Blood is running down my face. Dripping off my nose and chin onto my chest. A sodden, horizontal red stripe is forming on my shirt. This was a Yorkshire Horror Story.
Friends lead me over to a quiet corner of the pub to sit down. I’m not in pain. Just confused. There’s a lot of blood.
I’m not sure what happened.
The pub manager says he’s called an ambulance. ‘Where the hell is the ambulance coming from?’ I think. We’re in the middle of nowhere.
I was a drunk earlier. Now I’m sober. Hyper-aware. The pub is quiet. The main lights are shining brightly in my face.
There’s a gash between my eyebrows. Sue hasn’t sobered as much as I have. She leans in to reassure me. ‘Pete it’s a really small cut, you can hardly see it’. Then, in the next breath, turns to speak to our friends behind her ‘it’s fucking massive!’ I hear it all.
There’s a lot of blood. It must be a pretty big cut.
The world’s oldest, most unsteady, ambulancemen arrive. What is the retirement age these days? They’re directed to the back of the pub to where I’m sitting.
One applies a temporary dressing the size of sanitary towel. The other speaks on his radio.
They ask if I can stand. Yes I say, no problem with my legs. But they insist on holding me by both of my arms. I guess they think I might pass out.
The one on my right looks anxiously across when he grabs my arm. ‘It’s ok’ I say. ‘The arm was already like that’.
My right arm is paralysed from an accident years ago. The poor man must have thought I’d suffered very serious injuries this evening.
The whole pub watches as I’m led out of the front door by two short old men in uniform. If I had actually passed out I think all three of us would be on the ground.
A Yorkshire Horror Story – Grassington
We are in Grassington. A small, picturesque market town in the Yorkshire Dales. Far from the dangers of inner city Manchester where we lived.
We’ve hired a cottage for a week for bracing winter walks in the hills and festive boozing.
It’s New Year’s Eve. Sue and I were at the bar buying drinks. We heard a commotion behind us. As we turned to look we were hit by airborne broken glass.
Two men from the area had got into a brawl.
Sue was hit on the back of the head. The glass tumbled harmlessly down her long hair. I was hit in the face. The glass sliced open the skin above the bridge in my nose. My injury could have been considerably worse.
The ambulance men walked me along Grassington’s narrow Main Street to the local doctor’s surgery, just 50 meters away.
The GP had been called away from his dinner party to treat me.
He arrived wearing a dinner suit. Understandably grumpy. This didn’t look good. I’d need stitches. He might not use an anaesthetic if he thought I was the instigator of the fracas tonight.
As I climbed onto the treatment bed he made unenthusiastic small talk. ‘What do you do for a job?’ This was my chance. I’d show him I was an erudite, culturally sophisticated gent. Not a city thug.. ‘International cultural relations … the British Council… yes I do get to travel. The Middle East mostly…I managed scholarship programs.. yes, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.’ On and on I droned. Maybe I wasn’t as sober as I thought.
Five stitches later we were done. I charmed the doctor into using an anaesthetic. When I bade him farewell we were buddies. He returned to his dinner party.
A Yorkshire Horror Story – Epilogue
Back at our rented cottage, I was treated like a soldier returning from the trenches. Cushions were plumped. Tumblers of Whisky were drunk. The serious business of welcoming the new year resumed. Without further injury.
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