It’s that time of year again. It’s that type of weather again. It’s February.
For us northern dwellers, February is usually the coldest time: the time for ice, snow, icicles, frosty noses and cold fingers.
However, for many people, February is a nightmare. The footpaths are skating rinks and for the unsteady of foot, going outside can be hazardous. Hence the selling out of those little rubber soles with nails in them that you can attach to the bottom of your shoes in order to get a good grip on the ice.
They are a must: but some of us only learned this the hard way. The very hard way.
Nearly exactly two years ago, Sir Pe was working late and caught the bus home in one of the worse snow blizzards ever. On that fateful evening, he got off the bus at about 10 pm. I was fast asleep when suddenly I was rudely awakened by my mobile ringing next to the bed.
“I’ve broken my leg,” was all I heard. Remember that I was in a deep sleep only seconds ago, so it took a few seconds to register that it was probably Sir Pe on the phone.
“I’ve broken my leg.”
“Where are you?” I wondered why he hadn’t phoned the ambulance but was phoning me.
“I don’t know.” Ah – hard to call for an ambulance when you don’t know the name of the street where you are. In between passing out, he vaguely described where he was. I threw on some trousers underneath my nightie and put on my winter jacket over my dressing gown and made a dash for the car.
I could hardly see a thing: the snow was whirling around creating a big vacuum of whiteness. I left the kids (then 3 and 5) asleep, and prayed that they wouldn’t wake up. I then went out in search for my husband and actually found him pretty quickly.
There was no street sign. So, in the end, I knocked on a nearby house, briefly described the situation and asked her what the name of the street was. This marvellous lady phoned the ambulance with the names of two nearby streets and came out with blankets for the shivering Sir Pe. It was a cold minus 13 C, the pavements were treacherous underfoot, but he had somehow managed to haul himself onto his rucksack. When the ambulance didn’t arrive within five minutes, she phoned again. They arrived and very nearly went bottoms up themselves on the icy street as they tried to lift Sir Pe onto the stretcher and carry him into the ambulance. I had to rush home to the kids, but he didn’t notice as he had passed out again.
Sir Pe does things in style and defied the doctor who told him he would be running by that summer. He broke his foot in seven places, has ten metal plates in his leg and often sets off the metal detectors at airports. The bones never set properly and after three operations, it is pretty clear that he will never run again. And will probably always need his stick to get around.
It is amazing to think how the earth can shift under you in a split second – and how that can then go on to change the direction of your life.
Think about that for a second. And then take a few minutes to appreciate all the good things that you do have: be it your health, your family, your friends. A roof over your head and food on your plate. Or even a whole service of dinner plates in your leg.