Fireworks and a crowbar

Here comes the walking wounded. Limping back to her laptop. The fireworks and pain subsiding.

  • What? What the hell is going on, you drama queen, you?

I’ll tell you in a minute, but first let’s have a round-up of the Grand Slam.

Who doesn’t love a good Big Word of Mouth story? We certainly heard some rippers at the Grand Slam. Congratulations to Jake who won the Slam, as voted by the appreciative and discerning audience. Notice how Jake doesn’t even need a surname? He joins the ranks of Meaghan, Beyonce and Madonna. Well done to Jake who will no doubt have that magnificent trophy perched in some prominent position in his house. As will Rosemary (let’s continue to dispense with last names) who was also presented with a trophy for Not Missing a Single Big Word of Mouth – talk about commitment, talk about resilience.

Bob ‘Bongo’ Starkie (okay, let’s not dispense with last names) gave us the inside juice on living in the seventies and Stretch Kontelj made us laugh and think as he took the stage for Pants on Fire.

Thanks to the generosity of all of you story lovers we were able to donate $336.90 to the Fistula Foundation. That will go to the work they are doing with obstetric surgery in Madagascar and the good news is that an anonymous donor is matching dollar for dollar donations received at the moment.

  • Okay, that’s great work, congrats to you Jake, but what’s this walking wounded thing, this stuff about fireworks? Why hasn’t there been another Big Word of Mouth since March?
Doc Marten’s village

Well, funny you should ask. Pretty soon after that Grand Slam, I welcomed house sitters to our place and Shane took off to Africa and I took my newly recovered broken patella to the UK, where a bit of the wire broke loose and began digging its way out. From the inside. Get it. Ouch. But I didn’t know this was what was going on. Before I left, I went back to the surgeon and said it feels too sore, a different kind of sore, a burning, infection kind of sore, and he said take some Panadol and off you go. So I went.

Hello, Cornwall. Along with a couple of sprightly springers (they’re dogs, not energetic oldies) I explored some pretty gorgeous beaches and wild cliff tops and endearing little villages, cussing and swearing as fireworks exploded in my knee as the wire dug and bit and chewed at me. I limped about, the springers leapt. I’ve seen springers on the Maddie McCann doco, sniffing and pivoting and processing information so fast. I’m not saying I was keeping company with cadaver dogs, but I believe they would be entirely capable of doing anything. Except walking on a lead. Lucky you don’t have to have a dog on the lead anywhere in Cornwall.

A fine collection of sticks

Nor do you have to dress up or wear makeup or try and ‘make something of yourself’ (am I the only one whose mother says that?). On Mother’s Day, (stop panicking, it comes early in the UK, you’ve still got time to get some lily of the valley soap for your mum) I took the springers to the pub for a roast. Every Sunday, every Brit worth their salt is in a pub having roast. So, there we are, Mothers Day, and the mothers haven’t even brushed their hair or put on a slick of lippy. It’s like they were gardening and the kids popped around and said, fancy a roast?, and the mums said yes and got straight in the car. I loved it. I’m not saying no one in Cornwall gets dressed up and made-up. That wouldn’t be fair. But it’s not like you have to. It’s as though everyone is so robust and outdoorsy and getting on with things that it’s just not important. Which suits me fine as I travel with carry-on luggage and I look as if I travel with carry-on luggage.

The springers were stick-obsessed and the three of us moved all the sticks -in every woods we were in – from one side to the other. I dragged my stinging aching dramatic leg around throwing them (the sticks) which they (the springers) either returned, ate or lost in the river. (Even after I left the dogs I still find myself pouncing on a good stick with delight).

While I was in Cornwall I joined the National Trust. I have become one of those people who wander about exclaiming at tulips. And marvelling at trusses. And making time for a good pot of tea and a scone.

Exclaim, exclaim, exclaim
  • Why exactly are you telling me this? I just wanted to know about Big Word of Mouth.

After Cornwall, I went to Bromley (David Bowie lived just around the corner from where I was staying) which is at the edge of Kent. (You don’t think I’m overdoing the parentheses, do you?)

  • What are you doing there anyway? And are you going to answer my question?

The plan was to write a sequel to Best by Farr and do a camino, now stop interrupting.

It would be easy to spend a year in Kent, walking from one little village to the next, well you could if you didn’t have wire screeching at you from the inside. Kent has lots of little Tudor villages and emerald green rolling hills and moss green leaves flipping in gentle breezes on the beech trees and burnt sienna rooftops (anyway else grow up on Derwent pencils? – I had to memorise all the colours before I could get anything beyond a 12-pack – oh, how I craved a 72-er) and tiny little roadways where drivers had to back up to let others past. I visited Charles Darwin’s house and marvelled at his tulips and hobbled along his sand path where he did his thinking and visited Churchill’s house and gardens for more tulip adulation.

  • Is this going on for much longer?

Maybe. So, how much writing did I do in Kent? Not much, too much pain. How much walking? Does limping count? But the fireworks? Plenty of fireworks.

And Darwin’s room of his own – I think Virginia was so right

Back to London and I dragged my leg into casualty and said, please help me, and they did. Yesterday I had the loose wire removed. Sure it’s still sore, but that’s just from the surgery. The wire looks like a crowbar, says one friend, or one of those stainless steel drinking straws, says another.

Crowbar or drinking straw? You decide

And now I feel like I can begin to Get On With Things. Which is how it is that I’m able to write to tell you how tremendous all the Big Word of Mouth storytellers were and how great it was that Jake won and how grateful I am for your generosity in throwing heaps of money in the jar for the Fistula Foundation.

  • I hesitate to ask, because you’re so long-winded, but when is the next Big Word of Mouth?

Can’t say for sure. Can I let you know when I get back?

(the sound of a door slamming)

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