On Boxing Day, my poor spouse seemed as if she’d been in a boxing match. She was a mass of bruises and had damaged her wrist.
Truly, it’s not fairly true to say that she had damaged her wrist. I’m ashamed to inform you that I broke it for her. Not on goal, in fact.
Michèle and I’ve been collectively now for 52 years. Naturally, we now have had our ups and downs, and tempers can get frayed at Christmas, however we now have by no means come to blows. It was an accident.
Coming residence from the outlets on the Sunday earlier than Christmas, every of us carrying baggage filled with festive provides (extra cheese, extra chocs, extra sprouts, extra wine), we took a shortcut down a facet road.
Gyles Brandreth (pictured with spouse Michele Brown) mentioned: ‘Michèle and I’ve been collectively now for 52 years. Naturally, we now have had our ups and downs, and tempers can get frayed at Christmas, however we now have by no means come to blows. It was an accident’
The pavement was slim and Michèle was main the way in which. The place she goes, I comply with — however I don’t at all times look the place I’m going. I used to be gazing up on the sky when the accident occurred.
As I began to say, ‘It seems to be like rain’, I tripped on the basis of a tree that was protruding of the pavement and stumbled ahead, skidding on a clump of damp leaves and tumbling on high of my darling spouse.
Michèle is 5ft 3in, slim and match. I’m 5ft 10in and 12 ½ stone. I knocked her flat on her face on the bottom. We landed slap-bang on the pavement facet by facet, in agony, procuring strewn throughout us.
I yelped. My spouse whimpered. For a number of minutes, we couldn’t transfer.
A younger couple got here across the nook and noticed us splayed out on the pavement. ‘Can we assist?’ they known as, from the center of the street.
Michèle raised an arm to wave them away. She may be very English — she hates to make a fuss.
‘The perfect information is that they gave her a particular festive solid: midnight-blue and lined in reindeer and Santas,’ Gyles mentioned
‘We’ve acquired masks,’ mentioned the younger individuals helpfully. ‘We’re wonderful,’ croaked Michèle. However we weren’t.
I used to be shocked and winded, with grazed knees and shins, whereas Michèle was in actual ache, with bloodied legs and arms and a throbbing, swelling left wrist that introduced tears to her eyes each time she tried to maneuver it.
Ultimately, nonetheless dazed and dizzy, we managed to get to our toes. I retrieved our procuring (amazingly, the wine bottles had been unbroken) and we stumbled residence, the place I started to really feel higher and Michèle started to really feel worse.
Nowadays, in a medical emergency, you don’t name the GP, you go surfing, the place the NHS recommendation was clear: with a suspected damaged bone, get to A&E.
We did simply that — and the excellent news is that, Covid-19 however, the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital did my spouse proud. On the Sunday, she was examined and X-rayed. On the Monday she was again to have her wrist and arm put in plaster.
The perfect information is that they gave her a particular festive solid: midnight-blue and lined in reindeer and Santas.
The dangerous information is that when she acquired residence, she realised I’m all she’s acquired. As a result of we’re in Tier 4, we are able to’t flip to our youngsters for assist. It’s simply the pair of us right here and, let’s face it, in an emergency like this I’ve not acquired so much to supply.
Michèle has to spend six weeks in plaster, and it’s alarming how little you are able to do if you’re all of the sudden one-handed. You may’t even open your individual Christmas presents.
Gyles mentioned: ‘I’ve been managing the chores however I’ve struggled with the Christmas cooking. As a rule, I’ve two signature dishes: beans on toast and fish finger sandwiches
My regular contribution to the happiness of our family is to fill the dishwasher, guard the TV distant, and supply what I like to consider as a witty commentary on our topsy-turvy life and occasions.
‘No extra quips, please,’ bleats Michèle from the couch. ‘You’ve finished sufficient harm for one Christmas. Are you able to modify my sling after which get me some espresso?’
That’s the issue. I can do a satisfactory impression of Noël Coward — however what my convalescing spouse wants is Florence Nightingale, Mary Berry and Mrs Hinch all rolled into one. Whereas I’m Michael Crawford in Some Moms Do ’Ave ’Em: well-meaning however essentially ineffective.
I’ve been managing the chores however I’ve struggled with the Christmas cooking. As a rule, I’ve two signature dishes: beans on toast and fish finger sandwiches.
Fortunately, Michèle likes them each however she additionally likes selection, and, as she will’t resist reminding me: ‘You had been the one who knocked me over.’ I do know, and I’m making an attempt to make up for it.
I did my finest for Christmas Day. Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, and salmon en croute and all of the trimmings for lunch. (I do know that’s two plenty of salmon in a row, however we don’t eat meat and I discovered the en croute thingy within the freezer and there have been clear directions on the facet of the field.)
I used the steamer for the sprouts and carrots, threw in some frozen peas and did baked potatoes within the microwave.
For pudding, I served Magnum choc ices. Christmas pud is overrated and invalids like ice cream, don’t they?
I somewhat ran out of concepts by supper-time, so I did two rounds of cheese and pickle sandwiches, lower up into small squares.
Each meal is a little bit of a palaver as a result of Michèle can’t use a knife and fork. Every little thing she eats must be lower into little items first. Happily, I do have loads of Christmas bubbles within the fridge and within the night, after a glass or two, my long-suffering spouse appeared virtually able to forgive me.
Fortunately, too, she hasn’t but consigned me to the spare bed room. ‘I might have you within the evening,’ she says — although not fairly in the way in which she used to.
We’re nonetheless sharing a mattress, however understandably she requires two-thirds of it as a result of she has to have a pillow on her left-hand facet in order that her arm is raised when she is sleeping.
I’m not sleeping a lot as I cling to my facet of the mattress. I don’t dare. When she turns over, I run the chance of getting walloped — and it’s a reasonably hefty solid, I can inform you.
Poor Michèle! I’ve been a catastrophe in so some ways. We met at Oxford College in 1968. That summer season, I took her out on the river on a punt — and promptly fell in.
On the day we acquired married in 1973, I dropped the marriage ring as we had been exchanging our vows and watched it disappear into the grating within the ground on the register workplace.
On the day our eldest was born in 1975, Michèle needed to drive herself to the hospital as a result of, though I’d had 35 classes, I hadn’t but handed my driving take a look at.
I handed a unique take a look at this Christmas: I managed to repair an equipment known as a Limbo onto my spouse’s left arm. It’s like a big icing piping bag, closed at one finish and with a rubber ring fastener on the different. You put on it to maintain your solid dry when having a shower.
I’m proud to say that I eased my beloved into the bathtub with out mishap and even managed to assist her wash her hair. There have been a couple of squawks alongside the way in which: ‘Too scorching! The conditioner goes on second, you fool! ’ However all in all, it was a profitable operation.
Then got here the true problem: getting her out of the tub.
It was slippery, she was sliding; I wasn’t sturdy sufficient to elevate her. Ultimately, after we had let loose all of the water and dried the bathtub with towels, she managed to yank herself out unaided.
She sat on the facet of the tub and laughed till the tears ran down her face.
‘And we thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse!’ she mentioned.
‘Convey on 2021.’