The weekend started well enough with dinner, tv and relaxing by the fire on Friday evening. Saturday morning was a wet and cold pre dawn run for 20km - still all good. Then #1+2 and I drove the 50 odd km to drop off #2 at diving training, and #1 and I had a cold swim in the sea - the air temp was 3 and the sea wasn't much more, but we swam, and it was invigorating, and we had fun. I enjoy the saturday mornings with #1 as I don't get to speak to her otherwise, and now she is nearly a teenager she is growing up fast. We had a drink to warm up, picked up #2 and drove home in the rain. We were about 5 minutes from home, and the weekend took a distinct turn for the worse.
I was travelling on the M36 (Route de Cagnes) from Cagnes Sur Mer to Vence. The road is a dual carriageway. I was about 200 metres from the roundabout where the Chemin de la Gaude crosses the M36. It was raining and the road was wet. I was in the left hand lane with a white Nissan Micra in the right hand lane, and as we turned the last corner before the roundabout - which veers right - I was just in front of the Nissan. I estimate my speed to be about 50kmh, and I am pretty sure I was travelling at about the same speed as the Nissan, as I had been alongside it for a long time. As I exited the corner, I felt a huge bang in the rear right of the car, pushing me to the left. I exclaimed to the children "She's hit us!!" or something like that as we continued to be driven left. The left rear of the car hit the central barrier, and the rear of the car continued to be pushed forwards even as I was steering into the skid. We then got traction and the momentum of the car took us headfirst into the cliff / wall on the right hand side of the road. The airbags went off, and then the car flipped and travelled up the road on its side. Once the car had come to a stop, I undid my seat belt, and then turned round and helped the children out of their seatbelts - they were screaming and crying. There was smoke and lots of broken glass in the car, as well as a lot of debris. I tried to get the children's door open but could not reach it and push, so I got my door open. Someone helped me from outside the car to hold the door, while I pushed the children from the car as quickly as I could. I emerged from the car to thank the people that had helped us, but I was amazed that people had stopped to take pictures of us, even as we were trying to get out of the car amidst smoke and screaming children.
Once out the car, I tried to calm the children before my wife arrived and took them off to a neighbouring house whilst I dealt with the Gendarmes. I was breathalysed and had a reading of 0.00. I believe the other driver also had the same reading. The Pompiers checked us all out, and decided that we were not injured - however, subsequently, myself and the 2 children have visited the hospital and my 12 year old and I have some ligament damage in our necks - whiplash? #2 also has some deep muscle bruising which is pretty painful. Sleeping is proving tricky for the 3 of us although time is a great healer. Unfortunately we are off games for a few weeks, although we are encouraged to swim and I can do some static gentle cycling, which I managed to do this morning, for my sanity more than anything else, although it is nice to spend some time on the bike for a change. I will monitor my pain levels and perhaps do some running this weekend, depending on how I feel.
In the middle of all this, Mrs R had to go to an emergency dentist on Sunday morning to have root canal surgery!
As I said, life throws us a few hurdles which get in the way of things, but the kids are in school, I am in work, and we had a great end to the weekend - John Carter on dvd, and a nice bottle of Bordeaux with which to relax. We have also been on the receiving end of some incredible acts of kindness - the people that took the kids off to calm them down (Mrs R accompanied them) and give them biscuits, tea and sympathy. Dom, a great friend that picked up Mrs R due to our lack of transport options to go to the Dentist. And all the nice words of support, offers of helps and phone calls from others.