Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Battle scars and trophies

I look like a victim of domestic violence! 

I'm not winking at you - left eye won't open!

While I’m trying hard to turn it into a positive, having shingles isn’t a lot of fun.

Shingles is a re-activation of the chicken-pox virus and its cluckin’ rubbish. Tris says it's not one of my better looks!

As a notorious picker and fiddler, one of the hardest thing I’ve found is to leave the scabs alone. One friend kindly said it looked like I’d been shot in the head. This is quite possibly the biggest scab I’ve had since I was seven. It’s so frustrating!

I am doing my best to leave it alone – there is only so much permanent disfigurement that a fringe can hide. So I’m sitting here typing away manically to give my fingers something to do and generate some digit distraction.

Earlier today, whilst dabbing my forehead with calamine lotion, I started to think about the other scars I’ve collected over the years and I’ve decided that actually I’m quite proud of them all. My battle scars are a bit like my trophies, reminders from 42 years of stories. Behind the scar tissue of each and every one there lies a tale.


Cheeky monkey.

In 1974 I was five. We were all staying at my Grandparents in Kettering and Uncle Stuart was teaching me and my sister how to play golf. We were practicing our putting on Granddads perfectly manicured lawn, but when it came to my sister’s turn, instead of gently putting the ball like the rest of us, she decided she was Seve Ballesteros and took a massive swing. 

Unfortunately, her little sister (me) was standing right behind her and got a six iron squarely in the face. To this day I have a small scar on my nose – it’s my golfing trophy!

Left Knee

Me, my guinea pig Polly, in our garden in Mexborough.
In 1979 I was 10 and I was learning to ride a bike. We were lucky enough to live in a house with a massive drive, so I was doing circuits on my mum’s bright orange fold up bike. The drive had a slope which meant I was able to pick up a bit of speed before doing a dramatic u-turn at the bottom. There’s no other way to describe it – I got cocky! But as I zoomed down the hill that last time, my fold up bike started to ...... fold up! By the time I got to the bottom and tried to turn, my handle bars were practically in my lap. As I fell off, I caught my knee on the pin in the middle of the bike which locked the frame into place. 

I was devastated – I’d ripped my jeans. It was only when my mum gingerly peeled back the flap of frayed denim that I realised that I’d also ripped open my knee. To this day I have a thick scar on my left knee which really should have had a stitch – it’s my cycling trophy!

Right Knee

16th birthday photo.
In 1985 I was 16 and I was skint! I’d worn my pixie boots right through and not only did I not have sufficient funds for new ones, I couldn’t even afford to have them mended. Instead, I went to Woolworths and bought stick-on soles and heels. 

Unfortunately they weren’t quite the right size – they needed a bit of a trim. So I sat on my bed with the scalpel from my new biology dissecting kit and did a bit of customising. From this picture, it’s not hard to imagine how I managed to get a gash so clean and deep in my knee that the blood flowed reluctantly and blue. I knew I’d been an idiot and as a result was too embarrassed to tell anyone. Instead I wrapped a wad of cotton wool with half a roll of toilet paper around my knee and pretended that everything was fine. On the positive side, by pixie boots lasted for another year, however I was left with a small scar on my right knee – it’s my fashion trophy!

Left Shin

New Zealand 2007.

In 2007, when I was 38 and old enough to know better, I packed a bag and headed off by myself to travel the world. My friends and family were understandably worried about all the potential death traps I’d face on a daily basis. I left with a long list of scenarios and activities to avoid – and many promises to be careful. However, my view was that a life lived in fear was a life un-lived. While I was always careful not to put myself in unnecessary danger, I travelled through the crazy streets of Bangkok in a tuk-tuk, I hiked through the Thai jungle and slept under the stars with a Hmong tribe. I travelled down the Mekong River into Laos. I trekked through the Malaysian jungle to see the world’s largest flower. I dodged jumping crocs in Darwin, I hired a car and drove the Great Ocean Road from Adelaide to Melbourne and I hiked down the side of the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. 

It was all going very well. I’d been away for 3 ½ months and I’d done all manner of dangerous stuff without a hitch. That was until I pitched up in Christchurch, New Zealand – home of dangerous and extreme sports. So how do you think I managed to slice a large chunk out of the front of my left shin? Jet boating? White water rafting? Swimming with dolphins? No, I managed all the above without mishap. 

No, I managed to slice a large chunk out of the front of my left shin, because I slipped over in the shower in ‘The Old Christchurch Jail House' which is now a trendy backpackers. If anyone is planning a new bathroom, stainless steel and pressed concrete is a lethal slippery combination. As I went to step out of the shower, my right foot went one way on the stainless steel shower tray, while my left foot went the other way on the pressed concrete floor of the cubicle. By the time I came to stop, my leg was wedged in the gap between the cubicle wall and the floor, shaving a large lump out of my shin in the process.

There was a lot of blood and I was in shock, so promptly passed out – naked on the floor of a jail. It wasn’t how I’d envisaged my first day in New Zealand. It was nearly 30 minutes before someone found me – said person’s first words were ‘What are you doing down there?’ Duh!

Again, I should have got it stitched, but I was on a schedule and had a whole lot of New Zealand to see. So true to form, I got my first aid kit out, bandaged myself up and hiked up a mountain! As testament to my ruggedness I now have a big dent in my left shin – it’s my trophy to extreme New Zealand showering!

The afternoon of the accident.

The moral of the story is that I need an interesting story to accompany my current collection of scabs and potential scar tissue. 

I know, I’ll go and see my heavily pregnant neighbour and see if the shock of seeing me will bring on labour. She’s due any day and I know she’s fed up of eating pineapple. It would be doing her a kindness!

1 comment:

  1. I'm digging the fashion scar - a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to keep herself in Pixie boots. Get well soon Mrs xx