When A Trip is Unforseen, Unplanned and Unappealing…


park bench Edinburgh 2017

On Tuesday morning, in a buoyant mood, I set off for work – my last class for the term – and mind already turning over a list of appointments, events, ideas for lessons, and a list of catch-up household chores to be squeezed into the winter break.

In a folder ready for photocopying and collating, the prepared anthology of the writing students of Godfrey Street’s Writing Creatively Class.

I had burned the metaphorical midnight oil for several nights but tiredness banished when I organised the wonderful work produced this semester.  The cliched spring in my step real because a task satisfactorily completed – a job well done.

Pride Comes Before A Fall

However,  life has a way of reminding me never to be too comfortable or smug!

I’d only strode a few yards from home when I was flying through the air before landing with a thud on the concrete path.

Wings definitely clipped!

Three days later, beautiful bruises reveal themselves in places well-hidden but still painful, I  reflect on how lucky I am (no broken bones just sore muscles) and I now obey (within reason) both my daughters’ exhortations, ‘Can you just sit and do nothing – pleeease!’

I’m trying to ‘go with the flow!

windsurfing Mentone.jpg
Windsurfer, Mentone January 2018

Déjà vu or Ground Hog Day?

While sitting in Frankston Hospital’s Accident & Emergency, Facebook reminded me of my travels last year and yes, unbelievably, it was this time last year when I was limping through the last leg of the big overseas adventure because I’d tripped in the hallway at my cousin’s house in Renton near Glasgow.

Despite my lovely cousin’s pleas, I didn’t get checked out by a doctor and ‘walked through the pain,’ which led to all sorts of complications when I returned home.

My daughters were most insistent I didn’t repeat any stoicism.

I reluctantly agreed, despite feeling like one of the guest speakers at a Women’s Hospital function who said once she retired ‘a trip’ became ‘a fall’ and she was sent off to a Fall Clinic as if she had a chronic problem.

My accidents were both unexpected trips, but landing on concrete is more likely to do damage than a floor – and it felt decidedly more painful!

I can laugh about Tuesday now, but the audience of half-a-dozen workers were not laughing when I landed beside them. Several strong pairs of arms hoisted me to my feet when I told them I was ready to stand and prove I didn’t need an ambulance.

At another time I might have revelled being fussed over by a batch of young men but I just wanted to return the few yards home and ‘have a Bex and a good lie down!’

A young man escorted me the 100 feet and carried my bag. He returned a few minutes later to check I was okay but I told him my daughters were on their way.

The cavalry arrived to greet a crying mess sitting draped in a bath towel toga with a large icepack on both knees and double-checking fingers, wrists, elbows, neck and all the other places that hurt.

Maybe it is a sign of age but the pain was excruciating. Shock set in and I started to shake – the girls were decisive.

A cup of tea and a couple of Panadol and we headed for Frankston Hospital.

Mobile phones a godsend that day. They had tried for an appointment with our local doctor when I first rang them but the clinic was booked out. They’d also rang my manager and cancelled the class.

While Mary played nurse and found some looser pants for me to wear that wouldn’t pressure my knees, Anne marched down to the worksite introduced herself and recorded the company’s details. She got a contact name of a supervisor because I’d caught my foot on the corner of a manhole cover they’d removed but left jutting out from the area of pavement blocked off.

Distracted and curious by the activity I tripped, but maybe the whole path should have been closed.  Lessons to be learned all round!

Silver Linings

The day became surreal and emotions ran high – suffice to say various temperaments exposed and moments bordered on slapstick, television soapie, Grey’s Anatomy, Brooklyn 99 and then an unexpected lovely moment…

We arrived home from Frankston to find a huge box of fruit on the doorstep and a handwritten note from one of the workers hoping I am okay and wishing me well.

I really appreciated their kindness.

fruit bowls.jpg

I also appreciated my daughters’ devotion and decisiveness – they proved themselves capable and caring adults and in all the drama I had a moment of parental pride and joy – they will survive, perhaps thrive – without me and have obviously discussed and thought about ‘the ageing me’ with one of them declaring at one stage, ‘You are not superwoman and don’t have to be supermum anymore.’

And so for a few days, I am ‘taking it easy’ factoring in Panamax and Voltaren Emulgel with the vitamins and blood pressure tablets!

I’ve been touched by visits and phone calls from friends and I’m blessed that injuries don’t seem to be too drastic and the holidays will be great recuperation time.

Happenstance indeed!

sculpture sitting.jpg

And Today is Poet’s Day

POETS day is a term used by workers in the United Kingdom to refer jocularly to Friday as the last day of the work week. The word “POETS” is an acronym for “Piss off early, tomorrow’s Saturday”: hence Friday becomes “Poets day“.

With ‘enforced’ leisure I’ve started going through notebooks and extracting the ideas jotted down – maybe I’ll get some creative writing done!

I came upon this poem – apt because it was Tuesday Class I was heading to when I tripped so here’s ‘the postcard’ I ‘didn’t send’.

Remember the perennial joke from primary school if you witnessed somebody tripping?

Oops, I tripped.

You didn’t send me a postcard!

An Acrostic Tuesday

Mairi Neil

Tuesdays during school term, I teach in Bentleigh

Up the line from Mordialloc towards the city

Easy to get to by public transport, especially trains

So convenient! And I love it! I know I am lucky, even on

Days when inclement weather suggests

A day in bed or seat by the fireside…

Yet, I‘d never use bad weather as an excuse. Unless


Catastrophic cyclone creates wailing whistling winds

Large hailstones the size of tennis balls thunder down

An unseasonal snowfall blocks doors, driveways, footpaths

Sleet, slush or slippery ice replaces stable ground –

Scenarios unimaginable in Mordialloc – unless you are a writer!

empty classroom

Happy Holidays and Happy Poet’s Day!



14 thoughts on “When A Trip is Unforseen, Unplanned and Unappealing…

  1. Oh my goodness, what a horrid experience. I’m reading this from Norfolk island and hoping that their dodgy internet won’t chew this comment (as it has with most of the others I’ve put on various blogs) – I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery, and yes, do what those lovely daughters of yours tell you, please!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and the good wishes Bernadette – I haven’t consciously changed the layout so you may be giving me credit where it’s not due and maybe WordPress is making it look better than I am! 🙂


  2. Dearest Mairi,

    Really sorry to hear about your fall. I haven’t been reading never mind replying to emails for some time but when I came to the computer today I felt compelled to read your latest blog. So glad I did. Darling girl, what a dreadful thing to happen and – with the pain you are still experiencing is still happening to you. Your girls are truly a blessing to you. Sounds as if, now you’ve been dethroned by them you don’t have to be supermum anymore!, that they are well able to slip on the mantle as Super Kids or Super Girls. They always do you proud. If there is anything I can do just say the word. If you want company or to be left alone I will fit in with whatever you want – fetch shopping or a cider or maybe just a cuppa and a biscuit and a couple of swear words in the general direction of the world or at manhole covers in particular. Love you Mairi, hugs, Maureen xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, my dear friend! For reading and for the sympathy – and offer of tea or cider and company – I never need help with swear words:) The bruising is out and the muscles are slowly getting back to normal. It is a good excuse to spend more time trying to clear the paper clutter and maybe find some decent writing! I was hoping to try out the new rail line over your way these holidays and hopefully, that will still be on the cards – not a basket case yet:) – so we will get together. And by the way, you never need an excuse to visit! x


  3. Mairi, I am very sorry to hear about your fall. If there is anything, in any way I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask, happy to help around the house, do errands, help with photocoping, I am an ace at decluttering or assisting with getting to and from any appointments etc. So pleased that at least you did not suffer any broken bones and well done to your daughter for getting the information from the builders, to ensure that the offending piece of concrete is rectified, so that no-one else suffers the same fate as yourself. Thinking of you. love Trish xx

    On Fri, 29 Jun 2018 at 14:29, Up the Creek with a pen … wrote:

    > mairineilcreative writer posted: ” On Tuesday morning, in a buoyant mood, > I set off for work – my last class for the term – and mind already turning > over a list of appointments, events, ideas for lessons, and a list of > catch-up household chores to be squeezed into the winter brea” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Trish, you are so very kind – I am so lucky to have friends like you – but the girls are great and it’s term holidays so plenty of time to heal and whatever I need to do will eventually get done – even if in slow motion:) And I know your busy life and all you do for others so you certainly don’t need to add to that list! Hope you are still writing – we can meet for a cuppa if you come up this way:)


  4. Falls are so embarrassing aren’t they Mairi? Well I find them so but at least in our quiet corner of the world there are no peering eyes and nice soft earth to land on!! I suppose the ”hands-up” offered by spunky young builders must’ve been nice though…definitely none of them here!! 😉 Hope you are recovered totally by now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading Kaye and your concern. Yep, embarrassing is the word – a mobile phone video would have got laughs no doubt – I just got the bruises😆 hip and knee still bruised and achey but that’s to be expected. Company reimbursed my lost wages and medical expenses and hopefully will ensure better hazard training for those spunky young men!


  5. OOPS – meant to say that as I read your opening comment to Lisa, I had the exact same thought as Wad – just didn’t need to repeat it. He got in first. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.