Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sometimes You Have To Get Out.

Taking outrageous advantage of my physical condition - the Med 3 was a testament to truth and honesty: ' fractured fifth metatarsal,' words rendering work, but not hobble-walking, impossible, I found time in my otherwise barren table to visit the car auction to try my hand (if not my foot) at bidding for a new car.

I've done this before, but not for years and never in such a fragile and incapacitated state. The words: "Watch your feet gentlemen," took on a whole new meaning to me as the cars were driven with world class carelessness into the selling bays, forcing the loud voiced, tobacco puffing, flat cap wearing, Glasses-guide toting not so honest John-boys who hang around the entrance looking like wrecked doormen, to suck in their bellys and their chins. And for me to draw my gimpy foot inwards and protect it like a wounded puppy.

I hung out with the dealers, or rather, half in half out with them, eschewing the fair weather and half hearted buyers in the seated area and skulked around the real business end with my new mates who must have regarded me, if at all, as an oddity - scruffy enough to be one of them but too tentative around the cars and next to no rapport with the auctioneers. I stuck it out in the place where it's at, close to the merchandise, the proximity of which allows you to sniff the oil burn, check the paintwork gouges, and the odometers - have a real shuftie before the bidding starts.

As my car entered, my car, the one I decided was going to be mine, ( how I pitied everyone else, I was taking this one to my ceiling, what chance did the others have with their greedy,wet dreamy, future rip off, mark ups), I nearly did go in for a little unplanned flat toe stylising such was my reckless, breathless enthusiasm. I seemed to abandon all ideas of safety and forgotten the terrible trouble I'd have been in if further foot injury had placed me there, at that moment, amongst this 1970s cast of cigar-butted Daleys and Delboys and half a million nearly news parping into the January car bid wars, instead of being at home with my foot up and puzzling over the Telegraph crossword.

No matter. The car and I rolled the crowd and our luck and got in together before bidding began. I had sussed the auctioneer's system, the turn taking scheme. Two main men and a posse of backroomers recruited to alert their heroes of anyone's bidding they might miss. They're on commission and to miss a bid is bad news for everyone. It's fast and it's furious. Two announcers. One was playing the game and spoke clearly: "four thousand, one, four thousand two, two fifty, three, four thousand three fifty, three fifty three fifty three fifty once, twice sold!"
The other belonged to the let's see how obscurely I can do this school, and favoured something like: "Biddlediddlebiddlediddlebiddlediddlebiddle! Annnnddddddd...... biddlediddlebiddlediddlebiddlebiddlediddle! Once! Biddlediddle. Twice! Sold it's yours!"
"Yeah but how much have I just paid?" Nightmare. Clarity sacrificed for the sake of exaggerated role play. I could have predicted which auctioneer I'd get. But to be fair there was a certain poetry, a certain rhythm to his delivery his more workman-like colleague lacked. A Circero of gentle chivying, an orator grown mad on a daily cocktail of carbon monoxide and centre stage expectation. Quite compelling stuff really. And I understood him enough to seal a deal.
All went well. New car sat outside, foot and wallet now resting.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Take A Break

Apparently, there is a range of ligaments that run seductively down the inner outside of the human leg that spider their clingy way towards their major roles in life: foot bone attachments.

These ligaments are made of tungsten steel and are heroically impervious to snapping no matter how hard they're stretched or pulled. Unfortunately their bone masters, the metatarsals, are fragile wimps in comparison and aren't up to the job of heavy tethering. When this powerful gut is strength-tested by its hosts clumsy footing the bones are the first to go. And if you twist your foot at the top end - the ligament girds itself, and the fifth bone will break.

Such a little bone, so much pain and inconvenience. Sometimes they knit back together, sometimes they need the help of a pin. It's a lottery, they tell me.

And I thought you had to be a millionaire footballer to break a metatarsal.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Raises Bat

I've just noticed that this would be the one hundredth post on this blog and couldn't resist getting back to say so. It's remarkable how much more time I have on my hands when I'm on the moby dick. Doubtless posts will become rare again when I'm no longer the limp master. And, I have become the limp master.

I can now hop and stop without falling over. I can even hop with a cup of tea in my hands - riding the slosh as it were. I can walk on my heels or more correctly, my heel. I can negotiate stairs with a single crutch and shuffle myself down them on my backside using my crutch like a canooist's paddle, digging it in to steer the bend.

I've developed some pretty snazzy kitchen techniques using the crutch an extended arm: opening cupboards, prodding pedal bins open. As a gadget I might even miss it. But not that much.

Waxing Lyrical

Women love candles. This is a dangerous opening sentence that will probably enliven my search request hits alarmingly. My Ioan Online nightmare which continues to haunt me, at least taught me one thing: hit stats can be feared as well as endeared. But women do love to light candles. The bobbing glow and subtle light of a burning wick, dipped in paraffin wax seems to provide for them a romantic glow to what would otherwise be rather clinically lit settings : the bathroom, the kitchen, the lounge.

Pillar candles, taper candles, little flattened tea lites, novelty candles, hurricane candles, votive, block and scented candles. Holy Lantern Candles, slowly floating candles and rare Venezuelan beaver fat and whale oil candles. All chosen, arranged, and fired up to add a warm suffused glow to what would otherwise be starkly lit settings and let in instead, ambience, decoration and fragrance.

Lovely. Kill those infernal electric lights. Extinguish that harsh illumination. Nights in should be romantic. Candles should be used whenever possible. I couldn't agree more. But you do have to keep an eye on them. They can bite.

Little did I know during a Christmas night's canoodling watching one little flame dancing cheekily, sending up the odd thin trail of smoke before settling down to the business of gentle illumination what dastarldy deeds were happening behind the scenes.

How could I know then that a trickle of hot wax was coursing its ruinous way down towards the rear of my PC forming a crystallized puddle of hot wax on some of its most critical and expensive parts. But disaster has been averted. And the great clean up has been a success. But a scare nonetheless. Perhaps I'll ban candles from my house.

Trouble is, women do seem to love candles.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Not In The Dark

Happy New Year to me. I think not. As a form of pre-emtive strike into my already decided New Years Resolution, and in an effort to shock and awe my system for the physically challenging year ahead, I donned training shoes and took to the streets during the early evening of New Year's Eve.

The thought process behind this was, I believed, impeccable. I know what I'm like - I've had a life time to learn - and knew that I wouldn't be running on New Year's Day as, customarily, I feel too ill on 1st January day through the celebratory gluttony of too much tobacco and alcohol the previous evening. So to hit the ground running - so to speak - on the 31st was to guarantee that I'd take a new interest straight into the new year without the usual: "Ah well, it's the fourth of January and I've done nothing, so it's too late to change anything so I won't bother now."

It was a good thought. Positive thinking. Flawed though. Running in the dark isn't something anyone sensible would recommend to anyone. So many risks. From the inconvenience of squelching into an unseen odorous pavement artwork of dog shit, to being hit by the inswinging trailer of a curb hugging articulated lorry driver. And what about muggers. Joggers these days carry a teenager's Christmas stocking load of theivers delights: mobile phones, ipods, watches, car keys with information rich memory sticks dangling from them. And the dogs themselves - bounding around out of owner sight, free to savage an unwary loper.

But it was a pothole that did for me. Or more accurately, a slight shallowing in the path I was striding out on, one of a network of cycle and walk paths provided to enable residents in this area to get to the schools and to Tescos and to the doctor's surgery. These paths are punctuated by gates and staggered openings, presumably to check the speeds of cyclists and to provide marking points of junctions for those foolish enough to essay this labyrinth for cycling or walks, or... runs.

And it was while appoaching one of these gates, one of these woody junctions, drawing near the light provided to illuminate it, like a moth or looking like someone in a death dream, when I lost my footing. It was the speed checking, in the dark. It was in the slight, swerving motion to negotiate the opening, in the dark. It was in the slightly self-conscious-awkwardness, emerging from the unseen gloom into the visible light, in the dark. And that damn gritty shallowing, in the dark.

And a dark mooded hobble home and some rapidly changed plans about New Year's Eve leading to a medically risky concoction of pain killers, ice buckets, self-pity and alcohol.

Today should have been my first day back at work. Instead I'm sitting at home, foot elevated and mood elevating. And blogging for the first time in a while.

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