Kidiot: Emma ends up in a bush #2

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Kidiot: Emma ends up in a bush #2 

A Preface:

Unfortunately, I’m out with a friend today, and because I had to travel back to Wales yesterday, I didn’t have time to write anything shiny and new. However, I’ve been meaning to post this little article here for a while now.

The following short piece was the first thing that I have ever had published (bar an interview about being emo that I did for Sugar magazine…yup). The article was published in 2015 in Oh Comely magazine, Issue no.24, p.119. The original title was ‘lost: pint-sized indiana jones’. Those of you who have been following this blog for a long time may remember my excitementOh Comely is a great independent magazine, full of thoughtful articles and beautiful images. You can find out more about it here. They stock Oh Comely in W.H. Smith and Waitrose in the UK, or you can by copies from their website. I highly recommend it if you fancy something that goes beyond celeb gossip and TV news.

The Story:

When I was five, I got lost in the wood. It was at a holiday camp; my mother was helping with crafts, my brother was playing football. I was bored, and the thick line of trees that edged the campsite called to me. As an excellent smooth talker, I made short work of convincing two others to join my expedition team.

“We’ll stick to the path,” I told them, “It won’t take long.”

The path was a dirt trail, sign-posted with a series of animal pictures. Eventually, the track disappeared, and we had to rely on the pictures to navigate. That’s when it happened. We couldn’t find the purple octopus and so were lost for good.

My team began to sob, but I was ecstatic. This was exactly what I had hoped for. In my head I was Indiana Jones, trekking through the undergrowth, holding back vines (stinging nettles) for a couple of second-rate explorers who couldn’t find the back of their own hand if it slapped them in the face. I remember the valley of brambles we passed through, the river we hopped across. I feel the surge of triumph that swelled in my chest as we emerged from the bushes unscathed.

The truth, my mum tells me, is that my expedition group was lost for twenty minutes in a patch of fenced woodland less that half a mile square. Still, when I’m nervous, I summon that memory and use it to find my sense of adventure once more.

An Epilogue:

So recently I’ve been thinking about this story again, and I’d like to make a couple of points.

Firstly, the “two others” who were with me were both older than me by a couple of years, yet somehow I not only convinced them to come with me, but got them lost, and then un-lost in the space of twenty minutes. Me, the five-year-old.

Secondly, the purple octopus part of this story is a very distinct memory. However, it makes no sense. The previous day we had, as a group, followed this trail of images and they were all woodland related animals. This means that either I hallucinated the purple octopus when we did our first walk, or I deliberately made it up because I was bored and wanted to get us lost so I could adventure.

I mean, basically, this could be a story about me lying to make myself look like a hero. Which makes me Gilderoy Lockhart.

I mean, to be honest, I’m fine with that. Dude’s fabulous.

 

gilderoy lockhart cosplay

Age 19: Cosplaying school age Gilderoy Lockhart outside the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (now known as Principality Stadium).

 

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Kidiot: Emma ends up in a bush #1

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Kidiot: Emma ends up in a bush #1

A quick preface:

Over the past week I’ve been jotting down blog ideas in a SNote on my phone. And uh, when I was flicking through them this morning I realised that 1) there are a lot of stories from my childhood…where I am idiot (kid+idiot=kidiot) and 2) many of these involve bushes, or hedgerows, which I’d like to say is a result of me growing up in Wales, but not all of them take place at home.

Oh, also, there is some mild injury related grossness in this one, so you have been warned.

Anyway:

I thought I would start with a tale from the summer of 2004. I was 11, set to start secondary school in September. But the summer had just begun, and I was excited to get out and play with friends.

Now, to set the scene a little bit, my parents house in Wales is part of a relatively modern housing estate built on a hill. It’s not a ridiculously big hill, but it is steep. Yet for some reason, my friends and I decided it was great fun to ride up, down and all around it on bikes and scooters. I was a particular fan of riding from the very top of the hill on my bike. I’d even give myself a run up before throwing myself down it. Momentum is a wonderful thing.

8e038377e3e03cfa2515b75efd20c0daHowever, on this particular day in 2004, I was on my micro-scooter (#90sKid). It was a tiny silver thing with blue wheels, an adjustable handle bar and a little metal thing on the back wheel that functioned as a break. My friends suggested we play “bike-scooter-tag” i.e. chase each other around trying to smack each other on small vehicles. Unfortunately, I was the only one on a scooter. I may as well have just thrown it to one side and run. But that wasn’t the game here.

I was “it” within minutes and remained “it” until one of the lads took pity on me and let me get him. At that point, I decided on a new plan. I would hide. And this is where things start to go horribly wrong.

There were parts of the estate I didn’t go very often, but just a few weeks earlier, someone – I think the parent of a friend in a different housing estate – had walked me home up a very narrow, sloped path tucked down the side of some houses. There was a nice tall fence on one side, and a thick hedge on the other.

A brilliant place to hide! I thought. They’ll never think to look there!

After a few minutes, I located the entrance, and started to scoot down the path. I knew that there were steps at the bottom, followed by a metal barrier, and fairly busy road, so I readied my foot to brake.

I grew a little concerned when I started to go faster. The path was steeper than I remembered, but I wasn’t too worried. I still had a way to go. Then the steps came into view, and I pressed down on my brake.

I slowed for a second, but the scooter didn’t stop. And then it started getting faster again. Too fast.

So there I was, with two options:

  1. Keep going, fly off the steps at the bottom, crash into the barrier and potentially flip and end up in the road.
  2. Throw myself off the scooter…and into the hedge.

I, of course, threw myself into the hedge.

My head ploughed into the foliage, my scooter fell to the floor and slid away. I took a couple of deep breaths, spat a few bits of tree out of my mouth and did an internal assessment of the damage.

I felt alright. I was a bit sore, but there was no real pain…except for my left leg. That kind of hurt.

When I opened my eyes, I discovered that it wasn’t just a hedge I was in. My lower body, had smacked into a chain link fence. There was no blood that I could see and I didn’t appear to be caught on anything, so I slowly pulled myself out and stepped away.

With great difficulty, I rolled up my trouser leg up (I have always been a fan of the skinnier jean), and I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit alarmed to find what looked like a second knee on my leg. Midway down my shin was a large round swelling, with a tiny scratch at its centre. I immediately assumed that I’d broken my leg, but was confused by the fact it could bear weight.

Fortunately, I had a mobile phone. It was a Sony, pre-Ericsson buy out and even pre-sony-cmd-j6-3SonyEricsson. It had a stubby little aerial and a black and white display, like a calculator. It also had a game on it where monkeys threw bananas at each other. Mum had convinced me it was better than a Gameboy, and right there and then, I was inclined to agree.

I phoned her, and explained what had happened. The rescue party (my mum and Alun) arrived quickly. They balanced me on the scooter and wheeled me to the car, then drove to the hospital.

After many hours, the swelling went down and the A and E doctor informed us that my leg wasn’t actually broken. We were all very confused about this…and I was slightly disappointed that I wouldn’t get to have a cast. But I could enjoy my summer, that was the important thing.

Cut to a couple of weeks later:

I was on holiday at a camp in Yorkshire. I woke up in the middle of the night because my leg was hot, really hot. I grabbed my torch from under my pillow, unzipped the sleeping bag a little, and dug myself in a bit. I didn’t want to wake anyone up, so wanted to block as much light as possible with my bedding.

I turned the light on and blinked. A lot. It took a while for my eyes to adjust. When they did, however, I discovered that my leg was VERY red and hot to touch. I sat there, having a prodding it for a bit. Then, as 11-year-olds do, I shrugged, turned off the light and thought, Eh, I’ll tell Mum in the morning.

The next morning, I walked over to Mum’s tent across the field. Not long after I found myself in Doncaster hospital where I was told the tiny scratch on my leg, that had been overlooked by the previous doctors, had resulted in an infection. It was simple enough to resolve (you know, if you overlook the fact I’m allergic to penicillin) and cleared up fairly quickly.

But, Emma, why are you telling us this? What’s the moral of this story?

~Thinks~

Oh, oh! The moral of this story is that sometimes, when you almost kill yourself by mistake, but instead throw yourself in a hedgerow, it means you don’t have to do the cross country run (to sort you into groups for PE) when you start secondary school, because your leg still hurts from the infection. That’s the moral. Yup.

Stay safe kidiots.

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The field school made everyone run round…while I watched 😉

 

 

Story Time: Moving Day

Moving Day, E.M. Harding
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Moving Day

Franco was a perfect male specimen. He was tall, but not too tall, had broad powerful shoulders, and sported a surprisingly elegant neck for a gent. Despite this, he didn’t make his sexual debut until the age of 8. His mother informed him that, back in the homeland, most men his age already had children. Franco just scoffed. It wasn’t his fault. The other chaps were always getting in the way, and he wasn’t very good at necking. Then Kanna arrived. She was sweet, and nice enough to slip behind the acacias, where no-one could see them. He wasn’t going to waste such an opportunity. The lady made his heart feel three-feet big.

“A creature of habit.” That’s what the help called him. But so what? So what if he enjoyed the little things in life; taking long walks, freshly prepared meals, and his newly scheduled romps before bath time? Franco was living the good life, and he knew it. Some of the others hated living behind fences, and being herded into their little wooden huts at night. His mother – who remembered the homeland well – strongly advocated the benefits of sleeping under the stars, but Franco liked the warmth of his hut and the soft floor. The bathroom facilities did leave something to be desired; he often had to spend a night with a room full of his own “offerings”, but they were always gone by the next evening. The help were very good that way. Honestly though, he could find no real reason to complain to the manager. He had warmth, he had food, and he had Kanna. What more could a man ask for?

Franco had 11 years of complete serenity, before the evening when everything changed. It began in the most bizarre of ways. A short, sharp pain in his bottom, that’s all. It wasn’t too bad. The pain dulled quite quickly, and for a while he felt fine. He continued to munch his supper. Gradually, however, everything started to get a bit blurry. Everything felt heavy too, even the air. Franco felt like his lungs were heaving in mud. It was rather disquieting, and he did in fact feel like he should be panicking. He just couldn’t. He wondered whether there was something wrong with the central heating, and went to call the manager. It was then he found that he had too many legs. There were too many legs, far too many. What kind of animal had four whole legs? Franco took a tumble and narrowly avoided bashing his skull against the wall. He tried to pick himself up off the floor, but found it was useless, and for some peculiar reason he didn’t really care. He let out a sigh of utter contentment and slipped into unconsciousness.

Waking up was not quite so fun. After all, he didn’t remember being blind before. And he was sure he used to be able to feel things. Didn’t he remember the pain of falling, of his knees buckling one after the other? For a moment he pondered whether or not he might be dead, then quickly came to his senses because you didn’t wake up dead, and he definitely remembered falling asleep. Besides, Kanna wanted to try behind the juicy looking sycamore next, and there was no way he was dying before he’d done that. He decided to try moving his legs about a bit. He heard something go bang, so it must have worked, but then why couldn’t he feel or see? Just breath, he told himself. Don’t panic!

He lay there for what felt like a month, but he couldn’t be sure. If he had been able to see a clock, he would have known it was only 30 minutes. The numbness began to wear off. A heavy weight eased away from his torso and Franco thrashed his legs around further. He could sense a presence in the room with him, several even, and it wasn’t very nice. Polite people announced themselves, introduced themselves. Even the help had names. No-one spoke to him now, and no-one tried to help him up.

There was something wrapped up in his legs too, some strange vine that burnt his skin when he wriggled. He tripped up onto his feet and his head nearly hit the floor with the effort. A vine around his neck choked him as it forced him up straight, and then all of the vines began to pull and tug and pinch, forcing him to move. There was yelling. Shouts of help speak, “This way!” “Watch yourself!” “Mind his head!” None of it was directed at him. They seemed to be shoving him into what he was sure should have been the wall of his home, but instead of slamming into wood, he stumbled up onto a cold echoing floor and something icy brushed against his side. He shuddered and his leg twitched out. Someone screeched. “Did he hit you?!” “No, I’m fine!” “Don’t scare me like that!” There was one final heave on the vines and Franco lurched forward. He jumped at the loud metallic bang that came from behind him.

It was all very odd, and very strange, but Franco still felt drowsy. He wanted to take another nap, but a sudden surge of motion put all thoughts of sleep out of his mind. He was standing still, but he could feel the wind rushing past his ears.

“Okay, what in the Savannah’s name is going on?” he coughed.

But no-one answered, because no-one spoke giraffe.

Moving Day, EM Harding