Friday, 25 April 2014

That time my sister threw a dart into my arm, and other childhood injuries

My sister and I are very close.  We are quite alike, actually.  And when you have two people who are very close and are very alike, they tend to rub each other up the wrong way.  A little.

If you've read the stories on The day my sister was humped by a dog, and other childhood accidents , you'll understand how clumsy she was as a child, thus, granted, a lot of these things were just accidents.  Kinda.

Me and my sister - looking swish!

1.  The time my sister impaled my arm

We have an auntie and uncle who are rather posh-like, and they used to live in a fancy village in the south of England.  And we were posh enough (just) to get to go and stay there for our holidays a couple of times when we were small.

I don't think my auntie and uncle are that posh actually, but owning a yacht and having a bar in your house is quite posh when you are a nine-year-old girl who thinks that The Spice Girls are classy ladies (What?  They had Posh Spice!  She is still very Posh, I'll have you know) and that Nike Air Max with the pump-up tongue and soles are the height of sophistication.  And no, I never owned any, sadly.  (small violin playing in the distance)

And when you own a yacht, you tend to hang out at a sailing club.  Now come on, that is posh.

Anyway, while the adults all got a nice drink at the bar, and my sister and I had been highly discouraged from playing near the harbour, playing near the boats, playing near the bar, and basically just told to 'sit on our arses' drinking draught lemonade, we finally got the go-ahead to play the only game which is remotely appropriate in a yacht club.


Thinking back on it, the adults must have been pretty desperate for some child-free time, that they were willing to let a nine-year-old and a seven-year-old throw sharp objects in a crowded bar at a posh yacht club.

Maybe it wasn't as posh as I'm remembering it to be.

Anyway - yes, you can imagine the outcome.  We were doing quite well actually.  We both managed to hit the board successfully (me more than my sister - I was taller, or so she said) and hadn't lobbed them at any of the poor unsuspecting men who were nursing G&T's in comfy side-booths.  J had a couple of tellings-off for throwing backwards a couple of times.  I'd had a telling off for throwing too high and hitting the wall.

Now, we were only allowed one set of darts between us, so we had to share.  We were thus having three goes each and then the next player would collect the darts from the board and play her shot.

I was slightly over-zealous in my quest to retrieve my darts.  J lobbed one.  She lobbed number two.  And I stepped forward.

She lobbed number 3.

It landed in my arm.

We both just stood and looked at it, as it dangled from the flesh, the plastic 'feathers' drooping towards the floor.

J burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

So did I.

As I laughed, it wiggled.  I laughed even more.

Eventually I pulled the dart out.  No blood - just a wee hole where it had been.

That was the end of darts.  We sat on our arses and drank lemonade.

2. The time my sister bit me
Disclaimer: I may or may not have had to adjust this photo a lot to highlight my scar.

 This is an argument that has perpetuated through time until this very day,and will not end until we are both dead.  Because if one of us is still alive, she will still claim that she was in the right.  Actually, I'm going to train my kids to argue my case after I'm dead.  And hope she doesn't have kids (it's o.k, she's doesn't want kids).  She might argue her cat is clever, but he's not that clever.

J cannot deny that she bit me - I still have the scar to prove it.  What we quibble over is the turn in events.

She claims I spat toothpaste in her face.  I claim she was trying to pee in the bath.  Either way, she bit me, I have the scar.  She was bad, I was good, that's all you need to know.

3. The time I was mean to my sister

O.K, she'll argue that this happened more than once, but hey, whose blog post is this?

We lived in a fairly safe neighbourhood, mainly surrounded by the elderly and families, and the scheme of houses was one in which there were lots of green spaces for us kids to roam about.

And roam we did.

We formed a gang with the other kids in the area.  We called it 'the wall gang'. (original, eh?) because we hung around at a half-foot wall at the bottom of a set of garages.

And we hung around sometimes in a place called 'The Sheddies'

Have you any clue as to why it's called that?  Any at all?  It's o.k - you'll get there.

Anyway, The Sheddies consisted of a large bit of green grass, with hills, a huge tree that was good for climbing, and yep, you guessed it - three large wooden sheds, or actually, more accurately, garages.

We never did see anyone use those sheds.  Most likely, someone did own them and kept a load of crap in them, but even more likely, they were derelict and forgotten.

Which just fed our childish imaginations something rotten.

Rumour swept round our gang about the one-eyed man who lived in one of the sheds.  He was naked.  And only had one eye.  And was angry.  But he never came out of that shed.

One bored day, running around the Sheddies, it started to rain, so we all headed to the huge tree and took shelter underneath.

It was kind of dark and foggy, so we started to tell creepy stories to each other, and before long, my best friend's little brother brought up the story of One-Eyed Eddie, the man in the shed.

Being eight and completely off our heads, we then started to dare each other to look through the keyhole of One-Eyed Eddie's shed.

Giggling, and pushing and shoving each other, we all held our breath as the first boy took a look.  He screamed and jumped back.

'He's horrible!' he shouted.

Someone else looked, and then someone else, all pushing each other and shoving each other in fear and childish giddiness.

I took my look, briefly saw which may or may not have been a pile of dusty rags in the corner - although I swore it was a cowering, angry, naked, one-eyed man waving his fist at me.

Shoving my sister in front of me, I shouted at her,

'Go on, have a look!  Or are you too scared?'

Don't look so shocked.  I was eight and eight-year-old's are mean.

Six year old J, looked very scared.  She was the youngest in our wee gang, and often tried to keep up with us all - but even I knew this was a step too far for her.  She'd have nightmares for weeks.

She leaned into the keyhole, trembling.

I held her shoulders tight and breathing in her ear, I whispered, in a deep dark voice;

'He's coming to get you.  He can SEEEEEEEE you!'

She ran the fastest I'd ever seen her run.

And yes, she did have nightmares.  And yes, I did get into trouble.

And yes, I did really kind of believe in One-Eyed Eddie for a long time after that.

4. The time I nearly burned my eye off

The eye survived.  Just about.
When I get a cold, I get quite deaf.  When I get a head-cold I get really deaf - you know the kind of cold where you are so gunked up that you can barely see?

That's how bad I felt this one time, when I was about sixteen.

After trying the usual fail-safe remedies - Lemsip, hot bath, head covered with a towel over a bowl, menthol vapour rub, my mum had had enough of my whining and griping and basically, having to shout at me everytime she wanted to talk to me, so she'd been to the chemist for the last thing she could think of; Menthol Crystals.

She presented them to me in their little white tub and suggested that I take a hot bath with some in, or just fill the sink with hot water, put them in and breathe.  I tried both of these and nothing worked - they just weren't strong enough.

Stumbling morosely through to the living-room after yet another failed attempt at clearing my head, I took the lid off the Menthol Crystal jar and shoogled the contents so that they released some fragrance.  I could barely smell it, but oddly enough, the Menthol was so powerful in it's undiluted form, that I could feel the cool waves on my skin.

Leaning forward, I put my nose closer - it was so cool that it hurt my nose a little.  Pulling back, I messed around with it a bit more.

Cool, not cool, cool, not cool, cool, ouch too close, not cool, cool...

I could feel my eyes clearing, my head become less stuffy.  I should have tried this first instead of messing around with towels over my head!

For some stupid, inexplicable reason, I decided that i would like to feel the coolness on my eye.  Don't ask, I don't know.

Why anyone would put something so potent close to one of the finer and most delicate parts of their body, is beyond my comprehension, but anyway, I did it.

Just as I went to lean in with my eyeball, keeping what I thought was a relatively safe distance, I sneezed.

Menthol crystals in my eye.

Oh the burning, burning, hell.

My mum and sister, who were in the room at this point in time didn't have a clue what had happened.  I was dancing around, screaming at my burning eyeball and trying to work out through the excruciating pain what to do ( it felt like it was melting away!) and they both glanced up from what they were doing and just sat there, comically perplexed as I danced around the room, wet hair, shouting something about trying to smell menthol crystals with my eye.

I ran through to the bathroom and ran my eye under the tap.  I'll leave you to work out the physical logistics of that, but yes, when you are in that much pain, anything is possible.

When I came back through, expecting sympathy, possibly a loving trip to A&E to check i was o.k and hadn't done any permanent damage to the optic nerve, possibly just a thorough inspection and some sympathy, they both just burst out laughing and asked what the hell I was doing.

Perplexed, I shouted at them; 'I just got menthol crystal IN MY EYE!'

'How did you manage that?'

And I just looked sheepishly at the floor and said,

 'I was trying to, well, sniff it. With my eye...'

Which is the line my sister uses eternally now to slag me off...

She's right though; who does that?

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