bayford station had a long platform and instead of going out through the booking office I used to walk to the end and go through the gate into a small car park that led to the road. As I reached the gate I heard a girl screaming from the car park and on turning into it, saw a local girl Jenny Bray being held down on the grass by a man in a raincoat, she was screaming "get off me!" and "help rape!" alternately, while the man tried to subdue her by hitting her about the head. I shouted "hey you" and started to run to her aid, the man getting up and running off.
When I reached her she appeared unconscious and lay with her skirts around her waist, but as I knelt beside her she suddenly came to life and caught me with a swipe round the head and started yelling again, assuming I was the same man.
As I protested, another man appeared at the entrance, and I recognised him as Jenny's brother Tom who was built like a block of flats and played for the local rugby team, being known as "Crusher Bray" in the surrounding villages. He started to run towards us and having no desire to try and explain to an angry gorilla, I leapt up and headed in the opposite direction, with the ground trembling beneath my feet from Crusher's charge.
The car park exit was direct onto the road and facing the exit was a stile leading to a footpath. I think I trod on the road twice before leaping for the stile, but did get a foot onto the top rung and leapt onto the path and set off along it as fast as I could go, hearing pounding feet behind me, on the tarmac. The path forked and I took the right one, which quickly deteriorated, into cinders and then leaf mould and mud as it entered an area of woodland. A tree with a sense of humour stuck out a root that had me airborne and head first into a Holly bush, and while I lay trying to get my breath back I realised the pounding behind me had stopped, Crusher having obviously taken the left fork or given up. I had heard Police and Ambulance sirens as I ran, and it was then that I realised I had left my briefcase beside Jenny, which had my name and address clearly marked in it, so there was no question of making for my home as there would no doubt be a Police car parked outside
I got up and wandered on, and it started to rain, as the woodland got thicker I could see the shapes of parked caravans and realised I had walked into a caravan park. Years ago I had owned a small caravan and rented a space in a park for my courting activities, and remembered how ridiculously easy it was to open the cheap lock it was fitted with on the door with a paper clip.
I wandered round the park and chose a middling sized one and finding a paper clip in one of my now sodden pockets, I started work on the door lock, soon the barrel would rotate with my thumb nail and I heard a reassuring click in the lock, and sure enough when I pressed the button the door opened.
I stepped gratefully inside out of the rain and promptly fell headfirst over the gas bottle that had been left on the doormat. There was no light inside so I felt arround and found a long side upholstered bench, and underneath a pull down flap that accessed a locker box in which I found a rolled up,sleeping bag, which I unrolled on the seat. Shivering I stripped off all my clothes and climbed into the bag, finding a cusion for a pillow. I soon got warm and fell into a deep sleep.
I was woken in the morning by a bird in hobnail boots landing on the roof, and quickly realised that my bladder had the idea of bursting, so out of bed and opening the door I peed into the growing dawn, then nipped back into the warmth of the sleeping bag to contemplate my future.
I knew the police would be looking for me, so my flat was inaccesible with its food supply, cheque book and a small car garaged below. I also had an outfit of soggy wet clothes, I had never felt so hungry in my life.
The sun was up by now on the clearing the caravan was in so stark naked I found my undearwear and shirt and hung them over a bush to dry. The bussiness suit looked beyond salvage but I at least put the trousers out to dry. Inside the jacket I had a wallet with about £30 in it and a driving licence, with two credit cards, all traceable if used.
I decided to explore the caravan, and although I did manage to connect up the gas bottle and light the old fashioned gas mantles to give light, I found the gas stove needed a fair amount of cleaning to light a ring to boil a kettle. There was no trace of anything edible naturally, so a trip out to a town was imperative I then set out to explore the site I was on, which was fairly simple with various sites leading off a track which led to a laneThe lane entered a small village with a handful of shops where I bought a some food and a bacon roll for breakfast which I ate as I walked along.
The main road was on a slight slope, and over the hill came a small cart being driven by Father Xmas, an old fellow with snow white hair and beard, with his feet resting on a low foot rail. He went past two boys who were trying to start an old motorbike, which backfired like a cannon. The effect on the horse was as if you had jammed a medieval lance up its backside, he went from a lazy trot to the finishing straight in the Rome Colisium in two strides, and finding the other side of the road clearer went flying down it with Father Xmas now standing on the footrest and leaning his full weight back on the reigns, and shouting two words continuosly at the horse, which appart from being an obscene description of the procreation of horses was quite impossible at full gallop without a mare. There were traffic lights at the bottom of the hill, and I heard a shriek of rubber followed by a crunch, which I later found was a lorry buried up to the bar in the Pub on the corner. I irrevelantly imagined the driver standing at the bar with a pie and a pint phoning his boss to say he had just stopped for a bit of lunch, and would be a little later in..
Deciding it was time I ate I went to the other pub I knew called "The three blind mice" but known locally as the "three pissed mice" as the picture on the hanging sign was of three mice leading each other home. I ordered a pie and a half of bitter and took this to a nearby table.
I had just taken my first bite when a soft girls voice said "is this seat taken" indicating the one facing me and I said "no", but as she sat down I realised it was Jenny Bray. She said "where did you get too last night?" I replied "I dare not go home because I assumed the police would be watching my flat because of you"
She said "Oh no, when I came round properly we worked out what had happened, but no-one could find you...where were you?" So I related my headlong dash and night in someone elses caravan.She said "I have a car outside, when you are ready can I run you back to your flat?" I gratefully accepted and ate with enthusiasmn, thinking that I had better return to the caravan later and remove all trace of ever being there, and collect the remains of my suit