Taking a tumble

“You see,” says our host. “There’s a reason why, when we get to a certain age we stop climbing trees.”

Dammit. It seems I might appear to be a “certain age”. I will fight it down to the very marrow of my bones. But I did just fall ten foot and land on my back. Apparently at this time of year you can’t trust oak trees. My host continues: “They push their limbs out at this time of year, you know. That’s what would have happened.” Yes. I know that now! I witnessed that in terrific technicolour slow motion. A big old perfectly good living limb came off in my hands. Oooooooo noooooooo nooooooww fallllllllliiiing bang.

When I was 8 until I was about 12 I did judo at school. Classes were almost all about practicing breakfalls endlessly. I used to get so bored “I want to do throws” but I got good at breakfalls “You can’t be thrown until you can break.” I’ve often since then given terrific thanks for that dogma. I’d send my kids to judo. I’ve instinctively rolled safely through terrible forward tumbles. And I always break when I go backwards. This is the best example yet. There’s no skin left on either of my forearms but I still have the use of my legs. And it was a long drop. I now know what it means to be winded. My breath still isn’t back fully yet and it’s been an hour or two. I’m shaky too. I’m probably a little bit shocked.

Thankfully I wasn’t alone up that tree. Will, Carter and Kaffe were with me. Some of the lads had just had a profound bonding chat in an oak tree in Wales. Then I almost crocked myself. My first thought on landing was “Do my legs still work?” As soon as that was established (phew) my second thought was “How do I downplay this?” Pride comes before a fall. It seems it comes afterwards as well.

Will and Carter hung out with me as I lay in a bubble bath and tried to remember how to breath through the pain. I’ve done something very odd to the muscles in my back. I’ll probably curse myself for weeks.

So yeah. Idiot aside, I’m in Wales. Tomorrow I’ll be playing Banquo. Thankfully Banquo has just come back from a war. He clearly took a hit. It’s very useful for me to have my ability to run around and jump up and down temporarily curtailed. Means I can be properly grounded and just let the text work through me. So long as I get my breath back by then.

It’s a hell of a thing, being winded. For a while after landing it was everything I could do to get air into my lungs. I’ve seen people on videos make that noise, but now I know what it means. Ow. Right now though I’m still feeling a bit weird. I had some Ibuprofen and then Caroline told me with the solicitous tone of a doctor “You absolutely mustn’t mix Ibuprofen with alcohol. It destroys your pancreas.” Fuck my life. At least the drugs numb most of the pain. Only the awareness that I’m perceived as being too old to climb trees. Dammit. It’s a lie! I’ll have to numb that with sleep.

I love this place. 25 actors in a stately home. They’re all in small groups right now speaking verse and I’m sitting surrounded by their muted geekiness occasionally interjecting my thoughts on their discussions and mostly getting this written so I can go upstairs and crash. Here’s a photo of the digs taken from the tree about a minute before I stacked it. As far as actors digs go, I’ve definitely been in worse. 🙂


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Taking a tumble”

  1. They tested the pancreas theory on mice, they gave them three bottles of scotch in one day washing down 368 Ibuprofen tabs. They reported the mice were not well at the end of the experiment and warned adults not to do this either.


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