January 14, 2017

A LUCKY ESCAPE

wild boar

Living in the middle of a field can sometimes be interesting, especially when it’s deep in the French countryside and there is plenty of wildlife about.  The driver of the car in this picture had a very close encounter with a wild boar and a lucky escape.

This all happened the weekend before we set off back to the UK for Christmas.  It was after dark and as I was walking up the drive towards the car port I became aware of car headlights and voices just along the road from our gate.  There is very little traffic along our road but voices are not that unusual as passing neighbours sometimes stop their cars for a chat in the road.

As I pulled out of the drive I looked to my right and realised that one pair of car headlights was one above the other not side by side.  This could only mean one thing.  Something very wrong.

I reversed smartly back into the drive and fetched Nick and we both went to investigate.  The blue car was at that time on its side in the ditch, the driver was a middle aged lady who had been hauled out of it by a passing neighbour and his son. 

It appears that she was driving past our house (in the opposite direction to the way the car was now facing) and as she rounded the slight bend a wild boar stepped into the road in front of her.  She braked and swerved, causing the car to hit the opposite side of the ditch and it then spun round and ended up on its side with the driver’s door underneath.  She was very lucky that the passing neighbour turned up only five minutes later.  From inside our house we had no idea that a crash had happened as we heard and saw nothing at all.  She could easily have been there for hours as apparently she is slightly disabled and was totally unable to get out of the car without help.

The lady was remarkably calm about it.  She was a bit battered and bruised but otherwise not seriously hurt, in spite of having had to be dragged over the seats and out of the back door of her car.  The neighbour had already called for the help of another neighbour who soon arrived with his tractor, hauled the car back onto its wheels and pushed it out of the way on the grass verge.  After that, the neighbours disappeared and we took the lady home to the other side of Le Grand-Pressigny in our car.  Her car was badly damaged and was towed away two days later.

We knew that wild boar were around near our house.  A visitor had seen a family of them in the field at the side early one morning in the summer and we had seen footprints for ourselves.  Nick had seen them a few kilometres further along the lane, sauntering across the road in front of him at dusk, although that was many months ago.  I found it fascinating that this one was crossing the road right by our house but that I had never, ever seen one myself.

Then, as we drove north through France three days later on our way to Calais, we encountered another one.  We were on a stretch of fairly busy normal road (not motorway) in broad daylight and one stepped out from the forest.  It was just behind the car in front and fairly close to us.  It trotted swiftly across the road and disappeared into the forest on the other side.  Luckily we were far enough away that we could brake calmly and were in no real danger of hitting it.  Otherwise, who knows, we might have ended up in the ditch ourselves.  When faced with the choice of hitting a 200 kilo lump of solid muscle or a soft grassy bank, would one’s instincts make the right choice?

4 comments:

  1. It is astonishing how secretive they are. One of my butterfly transects passes a wallow, and I always get the creepy feeling they are in the undergrowth watching me. In ten years I've only seen boar twice, both times while driving at dusk, but in neither case were they crossing the road, rather going about their business close enough to the road that I spotted them even in the low light.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I nearly hit one when I was driving back and forth all the time. That though was because there was a hunt in the area and they chased a huge boar straight across in front of me. At the time I was more worried about being shot, but it could have been a nasty result all round. Luckily both the car and myself came out the other side with nothing more than a scare. Diane

    ReplyDelete
  3. We've never seen sangliers in our hamlet or out in the vineyard, but it seems people have seen them close by, down in the river valley. The sangliers like to turn over peoples garbage cans and feed on what they find inside. We have twice seen numbers of sangliers over on the other side of the river, between Saint-Aignan and Saint-Romain, in a forest, once at dusk and another time at about three a.m. And I saw a large herd of them over near Romorantin one morning a few years ago. It was about 10 a.m. and a herd of 30 or 40 of them crossed the road a couple of hundred meters ahead of me. I had to slow down but there was no danger of a collision. It was impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sangliers are semi-farm-raised in the Périgord area - we saw a group of tiny ones trotting toward a feed trough. Adorable. But the meat can be very very tough.

    ReplyDelete