Thursday, 27 September 2012

Of hot pink scooters & teal blue hair

So here's a fun fact. I've been to England three times in my life. In that time, I managed to visit the Accident and Emergency department before Saint Paul's Cathedral. That has to be some kind of record. Albeit, not one I deserve any sort of kudos for.

So I moved to London three weeks ago. No big surprise there. Back in Australia, I used to injure myself a lot. Maybe a small part of me had hoped that this was something about air pressure, my relative position in correlation to the sea level or my distance from the equator. Or maybe just the amount of football I played. Apparently it's not. It's just me.

Week one of my new life in London found me with a double barrel shotgun in my hands for the very first time. This would give people who knew me cause to seek cover or flatten themselves in an attempt to preserve life and limb. But you see, I'm not uncoordinated, just unfortunate. Only I came off injured from my first ever attempt at clay pigeon shooting. That means the target is not only small, but moving through the air at a very fast rate. I shot 11 of my 12 targets before retiring with recoil injury. The trainers were stunned into shock and awe, I'm not exaggerating. My military trained brother only shot five from 12 so, you know, I think I can say I am a natural with a shotgun - as long as I don't have to shoot it any more than eight times or I am in severe pain for days.

Week two started on a positive note! I got a job at a lovely pub! I was so full of energy I went home and washed the dishes from last night's dinner - and promptly sliced my pinkie finger open across the knuckle on broken glass. My brother was very ill and I like to think he would have taken me to get stitches if he wasn't a mere shadow of a corpse. Instead, he cleaned the wound and patched me up while I put on my brave face (read: cried & curled up on the couch in the foetal position).

I did not let a minor flesh wound dampen my spirits however and sought a mode of transport. I took this task very seriously. After all, I am 27 years old. I am a published author. I have new employment in a prestigious pub on top of the second highest hill in London. So how did I choose to get to work?

On this.

Don't worry, it's made for adults. Or kids that weigh up to 100kg. Whatever, I fit on it, ok?!

And this was fine for my first few shifts. It was better than fine, it was fun. It was a conversation starter with my new coworkers and the patrons at the pub. Oh, and the feeling of flying down the second highest hill in London, daring myself to hold off on the brakes, feeling the wind in my (now blonde, purple and blue) hair was simply breath-taking.

Going home on Friday night / Saturday morning at around 2am and realising as I neared terminal velocity that I had no brakes thanks to a light dampness on the ground was breath-taking in a completely different way. In a split second, maybe even less, I had to decide whether to chance it with actually reaching terminal velocity before careering out on to the busy road this hill intersects with and hoping I could control the corner at full speed (if I made it over the speed bump alive, that is) and that no cars, trucks or buses would be wearing their usual path down that main road - or abandon all faith in a safe passage and simply abort the mission there and then.

Well I made my decision and I stand by it.

Ok, so I didn't stand for long.

My feet couldn't keep up as I tried to run at the speed my body mass was travelling at. Basic physics. Or gravity. Whatever, I stumbled and hit the bitumen. Hard. I ripped open my new shoes, tore three holes in my woollen tights (and the skin underneath on my knee and my ass cheek), grazed the heels of my palms and the pièce de résistance, smashed my entire shoulder into the ground as the lower half of my body collapsed. My skin was saved by my work shirt and Edgar Allan Poe hoodie.

Aptly, my iPod played "Goodbye yellow brick road" and Sarah Blasko mourned her own sad story about a painful road through my headphones. I sat in the gutter and cried. My hot pink scooter lay abandoned and skewif in the middle of the road. My hair, once free and windswept, started to matt to my face in a mixture of tears, sweat and light misty rain. Finally, with all the dignity I could muster, I picked myself and my scooter up and limped back to work.

My coworkers haven't known me long but even without my expressive face, it's not hard to tell when a girl hobbles in, mascara streaked down her face, hair a mess, holes in the uniform that minutes ago was pristine and dinosaur backpack hanging askew, something went wrong. As Wayne, the head chef put it to my boss, "Evel Knievel here didn't make her jump."

No Wayne, she did not.

I haven't been back on the scooter yet, but I will. It's too much fun. I will however, be purchasing a helmet. My mind boggles at the lack of laws here that allowed me to ride legally without a helmet. I also marvel at my own stupidity that I thought I was too cool or too invincible to wear one.

For the last four days I've been throwing up and at times, fighting in and out of consciousness. I've been in a lot of pain. I had to go A&E to get X-Rays. Thankfully and miraculously, nothing is broken. I have done severe muscle damage to my shoulder, will still be in a sling at the end of the week and have only today (Wednesday) managed the admirable feat of typing with two hands. Obviously, I haven't been able to work, thus haven't been able to get paid. I've relied on the generosity of my brother and future sister-in-law to keep me fed and looked after - including fetching my spew bucket and washing my dinosaur PJs for me when the fevers have rendered them unwearable.

In conclusion:



And I'm going to Saint Paul's Cathedral before I kill myself!

Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • What's the worst accident you've been in?
  • Do you remember the slow and painful process in a blow by blow, second by second account?
  • Have you ever been sick or injured in a foreign country?


  1. Oh wow, that's a LOT of misfortune in such a short time! I hope you feel better soon! <3

    As for your questions, I was once biking downhill quite fast when my front wheel suspension just suddenly snapped in half. No, I didn't know that was a thing that could happen, either. Bike: from 20 to 0mph in about 0.2 seconds, Laura: not quite so fast. I like to think I did a fairly impressive somersault before crashing face-first into the pavement. At least all I got out of it was a black eye and a mild concussion, so considering that was my worst accident to date, I guess I'm relatively lucky. :P

    I also once got food poisoning while on holiday from the bad, cheap hotel food. I ended up vomiting literally about every five minutes for 7-8 hours straight. And then even though the bad stuff was all gone, I was so dehydrated and sore from all that I felt all feverish and weak for another two days... so that wasn't the most fun vacation I've ever been on. :P

  2. That's horrible! Random mechanical failure is such a big fear of mine! I'm glad you lived to tell the tale and with such relatively minor injuries too! Miraculous! And the food poisoning sounds horrendous. The amount of puking I've done lately is more than I ever want to experience again. Thanks for sharing! xx

  3. The worst accident... mmm, quite hard to tell.

    I've suffered so many accidents I cannot decide which one was the worst, so I simply make a list of the most painful:

    Playing football I broke, my left forearm (twice), my nose, my left knee and ankle, two fingers, and suffered a huge head trauma - it seems that hitting a knee with the back of your head isn't good... I had to quit football for 2 years. Still, I cannot help playing football! Oh, I nearly forgot 2 ribs!

    Riding bicycle downhill at full speed, some "flying" barber wire tore away my right forearm flesh - 2cm deep 6cm long. The muscle was severe damaged, the forearm bleed like a fountain.

    Riding a motorcycle I was hit by a car, the driver didn't see me - frontal impact. Thankfully I was driving uphill, I flew over the car and rolled for few meters bruising everything, hair included (LOL)... I had hard time even sitting on the toilet for weeks after that!

    Taking out the trash (yeah) I've done some stupid gesture while I was trying to hold in the cough... failed. My left lung broke and collapsed... few hours later I was in hospital with a Oxygen tank nearby my bed. Something else was wrong so they didn't gave me painkillers - I've been lying in bed for 1 month, taking pills and suffering pain, each breath was a stab in the back. Had to sleep sat... I've lost 10Kg and half of my hair. I was so debilitated that the surgery was cancelled... Hopefully my body invested those 10kg in fixing the lung by itself. When I was sent home I was unable to climb stairs, too weak, I had to stay for other 2 weeks in bed...
    Ok, that was the worst! I felt like I was dying, and some of my mental mess came from that experience... perhaps I've already bored you with that story :^P

  4. Impressive collection of stories!!
    I don't have the same accident sort of comparison to share - I tend to get obscure minor medical conditions that don't cause me much problems, bur concern others like crazy.
    Like a tendency to pass out from the tiniest injury. (My stomach is a rock - I'm not squeamish. My body just decides that consciousness is not necessary to process the 'immense' pain from a bang on my elbow...)

    You figure you were foolish to go quick without a helmet. You realized that. Now you plan to wear a helmet. That sounds like the way things should go.
    Why does the government need to get involved by making it illegal for you to scooter without one?