My parents like to organise holidays for our whole family however lately there have been some comments from my family directed at my family like, ‘But there’s no hospital in the area’, and, ‘But I don’t think the medical centre is open after hours’, and, ‘Do you still have medical insurance?’ It’s as if we’re all requiring regular dialysis. And we actually don’t have anything wrong with us and I wouldn’t say we’re accident prone it’s just we do seem to end up requiring medical assistance.
The first episode that no one seems willing to forget was when my parents decided to book two holiday houses at Blueys Beach on the NSW North Coast, about a three-hour drive from Sydney. It was to be a Christmas spectacular and everyone headed up a few days before however with Carl having work booked solidly, we were unable to leave before Christmas Eve. It was also the Christmas where Santa had decided to give both Archie and Arabella new bikes so the elves somehow had to get those up to the mid-north coast as well.
We arrived slightly haggard and once we’d unpacked we’d heard the plans for a Christmas Eve dinner were to have a low-key fish and chips on the beach. No harm in that for sure. We headed out and it was a beautiful evening and we picnicked on the sand with everyone seated behind a brown paper parcel containing their low-key meal.
After the dinner where we all relaxed and Carl and I were starting to unwind and enjoy the precious few days off work, we headed back to the house Carl and I were staying in. Carl thought he’d help out by taking all the beach towels outside to hang up on the clothes line. He walked out onto the deck and there was a timber staircase he had to walk down to get to the hills hoist. All 100kgs (220 pounds) of him were thundering down the stairs when we heard the most almighty roar of a scream and I saw the towels flying in every direction.
Carl came hobbling into the house with a trail of blood following behind him. It was difficult for us to decipher what was wrong with him as he was shaking and unable to speak. ‘What is it?’ I asked.
‘My foot’, he managed.
He fell into a chair and I picked up his bloodied foot and to be sure there was a chunk of wood that had gone through the middle part of his foot and pushed through to the other side. It was a problem.
Well we ran around getting towels to soak up the blood and elevated his foot and thought about what we might have in terms of a medical kit. But with the elves having to fit sparkling new bikes into the car we certainly didn’t have anything more sophisticated than a band-aid.
‘Would you like a whiskey?’ I asked. It wasn’t as silly as it sounds because there wasn’t much more I could offer him. The local doctors had now shut for the holidays, the pharmacy had closed at 5pm and the closest hospital was a couple of hours away. We set up a sick bay and washed down his sandy foot but that certainly didn’t take an edge off the pain and then when he’d finished his whiskey, two brother-in-laws held down his leg while I tried to wrench the log from his foot. Carl screamed.
The log splintered with half of it remaining firmly wedged in his foot and me holding the other piece. ‘Would you like another whiskey?’ I asked. There was a skerrick remaining at the bottom of an old bottle and Carl had that too and then in the spirit of the season we sang some Christmas carols then went to bed.
On Christmas morning after the elves had delivered the bikes, I turned to the Yellow Pages and tried to find a nearby doctor. After almost an hour of trying I was beginning to think this was going to be a fruitless task but then I did find one reluctant doctor who said he would examine his foot as long as we arrived before his turkey was ready to be carved.
We took off at high speed but managed to become lost along the way, missed our appointment by 40 minutes and turned up on his doorstep as the entire family was seated at the table placing their napkins on their laps. He sent a messenger to the door saying he was now closed however I picked up Carl’s leg and showed him the foot saying, ‘We’re desperate; this has to come out. He’s in incredible pain’.
And so the messenger went back to the doctor and we saw through the fly-screen that he folded his napkin, got up from the table and ushered us into the treatment room. ‘We’re so sorry’, I said, ‘But there was a chunk of wood that had lifted from the staircase; an enormous splinter of wood and Carl pushed it through his foot’.
The doctor took pity on poor Carl who despite his huge frame was looking very fragile and he filled up his syringes and injected a lot of anaesthetic into Carl’s foot then dug around and pulled out all the woody bits. A few sutures later and we were out of there with Carl walking on his heel.
And we arrived back in time for our own turkey that was just surfacing from the oven.
Whiskey can be medicinal but also very good for cooking. I made these whiskey balls pretty much from leftover ingredients in my fridge. If you don’t like whiskey you can substitute rum or even freshly squeezed orange juice but if you have a stake pushed from one side of your foot to the other, I’d go with the real thing.
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: I made these from provisions I had in my fridge/pantry but if you had to buy them, I’d say these would be very affordable given they make great hostess gifts.
- 1 cup fruit mince (I used my leftover Christmas fruit mince). Don’t have any fruit mince? Substitute with 1 cup of sultanas and the rind of 1 orange soaked in 1 tbspn whiskey for 1 hr. (No need to add the whiskey later on!)
- 1 cup coconut
- 1 packet Arrowroot biscuits (250g or 8.8 ounces) crushed (I pounded mine in a plastic bag with a rolling pin) or use any plain sweet biscuit
- 300g (10.58 ounces) melted chocolate (I melted mine in a bain-marie)
- 390g (13.75 ounces) can condensed milk
- 1 tbspn whiskey
- Ingredients to coat balls (I used shredded coconut and crushed walnuts)
In a large mixing bowl combine fruit mince, coconut and arrowroot biscuit crumbs. Mix until well combined. Add melted chocolate, condensed milk and whiskey.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture between your hands then roll in whatever you desire. I used crushed walnuts and coconut but cocoa can also be used as well as slivered almonds. Place on tray then allow to harden in fridge for at least an hour.
These are great hostess gifts, after-dinner snacks and something for your Christmas drinks (yes, I’m getting in early!)
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