JULIE Q and A on the ski slope with Eddie the Eagle


I was privileged and delighted to be able to travel to Gloucester ski slope to film and interview Eddie the Eagle for a virtual (enforced because of the pandemic) conference for Rotary District 1200. A great role model – determination, perseverance, and self-effacing and a truly nice person to boot. Our challenge was to ensure we were covid-compliant and socially-distanced, whilst covering a wide range of topics with him. The Q and A session was a back-up in case our planned live session with him was scuppered by those flipping internet gremlins who always appear to be up to mischief.

The incident to which I’m referring is featured in ‘In Sickness and in Health’.

On hearing me say that I thought the offending knee might have given way contributing to this fall, Jo wanted to call an ambulance. I knew I needed medical attention. I didn’t think I needed the resources of an emergency ambulance (though, on reflection, gas and air might have been nice) so Neil and Chris volunteered to drive me into town – only neither of them knew the way to hospital. Someone was looking in the telephone directory for the hospital number and couldn’t find it… for some reason I remembered it… someone was pulling some underwear over my legs, having instructed all the men present to turn around… I gripped the edge of the table…people shimmered in and out…

Jo by now was a great support in every sense.

‘You know, Julie, your face is a delicate shade of green. It reminds me of the time when you were fourteen on that school skiing trip to Lillehammer, didn’t you manage to tear all the ligaments in your knee or something? It was the right one, I remember.’

     The school holiday in which my parents had been determined I should take part. Board of Education scholarships didn’t cover any extras. They could never have afforded for us all even to go abroad, let alone the additional cost of skiing. I had joined a local youth club which regularly took us to a dry ski slope, and two years of frugality fulfilled their determination that I should join everyone else in the ski-in ski-out youth hostel smelling of pine and pork sausage.    

     But why would anyone else remember which leg it was? Even I don’t remember, despite my innate exactitude. But I do have a memory of being told I’d gone green. It’s not the preserve of the Incredible Hulk. Apparently on Friends Reunited there was someone who recounted the tale, well over forty years later, of Julie being scooped up in the arms of the ski instructor who flung down his poles, carrying her down the nearest and steepest slopes until he could flag down a passing car to take her to hospital.

     Yep, that’s right: my claim to fame is that I did a black run before I could ski.

He was a young, blonde Norwegian ex-Olympian: the stuff of schoolgirl fantasies. As long as you’re not the terrified teen in his arms with one lower leg flailing like Looby Lou on crack in a tumble drier.

     Never dreamt my accidents would be world-wide-web material.



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