2) Many years ago, a male friend and I were driving the narrow, metal country roads of New Zealand alongside a river, arguing heatedly. We approached a corner at speed and misjudged the its sharpness. The dark green MGT sportscar flew off the road straight towards a sheer drop into the river. I felt terror and then the strangest thing - complete calm. I was going to die and that was that. There was nothing I could do about it. I closed my eyes and relaxed - a rag doll going to its fate. The tires screamed and we came to a halt. I opened my eyes to see the drop inches in front of the car. A foot more and our fate would have been sealed. That was thirty years ago and I still remember that sensation of calm acceptance.
4) The day my son (four years old) disappeared. I searched the house and garden, calling his name, becoming rapidly more and more agitated. Any mother will understand the sheer panic that takes over your body. He had never left the grounds before and it took a while before I went out onto the road. Way in the distance, up at the busy main road I saw him turn the corner and start to stroll towards me. A weight the size of Africa lifted off my heart. The funny thing was that I gave him his first lecture on stranger-danger and a couple of days later he wanted to know if that bad man was still outside our house. You never know how a kid is interpreting your words.
5) One day while living in Turin, Italy, I was sheltering from a sudden heavy thunderstorm against a wall in a narrow shopping street in the centre of town, when I saw an interesting shoe shop on the opposite side of the road. It was pelting down but I was bored where I was so I made the decision to run helter-skelter across the road. Completely drenched, I had only just arrived when I heard an explosion behind me. I turned to see great sheets of lightning erupting from a power cable which was snaking down the wall exactly where I had been standing. It had been hit by lightning. I can still shake at the memory of that close call.