And then there was the time .....
The second nose dive was far more embarrassing. I was taking the dog for a walk, down a fairly steep and narrow road which winds from our Urbanization to the nearest village. I should say at this point that our dog, Oscar, is more than big enough to be seen. He´s a Labrador cross and is - like his mistress - traditionally built. In fact, I have started telling people who have the cheek to suggest that he might be too fat that he is a long-established Spanish breed; a "Cuba de Basura". English and German critics invariably look impressed. When I tell Spaniards Oscar is a "Perro tipo Cubo de Basura", they invariably think about it for a second and then crack out laughing. Not surprisingly; "Perro tipo Cubo de Basura" translates loosely as a Dustbin Dog …
In any event, my second trip was, most definitely, Oscar´s fault.
We had had rain for the first time in months, and his nose was working overtime, sniffing up the delicious, trufflly undergrowth smells. He zigzagged back and forth across the road, and all went well until I was distracted by a particularly beautiful green woodpecker.
I heard him before I saw him; the "rat-tat-tat-tat" was unmistakable; but where was he?
"There you go, Oscar. Look, he´s in that eucalyptus over in the casita garden. About half way up."
Oscar gave the doggy equivalent of,
"Yes. I daresay. But I´ve got far more interesting things on my mind than some noisy bird or other."
And promptly crossed the road in front of me, dragging his lead taut behind him.
Intent on the woodpecker, I walked forward. And tripped neatly and gracefully over Oscar´s outstretched lead.
To make matters infinitely worse, it was a hot day and I was wearing as little as possible. To be accurate, a pair of shorts and a spaghetti strap top. I went down. My top went down. For a fraught couple of minutes, I juggled lead, dog, top and breasts. Oscar helped immeasurably by sitting in the dust and scratching behind his ear in a profoundly bored sort of way. I clutched his lead in one hand in case he might be considering an escape attempt, and with the other desperately hauled up my top and did my best to stuff my triumphantly exposed breasts back inside. Once the initial panic had subsided, and I was half way decent again, I began to wonder how I was going to get up again.
I was sitting on the scorching hot tarmac. In the middle of the road. As was becoming normal, both knees were scraped and oozing blood. This time, the palms of my hands had also taken some punishment and were sore and bloody. Not a lot of help there, then. I had just decided that if I could shuffle to the side of the road on my bottom and then swing my legs into the ditch, I could probably manage to get to my feet (although how I thought I was then going to get out of the ditch, I have no idea at all) when a car appeared over the brow of the hill.
For a moment, I was so embarrassed at being caught apparently sitting nonchalantly in the middle of the road that I actually contemplated rolling into the ditch and dragging Oscar with me. I prayed the car was going to turn right, not left, and for a few moments I thought God might actually be listening, for once. But no such luck. Left it came, straight towards me. The only semi-good thing about it was that I could see, as it approached, that it was a brand new car and hence probably a hire car. With a bit more luck, the occupants might be German or French, or even Inuit for all I cared. Anything at all but English! Or even worse, my new neighbors who hadn´t yet bought themselves a car.
"Are you alright, love?"
I smiled weakly. This was obviously not my day, yet again.
"I´ll be fine in a minute or two, thanks. I tripped over my dog´s lead. Don´t worry, I´ll haul myself up."
"Oh, not a problem."
By this time, the man´s wife had hopped out of the car and both of them were looking down at me with worried faces. It was only later that I realized quite what a sight I must have looked; a disheveled and bleeding woman sitting in the middle of the road, her dog at her side, insisting that she was perfectly O.K., really. They probably thought I was so drunk that I couldn´t even stand; I was lucky that they didn´t simply drive off in search of the nearest Guardia. Which would have been even more embarrassing as the nearest Guardia is both a good friend and a remarkably handsome young man, and I really did not want Michel to come and rescue me as well.
"I´ll tell you what, if I grab your arm could you get to your feet?" I looked at this nice, English tourist, at his concerned face, and took a deep breath.
"I doubt it. I would probably pull you over with me."
"Right then. Carol - you grab her other arm, and I´ll get this one. On the count of three …. Hup!"
And hup I came. Oscar helped enormously by pushing against everybody´s legs in the hope of a pat, and for a terrible moment I wavered on the point of balance and thought I was going to go over again, but no. There I was, back on my feet again, breasts back in place and hanging on to this concerned English couple for grim death.
I thanked them profusely, and refused an amazingly kind offer to drive me home.
Instead, I hobbled back and my long-suffering husband got out the betadene (the Spanish version of iodine. Iodine never went out of fashion over here, and is recommended for everything from the smallest scratch to wounds following major surgery) yet again and dabbed it all over my knees and hands.
"Next time, you take the mobile ´phone with you." He said grimly. I wasn´t entirely sure whether he meant next time I fell over, or the next time I took Oscar for a walk, but thought it better not to ask.
Bad enough? Oh, yes. But there´s more .... next week!