Comments From A Frustrated SigneT Sailor -Keith Hatton
“That’s impressive,” said my doctor as she took her first look at my severely bruised
left leg, the colours resembling the work of a demented tatooist, “how did you do
that”. “Picking up a table tennis ball I replied” “Dangerous game that” she replied
with a smile on her face. Well when the floor is wet anything can happen, and it
sure happened to me. One minute you’re flying around trying to win the next point,
and the next you’re on the floor in bloody agony trying to do the splits as your
foot slides away from you on a slippery floor.
Only two hours earlier I had been climbing up poles and ropes to a height of some
seventy feet as a team building exercise, and then launching myself off the top of
a post some forty feet above the ground to grab hold of a steel bar. They called
it the leap of faith, mostly faith in the team who were controlling the ropes that
were clipped onto my harness.
The same Monday afternoon Richard Cannon and I had won the first of two races to
decide who would be the Signet Champion for 2010 at Bradwell in Essex and by 10.30pm
there I was lying on the floor immobile, and in agony.
With lots of help from those around I was soon lifted into my bed, and made as comfortable
as possible for the night, which thankfully I managed to sleep better than expected.
Come Tuesday and we made for the local surgery, but they were too busy to see me
so we made for the nearest hospital some thirty miles away near Chelmsford. I was
slid into the back of a Signet sailor’s wife’s Mercedes and off we went with me making
the best of a rather uncomfortable journey.
Much to our surprise the Accident and Emergency department was not busy, and a doctor
and consultant soon examined me. Ruptured leg muscles was his diagnoses and I was
issued with a pair of crutches and a strapping, plus pain killing drugs, and we made
our way back to Bradwell in the same manner as our arrival. Madeline and I decided
that we would stay at the sailing centre for the rest of the week, as the weather
was not to bad and I would be able to see some of the racing. We had decided to bring
our Signet “The Saint” with us as a back up boat, but alas it was not needed and
sat forlornly in the dingy park.
The usual jokes soon started “ what have you done with your parrot Keith” and” you’ll
do anything to get out of sailing with Richard”. Well I soon found out what you can
and can’t do with a pair of crutches, and found the simplest of tasks taking four
times longer to do and a lot more painful. But I managed to hobble round the corner
to the local pub, for a meal and a drink, on two occasions and to the Chinese with
the entire Signet crowd on the Tuesday evening. And as luck would have it I also
had a novel by Dan Brown “Angels and Demons” to read while I was resting my leg.
The week went by quickly and I was presented with a mug as my part in Richard Cannon
winning the Signet Nationals again! well done Richard.
Whenever we had gone on sailing trips I had always towed the boat so it was now up
to Madeline to do the honours at the end of the week and she made a great job of
it. Our long time friend and Signet sailor Roy Melsom volunteered to lead us to the
Queen Elizabeth bridge, and from there we would make our way home as he lives near
Maidstone in Kent.
With me ensconced in the front passenger seat we started on our journey all going
well until we got to the bridge and hit the traffic jams that build up because of
the tollgates. We parted company with Roy and because of jams on the M25 we decided
to take the A21 and then the A25 which runs parallel to the M25, picked up the A22
and in two and a half hours Madeline had got us safely home, Well done that girl,
what a wonderful wife I have got, and she is still looking after me.
I have now been to see the consultant at Worthing Hospital and on Thursday I’m off
to visit the physiotherapist in Shoreham, the leg is now a lot better with the bruising
moving down my leg, and moving around is getting easier. With lots of ice packs,
rest and physiotherapy, I hope to be back in circulation in the near future.
Is there a moral to my story? Well, on the Saturday and Sunday afternoon Roy and
I spent a few hours playing Boulle on the lawn in front of the sailing centre, with
no incidents or accidents other than nearly putting a dent in one of the parked cars.
So if you want to play a game involving balls, make sure that they are made of steel,
it’s much safer. Happy sailing to you all.