A little ditty before you read that I wrote in one of my secret diaries when I was a tot…
There’s nothing at the end of this
but pure and simple waste.
A set of words, spat aside,
like a vile and sour taste.
My words mean little, they rattle ’round
and tease before they’re freed.
But there’s nothing at the end of this,
nothing that you’ll need…
Just prior to reaching double figures in age, and on one particular Christmas time, part way through and sometime after lunch, I hurt my ankle. Nothing exciting.
Recumbent on patterned carpet, staring down the track of my new Scalextric racing game to give the impression of near enough life-like scale, control trigger clasped tightly with both hands, support from two little elbows, and eyes narrowed for effect, I was ready to watch my cars come hurtling toward me! The whine from the friction of these little cars and the brushes that made contact with the track underneath them wasn’t enough to satisfy my need to imagine that this was real – I was set ready, clear throated and in-tune to growl out the sounds of a furiously strained race car engine! Now that would be as realistic as I was going to get.
I was alone in a lounge that was rarely used… In there was a fireplace, also never used, so a planter with synthetic flowers of some description sat there on the hearth. Near the back wall stood an oak sideboard, polished and covered with doilies to prevent scratches from the ornaments that sat atop. Save for one side where there was a lid. A fruit bowl sat here, however, the fruit was synthetic too – poorly mimicking and mocking how an apple or orange should look. This could be moved should anyone want to lift that lid and play a vinyl record – a radiogram sideboard; draws in the middle, speakers to the sides. All nicely contained. The wallpaper was of flock-style; nothing expensive but with a suede texture to it that left a residue should you brush against it – like the small nips of hair that hang around your collar when you leave the barber’s chair…purple it was. At the window, nets and heavy sombre brown and cream patterned curtains hung, happy to forbid the daylight its right of passage into the room! The air in there was a little musky and there was always a chill – even in summer months. I suppose the overall impression and feeling from that room was one of malevolence; you’d never find God in there – only a sanctuary where you could spend your hours with misery for company… Somewhere Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique – Songe d’une nuit de sabbat (Dreams of a Witches’ Sabbath) might be enjoyed… I sat in that room often. Actually and just as an aside (I like that word, it has value), many years later, a family who lived in our old house were covered by the media when they claimed that that particular room was haunted – seemingly they’d had some very unnerving experiences in there – do hope we didn’t leave anything behind…(that’s another story). I shouldn’t mock…
I’m waffling, as usual… Nothing unequivocal about anything I write. I have absolutely no right to use that adjective..
I think the porter in Macbeth best describes how I can be at times, an equivocator! It’s not deliberate, honestly….though it could be? (Yes, I smiled wryly as I wrote that…)
Now, where was I…? Oh, yeah, Scalextric and my poorly ankle…
After dinner, in the other room, as was customary, while siblings snoozed on chairs, dad washed the dishes while mum would ‘run the hoover over’. I’d hardly managed one or two corners of racing when mum came in pushing her dusty and aging upright – this meant I’d have to leave the racing and dreaming and move out of the hoover’s path. In she comes, pushing this angry sounding vacuum, north, north-west, north, north-east, heaving the thing back between direction changes – mum always meant business when she hoovered! I stood up sharpish and felt a searing pain as I put weight on my feet, my right ankle gave way and snapped! I don’t recall what the exact medical terminology was for the injury, so snap will have to do…
I transport you now to the day when the pot, chalk, call it what you will, was cut off. A visit to Shotley Bridge Hospital, near Consett, on a cold, wet and miserable day, was made more bearable with sweeties for the bus ride. Successful appointment, cast off, ankle not too bad, bit limp and weak feeling but nevertheless, feeling suitably weight-bearing… I don’t recall much of the journey home and the likelihood is that I probably wouldn’t remember any of this if I hadn’t looked back at scribbled notes in old treasured diaries and, for what happened next. We climbed off the bus back in our village and gingerly trod on up the path. The wind was undecided as to which direction it should blow? There’s no escaping wind like that and it’s freezing strokes were unrelenting, it seemed to deliberately concentrate its efforts on the tips of the ears, stinging them into submission! Without a hat, it was impossible to resist bringing up the arms and cupping the sides of the head so as to give relief to tingling, red, nipped ears! The rain didn’t land, it lashed with a pin-like feel as it made contact with the skin around the face! From the bus stop, mum could see her hair salon about a hundred yards away – it just so happened that she wanted to call in to book her weekly set. She was freezing too. “How’s the foot?”, she asked hurriedly… “Not bad”, said I. “Think you can walk a little quicker?”, said she. “Course…”, said I. “Think you can trot?”, said she. “I’ll try…”, said I. Snap!
Within an hour and a half, I was back at that hospital.