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Monday, 22 December 2014

What a pity, what a pity

Oh dear. It’s not fair.

I remember when I was a kid keeping my fingers crossed that if I was to die would it please be after Christmas and then only having opening of my presents.

I have had similar feelings about this adventure. Longing to end this journey in one piece having trod every step of the way without injury or ill fortune to our finale and curtain.

Sadly this will no longer be possible.

Today just 100 yards from this evenings venue, disaster.

Well not quite, but for me a massive disappointment.

As we walked into Windermere approaching a very steep incline Dolly pulled away slightly from our grip and gathered speed. This was always possible as she is heavy in herself and of course loaded with puppets, instruments and our camping gear.

As she began her trundle towards the historic village at pace I leapt like a spring gazelle from the slim pavement to tackle her.

I felt a pop in the back of my leg as something inside sprang from its usual position in my calf to the back of my upper thigh. Unlike a premiership footballer I managed to at least stay upright but I immediately knew this could cause my substitution and so soon after kicking off of our second half.

I looked deep into Lord Gregg’s concerned eyes. This was proper bad. After two years of negotiation and planning and many more years of desire to realise this project I have only gone and damaged myself in the middle of what is my metaphoric world cup final.

It hurt. We struggled slowly moving down hill, eventually we dragged Dolly into a driveway. People were still waving and tooting from vehicles as we stood by the side of the road. We smiled and waved back as always keeping up appearances.

We slowly lowered towards the train station. I called Nick my sister in law and professional physiotherapist. I explained the circumstances and shooting pains as I attempted to walk. Nick suggested it could be a simple tear to the calf muscle or at worst a snapped Achilles.

A snapped Achilles would warrant surgery and the end to my adventure. Fearing long term damage Lord Gregg called me a taxi and I was dispatched to Kendal hospital for tests.

I’m not sure what was more painful my leg or the fact I was now driving at high speed back along the same geography we had so recently and proudly marched, but I ached generally.

Thankfully the hospital was almost empty and the kindly nurse checked me quickly. The prognosis was a rip to my calf. Good news indeed.

Usually.

I am very lucky and enjoy my work. Unlike many I have no sense of glee when I am ill and require a sick note. This (Job) in particular is very close to me and I was devastated to realise my walking journey was all but over.

The nurse informed me that I would need to keep my leg still and elevated for at least two days and then move only gently for three weeks. I called our Janice and within 30 mins she and Blez were waiting to collect me. Arriving back in Windermere we huddled and hatched a plot.

We contacted a number of friends and fellow show folk to rally and assist us in the completion of the project. Some to help Lord Gregg shunt our Dolly from venue to venue and some at least in the early stages of my incapacity to chauffeur me. I feel no pain when standing still so I should manage to deliver the show with little upset.

As we sat managing our misfortune I became increasingly disappointed. Just two hours earlier I had completed my last blog boasting of how we hadn't lost a single show, and now here we were sat on the stroke of 6.30 doing just that for the first time.

I have only ever had to cancel two gigs in my entire career. Once after break failure on my vehicle and another to recuperate after an operation on my throat last year.

Janice comforted me as Lord Gregg and Blez strolled off with our Dolly towards our accommodation and I was again driven. We had been booked into The Rosemount B&B and I was pleased that if I was going to have to be bed bound for two days at least it was to be in luxury. Our accommodation offered a spa and swimming pool and I had thoughts of spending my recuperation bubbling in a Jacuzzi and gently doing some lengths. On arrival though the spa and pool were available only at a nearby affiliated hotel and too far for me to limp along to.

Still the Rosemount itself is a very beautiful and comfortable accommodation and the landlady most welcoming. Soon enough Dolly and the blokes arrived and we were lifting her up the two steps to park her in the hall.

Thanks to Janice and Blez for leaping to my aid and generally looking after us throughout this adventure

x x x

Alone again and in a soft double bed with my leg raised up on a pillow I took a good slug from my hip flask and decided to listen to my own advice that there is no point in worrying and to just get on with things.

This was going to prove difficult though. I had already experienced a massive ache in my belly as I watched from the step as Lord Gregg and Blez were collard by some interested holiday makers enquiring as to what our Dolly was. I could easily tell well out of earshot which part of our story he was at simply by the pantomime of his hand gestures. I stood, merely a spectator.

Missing all this was going to be hard indeed.

Later Lord Gregg left to hunt for dinner and returned with probably the finest Chinese meal I have ever eaten and three bottles of good wine. The kindly landlord allowed us to eat in the restaurant and things felt brighter. Maybe the leg wont be too bad after resting it and i’ll be able to rejoin the walking later.

I slept well in my large soft bed and sister in law Nick our family physiotherapist is driving over to take a look at my leg and advise me further. Yesterday during the examination the nurse had told me she could feel the rip and that in the morning it would feel worse and bruise.

Waking I'm happy to announce that it feels no worse at all but sadly no better.

I have no bruising.

Going forward we intend to continue with our advertised performances, and who knows I might even be able to hobble proudly back to Barrow Bandstand after all. We will see.

Whatever as is tradition,

The Show Must Go on!

By Gary Bridgens
Published: May 15, 2011

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