I think I might have left myself some room for improvement! Just over two weeks ago I had a slight argument with the pavement and as is the way on these occasions, the pavement won. I was left with a fractured wrist and an injured hand, which is making my life a trifle complicated at the moment. But I have to say I’ve learnt a lot from the experience and the things I’ve learnt have all been positive and kind.
I’d no sooner hit the pavement then I was surrounded by young people all offering their help. A couple of them had just come back from a holiday in Bournemouth and were off to have a cup of coffee in the local cafe when they saw me fall. Within seconds they had wrapped me up in their coats, because I was shivering, even though it must have left them very cold as there was a sharp wind blowing and, after a while, another lovely girl arrived with a cushion for me to put my head on and a blanket to wrap round the pile of coats and an older man had already rung for an ambulance and was checking how I was to report back to them. They were a circle of kindness. I only wish I’d had my mobile in my hands and could have taken a photograph of them. But I do know who they are because we got talking when we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive and I discovered to my absolute delight that the young man had been taught by my son in the local comprehensive and had been very fond of him, and there was also a young woman on her own who sent me an email the next day to find out how I was. So even though the fall was, shall we say a bit painful, it had made me new friends.
When I got back from the hospital, where I was kindly and professionally treated, it didn’t take me long to discover that life was altogether too painful at home. You’d never believe how difficult it is to fill a kettle or take off a jersey when you’ve only got three fingers that work adequately. The kettle weighs at least a hundredweight and the jersey kept getting stuck on plasters and splints, and rapidly became something of a comedy turn as you can imagine. I’m glad that wasn’t photographed. Although there were times when I was rivalling Charlie Chaplin for contortions and odd dances.
Now, having seen a bit of sense, I have gone to a local care home which is absolutely excellent, as well as being easy on the eye as you can see.
And I’ve made a lot more friends and found a lot of people to admire. The staff are splendid, every bit as kind as the strangers who cared for me in the street and the hospital. They always manage to be there when I need them most and they’re always smiling, which makes a lot of difference to somebody feeling incapacitated. And, this being a small world, one of them turned out to be an ex pupil of mine and another an ex pupil of my sons, which is oddly but splendidly comforting.
But it isn’t just the staff. There are lots of characters to admire in this place, a man called John who can’t hear at all but comes around the restaurant at the end of the evening meal and smiles at us all and says goodnight, my three companions at the dining table who have a lot to contend with and are patient and kind. Maybe it’s because we’re all in the same boat but there’s a lot of sympathy and understanding among the people here. In all sorts of ways we try to help one another. They’re very good examples to the rest of us.
Hooray for the human spirit in adversity!