Emergency exit

Oh dear.

How quickly resolves crumble in January.

Unfortunately although my life has had a run of fun and games in the back half of this last week and I would love to write about I can not due to that pesky rule of mine. One day I will be able to and it will blow your mind. One day.

As an alternative and as I have neglected my writing duty I shall give you this.

Let us go back through the mist, 3 years ago this coming week


Pictured: The mists of time… probably

It was as normal a day as I am ever likely to achieve. The children had gone back to school and pre-school the week before after the Christmas break. I was feeling free as I headed to the riding school to have some horse time before going to my final appointment with my exacerbated councillor who had unfortunately for me sussed out my mastery of avoidance.

After a normal mornings work I hopped onto a horse called Whisper who my brain insisted was called Flicker and would not see reason on the matter. I was trotting around, like you do, completely absorbed in the argument I was having with the Flicker/Whisper beast about the merits of rear wheel drive over front wheel drive when he suddenly morphed into a bunny rabbit crab beast and leapt violently upwards and sideways.

The world went into slow motion and I had time to contemplate that I could either try and hang on for dear life but probably fall off anyway in an even more embarrassing manor or I could just go with the flow and fall off without bothering to do the hanging upside down under the horses neck like a pig on a spit. I went for the second option and that proved to be a rather costly mistake.

Time dutifully returned to standard speed as I hit the ground, on my feet, given in youth I had experienced a similar unplanned exit with cat landing and managed to loose half the bone in my right ankle for the trouble my helpful brain instinctively protected this vulnerability by allowing all of my weight and motion to go through my left leg. Second costly mistake brain.

As all of us unhinged enough to think climbing onto an flight animals back know the first thing you do after an unfortunate parting of directions is jump up, dust yourself off and demand to get back up. I did that but unfortunately went down again the moment I tried to take a step. Still convinced it was just a flesh wound I attempted to rub the tingling that was running up both my legs away and tried again, no dice, couldn’t even get up this time. Dam.

I was still in denial when my good friend (who is so not the manager or head instructor) suggested we remove my boot. It took the two of us some time and a great deal of pulling and wriggling to remove my boot from foot and when it finally came off I knew I was in trouble when I had to catch my foot. I seemed to remember that traditionally the foot is supposed to be connected to the leg in someway and shouldn’t behave like a broken baguette in a bag.

I was still reeling out ideas of how I could hop to the car or maybe hitch a ride in a wheelbarrow while friend phoned for an ambulance. The pain hadn’t really hit me at that point so my biggest concern was that my councillor was never going to believe my excuse and just think I was displaying an exacerbation in my avoidance behaviour. I remember phoning a friend and asking her to call the surgery to let them know I wouldn’t be there and asking her to make sure she left the councillor a message to say it really wasn’t on purpose and I had actually acted on what we had been talking about. Honest. I don’t know if that message was actually ever left or got through as I never saw the councillor again. Not that I was avoiding her or anything…

Anyway. After a short wait a shiny and as it turned out, brand new ambulance on it’s first ever run arrived at the stables and pulled round through all the mud to where I sat in the dent in which I had landed. I liked the ambulance crew as they brought me gas and air and that stuff rocks, they where less keen due to all the mud and muck I brought to the shiny new ambulance.

After leaving the riding school a farce naturally ensued that involved them first driving my 5 miles west to the minor injuries unit in Witney as for some reason they thought that even if something was broken it was all where it should be. On arrival at the unit I waited with my old friend entornox close at hand for a medical professional to come out and see if they would have me. When somebody arrived (far too high to remember a job title at this point) they took one look and said no chance.

We then had to drive the 10 odd miles back east to the Accident and Emergency unit over in Oxford passing the riding school on the way with benny hill music playing in my head I was thankful that I was just about high enough to not swear with great abandon or be able to string enough words together coherently to give an accurate insight into my opinion about every single bump in the road and the outrageous pain it brought. I tried with limited successes not to resent the fact I had now traveled over half of them once already needlessly. Even in a fairly rural location like this you don’t really expect to be in the back of an ambulance for over an hour even if it is a brand new one on it’s inaugural patient journey.

It was mid afternoon when I finally arrived at the big hospital with it’s hard drugs and x-ray machines. A few hours later I had been x-rayed and had the news


Pictured: Is it meant to look like that?

Not only had I managed to break my ‘good’ leg I had gone for the maximum impact of breaking it in three places. I was plaster casted from thigh to toe (twice as they got it wrong the first time) and removed after midnight to the ward to await surgery the following day.

I left hospital a week later with a large amount of metal work, little memory of the week that had passed due to all the lovely, lovely, drugs and in a wheelchair as due to all my pre existing physical silliness using crutches was considered suicidal.


Pictured: Cankle

Recovery was long, slow, painful and only mitigated by the fact I could not only scare children but medical professionals when my dressing where changed.

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And about that recovery bit, three years down the line and I am as recovered as I am ever going to be. I can do almost everything I could do before but less well and with more pain. Combined with my pre exiting condition it has been a tiny bit disastrous and hastened progression but considering there was a time when they thought I would lose the leg and I was completely okay with that due to the pain, I am not really in a position to complain.

If I want to be a bit soppy and fluffy I can say how I don’t know how I would have got through it if it hadn’t been for my great friends, fab Mum and wonderful village who all came together to make sure I had everything I needed to get back on my feet again (literally and figuratively).

One pair of friends summed the whole thing up beautifully with a lovely picture they sent me (and is still up in my living room today) as they couldn’t travel to see me.


Pictured: Yes. just yes.


Splash down

The holidays have officially begun!

The two week winter trial of stamina, perseverance, patience and cognitive functioning kicked off this afternoon in fine style.

As promised after school kicked out the girl and I headed off to the outdoor skating rink amid a mild gale and spitting rain. Thankfully for me the rink is set up among the sheds and potted plants of a large local garden centre and is pretty small and just for fun, or so they say.

The last time I laced a set of ice skates I was still in my teens, still had all the bone a person should have and had no metal plates and screws holding me together. The girl asked for one of those push along seal skating aids, I took a look at the £4 fee and grandly told her that she didn’t need a seal, she had me. I then did an impression of a seal. The girl was not impressed but the young man in the ticket booth said it was a fantastic seal impression.

As soon as my skate hit the ice I knew I was in a bit of trouble I had completely overlooked the fact that ice is slippery, ice with a few millimeters of water on top because, hey, this is southern England in December what do you really expect, is I find even more slippy. I am often unable to keep my balance while standing in shoes on a flat carpeted floor. This was not going to end well I realised.

The girl and I started to do laps while clinging for dear life onto the fencing. The girl, having learnt her passive aggression from the master made comments about how good the seals where, look that Dad is pushing two seals at once and I could have held onto it too it I had wanted. I still refused to pay £4 for the use of one. I would shortly regret that decision.


Pictured: Better than me

After a few laps I started to get a little less terrified and risked letting go of the fence, I even encouraged the girl to let go. I even tried to give the girl tips on skating and that, that was my big mistake. A combination of misplaced hubris and inattention caused me to suddenly find myself flat on my back in the corner of the rink where the standing water had formed a rather large puddle. I then couldn’t get up. I had to scoot over to the fence, through a puddle, on my backside and then try to haul myself up to standing while still wearing ice skates, still being on ice and still being me.


Pictured: Wet and saggy

Apart from being wet through things actually went great and the girl and I had a wonderful and fun time, we even did three whole laps without holding on, for one of those we even let go of each other. We came off the ice and went for hot chocolate (girl) and soup (me) and then spent a little time window shopping before heading over to the farm shop to stock up on some amazing pork pies (scrumpy, black pudding, cranberry and stuffing. I couldn’t pick so will be eating pork pie until 2015 without complaint) for our Christmas morning breakfast. I tried not to think about the fact that once I was off the ice the reason for my wet backside would not be as clear cut to the casual observer and tried to simply be thankful for dark jeans, the loss of any sense of shame that occurred with my first birth and the fact that apart from the gale it was quite warm.

So I have started the holidays with a bang (splash?) and had a lovely time with my girl. The children are off to play with a friend tomorrow while I unfortunately attend another funeral. We then have a normal (as normal as it gets round here) weekend before we hit the home straight before christmas. It is the riding school Christmas party on Tuesday so that is likely to provide a wealth of material. At least this year everybody knows not to applaud the end of the musical ride lest all the horses bolt again. They did bolt in unison though and many thought it was part of the show, well until somebody fell off and the real stampede started…

Living in the real world

(Fiction – thank you for the inspiration Mum, I bet you are glad you managed to get out without outside help!)

Do you ever feel like screaming ’Stop the ride I want to get off!’ before realising that the ride you are on is called life and the ride operator is so rarely seen that they have become legend. The little booth that he sits in has been nicknamed heaven but the windows are tinted and you start to wonder if there is anybody operating the ride at all.

The school run that morning had been one of the usual affairs that saw me thanking the ride operator for the fact that my sleepwear can pass for outerwear from a distance, while covered with a winter coat and as long as all the other unfortunates on the school run conformed to the rule of not looking too closely at each others attire. So with the boy and girl deposited for the day I dashed back home and into the welcome embrace of a bubblebath and it was then in a moment of weakness brought on, I think, by the hot water I foolishly allowed myself to believe that may day was getting better.

Wearing nothing but my middle age and a bathrobe I made my way in search of my hairdryer, last seen on Monday morning when it had been involved in an attempt to coverup the fact I had forgotten to turn the tumble dryer on the night before.

I found myself in the lesser visited corner of the small utility room that adjoined the kitchen thinking that I may have chucked the hairdryer onto the shelves above the hot water tank along with the towels that had also proven useless in my jumper rescue attempts. I looked for some reason at the hot water tank before the shelves, just as I was thinking that I could have sworn the tank was taller the last time I had looked at it I also noted a sudden lack of floor under my feet and then like Road Runner, a fraction of a second after the removal of solid ground, I began to fall.

A small part of my being had at least some wits left about it and just at the crucial moment my elbows shot out and managed to arrest my fall. I hung there, my weight held by my chicken wings for a moment or two while my brain processed what the hell had happened. I found myself looking directly at the suspiciously squat water tank while the cogs turned and I realised that. like I, the water tank had gone through the floor. Without arms to catch it the tank had been lucky enough to only fall part way before being caught by the joists. How at that moment I wished I was the water tank because it was about then that I realised that my bottom half was feeling rather draughty and the terrible reality that I was hanging with my top half in the utility room, my elbows stopping me from falling all the way through to the flat below, my dressing gown gathered up around my armpits and my lower half, now exposed in all its glory protruding into the downstairs flat.

Ten long minutes passed while I tried to find a solution to the rather interesting position I found myself in. Well, it felt like about ten minutes, I had no way of really knowing given that I foolishly never saw the need to mount a clock on the water tank and my phone was not about my person. I was trying to find a solution to my predicament when I heard the sound of a 20 year old male pure maths student discovering what a 30 something mother of two looked like naked from just above the waist and hanging from their ceiling. It wasn’t a pretty sound as such, more of a high-pitched scream, a pause to take in the full wonder of the sight before him followed by a string of expletives, a bit of cursing the ride operator and finally a call enquiring about my well being.

The key for my flat that I had cut to give to the neighbours was naturally sitting on the shelf in my hallway waiting patiently for me to give it to them. It had been waiting for over 6 months at that point, it had taken me 2 months to remember to get the thing cut and it was now only a month or so before they moved out ready for the new students in September.

As there were also no ladders to be had other than the ones in the garden shed (the key for which was keeping the spare flat key company on the shelf) my newly traumatised in ways his counsellor wouldn’t believe neighbour called the fire service.

Two fire engines one police cars and one ambulance was the final tally. They got me down into my neighbour’s flat quite quickly but that is to be expected really when you consider that my rescue crew was 16 firefighters, 2 police officers, 2 ambulance crew and a student doctor on a ride along.

The only real damage it transpired once I had been checked over by the ambulance staff was to my floor, my dignity and the mind of my young neighbour. Soon the emergency services started to drift off ready to dine out on my experience for many years to come, thankfully I realised before the last firefighter left that I was still not in the correct flat and that there was not a key for my flat in existence that wasn’t on that bloody shelf mocking me. The police officers and the remaining firefighters had a small standoff when it came to which one of the two services would get to use the small battering ram. I had to step in and play Mum after a few minutes as by this point I just wanted to put on some clothes and try to get a little time to sort out the gaping hole in my floor before the children came home from school. I ruled that the fire service had their turn when they got me down from my perch and it was the turn of the police now. The last firefighters appeared to be sulking as they got in their truck and departed and the two police officers could be heard at the top of the stairs outside my front door having a small tussle over who was going to break the door down. I trudged up the stairs, told the police officers that if they couldn’t agree I would do it at which point they seemed to snap to their senses, realise that they were police officers not children and broke down my front door.

It was less than two hours later when I left to pick the children up from school, now at least, dressed in proper clothes I didn’t bother picking up any of the keys from the shelf in the hall, there didn’t seem much point anymore.