This little flower is blooming in a narrow border maintained by the local council, just around the corner from where I live. It is a newly planted shrub, just two spindly twigs, and I first noticed it last week. But what could it be? It looks very much like a philadelphus, but flowering now? Am I being dimmer than usual? Any ideas anyone?
We travelled home yesterday after a second Christmas with my family in Wales. Our journey was delayed, someone had been hit by a train and the line had been closed between Bristol and Taunton. I don’t know the rest of the story. It well may have been an unfortunate accident, but I can’t help thinking that life had become too painful for some poor soul. The festive period can be a gruelling time for the lonely and excluded.
Whatever the reason, it is a sad tale. One that has undoubtedly given distress and sorrow to many; the train driver, the emergency services called to the scene and those that knew the victim.
We were warm, had plenty to read and adequate supplies. Our fellow passengers were relaxed and we got home safe and unstressed. Still I couldn’t stop thinking about the person who had died so tragically and all those who find this sometimes cruel world too great a challenge.
This morning I discovered that a friend’s home was destroyed in a serious fire a couple of days ago. The family is safe but their house is almost certainly beyond repair and they have lost most of their possessions. However they are buoyant and positive and are being supported by each other and their friends.
Something else happened earlier today. And it got me to thinking. There was a ring at the door and a parcel left on the doorstep. Inside was a blanket, handmade by my friend Emma. A surprise, a wonderful surprise. It is beautiful but so much more than that. I cried at the kindness of it.
Friends and family can not always protect us from misfortune. But when adversity does strike, and as we know “into each life a little rain must fall”, it is these people who surround and embrace us. Even when it turns out to be a deluge and not just a shower.
My dear family and friends are my blanket, they fold their arms around me when I need it, they keep me warm with their love. I am very lucky and I am thankful. It should be said out loud every now and again. Happy New Year everyone, thank you.
The sun came out briefly today, although it is raining again now. The respite from the wind and rain did wonders to raise my spirit, which to be honest hadn’t been that low considering my predicament. Hero took me out for coffee and we met up with the Damage Crew, it was just like old times. Spirit is now well and truly aloft.
I needed a photo that said “there is light at the end of the tunnel, let’s get moving its nearly Christmas and there is sausage, mash and gravy for tea”. One of Nancy Nightingale’s funky dunky dahlias fitted the description perfectly.
It has been a good day. There were a few firsts after my disastrous stuntwoman interview a couple of weeks ago. It was my first full day without the stormtrooper boot. It was my first day with two shoes on and my first visit to the physiotherapist. All went well. Very well.
I don’t want to disco dance before I can walk but things are definitely on an upward trajectory.
Even better, when we got home from the hospital Father Christmas had visited. OH didn’t mind shimmying up the scaffolding to retrieving the parcel. I’m not that much better yet!
Up until today I have felt quite ambivalent about my injury. Injury makes it sound like I did something noble to aquire such damage, I should really call it a stupid self-inflicted accident. Much more accurate, but not helpful on the glum monitor. The rain has helped. Work would have been challenging and uncomfortable, so a lucky escape in that department. Today however it became an annoyance, a sadness. Or was that yesterday. When I tried to get through a door whilst inexpertly driving my crutches, or when my coat was dragging in the rain or when I had to ask for help to carry the coffees to the table whilst my friend was parking the car. A lesson. Learnt.
Earlier today I heard on the radio a representative from a homeless charity saying that celebrities sleeping out for one night in their designer sleeping bags was patronising to the true homeless. I thought him harsh.
Now I realise that, god willing, in a few weeks I will be back on my feet and dancing YMCA with the best of them. How to negotiate steps and doors and all manner of public places will be a problem of the past. Some will not have this luxury.
Wouldn’t it have been grand if it had happened whilst snatching a kitten from the path of a speeding train, or maybe free-climbing the Shard for a worthy charity, perhaps tackling some fiend who had just stolen a dear old ladies handbag and had sprinted of into the distance, or even during some extreme gardening? But I didn’t. I fractured my foot because I was under the impression there was only one step to go at the bottom of the stairs and there were two. Counting was never my strong point.
Apart from the obvious, “foot heading in a direction that quite frankly is not natural” another unfortunate issue was that I was wearing what I like to call my “lounge wear”. Others might call them (perhaps more accurately) “tatty old mismatching pyjamas”. Yes I am quite aware that it was 2.00pm, and at this time of day only true slovens and nightworkers are still so casually dressed. However it was a rain-stopped-play day and I had earlier, at an almost respectable time, changed out of my genuine PJ’s into my LW. Not certain though if I had brushed my hair.
I will save you the gory and dull details, I am sure your imagination will fill any gaps. Just in case you are struggling here are a few key words to help you along the way. Agony, attempting to get into car without passing out, leaning against a wall outside A&E like a one-legged sobbing stork whilst OH tried to find a wheelchair, being taken pity on by an ambulance driver who managed find a wheelchair and kindly took me to reception, waiting, triage, waiting, doctor, waiting, x-ray, waiting, prognosis, waiting, groovy boot and crutches allocation. Out with the golden, in with the storm trooper.
If like myself you are rather a curious creature, you will be wondering who else was in the waiting room. Luckily (yes irony) I had plenty of time to study them. There was a teenager wearing sports shorts and a blazer with a rugby induced ankle injury (far cooler than me obviously), a young woman with a broken finger who could still text at the speed of light, a workman with a broken arm and a moody wife, a farmer who had broken his wrist last month and hadn’t noticed, and a man in combats with a badly cut chin. My favourite fellow waitee however was a charming little girl who had stuffed toilet paper up her nose and couldn’t get it out again. Her reasoning was very sensible I thought, she had a stinky cold and was fed up with having to wipe it all the time. Almost two minutes of arrival she began to ask of everybody and anybody “why have we got to wait so long?” and was still doing so when I was wheeled off to the equipment cupboard. Hopefully, for the sake of all, she was soon whisked off to the nose vacuuming department.
Onto the actual damage, I have an avulsion fracture to the talus and navicular bone, possibly more problematical is that some of the tendons are also damaged. It appears that my injuries are very similar to those of our very own Torrington Tina, although she got there 5 weeks before I did. We have been comparing notes. I am not sure “great minds think alike” is applicable in this case. There will be no gardening for me until next year and then I must take it easy, “avoid uneven surfaces” might be a tricky one.
One last point, you will be very pleased to hear that I gave my business card to the doctor in the fracture clinic, seems like he needs a gardener. He knows of course that he will have to wait for a few weeks, but I told him it would be worth it!
Last year I was captivated by a short series on television called Retreat: Meditations from a Monastery. It consisted of three hour long programmes about the day to day life of three Benedictine monasteries in the UK. The commentary was minimal, the effect mesmeric. I then read a fascinating book about Julian of Norwich, a 14th century anchoress, written by the wonderful Janina Ramirez. I know, who would have thought it? I can read! Since then I have had a compulsion to get away for a couple of days, on my own, for a peaceful and perhaps reflective time. I didn’t want it to be structured or themed. I certainly didn’t want to be bricked up in a cell for the rest of my life. I wanted to make the rules and break them if I felt the need. Chocolate was to be involved. The thought of a little self-enforced solitude (and hopefully be able to get stuck into some serious writing) sounded idyllic. To suit myself; eat when I was hungry, sleep when I was tired, have a little company when needed.
And that is just what I have done this weekend. I didn’t wear a watch all weekend, when I went for a walk I didn’t take a camera, there was no social media. And it was wonderful.
Thanks Mr and Mrs Bun, it was just perfect.