I really did. I saw a ghost. Someone was crossing the A303 in the dark without a torch, but at least they were dressed all in white so they showed up in the headlights of the van I was driving. It was 11.30 and I had been travelling for ten hours. Five of those hours had been spent asleep in a cabin while crossing the English Channel so I was not too tired at this stage.
I put my lights on main beam to warn the late night jay-walker that I was bearing down upon them at close to seventy and in that instant they were gone.
It dawned on me then that the point the person was crossing was in line with one of the many old lanes cut in two by the passage of the modern dual carriageway. I’m not so terribly old, but even I can remember a time when the original 303 wound around the local towns in a lovely picaresque way which made the journey a part of the holiday (for this has always been the path to the sun!).
Just West of the horse racing town of Wincanton, but not so close to Sparkford many lanes criss cross from Yarlington in the North to Maperton in the South. North Cadbury and South Cadbury are separated by the ever-flowing tarmac ribbon, two villages, two parishes previously only set apart by tithings and cricket scores now accessible only via a tall and narrow concrete bridge.
A friend of mine in South Cadbury has a pet theory that this kind of sighting is evidence of a time-slip, a minor quake in the continuum that gives us a glimpse into a past or future event. He half expects to meet himself coming back from the pub one night…perhaps he already has?
Maybe what I saw last night was an echo of an earlier time when we walked home by the light of the full moon, when roaring light blaring monsters that flew along metalled motorways at terrifying speeds, were the stuff of cider crazed nightmares. Perhaps, not too many years ago, someone wandering a darkened lane was startled by an unexpected flash of lightning and it’s accompanying roar?
I do hope that, like me, they got home safely…