Scottish Field

In the wars

Life has come to a stand-still since Fiona Armstrong took a tumble, but this cloud has a G&t-shaped silver lining

- Illustrati­on Bob Dewar

“For two weeks I have had to wear a clunky plaster cast and an unattracti­ve old fleece

Things may well have settled down by the time you read this. Who knows? It has been a fast-moving situation. But with things as they have been over the past few weeks, it can be more of a relief to laugh rather than cry, and to play silly games. Like what would happen, should the Armstrong Macgregor clan ever be asked to step in and take charge of the country.

The chief would have to be chief of staff. Or perhaps, having been in the army, he could tackle defence. Darling Daughter would no doubt qualify for chief whip, because she likes to wave the big stick. Yes, DD likes everything in order. Demanding to know this month who hasn’t been stacking the dishwasher properly. It wasn’t me. Honest…

As for the quadrupeds. Well, Delilah the Chow Chow should be head of homeland security. Her mission in life is a constant prowl round the house, making sure that each human is in the room he or she is meant to be in. Bennie the naughty Norfolk, meanwhile, could qualify as minister for sport, the way he zips round on those little legs. All that boundless energy. All that barking…

I, meanwhile, would head up the press office. My ninety-something mother might take on the role of minister for pensions.

It’s daft, I know – and we mull it over in the kitchen because that’s pretty much where I’ve been grounded for the last four weeks. It was a trip to the Highlands that did it, fishing on the River Lochy in Lochaber. Or rather, trying to, as the water was high, and the wind was cruel. Eventually my rod tip snapped, and that was it. I sat on the bank, ate a ham salad roll, then returned to the lodge where I took the terrier for a walk, slipped on a wet bridge, and broke my elbow.

Just like that. One minute casting out and boldly striding forth, the next a sad and sorry sight in Fort William A&E. Luckily, it was my left arm. Or perhaps not. This is the third time I have broken said limb. First as a child, roller skating in the street. Then as a forty-something year old, minding my own business behind a door which suddenly sprang back onto my wrist. And now this, which has involved a night in hospital after surgery to pin the joint.

It has been painful, but then any sort of fracture is not for the faint-hearted. For two weeks I have had to wear a clunky plaster cast and a rather unattracti­ve old gardening fleece which was the only thing that could fit round the sling.

Try pulling on socks with one arm. It takes forever. Washing your hair? Forget it. And forget those household chores. Those tulip bulbs that were due to go in the garden will just have to wait, despite the fact that they are starting to sprout. I am typing this column with one hand and it is taking forever.

Those are some of the downsides. The upside is that I cannot iron and I have been waited on hand and foot by my nearest and dearest. A large G&T appears at seven, followed by a tray supper in front of the telly where I can watch the day’s news unfold, which has not been guaranteed to lift the spirits… But this is not a political column.

What it is, though, is a chance to praise the fantastic doctors and nurses at the Belford Hospital in Fort William, and those at the Dumfries and Galloway Infirmary. Both of you gave me first-class treatment. Thank you.

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