Susan Morrison: Coming a cropper like Anna Pavlova is no mean feet

Anna Pavlova
Anna Pavlova
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It is said that during the legendary ballet dancer Anna Pavlova’s final performance, her feet, wrecked from years of en pointe, gushed blood over the stage. Nothing would stop Madame from dancing one last time.

Sister, I feel your pain. Last week, in Newcastle, I shopped like a demon, despite the agony of a savagely twisted ankle. You bet.

Amongst other things, I took to the stage in high heels (not very high, in case anyone from the Western General is reading this) and ran for the train.

And then I wondered if my ankle really should be hurting that badly, almost ten days after nearly coming a cropper outside the National Museum.

So finally I gave in and called NHS 24. A cheerful nurse called me back and inquired gently if I often fell over, and thought she’d just check, “given my age indicators”.

What on earth are “age indicators”? Does the plastic lampshade in the next room melt when you light all the candles on your birthday cake? That’s what the NHS would call, I guess, an “age indicator” registering “middle to high”.

No, I said, it’s a new hobby. I’ve seen so many young women falling over in Lothian Road after 11.30 at night, I thought I’d give it a go. It turned out not to be as much fun as I expected.

She handed me on to the doctors surgery, who said you’d best come in, then.

They sent me to the Western General, to the Minor Injuries Clinic. But I’m not a miner, I said, laughing uproariously. I was the only one laughing.

X-ray time, and you’ll never guess – broken, by jings. A tiny wee bone at the very bottom of a big long bone in my leg sheered right off.

She looked at the X-ray and looked at me and said this must hurt. Oh it does, I said. What have you done with it, she said. Um, hobbled about, went out for drinks with pals, went down to Newcastle and worked all weekend and went shopping. The retail experience in Newcastle is fabulous. And if I don’t go shopping, Tyne and Wear in its entirety could be looking at a quadruple-dip recession, and I couldn’t live with that. I didn’t mention the heels.

No, she sighed, I meant, did you take painkillers?

Does Chardonnay count?

It doesn’t, turns out. So, my ballet days are over and I currently walk a little like a 
penguin.

Hi-tech switch isn’t the greatest remedy

Now, for years, one of the great pleasures of my thankfully rare visits to the doctor’s surgery has been bantering away with the reception staff, some of whom I’ve known since I was pregnant with my daughter, whose age indicators are presently set about early 20s.

Well, things have changed. They’ve gone all techno now with a doodah on the door that you input things like that peskily high age indicator and in you go. Banter free.

It’s all very hi-tech and efficient, but I’ll miss watching that laser glare over their glasses at certain folks – is there a training school for that?

Nor can I forget kindness of the receptionist who, over two decades ago, quietly arranged to move a young mum with a screaming baby up the queue because she knew that sleep-deprived mother was at her wits’ end.

My computer upgrade has left me in a Brad mood

Somewhere in a valley in California I bet there lives an incredibly clever young man, probably called Brad or Jaden or Cury – it’s short for Mercury, ancient Greek messenger to the gods. His mother was a bit of a hippy.

He skateboards to his beautiful open-plan office where his company creates software for the big giants like Microsoft. Brad, Jaden or Cury doesn’t have anything as mundane as a job title, heavens no. He is a codemeister, imagineer or digital visualiser.

At approximately 6.26 last Sunday evening, Brad, Jaden or Cury reached across a continent and an ocean to pour digital glue into the workings of my little computer.

An upgrade probably designed by one of these keyboard boy wizards downloaded itself down into my wee computer. We never asked for it, we didn’t want it and we still can’t figure out what it’s meant to do.

What it did do was Mickey Finn my computer into a coma.

The man in the computer hospital nodded sadly. There’s a lot of it about, he said. Microsoft thinks you need this, so you get this.

I’ve changed the setting since to stop them doing that sort of thing, which sounds just a tad rude to me.

The good news is that he fixed it. The bad news is my phone bill as I tried to personally hunt down Brad, Jaden or Cury to haul him off that bloody skateboard and whack his bahookie with it.