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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Friday, 7 July 2017

Oh, not my nose!

We'd been shopping in Hereford. VR proposed we meet up in the bus station. I hate buses but today would be my lucky day: no buses.

As I arrived VR sat squeezed on the bench waiting for the Number 75. She hailed me and the woman beside slid sideways to allow me space. Genteel and quick-thinking. Three steps away I fixed my eyes on my benefactor intending to thank her. I should have looked to my feet.

I tripped on the kerb and fell flat on my face. Literally! My nose resting on the paving stones. My glasses, secured by a granny-string, tinkled somewhere.

I lay tranquilly, mentally palpating myself for injuries. Both knees abraded despite trouser protection. Left big toe compressed half a centimetre; I must have kicked the kerb. A circular flap of skin hanging from my right little finger. Left wrist strained slightly. Other minor pains.

Two women said “Oh! Oh! Oh!” and rushed over, their heads appearing inverted from where I lay. Behind, an elderly – even old – male grasped at my shoulders, pulling vainly. I assumed a kneeling position and stood up. The women said “Oh! Oh! Oh!” albeit more slowly. One gave me tissues; I dabbed at my nose and saw gratifying blobs of blood.

I explained I’d been intending to thank the tissue donater for sliding aside on the bench, looking at her not the kerb, falling as a result. “I have that effect on men,” she said. That’s pretty good, I thought. VR said we would take a taxi. I dabbed and said “Alas, my nose, easily my best feature.” The women laughed.

At home it was diet day. VR served my Braeburn apple cut fan-shaped on the plate. I watched the Tour de France live. Life resumed its predictability.


  1. Well, it made a change, RR. I read somewhere that if you fall over, to lie there and take stock of things from a new angle, which you seem to have done.

    Hope you are improving and will soon, once more, be an attraction to the fair sex.

  2. Welcome to the club. At least you didn't break your arm. When I have fallen in recent years it seems to be straight onto the face which is omething I don't recall from younger days. Perhaps as we get older our reactions aren't good enough to put out hands and arms to breaks a fall?

  3. Avus: The only interesting thing about the fall was the clarity with which I was able to sum up the various parts of me that hurt, given they were quite widely distributed. In general I'd support the reaction you outline.

    Sir Hugh. The fall was unremarkable. I wouldn't have bothered if it hadn't been for the remarkable response from one of the two sympathetic women.

  4. Yes, what Lucy said. So sorry, but you got an entertaining post out of it. And it won't affect your singing, so all is well.

  5. Lucy: Late in life I'm surrounded by sympathetic women. Which makes up for adolescence, you could say.

    Beth: The double super-pragmatist response. It warmed me and also made me smile. Thanks for that.

  6. I say, down with kerbs!!! Totally overrated as they are.
    Glad it's only abrasions you have to deal with, no fractures. Take care!

  7. Sabine: I think doing away with kerbs might be akin to chucking out the baby with the bathwater. For one thing they help define the areas used by pedestrians and by traffic. For another, although I paid a high-ish price to hear it, a kerb was the source of that marvellous rejoinder by the woman who gave me the tissues.

  8. Disturbing curb! I am so sorry such a thing met your face, but the playlet is amusing. I have a fear of falling in the winter here, but I had not thought of the risk of pushy curbs. Hope your nose is not too swollen and does not affect your duets with V.

  9. Marly: The fact that we are divided on the spelling of kerb/curb in no sense diminishes my appreciation of your sympathy. In fact my nose never swelled; the several wounds were all superficial and were inflicted by the bridge of my spectacles as they were pushed (it's hard to envisage this) down the ridge of my nose.

    However vanity makes me grateful there was no singing lesson the following week nor the week after. V is/was busy getting married and having her honeymoon somewhere in the Loire valley.

    In fact I am between duets. Mozart's Bei Männern is off the menu for the moment. I was starting on Quilter's setting of It was a lover and his lass when it was decided, at the last pre-nuptial lesson, that its range (it's actually for a tenor and soprano) was consistently too high for my baritone voice. So I'm presently looking at Dowland's My Dearest, My Fairest for which I had precisely 90-seconds preparation before I bid V "all the best".

    Later I sent V a card, on behalf of VR and myself, wishing her "all the magical effects of a a well-sung duet." As you may infer singing turns me into a far more civilised person than the aged cynic you are familiar with.

  10. Marly: Aaargh! Purcell not Dowland. I hate myself, it's as if I'd written "disinterested" while meaning to write "uninterested".

  11. Ah, well, such fleabite things are the enemy of our writing!

    Lovely tribute to V's marriage. I expect she appreciated it in some little corner of quiet in the midst of celebration.

    A little Alice, in honor of your nose:

    'You don't know much,' said the Duchess; 'and that's a fact.'

    Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and thought it would be as well to introduce some other subject of conversation. While she was trying to fix on one, the cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire, and at once set to work throwing everything within her reach at the Duchess and the baby-the fire-irons came first; then followed a shower of sauce-pans, plates, and dishes. The Duchess took no notice of them even when they hit her; and the baby was howling so much already, that it was quite impossible to say whether the blows hurt it or not.

    'Oh, please mind what you're doing!" cried Alice, jumping up and down in an agony of terror. 'Oh, there goes his precious nose!' as an unusually large saucepan flew close by it, and very nearly carried it off.

    'If everybody minded their own business,' the Duchess said, in a hoarse growl, 'the world would go round a deal faster than it does.'

  12. Marly: Thanks for the Alice. As always I'm struck by the two quite different tones of voice. The Queen authoritative and authoritarian, irritated by having to rule those of less intelligence, in modern parlance "keen to cut the crap". Alice disturbed by her surroundings, at a disadvantage because of her age, but - I've always thought - destined to grow up into a woman just as severe as the Queen. Finally getting the best of things by being as irritated as the Queen: "Oh you're nothing but a silly pack of cards.." No triumphalism there (I'm working strictly by memory) just dismissiveness. Alice already on her way to becoming an adult.

    V told me only a modest occasion was planned, just near family and a cream tea, preferably in the open air. I said instinctively: "But your voice (ie, singing voice) should figure." Driving home from the lesson I reflected and changed my mind: "Music should figure." Then I changed my mind yet again; yes Mozart's clarinet concerto would be perfect, a very late work, mature yet gay, covering the human condition. But people would want to listen in detail; far better that they chatted. Not for the first time V was ahead of me.

  13. I like modesty in such things (I eloped, which is the ultimate in modesty. I did have a small bouquet, which the sheriff's deputy held at times.)

    Alice taught me so many things when I was but a tiny child. It's hard to assess how much influence those books had on me. A way of navigating the world, seeing the world.

  14. Marly: Elopement modest? More like the outer edges of romanticism. Did the sheriff's deputy wear one of those strange Boy Scout/WW1 Doughboy pointy hats with a disc-like brim? It's important that a writer has a hinterland and you, it seems, come well equipped. Share-croppers and all.

  15. I think he took off his hat for the ceremony!