Last weekend, whilst playing Pétanque (Boules) in the garden, I slightly twisted my ankle. Unfortunately it was the same ankle that was injured over 13 years ago on a "non christian Christian" walk over Dartmoor. Thankfully, the pain was short lived! That was until yesterday, when I stupidly hurt it again whilst hanging out the washing. Obviously, the boules incident last week had weakened it and by yesterday evening I was in agony, unable to walk or weight-bear.
So, some of you may be wondering whats all this about a "non christian Christian walk over Dartmoor". Well that's a long story. But lucky you, as I currently have nothing better to do - as I'm unable to leave the house and Mikey is at work - I can bore you with it.
It was September 1997; my first week at University. I had just moved into University halls. My nearest neighbours were Christians and they told me about a walk across Dartmoor, organised by the university's chaplaincy as part of Freshers week. This sounded good - I'd yet to find any cycling groups, so I would go on this walk and enjoy some fresh air whilst keeping my eye out for any MTBers playing on Dartmoor.
The scenery on Dartmoor was spectacular. We hadn't gone very far when in my excitement I forgot to look where I was going and stumbled into into a large hole (probably an entrance to a badgers set). I crumpled to the ground as my ankle caved in. The pain was horrendous and instantly my ankle had doubled in size. I couldn't continue! I wasn't even sure I would make it back to the bus.
To my amazement, despite all the concerned faces, no one was willing to assist me back to the bus. Hang on though... wasn't I out with a bunch of Christians.... shouldn't they be helping thy neighbour? They said they wanted to finish their walk, but I know they were just intimidated by me - I think I must have been the first "punk" most of them had seen. NOTE: I wasn't a punk, but that is what they called me - as I had a half shaved head, with the remaining hair being green and I was wearing a pair of para-boots and had a Cypress Hill skull tee on.
Not one amongst them helped me back to the bus and I had to struggle back alone. Nor did they drop me off at the hospital on the way back to campus (despite practically passing the hospital on the way). By the time we were back on campus I just wanted to go to bed, I was in pain, exhausted and fed up! The next day I had to make my own way to the hospital. I couldn't drive as I couldn't depress the clutch, no-one offered to take me and frustratingly taxi's rarely showed up because campus was so far out of town. I couldn't even get the bus - as the hospital was only a 15 min walk away and the first bus stop that I came to was actually at the hospital.
By the time I got there, my ankle was triple the size it should have been. The accident and emergency department was farcical, and after a few hours wait they begrudgingly x-rayed my ankle and finally diagnosed that it probably wasn't broken (they couldn't tell as it was too swollen). Weeks and months went by and the pain became more bearable, but it regularly flared up at the slightest jar/twist. By now, it was just something I lived with, I compensated by using my other foot more - negotiating every awkward step to make sure I always landed on my other foot first. After a year, when I was whinging to a GP he stated that I had probably fractured it when on Dartmoor, but now it was too late to do anything.
So there you go, that's it... the tale of how a trip to Dartmoor with a bunch of non-christian Christians has left me with an injury that is currently keeping me from riding my bike! It's a tad frustrating though, as it hasn't caused me any bother in nearly a year, but today it feels as bad as it did back in September 1997.