A few years ago when Archie was nearly 16 we had a holiday staying with some friends on their country property. I thought it would be a lovely relaxing break where the teenagers could enjoy doing nothing except lying around the pool, sitting and talking or reading a good book.
But in the shed at this property there were motorbikes and from the moment we arrived Archie had just one thing on his mind. So he spent all of his time revving up and down all over the property on the dirt bikes and I kept saying, ‘Archie, riding motorbikes is dangerous. Why don’t you park that bike back in the shed and go and jump in the pool?’ I think he only swam in the pool when the bike ran out of petrol.
And it worried me because Archie doesn’t do things in moderation and he always takes risks.
On the last day of our holiday Archie disappeared for yet another ride. I could hear the motorbike in the distance and suddenly all was quiet.
A few minutes later Archie came in through the front door limping and covered in blood. He had been riding one of the dirt bikes on the road which is illegal because he was only 15 and therefore wasn’t even eligible for a licence and all was going fine until he saw a police car drive down the street so in order to avoid a hefty fine he made a hard turn off the road onto gravel that sent the bike into a skid, the front wheel ran into a ditch causing it to come to an abrupt halt and Archie went over the handlebars and used his hands as brakes.
‘I told you, Archie’, I said, ‘I don’t know why you couldn’t just lie around the pool’.
‘Mum, everything’s fine. I’m okay, I just can’t move my wrists’. And that was certainly a problem given Archie had to be on rowing camp in three days time.
‘What about rowing camp? How will you be able to pull on the oars?’
‘Look mum, don’t worry. Three days is three days. It will be all good by then’.
But it wasn’t all good.
Three days later I dropped Archie off at his week-long rowing camp and forty-eight hours later I was asked to come and collect him. The tendons and ligaments in his wrists were so strained they had swollen and he needed urgent medical treatment. ‘I told you Archie’, I said when I picked him up, ‘I don’t know why you couldn’t leave that [adjective] bike alone’.
For the next two years Archie had on-going treatment to repair his wrists. He continued to row but had to endure extremely painful cortisone injections into the ligaments in his wrists at the beginning of each season. And these weren’t nice. A thick solution was injected through a wide-bore needle into the wrist and down into the ligament. When these appointments were scheduled I would drive out to the school to be with him. It was on the tip of my tongue to say, ‘I told you, Archie’ but instead, seeing him sitting there pale and ashen at what he knew lay ahead I said, ‘It’s going to be all right, Archie’.
After these awful needles, the doctor used to let me take Archie out of school for a few hours. I’d take him somewhere pleasant where we would sit and enjoy a a drink and a few nice snacks. Something like these spicy nuts.
Chilli Cashews and Walnuts
Degree of Difficulty: 1/5
Cost: I bought Californian walnuts (expensive) and cashews are even more expensive so not cheap but tasty!
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted roasted cashews
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 tbspns mild sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tbspn soy sauce (use G-F soy sauce to make this a gluten-free appetiser)