Friday, 25 May 2012

Flat out - Betsy

BetsyThe words 'Flat Out' can have various meanings, like I am walking flat out to get to my destination, or I am flat out with tiredness or for being boozed up, hopefully on my bed rather than on the floor. My tale involves a bit of each of these.

It was Sunday and I was looking forward to joining some friends for a ramble. Now we all know that the Stannington half hourly buses are often unreliable so it is wise to walk down to Malin Bridge where it may be possible to get either the bus or a tram. Thus I decided to walk down and set off about 7.30am.

It all occurred about 7.45am when I was about two thirds down the hill. The birds were singing lustily but as you know, in January sunrise is after 8.00am so there wasn't much light. But why should I care, why should I worry? I had walked this route many times.

Suddenly my stick, which was in my right hand, hit something metallic, like an empty pail. Naturally after a brief curse I was concerned to get my balance and come to a stop. For some reason that I still don't understand, both feet came together and I found myself pitching straight forward. Funny, I thought, I am falling down. Then I was flat out on the sidewalk (sorry, pavement), pointing downhill with my left arm stretched out ahead of me. Oh dear, would I make my ramble!?

There was no-one about, not even a light in the windows of the terrace of houses so there was nothing to do but pick myself up from this most unflattering position. My hat had not moved, but my rucksack had helped thump me down.

I stretched my arm and it felt in one piece so I examined my hand which, as you all know, should be scratched as my thumb was throbbing. But no, no broken skin so my waterproof must have come to my rescue by covering most of my hand in the fall - the one service it did for me all day.

Then I felt the bruise at the top of  my arm, just below the joint and wondered how this had happened, being on the top side of my arm. Then realisation struck, my walking stick which was folded up and attached to my rucksack, took this opportunity to get a whack at me in retaliation for all the abuse I give it during rambles. The handle had swung forward with glee against my arm. I suppose I can't really complain.

Having restored myself to an upright position and confirmed that I had probably not broken anything, not even skin, I wondered about looking for the culprit that had tripped me up. But no, I thought, if I found something I would probably wake the neighbourhood in my retaliation. So I continued down the hill, using my usual inefficient vision and inefficient white cane technique, but going a bit more slowly and while I missed the tram, I caught the bus.

I re-walked my journey yesterday, more than a week after this event, just looking around in the bright afternoon to see if the culprit was still around. One item caught my eye, a very sorry looking sign, one of those triangular 'beware of road works' signs on short legs, sitting at the roadside, looking in the wrong direction. Was this the culprit?  However it looked so sad that I didn't have the heart to take a swipe at it.

So take care, everyone, you never know what is out to get you and 'ouch', it is still painful to scratch the back of my neck!


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