Accident prone? Moi?
My husband says, generally with a weary sigh, that I´m accident prone. I would prefer to think of it as “incident prone”. But let me give you an example or two, and you can make your own mind up on the subject….
I had always imagined - not that I thought about it often, you understand - that if something traumatic was about to happen, I would have some sort of instinct about it. There should be a feeling of impending doom. A certainty of something nasty looming on the horizon. Fat lot I knew about it.
It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze. Life was much as usual. I went into the underbuild to unpack my washing machine, content in the knowledge that the whole lot would dry in a couple of hours. If the sun got really hot, it would not only dry but "iron" itself on the line. I was pleased about that; I hate ironing and generally trust in the Costa Blanca sun to do the job for me. What´s a few creases between friends, after all?
I had got the basket half full with clean washing when a towel decided to be awkward. It had got itself involved with a bra, by the look of it, and was clearly unwilling to relinquish its new-found relationship. I tugged. The towel refused to budge. I stepped back to get a better purchase and suddenly found myself - literally - somersaulting through empty space.
What I had thought was solid ground was actually the edge of the mat in front of my washing machine. Unfortunately for me, on this day the mat had been nudged out of place and was actually hanging over the 14" deep overhang into the compact area where our pool pump and piping lives. One second I was muttering curses at the recalcitrant towel, the next I had done a neat back flip (something I never, ever managed to achieve in all the gym lessons in my entire school life) and was now lying, face down on the concrete floor, wedged neatly and firmly between the pool pump and the concrete step.
That on its own would have been quite bad enough. But my acrobatics had broken the pipe leading to the pool pump, which was in full flow at the time, so water was now gushing out of the 2" pipe. In fact, it was gushing out to such an extent that it jetted on to the wall and hit the light bulb, which promptly blew showering me with broken glass. So there I was. Tightly wedged between concrete and pool pump, in total darkness, with water rapidly filling the whole of the available space.
And the towel? Why of course it chose that moment to develop a sense of humour and fell out of the washing machine to land neatly on my head, where it immediately became soaking wet and very heavy. Since that moment, I have had huge amounts of sympathy for anybody who has been subject to water board torture. I know exactly how the poor souls must feel.
Looking back (and as I am writing this, you´re safe to assume I survived) it was actually more farce than drama. But at the time I was terrified. I was stuck, with my arms pinned neatly by my sides. The water was rising around me, rapidly. I was in total darkness. And of course, I had closed the door behind me so my curious cats couldn´t get in and get stuck in a hole somewhere in the underbuild. Ironic, or what?
I was going to die. In my own underbuild. In a foot of water. This really, really should not have been happening to me. We had only moved to the Costa Blanca six months before; what sort of retirement was this turning out to be?
To this day I cannot remember how I got free. I can remember staggering out of the underbuild door, soaking wet and screaming for help, and a couple of our wonderful neighbors came running to help. And although I can´t remember how I climbed out of my watery prison, I can still clearly see the look of horror on their faces. I was soaking wet and filthy. I had bashed my head when I fell, so my scalp was gushing with blood. I was clutching that damned towel in triumph. I must have looked like something out of a particularly bad horror film.
And my husband? He, dear man, was watching football on TV and hadn´t heard a thing. When our neighbors helped me into the house, he looked at me in disbelief and then asked if I had remembered to turn the pump off…
I suppose I really should have known from that moment that I was going to lead an adventurous sort of retirement. Husband says it´s because I´m accident prone (A.K.A. "Not walking where I´m looking") but I think he´s wrong. It´s my feet, I´m sure it is. I´m quite tall and what is best politely described as "traditionally built", but I have these silly little feet. Far too small for the rest of me, and as well as that, they tend to have a life of their own.
As if trying to drown me wasn´t enough, there have been a number of occasions when they have, quite literally, let me down. It doesn´t help that I have a prosthesis in one knee, and arthritis in the other. Both together tend to mean that if, say, I turn my ankle - something that for anybody else would mean no more than a minor curse - I fall over. And I have done this on a number of occasions.
The first time wasn´t too bad. I caught my toe on a raised piece of chapata (think smooth stones arranged like crazy paving) and went head first to the ground, narrowly avoiding a particularly fine ornamental fountain with my head. Because of the knee situation, of course I couldn´t clamber back to my feet so had to grasp the fountain and sort of haul myself up.
And staggered home, dripping blood from elbows and knees.
To be continued ……