The Battle of Broken Knee – Part 2: The Optimist Strikes Back

It’s about time I got back to picking a soundtrack for the latest post and what else could it be but Ian Dury and the Blockheads’, “Reasons to be Cheerful” – just groovy and grubby enough not to be too Pollyanna-ish! 

It’s three weeks since I broke my knee and was furious (with myself) as much as hurting;  now it’s time to get a grip.

These are my reasons to be cheerful :

1  The staples are out, the dressing is off, the muscles are jelly and the scar is long but neat – I’m hoping baggy linen trousers will be in vogue this summer.  It’s what I’ll be wearing anyway!

2  I’m getting nifty with the crutches and I’ve got a speedy wheelchair so I can get out to see the horses!!  It’s so frustrating that I can’t do anything useful and I’m a complete pain in the bum trying to direct operations, but at least I can feast my eyes on my gorgeous boys.  Meanwhile normally naughty Pom, pictured below – ever the opportunist – has managed to seduce my husband ……….. (and yes, husband does count as one of the gorgeous boys too – though stretching it a bit age-wise). 

3  Friends have brought cake, and flowers, and chocolates.  People from the book club have sent lovely messages and actually missed me (well they were polite enough to pretend to) – I feel a bit teary!

4  Now the pain is less and I don’t have to take so many fuzzy-feeling painkillers, my brain is starting to function again, after it’s own idiosyncratic fashion.  I found myself thinking about what I wanted to write in this blog and that I don’t want to let it fizzle and die! 

5  I can honestly say I have discovered greater empathy with the temporary or permanent disablement other people suffer, if only to a humble degree.  Perhaps people like me, lucky enough to have had few health problems, are unwittingly arrogant and complacent about their state of health and a wake-up call is no bad thing.

6  I’m hell-bent on stretching what I can do to the limits (if no-one’s looking to tell me off);  desperate to get on with the garden, I’ve mastered limited wheelchair weeding and watering and have managed to get some annuals sown.  Big deal!  Though, frankly I can’t begin to contemplate the areas beyond reach where hairy bittercress and dandelions have infested the far-flung flowerbeds.  And I forsee being vegetable buyers more than producers this year.

7  I’m unable to use a vacuum cleaner or a wheelbarrow (both of which give me backache anyway).  Indoors I’m learning the male art of dust-blindness.

8  I have time to appreciate the unfolding of a luscious springtime.

It was around 24°C today.  I sat in the sunshine under this old apple tree dripping with blossom and buzzing loud with busy pollinators.  The bluebells are bursting in the shady border under the hazel hedge, bright pink and purple tulips are out at least a fortnight early,  the bracts of white and purple lilac float a heady draught of scent onto the evening air and the clocks have gained an hour – giving us permission to have an apéro on the terrace before the sun goes down.

9  Whilst bed-bound, I dug out a video my Dad made of all the old family ciné films.  It was so good to hear his voice again, (doing one of those very obvious commentaries which tell you exactly what you’re evidently looking at,) and reliving old half-remembered experiences.  I was amazed to see my first proper riding lesson, with Miss Whittam in Penwortham, Lancashire, circa 1961.  Miss Whittam is a quite-well-upholstered lady of advancing years wearing elephant-ear twill jodphurs and a silk blouse with mismatched fancy glass buttons.  I am being led along, hatless, on an evil-looking hogged roan, whilst my handsome father, who gamely came along just to keep me company is precariously astride a rather magnificent 17hh bay hunter-type named “Yorkist”.  Behind us, painted in 1 foot high white capital letters on the brickwork of the barn is the warning, “DO NOT TOUCH THE DOG’S EARS”.

10  Independent and bloody-minded as I am, I have had to learn some patience and gratitude for the help and kindness I’ve needed and have been given by those around me and they deserve a thorough thanking.


So, for the moment, I am channelling positive thoughts and trying to get done those limited things I can do (trying to persuade myself here!).  Though I won’t be able to walk for weeks, or ride for months,  time is speeding by and I’m searching for someone to exercise Pom before he gets as out of condition as I am.  Will I find anyone?  Will I get jealous if I do? I’ll just have to wait and see…………


About cavaliereattitude

Englishwoman, transplanted to SW France in '86, blogging - with a large dose of humour and self-deprecation - about life with my husband and our horses, the never-ending renovation of an ancient and crumbly stone farmhouse and the attempt to carve a beautiful garden and productive pasture out of a woodland wilderness.........
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