Sunday, 23 November 2014

The North Face of the Wine Cupboard

Leo Houlding & Sir Chris Bonington - proper adventurers
We've spent the past day or so lurking around Kendal Mountain Festival.  We've watched the likes of Leo Houlding, Sir Chris Bonington, Steve Birkinshaw and Andy Cave telling us about life, death and near misses in the world of high adrenaline adventure.  Though we've never dangled from a 1000m sheer cliff at minus 30, we've had our own fair share of adventures during our time in the Lakes - we've tackled Lord's Rake, Sharp Edge and Striding Edge, we've made it safely over High Street in the dark & rain with only an iPhone torch to light our way and we've even braved Bowness on a sunny bank holiday Monday (though only the once!).  All of which makes my current predicament more embarrassing.

North face of the
wine cupboard
I've been off my feet for a few weeks due to injury and though I'm better than I was, I'm still hobbling and unable to tackle anything too tricky.  People have asked how I did it, no doubt expecting a story involving fells, rain and snow - or at the very least a tale about a crazy ass drunken exploit that went horribly wrong.  The truth is more embarrassing than that.  I did it on an overcast Monday morning, stone cold sober (not even hung over), putting the washing away.  On a return trip for socks and pants I collided with the North Face of the Wine Cupboard and managed to dislocate my little toe and rupture the ligaments around it to the extent that when the good doctors at A&E tried to put it back it refused to stay put.  They tried 4 times - ow, ow OW.

After a week of pain and not unpleasant pain killers, the hope that it would "click back in on its own" faded so they decided to operate to pin it.  A little toe - how much trouble can it be?  Turns out plenty - I never realised I needed it so much.  Anyway, the surgeon was clearly made of stern stuff and he managed to wedge it back into place and tape it up without pinning it (I'm not completely convinced as it's still jolly painful, but we'll find out if it's been a success this Wednesday.)

Gas and air in A&E while they tried to relocate the offending toe

The offending toe (arrow drawn
for surgeon)

Lovely views from hospital bed.

All done - but far from ideal hiking shoe.

I did have one fabulous injury while hiking but modesty prevented me taking any photos of it - while descending Haystacks in the pitch dark (properly kitted out with head torches this time) I slipped down a small crag ripping a 4 inch hole through my waterproofs (expensive), walking trousers (again) and backside (which was thankfully too cold and numb to feel much at the time).  The bruise was spectacular and I couldn't sit down for a week - but at least I had a decent story to tell even if I couldn't show anyone other than Steve the true beauty of the injury.

Anyway, that's why I've not been on the fells lately.  I've tried to distract myself with some gentler exploits and have still managed to occupy myself in a number of ways:

I've taken the opportunity to bottle up all my Sloe Gin (which is a lot darker than it looks in this pic)...

If the pain killers don't work...

 ...visited the wonderful Kendal Museum - a fascinating place with loads of imaginative ways to engage visitors and kids with the exhibits...

A xylophone made from Lake District rocks.

...paid another visit to the wonderful Greystoke Cafe for a quirky course - I brushed up on my pen & wash skills while Steve tackled blacksmithing (and made a fabulous rams head poker for the fire - these courses are SO fab and make the perfect chrissy pressie)...

Only my second attempt at painting
...and of course visited Leighton Moss - my very favourite "away from it all" place and only 10 minutes from home.  My ongoing quest to see the bittern continues - one day...

Leighton Moss - calm, tranquil and, whenever I'm there, bittern free.

I'm trying not to be a wuss, but I really need this to heal properly as my livelihood depends on me being able to walk.  I've delivered a few courses over the past couple of weeks through the haze of painkillers and I'm gutted the hospital refused to send me home with a bottle of gas & air (I'm sure that would help the delegates no end).  This afternoon we're back at the Mountain Festival and, if one of those rugged mountaineering types asks about the limp, I might just make something up...

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