Shakespeare’s mistress


“My mistress, when she walks, treads upon the ground.” – Shakespeare, Sonnet 130

I don’t so much ‘tread’ as trip over my own feet.

Yes, once more I have managed to fall head over heels not in love, but in sheer, unadulterated clumsiness.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think I were pregnant.

Don’t laugh, I knew I was pregnant with my daughter when I flung, in slow motion, a glass of orange juice over a client.

This time I know better. It’s the third fall in three months.

After 10 years of bliss, the next vertebrae in my spine is crumbling into dust trapping my sciatic nerve. Don’t feel stupid if you don’t know what this nerve is, I didn’t either until the first time this happened.

Basically, my left leg is numb. So, I don’t always feel the ground quite as intimately as I should. I can hop on coals in other words and not feel a spark.

This time my epic, not quite as graceful as a swan dive, ended up with me looking like I did a round with Mike Tyson, limping like Hop-along Cassidy (again) and with concussion.

I balanced like a ballerina en pointe as I gracefully placed my son’s boat into the crystal, cold water of Victoria Lake.

I sprung as graceful as a gazelle and then didn’t. I managed to land half in and half out of the water.

Hit my head on the only concrete block along an expanse of soft mud.

Snap my glasses in two.

Split my lip.

Bleed like a stuck pig.

Bruise every point of my body.

Rend into shattered rags the fragile cloth of dignity.

And when does this all happen?

When I’m about to jump on a plane and head to the bloody beach.

That’s when.


Jack and Jill went up the hill…


Falling down the stairs

Jack and Jill went up the hill…

Except that his name wasn’t Jack, it was James. And her name wasn’t Jill either. And the pail was a cup of coffee.

Okay, aside from the tumbling down the hill, our stories don’t have much more in common.

Perhaps, ‘Pride comes before a fall’, would be more accurate.

I was on top of my morning. I was up in the dark to take Firstborn to training. I was even dressed and not in my pyjamas. I don’t know why I bothered.

I strode down the dark stairs to the garage toting my cellphone in one hand and my brand-new coffee cup in the other.

And then I wasn’t.

Then, like Alice, I fell.

There was no white rabbit, but a lot of slow motion.

I could have put my coffee cup down on the way.

I didn’t realise just how many steps there were, until I hit each one on the way down.

Every single, bone jarring one.

I ended up, a crumpled heap, in the small space between the last step and the door.

Firstborn leapt lightly like a gazelle down to where I lay in numb humiliation.

“Are you okay? Are you okay? Mom!”


And the dog quivered in laughter.

He got me back on my feet, rescued the cellphone and I got into the car and drove him to training.

And the trainer overslept and didn’t arrive.


By the time we got home again, my knee looked like some distorted genetics experiment and my leg had locked up like a mannequin.

The skinny jeans are now artfully ripped in such a way that if I bought them like that, I would’ve paid twice the amount.

I was peeled out of their remains and got back into my lounge pants, aka my pyjamas, and a pair of fluffy slippers.

And then I went to work.

In my PJs and my fluffy slippers.

Too a client presentation.

I had a severe case of FML.

Limping upstairs to our tame chiropractor and sports rehab office, a lovely young lady said she’d take a look.

I’ve now reached an age when I could have given birth to the medical professionals treating me.

This sweet girl, with her dewy fresh skin and caring smile has the hands of a demon lord.

I didn’t cry when I fell down the stairs, but I cannot lie, my eyes did prickle as she kneaded around my knee cap.

Anyhow she strapped my knee up with neon pink tape that looks quite jazzy and sent me home saying “Avoid stairs and don’t drive.”

I looked at her with the eyes of middle-aged mother of three and thought about saying something like, “You don’t have children do you? One day you’ll know that lying with your leg up, not driving and avoiding stairs in a house built on the side of a mountain with three teenagers running wild is about as impossible as teaching pigs to fly.”

But I bit my tongue and just nodded.

Then I went home, dug out Great-Granny’s cane and hobbled up the stairs to make dinner.