Wednesday, 26 June 2013


So, I began my last blog entry with the phrase “The dreaded has happened”…  How wrong could I possibly be?! In my innocent, able-bodied state I thought that forgetting a line was the worst thing that could conceivably happen. In the words of Dr Evil, “How about nooooooooooo ya crazy Dutch bastard!”

To cut to the quick, I have sprained my foot. Not my ankle, nor my heel but my whole ENTIRE foot. I don’t do things by halves do I?! Well, actually, technically I did as I only sprained one foot. 50% of the feet that I possess.

If I were to draw a pie chart representing my feet and then have it printed onto a plain white cotton T-shirt, sported by a headless model and then uploaded onto the internet it would look like this:

Fortunately, I don’t have that much time on my hands. Or feet.

So here’s the story morning glory… It was Bella’s birthday (Bella is another actress in the company and my dressing room budday to boot) and we had all decided to go for a swim in the lake in the afternoon to celebrate. You know, to be all primitive and at one with nature etc. Light some fires, kill some sheep, you know the deal.*

Nearly everyone had gone into the lake and so Old Muggins over here thought it would be a good idea to run in after them. Yes, RUN. Run into a murky lake where you can’t see the flooring. And with no spirit level to hand to measure the gradient.  Ho ho! What a fool I was!

Some might call it ‘showing off’; others might call it ‘bravery’. I choose ‘showing off bravely’. Either way, I ended up on my ass with a sprained foot. 

My nemesis: a mossy rock. It came out of nowhere. I wish I could say ‘Yeah, I sprained my foot but you should see the other guy!’ But I can’t, because the ‘other guy’ is a stealthy, moss covered rock adept in skulking below the surface and immune to my threatening demeanour. Harrumph.

It was then a natural progression to A and E, (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELLA!) to be kitted out with a wheel chair upon arrival and crutches on departure. Like the worst kind of airport imaginable. 

Needless to say, Bella was sympathetically wetting herself laughing throughout the entire ordeal. What was so funny about pushing me in a wheel chair, downhill, through swinging doors whilst re-enacting an episode of Casualty, I will never know…  Smirk.

The nurse who had the pleasure of dealing with me was a complete mixture of Dr Cox from Scrubs and a stoic goat. Whilst handing me the crutches, which he was intrinsically reluctant to give me in the first place, he said without blinking, ‘Don’t fall over on these or they’ll snap your arms’. 

No words of comfort, no gentle shoulder rub, just a point blank promise of shattered limbs.

Of course, I had to let the theatre know as I couldn’t walk without assistance, let alone act (which apparently involves walking AND talking at the same time… who’d have thunk it!) and within the blink of an eye this sign had appeared in the foyer:

Needless to say, it made my life. My favourite thing about it is the ambiguity. I may use the crutch ‘for part OR all of this evening’s performance’. Just to keep the audience on their toes! A bit like ‘Where’s Wally’ but with my walking aid.

To be honest, I’m surprised no one’s graffitied over it yet and changed the ‘u’ to an ‘o’. If the youth of Keswick don’t step up to the plate soon, I’m going to have to do it. And that will only end in tears and or the possible termination of my contract.

However, the highlight of this entire ordeal is that I have been used in a lesson. Yes, not only have I learnt my own lesson about lakes, rocks and the consequences thereof but my story has been used to inspire the youth of today.

My university side-kick Liz is currently working as an English teacher, moulding the minds of Dudley’s 14 year olds and studying the play ‘An Inspector Calls’. Coincidence? I think not. 

On the morning after the dreaded happened I woke up to this:

Yes, Liz had set me and my swollen, gammy foot as an essay question. ‘Why might Sheila be on crutches?’ ‘How could she use the crutches to add to her performance?’


Here are my top favourite answers:
  • ·         Sheila could have broken her foot by spying on Gerald and falling out of a window.
  • ·         Sheila could have dropped the decanter of port on her foot.
  • ·         Sheila could have slipped on a rat in the street.

And finally.
  • ·         Sheila could use the crutch to add to her performance by hitting herself with it when she realises she’s been bad.

All I can say is that there are going to be some BIG changes to my performance tomorrow. And we’ve got the youth of Dudley to thank for it. So thank you youth of Dudley. Thank you.

*Disclaimer to the reader: no fires were lit and no sheep were killed. I’m not a maniac.

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