Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Misguided Spiders?

Waiting at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, Leicestershire.

The Proving Ground is an old airfield, although a lot of the runway space is now given over to the storage of vehicles. The nearest town is Lutterworth, seven miles away.

I have delivered a car here this morning and am now one of four drivers waiting to get a lift with a fifth who is collecting a vehicle from the site. The vehicle is ready and waiting, (I am sitting on the bonnet), but the release note has not yet been faxed through to the right people and so we are stuck.

Platers are normally only paid by the number of vehicles we move and the miles we drive, but on occasions such as this the driver gets 'waiting time' of £7.50 per hour for the delay. The rest of us get nothing.

It is a warm morning and we pass the time leaning against the vehicle, talking shop, and blowing or brushing the money spiders from our clothes and hair. They are around in inordinate numbers today for some reason. Their reputation in folklore for bringing wealth to those whom they visit is the cause of some rather bitter humour amongst some of us.

After two and a half hours the vehicle is released and we set off. It is pitifully low on fuel and we head straight for the nearest petrol station, which turns out to be not near enough. The engine dies a quiet death before we have gone three miles. The driver phones his controller who begins to look for someone in the area who can help us out. The driver goes back on waiting time. The rest of us get nothing.

We get out of the car and stand on the grass verge, where the money spiders again descend on us. In an idle moment I count eleven of them on the car roof.

After about an hour another plater arrives to give the four of us passengers a lift to our next jobs. The driver stays behind waiting patiently and profitably for a can of fuel to be brought to him. We leave him to the company of the money spiders. It was probably him they were looking for anyway.

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