Living in Spain, warts and all

Battered and Fried

I was not put on this earth to be decorative.

As children, both my sister Sue and I were extreme tomboys, eschewing dolls and prams for footballs and model spaceships. And we were dangerous.

Such was our reputation that the headmaster of our primary school, at first assembly of each new term, would routinely ask, “Which of the Cassidy sisters is in plaster this time?”

So there you have it. My maiden name was Cassidy. In the summer of my eleventh year, just before I was due to move up to my first grammar school, I managed to break my leg on roller skates. I was, therefore, christened by some perceptive (if not a little out-dated) wag with the nickname ‘Hopalong’ – and so I remained throughout my school days.

For some reason, Fate feels duty-bound to type-cast me forever. I am widely-known as being accident-prone, although in my defence I have to protest that often my injuries are not my own fault – that I am more unlucky than clumsy (although I may be that, too).

I mean, a spider bite (Bitten by Spain) is hardly an act of ineptitude on my part, although drilling a hole in my own leg (Tractors and Drills ) does admittedly fall into that category. And I will confess that I do sometimes take risks, like groping my way along the top of a high wall in the dark, in the wet, in heels ( Falling Rain) and clambering across a steep roof to recover a pathetic cat (Rescue!).

However, it is also true that often I am at the mercy of events that are foist upon me, rather than attributable to me.

Last week, I almost managed to modify my nose for free. I was looking after Ollie, the blue and gold macaw that resided with me for a year or so before he was adopted by Linda and Trevor, who have worked wonders with him and have turned him into a real cuddly bird. The trouble is, he is now so very friendly that he wants to be in someone’s arms all the time – not a possibility when I am trying to clean his flight. So as he swung down from the roof to grab me, I feinted sideways … into the end of a metal perch, face-first, and almost sliced off the tip of my nose.

There was a fair bit of blood, and a resulting effect of having been slashed by a lion. It elicited some raised eyebrows when I ventured forth into public places, but it has settled down now to a mere couple of fine lines that can be covered with a small trowel of concealer.

Not good enough for Fate. I have another parrot boarding with me this week. Mr. Pedro, I have already had cause to mention (The Good, the Bad and the Snuggly ), hates me with a vengeance. Despite constant protestations from Chris, his owner, who assured me when she left him this time that he hardly ever bites now (!), this parrot would kill me if he could but find the opportunity.

This morning I went into the flights to change water and dole out breakfast to all the parrots. In Pedro’s flight, I keep my distance – I wouldn’t even consider an attempt at handling him, as I find two hands are generally not enough and I cannot sacrifice one of them. Further, I enter that particular space bent double, to keep my face firmly pointed down and out of reach of his perch, since he has been known to swing upside down in an attempt to take out my eyes. A face full of parrot does not appeal.

Generally, I find that this works, provided I am quick with the removal of the food bowls.

Today, he was having none of it. As soon as I was in and at his mercy, he actually flung himself bodily off his perch and landed on the back of my head. There, he dug all his claws into my scalp to make sure I couldn’t shake him off, and proceeded to bury the point of his upper beak under the skin, while grinding away with the flat edge of the bottom beak in an attempt to scalp me.

The scalp is a thin piece of skin stretched tautly across the skull. When it is split, it bleeds profusely. I could feel blood running through my hair, but I didn’t dare raise my hands to dislodge my stowaway, for fear of macerated fingers. So I had to grit my teeth and bend further so that he was actually hanging upside down from the top of my head. Then I was able to brush him against a lower perch until he disengaged from my tattered skull.

This occurred almost twelve hours ago. The wound is still weeping dismally, and I am feeling sorry for myself. All ‘ aaah’ and ‘poor you’ expressions of sympathy will be welcome.

This all happened at stupid o’clock this morning, a time at which I am routinely having to heave myself out of bed these days. The cool and changeable weather we were dealt in April has given way to meltdown this week, and I have to get out to water the baby vegetable plants in the huerta before the sun gets to them. I also have to feed and water the parrots and my own pack of hounds before ascending from the house to the kennels to see to residents at around 7am.

Who said I came to Spain for the relaxed lifestyle, the mañana mañana attitude? What went wrong?


Comments on: "Battered and Fried" (21)

  1. kentgirlnolongerinfrance said:

    Aaah, poor you! (Was that sincere enough?) Hopefully your tattered scalp will recover fairly quickly xxxx

    • Thank you – although the sincerity was possibly made questionable by the need to ask.
      My tattered scalp is still very sore and lumpy. I might need to borrow a crash hat for feeding tomorrow xxx

  2. Debbie, this is terrible. As one privileged to have been “bitten by Spain” at your glorious place a couple of weeks ago by the lovely Cookie, I have insider knowledge of what it feels like to have a parrot attached to one (me) in a painful manner. My ear is healing nicely though a slightly damaged nerve remains – my doctor says to massage it! You have all my sympathy and I´m going to nag you to see a doctor too. The thing is, you´ve chosen a very active, rural and wild life, in the light of your surname maybe not an entirely auspicious choice. BUT, we secretly know that you, furthermore, secretly love it and that once you heal up – and take more care, woman – you´ll have your rural paradise on your isolated bluff! Sending you much love and encouragement, Mo xxx

    • Dearest Mo – if my tattered scalp could make up in the smallest possible way for the damage wreaked upon you by the cantankerous cockatoo, I would suffer it all over again.

      I’m devastated to hear that his attempt at removing your eardrum has left you devoid of nerves in that area – although, on the bright side, it means you wouldn’t feel it should he ever try it again.

      No, I must shun your (kindly) nagging – doctors invariably cause me more problems here than already existed, so I think I’ll let this knit of its own accord. But I really appreciate the love and encouragement, and it comes right back at you xxx

      • My injury was nothing compared to what you got from this death machine!

      • Not so sure about that. And yours was worse from the point of view that you entertained the Cookster and trusted him; I at least knew that Mr Pedro would turn Hannibal Lector, given a nanochance.

  3. . . are you a mouse or a man? Tazer the bastard! Oh! Yeah! Aaaaaaah! Diddums! 🙂

  4. Carole Skilton said:

    As you know, I’m not keen on anything with feathers that flutter, be they wild birds, parrots or hens, but had a few dogs take a piece of me during my dog (usually people’s pet ones) training days! also boarded quite a few not so very nice cats too! I’d get yourself a metal mesh shield or a bikers’ helmet with visor for protection! be careful, be warned!
    Hope your head heals OK without stitches! xx

    • Yes, point taken, thanks. All the dogs we have boarded so far have been an absolute delight, although a seven month-old Great Dane puppy did nearly knock out some of my teeth with his exuberance!
      I’m quite sure we’ll get some terrors in that department, too.

      Thanks for the good wishes xxx

  5. My darling Debbie, you are a force of nature and danger to society 😉 I hope your injuries are healing well.

    • Good grief! A danger to society?
      I do tend to limit my injuries to those of a personal nature – I haven’t (yet) run amok with a hatchet – although should I get the urge so to do, it will almost certainly be within the confines of the local council offices, trust me.

      I can’t actually say whether or not the back of my head is healing, as I can’t see it! It doesn’t feel too good, though … :-/

  6. Good lord woman, are you alright? Weeping wounds and sliced noses, oh my! (Seriously, please be careful of infection.) Whenever I think my day is going poorly, I can read a post on your site and know that in comparison, I’m doing quite well, thank you very much. I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear, but it’s true. I also don’t suppose telling you to be careful would help, either.

    • I seem to survive, regardless.

      I must take stock, though – your comment did cause me some alarm! That my mishaps can be seen as a yardstick by which you can consider yourself ahead of the game regardless of your own trying day is worrying.

      Note to self – be more positive and don’t mention the blood …

  7. Yvonne Carne -Ross said:

    Will life ever be peaceful for you? I doubt that word ever entered into your brain.
    Hope the wounds have been suitably cleaned and John administering TLC q.d.s (that means 4 times a day).
    Please no more accidents this week!!

    • No TLC from John – he’s a couple of thousand miles away. Telephone b.d is all the sympathy I get from him.
      I got straight under the shower after it had happened, and then smothered it with Germolene (not the best hair treatment in the world, but hey!)
      I can’t see it, but friends are telling me that it’s healing OK.

      Accidents are accidents and therefore, much as I’d like to promise that there’ll be no more, it’s not my call! Perhaps I should just stay in bed?

  8. Deb, you can´t, unless you take your lapdog, I mean laptop, to bed with you. We need our daily dose (okay, our once in a while dose). Having met you – such a pleasure – and seen that you´re not the kind of woman who runs about inviting disaster like a chicken without a head (but a sensible, hard-working, flat-shod and energetic person) bed is probably your safest place since the Accident Fairy seems to have it in for you. In other words, it´s not your fault. Yet there must be a way of keeping yourself safe, despite your surroundings. I hope you give this a think-through! Maybe you need to wear protective clothing or take some other kind of proactive stance. I hope the Germolene is working well and that you heal up really soon. (And I found you rather ornamental, bonnie lassie ….).

    • In order-

      I don’t possess a laptop and the desktop is a little unwieldy to use in bed.
      That daily dose is more like fortnightly (I’m talking about the blog, Alan …)
      The pleasure was all mine.
      I’m a sensible, hard-working, flat-shod and energetic person who runs about inviting disaster like a chicken without a head.
      The Accident Fairy loves me as much as Mr Pedro hates me.
      I’m confused about the proactive clothing and the protective stance.
      Germolene does it for me. I particularly like the “with anaesthetic” proclamation.

      See? I told you the wine was an essential ingredient of the weekend.

      • Dearest Deborah, Well, see, you´re just getting all surreal now, confusing people with healthy, heady sex lives who use proactive protection to avoid accidents of the procreative kind. It´s rather offensive to hear how you and my lovely Germolene (Germolene Mary, in fact) wife are caught up in a torrid, drug-fuelled pro-nipple clamp lapfest … poor, poor John, ruthlessly desktopped and fortblogged, chicken-like, in your pleasure-vault with an aesthetic of the sensible kind. Pour me another glass, Deb, your world is too, too weekendish for a drunk like me ……..Señor Pedro, Confused of Alcalá. (xxx zzzzzzzzzz).

  9. OK.

    I want some of what you’re on.

  10. Oh, my head …..

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