Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The 200 mile aisle

  "Looks like a black cat done crossed our trail....."

  Everyone's heard of cold feet, but broken feet for both bride and groom, if I was a superstitious man i might think it wise to stay a bachelor... I mean, bad luck comes in threes, whats next ...? But luckily I'm a fairly rational man, and I will trust in my guardian angel, whose obviously been on a months holiday, to protect me against the trials and tribulations to come ...

  So that was the 200mileaisle and full of ups and downs it certainly was. We didn't even make it out of andalucia, we were about 20kms south of the border, just outside the lovely town of Galera when we hit the end of the road. The earlier rain had been a rare treat, but it was this combined with the grey clay that led to Rayo losing his footing, and my fiance's leg being sandwiched between a rock and 400kilos of falling horse.

   A second before I'm happy as Larry, just left Antonios bar musica el puente, where they do the best fish and chips this side of the costa del sol and a great cold beer, atop my nag with a couple of kms easy riding to go till camp, then I see Rayo scrabbling for his feet for a couple of seconds and then go thumping down on my loved ones leg, Nikki immediately shouted "I'VE BROKEN MY LEG" as Rayo was getting back to his feet. I'm straight off Tio and hobbling over to her hoping, praying, that somehow this is gonna be ok, that the ground softs, that nikki falls well, that we would somehow get away with it, that this is not in the script, that the power of love was too strong to let anything bad happen, that thats not fair, and above all and overriding all of these.... that my fiance was wrong. It wasn't broken, a little bruised maybe. I knew she knew, she knows her body almost as well as I do, so when I got to her and held her and looked her in the eye I knew it was over ..

   Still its an improvement on the last time I saw nikki fall off a horse which was 4 years ago and again I was behind her when she dived off the side of Rayo at full pelt straight into a concrete gutter and didn't move. Again I was straight off Tio and ran over to nikkis crumpled body and this time there were no shouts. At best she was out cold, at worst ..? after 30 seconds she made a noise (errrrrrrrrrrh) and rolled her eyes, looked frighteningly absent! But after another couple of mins she seemed to be aware, and finally understood what had happened to her at the end of the 40 minute journey to the medical centre ..Apart from concussion, a broken rib was the damage, and a vision in my mind that will never leave me, much like the one above, and which makes me wince every time it rears its ugly head.
  So where was I? In the middle of nowhere with a broken fiance, 3 horses, and a busted foot, don't panic, just ring an ambulance, explain where we are (to at least 3 different departments)in a foreign language, feed nikki brandy,          commandeer all passing campasinos para ayuder, wait, dont panic, keep nikki talking and drinking brandy, more phone calls, wait, don't panic, wait.. Hallellujah here it comes and now the comedy sketch can begin, its such a blur I can't remember if there were 4 or 5 but i'm sure 2 of them where on there first day, at least thats how it seemed. Nikki managed to tell them what they needed to do and up and into the ambulance she went, a quick kiss goodbye and she was gone. There I was with 3 horses, a busted foot, and a hugely heavy heart, and no brandy.
  Time to saddle up and head south, I got on Tio painfully with Lorna on a line and Rayo following which didn't work too well as he just wanted to eat, so off again with Rayo tethered to Lorna's pack and that worked fine. Had a bit of good luck in finding a wild bit of land just out of town with plenty of grass. The horses had been great throughout the whole drama and continued in that vain whilst I untacked them all slowly. Had enough daylight to set up the fence, the tent and get water..At this point the body was good and tired, but the mind, that was a different thing..Luckily I had a good book and lay in bed reading till the eyelids got so heavy that sleep was inevitable.. Then woke up early to a deflated bed, physically and mentally, and endured that first moment of waking after a disaster when your mind has to convince you that yes that did happen..

   Spent the morning staying busy waiting for help to arrive from home, which it did in the early afternoon in the guise of Debbie and Matteus. The lorry was coming to take the nags home 6ish so nothing for it but to retire to bar el puente for a cold one and tell Antonio the news. He was suitably aghast and filled my hip flask gratis. Then back with the lorry to load the horses which thankfully passed without incident until the driver wanted the money. I had next to none and assured him he would be paid at the other end. Next entailed your standard andalucian, hot men, fiery exchange of words which if you saw in England you'd expect the fists to be flying at any moment, but not here. We agreed to disagree, he left with the horses and I kept my cash due to the intervention of a bit of female charm a la Debbie.

  So now an hour in a car heading south to Baza hospital to see my bionic fiance .....................................................

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