10 years ago today I broke my leg

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Oh yes, and Rory and I got married!

Possibly one of the most disastrous wedding days ever, with the meticulous planning blown out of the window – probably by the hurricane force wind which joined in the fun.

So how did we celebrate 10 years of marriage? Lovely lunch out together at Brazz in Taunton,  but this date is fated. In the morning we found that our hot tub had leaked and drained away, the pool wasn’t working properly and was what could only be described as icy despite having fired up the boiler early, mice had come in from the cold via an air brick in the cupboard where I’d stored all the Easter eggs and – you’ve guessed – had eaten every single one. They turned out not to be the only thieves: in the afternoon we found out that burglars had been at the garden shed and couldn’t get through the padlock, so had taken the screws out of the hinges to remove the door. Resourceful and presumably well-prepared for their pilfering spree. First world problems, I know, but we had about 20 children expecting our annual Easter egg hunt and pool party, which goes ahead whatever the weather and circumstances.

March 29th is officially jinxed. And OMG – I’ve just realised that it’s Brexit day next year…

 

Read on for a sneak preview of my forthcoming book about that wedding day: All Things Bride and Beautiful.

Chapter one

DAWN BREAKS

 

I needn’t have bothered with last week’s preening in the salon: wearing no underwear whilst crawling on coarse coconut matting gives a full body exfoliation.

The teeth had already started to chatter a Morse code. The brain needed to catch up. It didn’t believe it, but checked with the body. It had definitely happened. Today of all days.

The snapping sound had catapulted around the canvas. It was early: dawn was still cobwebbed with slumber and hadn’t yet woken up to smell the coffee. An expletive. I’d need some help now.

The somewhat sinister old adage so beloved of every mother came to mind: ‘Always make sure you wear clean underwear – you never know when you’re going to get knocked over by a bus.’ No problem there then – I wasn’t wearing any.

Melodramatic, I know, but I gave my best plea for help. A few times. Several times. Countless times. The wind was battling my voice. The wind won.

My heart sank deeper than Barry White’s voice and I knew that no-one back in the house was going to hear. That split second and sickening sound of something snapping had given a new meaning to dawn breaking.

I charily poked a finger at my leg, feeling the need to support it yet reluctant to touch it. No time for tears. I had somewhere I needed to be today.

Crawling on my stomach to the entrance-way in my dressing gown, the belt by now unravelled and lagging behind like the train of a dress, my floppy foot found every bump in the ground. I grasped the door-frame, one hand moving atop the other as if pulling on the rope of a church bell; trying to avoid my fingers being bitten by the wooden doors which I hadn’t bothered to close, which were now being beaten by the flatulent weather like a Taiko drummer. Bleached knuckles stretched over bone as I gripped.

Each step over the gravel, even though I hopped as much as possible, was like dawdling during fire-walking. I managed to get to the house from the field, which had suddenly lost its appeal as the perfect location. I’d never noticed before how deep the two stone steps were up to the door, saving the deepest for getting into the house itself. I cursed the fashion for entrance way grandeur in a bygone era.

‘Can somebody help me please?!’

I had to yell twice. Strange, that. I was particularly blessed when God took a rib from Adam and made a microphone.

Pale blue flannelette pyjamas and matching fluffy slippers emerged, the figure’s forearm rubbing across eyes still spiritless and flaky from sleep’s cotton-wool.

‘Get me some help, Lucy.’

She froze, her eyes round and suddenly bright enough to light the dimpsy dawn. My teeth clenched.

‘This is serious, Lucy – I think I’ve broken my ankle. Get some help.’

The frightened rabbit morphed into Munch’s The Scream before racing upstairs.

Breaking an immutable rule of our household, she burst into my daughter’s bedroom, only to be confronted by a quick biology lesson as Zoë-Lisa was sleepily urging her partner, Chris, to get his lofty figure out of bed and see what all the commotion was about.

‘Get out, Lucy. You haven’t knocked on the door.’

Lucy complied, but quick as a flash, so to speak, she knocked again, re-entered (backwards this time and holding her hands up to her eyes) gabbling that I’d had an accident. Before fleeing downstairs, the eight year-old innocent couldn’t resist turning to take a quick peek through her fingers as Chris still struggled to pull on his clothes.

‘Ugh, gross!’

In less time than it takes to say, ‘I do’, my day had gone from ideal to ordeal….

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