Early on Thursday evening I felt the need for some exercise, having spent most of the day in house and garden, so I drove a couple of miles up the road to bag a geocache that was on my list. I parked at the side of the road in a gateway opposite the footpath down the steep hill to where I could see the little bridge, close to which the cache was hidden.
There was some drizzle for a few minutes but it soon stopped, but it must have dampened the long grass and made it slippery as, after about 20 yards, my feet suddenly slipped and, as I fell, I could feel/hear a crack in my right leg just above the ankle. It was painful but I could still stand on it so I guessed I must have pulled a muscle or ligament. I hobbled back to the car and drove home.
I still felt the need of exercise and thought that a very gentle stroll with a stout stick might ease the problem. I had gone only a few yards when I was accosted by Angela Carman who told me off and insisted that I go to the Accident and Emergency Ward at the hospital. Ever obedient to bossy women, I did as I was told and parked in the 20 minute ‘drop off’ slot.
After booking in, my name and date of birth having revealed everything about me on their computer, I sat in the waiting room until it was my turn. I explained the problem and the initial diagnosis was similar to my own, but they sent me for an X-ray just in case. This revealed that my fibula had snapped!
I then had to sit around for a while, being attended to by several people, all the time getting hungrier as I hadn’t eaten since lunchtime. Eventually my leg was plastered and again X-rayed to confirm that it had been done correctly. Then I was told that I wouldn’t be able to drive home because of the plaster! It was getting late and they offered me a bed for the night which I didn’t accept as I had other ideas. I was brought a cheese sandwich and a cup of tea.
I rang my friend Miranda in the village. She had been drinking and so wouldn’t be able to drive, but she put an urgent message on our local LETSystem Yahoo site, thus emailing all members about my predicament. Within minutes I was in contact with Marion Dove, who is not only a LETS member but also a beekeeper. I go dog walking with her from time to time.
She soon arrived, parked her car and drove me home in mine. Her son was behind in his car and so was able to take her back to where she was parked. I offered to pay her in Marts, our local LETS currency for her help, but this was refused as she was doing it for kindness’ sake. The following day she brought me a bag of prescribed primed syringes and I have to jab myself at 6pm daily.
The estimate is that I will be plastered and thus out of action for about 6 weeks, so the bees will have to do without me for all that time! No doubt most of them will survive although the weather has been so miserable lately that there has been less foraging time available to them. I have been trying to contact my apprentices on shared apiaries to let them know what has happened and asked them to keep an eye on my bees.
Another problem is that the annual Gormanston beekeeping conference begins in 4 weeks and I shall still be plastered. The plan was that I should drive to Jan Stuart’s at Newton Poppleford and we would both be driven by her hubby to the airport at Exeter to catch our plane, but of course I will now need somebody to ferry me to Jan’s. I put a message on the LETS group but the only response so far (2 minutes ago) was from somebody apologising for being unable to help.
I have been in contact with Michael Gleeson, the organiser at the other end, and he will be able to pick me up at the bus stop (provided I get a phone signal!) and I have also asked for accommodation in a dormitory not too far from the lift and preferably without having to climb stairs for a nocturnal leak. I have ordered on line a plastic tube to go over the plaster to keep it dry so I will be able to take a shower again, which will be a relief.
The guest lecturer this year is Jamie Ellis and I reckon he’s my second favourite lecturer (after Robert Pickard), just beating Simon Rees and Tom Seeley. That reminds me that there may be videos of him on the National Honey Show site, so I might try to watch them as I have to sit around most of the time.