Free fallin'

A series of elements formed the perfect storm for me to partake in something we've all done since we were toddlers

Peter Edgerton
PETER EDGERTON

Occasionally, something will happen to us that makes us think, 'Crumbs, I'm glad that doesn't occur very often,' like accidentally eating tofu, or hearing Mariah Carey on the radio. Another example of the genre is what is commonly called 'falling over.' Let's face it, falling over isn't something one ought to indulge in with any regularity over the age of four, but from time to time it can happen.

Only this week I became a reluctant participant in this very activity. It was the perfect storm, really: a steep village hill, new training shoes with no discernable tread, mud still on the road from the 'calima' rain last week and a recent, fresh shower just to give the surface slip-factor some extra zing. Oh, and I'd had a bottle of beer which may or may not have contributed to the events in question.

Anyway, being an observant sort of chap, I'd taken stock of the unfavourable circumstances listed above and gingerly started out with tiny steps that Margot Fonteyne would have been quite proud of, I think. Unfortunately, said relinquishing of masculinity was all to no avail as my feet began to take on a life of their own in an attempt to recover their owner's balance, having initially slipped just a smidgeon. Thus, what had hitherto been a dainty 'patter-patter' sound became increasingly louder until, within microseconds, I was thudding downhill directly towards a beautifully whitewashed wall. Luckily, just to my left I spied a fence which some thoughtful workmen had recently erected, and veered towards it in an attempt to slow my wild descent. Unluckily, the workmen had taken a tea break when they should have been fixing the object in question to something solid, like the ground, for example. Now, I was hurtling uncontrollably whitewallwards sporting a fence on my left shoulder. The game was up. I braced myself, smacked knee-first into the wall and lay on the deck, groaning like a footballer who's lost his Alice band going for header. The fence was unharmed.

So, what's the first thing a chap does when he's just run headlong into a wall? Check for injuries? No – check that there are no witnesses to his ignominy, of course. Phew, there weren't. (That's one good thing about the de-population of small villages, I suppose). Then I leapt to my feet in an exaggerated manner, as if to try to convince myself that the pain in my right knee wasn't really there and limped home for siesta.

Stirring from my slumber sometime later, I was surprised to find myself sharing a bed with a medium sized beetroot. Oh, hang on - that was my knee. Not to worry, a bit of ice and another bottle of beer and the swelling and pain had rescinded sufficiently for me to hobble back up to the bar for a soothing bowl of soup. I took the long way round.