When I was young (oh so much younger than today), I was a very balanced person. Not in terms of mentality, you understand, but co-ordination. In rounders, the crucial fourth base who could catch every ball thrown at her. Even those thrown by Demon Headmaster Mr Blatchford, memorably a blinder from the bottom of the playground that left my hands stinging for days. Netball, goal keeper (GK) extraordinaire, able to toss that ball almost carelessly into the hands of the waiting C (centre). Horse riding, dancing*. Gymnastics, walking the beam as if my life depended on it. Effortless balance, effortless grace. Until the past few years, that is.
I first noticed something had changed on my dog walks. Throwing sticks for ‘fetch’-obsessed Saffy, which, instead of flying through the air started to fly into trees. Or bushes. Or bracken, or gorse. Anywhere, in fact, where the dog couldn’t get them. Those that hit trees breaking into pieces, useless. Then tennis balls, thrown by Basset Green Primary’s ace fourth base, suddenly landing in rivers, getting stuck in branches, dropping into our fetid pond, irretrievable. Hanging washing out has become a trauma of dropping pegs into the grass. The garden is strewn with rotting and rusting pegs.
It was almost inevitable that this loss of co-ordination would lead to a personal injury. Well, this is me we’re talking about. I’ve been crashing about in the undergrowth for far too long, getting away with my penchant for ‘off-roading’ on my walks. This week, I finally walked into something. In fact, a rigid bracken stalk (there is such a thing, believe me). It poked me in the eye, that very evil bracken stalk. It hurt.
After a few moments of excruciating pain I decided the only thing was to fall over as well, into a peaty puddle where I lay like a dead ant until the pain subsided.
So I am looking glamorous at the moment, with a blurry red eye making me look as though I’ve been on the cider for a long weekend. Patently untrue (though in all honesty, perhaps the degradation in my spatial awareness is actually a result of previous long weekends on the cider, wine, vodka, etc). Such joy.
*This is, in fact, a lie. I was always bad at dancing, apart from the ‘table’ manoeuvre in Laban technique.