I spent the better part of the morning of Tuesday 8th September languishing in a deep, sandy ditch. Ten days on, I’m just beginning to see the funny side: ‘Last Tuesday firemen were urgently called into the middle of absolutely nowhere to save an ‘anglaise’ who had forgotten to apply superglue to her saddle that morning. Her young horse, having been scared witless by a lifting pheasant, took off home at a flat-out gallop, but not before finding the time to rear up, swerve and plunge into a nearby ditch where he unscrupulously deposited his rider.’
My compliments to the firemen who fulfil the role of paramedics in rural France, because just finding me was a challenge in itself; ‘I’m in a ditch next to a cornfield’ is really quite unhelpful when you are surrounded by hundreds of square kilometres of ditches and cornfields. Strangely enough, I spent my time waiting for them to arrive fretting about sunburn, my abandoned breakfast dishes and all the other things I should have been doing had I not been skiving off 2m under. Although totally unable to move, I wasn’t particularly uncomfortable (apart from an irritating mouthful of sand) and it never occurred to me that once I’d been hauled out I wouldn’t be walking back home to make a late lunch.
Arriving at Emergency, the doctor’s first words were ‘bloody horses – they should all be turned into mincemeat’, which I though was a rather insensitive thing to say to a horse lover like me. I’m now at home with four broken vertebrae and exceedingly impressive multicolour bruising. I had a lucky escape thanks to my airbag vest, which did a pretty good job of protecting my upper body. I’m pleased to say that my voice escaped unscathed and is getting lots of exercise barking orders at anyone crazy enough to stay within hearing distance.