I have done something so darned stupid. I’ve broken my leg!
When we say ‘Let’s go away for a break’-we don’t mean it to end up this literal, do we?
‘How did it happen? Well, it was like this…’
I creep out through the tent flap to get water from a standpipe in the hedgerow. Early morning dew glistens on the grass around the tent. I turn on the tap and water splutters into my little bright orange silicone foldable bucket (indispensable camping essential!).
A woman stands watching me from the middle of the field. She has a Navajo style blanket held close around her shoulders and is cleaning her teeth. Her gaze is disturbing and impenetrable. For an unknown reason it bothers me. Maybe she is herself trying to wake up from a deep sleep (or she couldn’t sleep?) and doesn’t realise that her emergence from slumber (or not) is making her gape at me in such a disquieting manner?
‘I wish she’d stop staring at me,’
The bucket overflows and I go back towards our tent. My foot slips and turns over, twisting in a rabbit hole close by a tent peg. The pail hurls out of my grasp. I fall and hear a crack and my scream through a searing blur of pain.
The staring woman doesn’t falter in cleaning her teeth. The bucket is bouncing yards away in a spray of dew and tap water.
Andrew dashes to my rescue and lifts me into my flimsy camping chair that has threatened to collapse throughout the holiday. The chair protests and strains at the joints. ‘Oh, please don’t give way now’ is one of my thoughts – another, is ‘WTF have I done?’. To my horror, my ankle appears as though it has swallowed a tennis ball. Andrew gently places a compress (flannel soaked in cold water) upon it. “This needs looking at,” he says with concern. “Time to phone a friend,” and he strides away across the field with his arm raised high elevating his phone to the Heavens. His somewhat urgent figure portraying an attitude not dissimilar to an over dramatising Shakespearean thespian posturing on the stage making grandiose gestures.
To get reception in this valley means a mile scramble up the hillside or a trek into the village.
I am left alone.
Our plans to spend the last day of our holiday visiting the National Trust 14th century thatched Clergy House (first house acquired by the NT for £10 in 1896 by co-founder Octavia Hill) and visiting the local Rathfinny Wine Estate and buying a few bottles are now a low priority (mind you, I’m not convinced fine local English wine should rank as low priority in my present condition-it might even be vital!).
|The Clergy House and Rathfinny Wine Estate
I look around the field. The staring woman and her tent are gone. Two kids are playing with a toy go-kart, riding up and down a slope. I try to relax but am forced to listen to a loud PA. system playing music. This quiet campsite, nestling in the deep silence of the valley of the Sussex Downs where we have spent the last week listening to nothing but the tooting of owls and the cawing of the rooks and crows, has turned into a poor man’s Glastonbury music festival. An adjacent field is swarming with junketing frolickers. Their electrified music is amplified by the geology of the valley which has now become a giant speaker. The noise funnelling around from the field behind the stables and echoing off a banking of trees (a sound system in the quiet of a countryside campsite? ‘Come on!’). The location is a natural amphitheatre.
‘I want to go home,’ I whimper.
Andrew returns, with the assurance that one of my dearest friends, Nicky, who lives nearby, has offered us hospitality to stay if I cannot drive home (Brave, when you consider it could well end up with me being like the heroine Catherine who injured herself (same as I) in Wuthering Heights – and ended up staying as a prolonged houseguest of Linton at Thrushcross Grange for five weeks!).
Nicky warns us that the waiting time in Eastbourne Hospital is at least four hours.
Despite the temptation to accept the kind invitation to stay (any other time I would jump at the chance-but, in my predicament, any form of ‘jumping’ is out of the question); all I want to do, is leave. It must be a primitive homing instinct for when you are injured, an inherent urge to get home-to crawl away and hide within your own inner sanctums… to die.
Unable to help Andrew in the packing up of the tent, I sit forlorn in my rickety ‘ready to fold up in a heap’ camping chair, thinking; that it’s a pity he has never taken his driving test.
I strap my injured foot up tight inside my walking boot. Then drive 70 miles with a grimace and clenching of teeth at every gear change to London (Never approach the City of London via Blackfriars Bridge with a broken leg – they’ve got a new cycle path and bus lane network that causes horrendous delays and confusion-it used to be the best way, but not anymore-it precipitated at least thirty clenches and grimaces!).
The following day, a visit to A&E at our local hospital (UCH) an X-Ray shows I am suffering a broken bone (the Fibula to be technical-it’s the thinner one parallel with the Tibia).
Well, that’s all for now folks. I have to pick up my crutches and hop off till next time.
|psst! Scribbles is a nickname I work under for some cartoons!
I suspect I may now have more time now to write and post articles that I have lined up in my BACK LOG BLOG!