More thrills than skills – A half-life in journalism, part 14

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, edited extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More thrills than skills: A half-life in journalism’, is being scheduled for publication next year.

SO we press on to the next – shell-shattered – village of Gaj.

Unpromising stuff. All the houses are either boarded up or there are gaping holes in walls and roof. The windows of the local shop are blown out and you can simply walk in where the plate glass once was and help yourself. The shelves are fully stocked.

Enquiries at a small but well-patronised bar reveal there is allegedly one route open to Pakrac and we press on – after finding the obligatory bathroom.

An hour later and we are driving round this forest on dirt roads which would be fine for tractors – even tanks.

We are, of course, completely lost.

There are a lot of tree trunks laid deliberately across roads and so there’s a good bit of reversing and enough eleven-point turns on the narrow tracks to get me through the advanced driving test. I casually ask Sherry about her query to the commandant back in Kutina.

“I just asked him what were our chances of getting through to Pakrac.”

“What did he say?”

“50-50,” she cheerily reports.