Friday 27th September 2013

Cups hands around gob and shouts: ‘hello, hello, is there anyone there?’

Cups hand around lug and listens for a reply, hearing only silence and the scratchy sound of tumbleweed moving across the desert of my website.

Oh well. I’ll just have to talk to myself then. It won’t be the first time. I talk to myself a lot I do, even when the men folk are around. I know from their glazed expressions when they’re zoning out and mentally blocking me. It happens when I’ve rabbited non-stop for several hours about nothing in particular. Shane usually cracks first and tells me to shut up because I’m giving him a headache as well as an earache. Dick tends to put a gentle finger to my lips and say something like: ‘let’s have some quiet time, honey, before you wear your voice out.’

They love my chatter really. It keeps them in touch with life around the neighbourhood. How else would they get to know the doings and coming and goings of the neighbours if I didn’t tell them? I’m informative I am. Before I happened along they knew nothing about the community they lived in. Now they know everything, even things they’d rather not know.

What a fab summer we’ve had in Blighty this year. It’s been gorgeous. We three have been able to spend more time chilling together. We’ve had long summer evenings, perfect for sitting chatting in the garden or in the summerhouse.  Because it’s been such a nice summer it’s harder to let it go. I’m in mourning for it. The weather has changed and autumn is clearly underway. Dark mornings and darker evenings are closing in fast. I want summer back.

Towards the back end of August, on a sunny Sunday morning, the three of us were enjoying a cycle ride in the Dales. We’d set out super early so as to make the most of the solitude before other weekend leisure seekers also hit the roads and it became busier than the M1 in rush hour. We parked up at our start point and reassembled and mounted our steeds. Picture the scene if you will: three lush men on posh executive mountain bikes, riding one behind the other in a perfect pace line. Alpha Papa Bear Shane was leading up front, Beta Bear Dick was drafting in his slipstream and then there was me, Baby Bear, drafting in Beta Bear’s slipstream. The sky was blue, the air balmy and the scenery beautiful.

After a while Papa Bear tired of being the lead rider, in the sense of being weary. He indicated to Dick that he intended to peel off and thus allow him to follow through and take the lead. Beta Bear duly took the lead and I moved up behind him while Papa Bear fell in behind me to draft in my slipstream and recover his energy. In time Dick indicated his intention to peel off and drop back, leaving me to take my turn as the lead rider. Silly me. I was too eager to follow through. I accelerated too fast and managed to clip Dick’s rear wheel before he had time to peel off properly and drop back. Result? Beta and Baby Bear crashed and went down in a tangle of limbs and spokes. Papa Bear managed to pull up and avoid joining the heap.

After making sure there were no serious injuries to persons or bikes Papa Bear took advantage of the solitude. He bent me over, tucked me under his arm and soundly spanked my backside. How mean I hear you cry. It was an accident. True, it was an accident, but I’ve been warned before about being careless and ‘trigger happy’ when it comes to the follow through when we’re cycling in rotation. Being too eager to get up front can result in a crash with a potential for severe injury. Shane says I go at things like a bull at a gate without thinking and it’s why I have so many accidents. As I said, in this case, there was nothing too bad. Dick had a grazed shin and elbow and I had grazed knees, but we were otherwise unscathed. I made a tearful apology for my rash rush action and we all kissed and made up.

Papa Bear whipped out a tube of antiseptic cream from his first aid kit. It wasn’t ordinary antiseptic though. It was impregnated with TCP.  I swear to God that Shane must have shares in the Company that makes the evil stuff.  Despite our protests he slathered the pungent ointment over our grazes. Once the burning agony had worn off and our eyes had stopped watering we declared ourselves fit and ready to resume our ride. We slowed our pace to a more leisurely and casual one. Dick and Shane cycled side by side and I fell in behind them.

The sting from my grazed knees and smacked bottom gradually receded. In contrast I developed an ache in the fingers and the back of my right hand. It wasn’t too bad at first, but as time went on, it began to build.

We’d planned our route to take in a lunch stop at a pub. By the time we arrived at the country hostelry, my hand was swollen and throbbing like a bastard. I didn’t say anything to the men folk. I was too embarrassed at having caused the crash in the first place. I ordered a sandwich with a side order of chips for my lunch. They were easy enough to eat using mainly my left hand. After lunch we set off again.

I tried to ignore the increasing pain, but it was tough going. It began to spoil my enjoyment of the ride and the scenery. All I could think about was how much my hand and fingers were hurting. Gripping the handlebar was agony. I had to resort to riding one handed, holding my injured hand against my chest. It meant I lost speed and dropped right back, losing sight of Dick and Shane. I often drop back if I want to have a look at something. I usually manage to catch up with them soon after. Not this time though. I got slower and slower and it became a real chore to maintain control of my bike. In the end I stopped and went off road, chucking my bike down on a verge and myself alongside it. I fished out my phone to call Shane, but couldn’t get a signal. I had to sit tight and wait for them to notice I wasn’t catching up.

Thankfully I didn’t wait long. They soon realised I’d fallen way behind and doubled back to look for me. Shane was inclined to be cross, until he realised I was injured. He left me in Dick’s care and shot off back to our start point to get the car. We went straight to the hospital emergency department where we waited for three weeks before seeing a doctor. (Lie Detector says NO!) Okay, okay, it was three hours, but it felt like three weeks.

An x-ray revealed I had what is sometimes referred to as Boxer’s Fractures to my right hand. I’d fractured a bone in my third finger and also my pinkie finger. I’d also cracked my pinkie knuckle. I honestly hadn’t felt anything significant at the time of the crash. I was a bit jarred and shaken all over, but I thought the worst of it were the grazes on my knees.

The fractures weren’t serious. There was no displacement. Treatment involved taping one finger to the other and being advised to rest the hand for at least three to four weeks. It was bloody painful for about two weeks, plus with it being my right hand it seriously compromised what tasks I could and couldn’t do. No computer, limited housework, limited garden work, and even doing my hair was a problem. I was subsequently a crabby houseboy.

The tapes are off now and I’ve been doing some physiotherapy exercises to relieve the stiffness in my fingers. My hand is still a bit tender, especially if I knock the knuckle, but at least I can do most things again, including, as you can see, tapping on a keyboard. And on that note I'll tap off. Things to do don't you know.

Ciao for now Peeps.



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