Monday, April 7, 2008


Blue sky; white clouds; sunshine; patches of deep blue sea glimpsed between round-topped hills.

Cold before dawn; crisp once the sun was up.

At ten, we put aside the blankets.

It was a long journey though - my legs still ache.

And we made it only just in time - gliding up beside the bus with less than two minutes to spare.

I could see Ming's greenish head peering down from the top deck. He looked odd, sort of bald without his plume of punk-pink hair.

The guards liked the pasties (luckily I'd brought more than we needed!) and they supplied us with tea (in exchange for lemon).

(Not many people make homemade lemonade nowadays because it's difficult to find any un-waxed fruit.)

And they loved the rickshaw.

(They took turns to ride it up and down while Didcott and I chatted to Ming and a guard played 'Round and Round the Garden' with Worthing.)

Then I had a fit.

Worthing started to cry.


The guard went for the First-Aider.

The First-Aider couldn't come.

(He was down the other end of the lay-by pedalling about on our rickshaw. I could hear everyone shouting for him to return.)

So there I was - limp on the floor - eyes shut - sense of direction gone - hazily worrying how we'd get home.

Ming was soothing Worthing by telling him he loved him

and Didcott was singing nursery rhymes (as if that would help!)

and all of the time, I could hear them scuffling.

Then the 'First-Aider' arrived.

(At last!).

And he couldn't think of anything except to send for an ambulance.

(Which we didn't need.)

Then the Head Guard came running up the narrow flight of stairs.

He looked. He thought. He decided on a plan; - that he'd drive us back home in the rickshaw.

(As long as we agreed he could pedal all the way.)

How can I thank him?

I'll send him a pumpkin!

(Or two.)

(After all, he did change Worthing's nappy.)



merlinprincesse said...

Streange encounter.... :)

Zoë said...

Great Day out apart from the fit? It must make life difficult. I have a friend who is uncontrolled too, Meningitis when he was 15 caused temporal lobe damage, we have had some very exciting days out, and even more fun on planes, where people simply don't understand. Look forward to your next adventure. :-)

Esther Montgomery said...

Zoe - My epilepsy is 'Temporal Lobe' epilepsy too. It came on, all of a sudden, after a bad dose of flu. (Never under-estimate flu!)

At first, I wasn't sure whether I should include it in 'Esther in the Garden' but decided a.) If I can't write because I've had a fit - why not say so? and b.) Epilepsy doesn't get much of an airing and c.) We can be a bit prim about disability. I reckon laughing helps. (Helps me anyway!)


VP said...

Esther - I'm with you on this one. I'd rather see the whole person no matter what. Strangely this is the 2nd 'conversation' I've had about epilepsy in a week as the wife of hubby's ex-colleague has just started fitting again. Hers came with the menopause - so don't underestimate that or the flu!

Barbee' said...

We like the real you, too. My fibromyalgia may have been triggered by a strange and wicked virual illness I had - or - it could have been the whooping cough at age 3 weeks. Sometimes I thinks it is the wee things like viruses and germs that do us in the most. Hope you have a better day today. Rickshaw! What a good idea.

Zoë said...

no, be you Esther, all of you, and if any one has a problem with it, poke them in the eye!

Esther Montgomery said...

er . . . I find it's hard to 'poke someone in the eye' when you can't lift a finger!



keep it up! I have Celiac Disease. We need to definitely talk about our conditions. Things don't need to be hidden away.

What are pasties? In this country it is what Madonna wears on stage sometimes instead of a bra. I assume that this is not what you are talking about.

Esther Montgomery said...

Merlinprincesse - No! We certainly don't eat bras!

Pasties are a sort of pie - made from a circular piece of pastry which is folded over a savoury filling.

The idea originated in Cornwall - where they were made for tin-miners. Pasties were a sustaining and complete meal which could be eaten without a plate.

One end would be lined with sliced potato and contain beef casserole. A separate section at the other end would hold something like apple or jam. You just sort of ate your way along!

I don't think anyone, nowadays, would make them with pudding included (!)- and they are generally much smaller than the miners would have liked - but a wider range of savoury fillings is used - and their popularity has spread so much there are now pasty shops all over the place.

I am wheat and gluten intolerant - which means ordinary pasties are 'out' for me - as they would be for you.

(This is something that has crept up over the last few years.)

So when I make them for family and friends I keep back a bit of the filling. After all, I don't really need to eat the plate!


Esther Montgomery said...

Oh! Half way through writing that last comment, I realised I was replying to Melissa, not to Merlinprincesse but forgot to change the beginning.

Apologies - it's the strange way blog comments get forwarded to Google Mail. They get clustered under one name, regardless who left them - and I get confused.

(But I'm not muddling who you are - either of you!)


Melanie said...

Esther, when my daughter was on her pasty eating kick I kept reading the ingredients to her. She begged me to stop, she felt as long as she didn't know what was in them, they were delicious. I still remember sitting on the curb looking through my pasty trying to figure out which chunk was the "swede" and what the heck was a swede anyway. Lauren was so mad at me! She still doesn't want to know what a swede is but I do.

Esther Montgomery said...

'Swedes', apparently, are called 'Rutabaga' in the U.S.A. - does that mean anything to you?


garden girl said...

Esther, I'm glad you talk about it. Chronic illnesses and conditions are too often swept under the rug. I have some serious digestive problems, brought on a few years ago following a bad case of food poisoning and the antibiotics that 'cured' me.

My grandfather had epilepsy, but I never heard him talk about it. He was embarrassed. I was embarrassed about my illness in the beginning too, but then I thought about my grandfather and decided I wanted to open about it. I'm glad I pushed past the embarrassment. I've met a lot of people with problems similar to mine since then. Chronic illness can be isolating. Talking about it makes it much less so, at least for me.

Frances, said...

Esther, I will volunteer to poke anyone in the eye who has a problem with you being all that you be. Just let me know, I have great mental powers of eye poking across great distances. "Ouch", they will say, "Who did that poke in my eye?"

Esther Montgomery said...

Frances - if ever I need to call on you for some of your 'Long Distance' pokes, I will certainly do so!

However, I have suffered more from people trying to be friendly than otherwise.

I think the worst was when a kindly construction worker thrust his huge grubby fist into my mouth and told everyone who had (inevitably) gathered around - "It's alright! I've got her tongue!"

(I wasn't swallowing it (which is what he thought) - and if I had the kind of epilepsy where your muscles seize up, his hand would have been badly bitten!)

But it was pure kindliness - he probably thinks, to this day, that he saved my life!


kate said...

Or "rootabaga."

And thank you for reminding me, because I think you'll like these, too (again, if you don't already know them -- and I'll actually be surprised if you don't):

Rootabaga Stories.

This is my favorite:

"The Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to Have a Child."