A chapter from my book, Dogged Days, describing eventful incidents at home, on the way to the Andrews' house, and in their home.
It was late September, and getting on for 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and I was driving on the A43 road near Silverstone when suddenly the thought came into my head that I ought to stop at a service station to visit the loo - just in case I encountered traffic hold-ups…Everything is now a blur before and after what happened next.
As I drove up the slope into the service station it struck me how it was unusually empty for such a busy time on a main road. Way up the far end of the parking area, near the motel, was a couple of cars but there were no people. Anyway, I didn’t think too much about it. I parked my car and looked for signs to the toilets. I didn’t see any but in front of me were some double doors leading to the restaurant seating areas. Walking through I was again surprised to notice that there was no one there. At this point a man appeared from out of view carrying a tray full of food and drink. Never taking his eyes of me he sat down at a table facing me and continued to stare. I couldn’t help thinking how unusual he looked and it made me feel a little uneasy. I looked away and tried to find signs for the toilets but there were none so I started to walk around the inside of the building, and still the place was empty except for this peculiar man and me. I began to wonder whether perhaps the toilets were outside so I walked back to the front doors. Now, as I am writing this I’m wondering whether the man was still there at this point because I don’t think he was…anyway, when I reached the front doors I noticed two uniformed youths standing by a fast food counter, a boy and a girl. I approached the lad and asked him where the toilets were. “This way,” he said and led me around the back of the fast food counter; still I could see no signs for the toilets. When I came out the boy and girl were still there, the man with the tray of food had certainly gone but still nobody else. I returned to my car, drove down the slope and back on to the hurly-burly of the main road.
I can recall thinking as I left just how very strange this experience had been. I have never, ever, come across a deserted service station on a busy road, not even at night (and this was lunchtime on a Friday). It was then that I noticed how peculiar I felt and this brought to mind a journey I had made to Long Sutton two years previously. On that occasion I had experienced two hours of missing time. Immediately I looked at the car’s clock but it seemed in order and I didn’t feel anywhere near as mentally dislocated as I had the time before:
It was the 5th August 2004 and I had driven my friend, counsellor and abduction researcher, Mary Rodwell from Oxford to North Walsham in Norfolk where she was to catch up with family and friends before returning home to Australia. From there I had arranged to visit my friends, Paul and Ann Andrews in Long Sutton, Lincolnshire.
We reached North Walsham at 3pm on Thursday 5th August. I stayed for a cuppa and a chat was given directions for the quickest route to Long Sutton and drove away at 3.30pm. I was told it would take just over an hour.
As I motored towards the town of Thorpe Market I made a mental note to stop after I’d cleared Kings Lynn to phone and let Ann know when I would arrive and reminded myself that I must telephone my partner in Australia when I arrived.
The drive was smooth and uneventful - no hold-ups or delays. I was still some way from Kings Lynn on the A148 road when I happened upon a parking area and felt compelled to drive into it, which I did. The crescent-shaped parking area was hidden behind a row of trees and bushes and a medium-size white box-truck was already there. It had a name on the side that I recognised (but afterwards couldn’t remember for a long time). I pulled up behind the truck, rang Ann and told her that I was about 10 miles the other side of Kings Lynn from her and would probably be about 40 minutes. (I gave myself extra time in case I met any delays - which was why I had originally planned to phone her AFTER Kings Lynn.) I hung up and drove back out to the road; as I did so an identical white truck (with the same name) was approaching from my right so I put my foot down and drove on towards Kings Lynn. Once on the highway I realised immediately that I felt somehow disorientated, groggy, queasy… and burnt. I put it down to the several hours of driving I had done on this hot day, even though I had rested at North Walsham. I had been feeling perfectly ok when I drove into the parking place. A little down the road I noted a sign that said Kings Lynn 6 miles.
1: This all occurred on the ancient festival of ‘Lughnasadh’ - a time dedicated to the step-mother of the Celtic lightning hero ‘Lugh’, their ‘St. Michael’.
2: A couple of days later I drove over the bridge again and the “NO ENTRY” signs were not on top of each other (of course). They were on each side of the roads on the pillars.
3: See No Evil: The Moors Murders (2006): www.imdb.com/title/tt0491807
4: Regarding something mentioned in an earlier chapter
I later discovered that the parking area is only 2 or 3 miles from the royal palace of Sandringham and opposite the B1440, which leads to it. Is there a doorway through time near Sandringham? Was my experience somehow connected to this?
When I drove into Kings Lynn I came to a set of traffic lights and had to choose between two lanes: one to turn left and the other to carry straight on. I knew I needed to drive straight on but chose the lane to turn left. I felt extremely confused but did manage to see I was in the wrong lane before I got to the lights so I stopped, indicated to get into the correct lane and someone let me through. It was a little slow driving through the outskirts of Kings Lynn but nothing too tiresome. However I still felt very strange indeed.
Approaching Sutton Bridge I had the strange sensation, almost a mechanical feeling, of my consciousness clicking into another gear - it was like abruptly waking up but not fully. At this point I noticed two red, round signs with white bars across their middle, and one atop the other. I immediately recognised them as ‘NO ENTRY’ signs...and slammed on my brakes - as did every other car behind me. They also (understandably) began to thrash at their horns and (no doubt) deliver streams of
obscenities. Still not fully with it I could see a stream of cars crossing from the other side of the road in the other lane but nothing in front of me on my side. I was so confused. I didn’t know whether I was barred from crossing the bridge but I reasoned that I must be able to because there was nowhere else to go even though the NO ENTRY signs clearly (to me) said I could not. I gingerly drove across. (2)
In less than 10 minutes I was at Ann’s house and she was putting the kettle on. As she did so I remembered that I had to phone my partner so I asked Ann,
“What’s the time, about 5 o’clock...?”
“No”, she said, “It’s 20 to 7!!”
I couldn’t believe it; three hours to drive 70 miles! A journey I was told would take me about one hour!!
Ann said that she’d been worried: “I wondered where you got to. You telephoned me at 4.15. I thought you must have gone for a look around Kings Lynn or something.” I still felt disorientated, queasy and hot. My coordination was hampered and I found everything very difficult to do but gradually during the evening I felt better and better. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realised what I had risked - without any comprehension of the peril at the time.
Something happened to me at that lay-by I’m convinced of it. I lost approximately two hours somewhere. My fuel gauge (oddly) read the same the next morning as it did when I left North Walsham. Unfortunately I didn’t take notice of the mileage but even my cars don’t run on fresh air.
I tried and tried to remember the name on the side of the truck but it took another 22 months…and my recall came in a very strange, and slightly sinister, way. In May 2006, I was watching the TV drama, ‘See No Evil’ about the Moors Murders and in a street scene the white box truck appeared briefly. It was an exact match for the truck in that lay-by near Sandringham; even the name on the side: REPCO. I’d remembered at last! (3)
The reason why the name had been familiar to me was that it is the name of quite a well-known automotive firm in Australia, where I used to live. Apart from on the truck in the television programme I haven’t seen the name here in the UK. I think it’s very odd and the nagging feeling that the REP part of the name on the truck in the lay-by might be short for REPTILIAN doesn’t go away.
I have not yet got to the bottom of what happened in that secluded lay-by in August 2004, but let’s get back to 2006 and I’ve just left the service station somewhere near Silver-stone:
To be continued...