16 April 2019

skidding in broadside

Our hands contain bones almost perfectly like-for-like with the bones in the flat paddle of a dolphin’s fin, and with a horse’s front legs, and a bat’s wings.

No. This is not about evolution because we - humans - did not evolve from dolphins or horses or bats. If anything, we all evolve out of the same mushy green swamp after the stardust had crashed and created the planet. Or something like that.

My hands, the odd fingers bent this way and that by polyarthritis, ache and on - what I still call - bad days, my wrists are stiff and hot. I search for images of dolphin's fins and try to be amazed.
And reassured. Many years ago, holding myself carefully still at the side of a traditional rig sailing ship (whatever possessed me to go aboard?), seasick as never before, I watched my six year old and her father out there in the Indian Ocean swim with dolphins while the evening sun was setting at the horizon.

Anyway, I am getting used to it. Also, we changed the handlebars of my bicycle and invested in a gel-padded cycling gloves. This is exciting news to someone like me whose mode of getting from A to B has always been cycling. In fact, these gloves are almost one step too far as I am certainly not a fitness colourful lycra with snazzy helmet cyclist.

My grandmother cycled all her life, to the baker, the butcher, to church, she cycled to deliver her apples and home made jams to friends and family in town. After she had turned 80, rumour was that the police stopped the traffic on market day when she cycled to buy potatoes and onions and carrots. I am that kind of cyclist. I don't wear a helmet.

All I need now is to recover from a trifling chest infection that has sneaked up on me. Which has me flat out and wobbly. And of course I am already fretting about my job and what if this is getting worse (we are on day 3!). I have a sick cert until Easter Monday, after which, if I haven't improved, I'll go back to my lovely GP and we'll take from there. I have no idea why I am in such a heap about it.

In the words of the great Hunter S Thompson:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow!What a Ride!"


  1. I love that Hunter Thompson quote. I'm doing my damnedest. I also have arthritis in my hands, mostly my thumb joints but some in the other knuckles as well. 40+ years of cutting stencils. used to be there was not a jar lid or cap made that I couldn't get off. those days are gone and everytime I struggle with one I wonder what the hell are these manufacturers thinking? do they want the old folks to starve?

  2. I'm glad you've found a way to continue on with your cycling. And I love the quote as well:)

  3. I love that you push back against all your medical problems to continue to cycle everywhere. A padded seat too, I hope? Fingers crossed for good news from the doc next week. Meanwhile keep skidding!

  4. Take good care of yourself Sabine. I love to picture your Grandma getting around on her bicycle in her 80's. Thats fabulous.

  5. I'm just starting to have arthritis in my wrist and thumb. Oh wow does that f**king hurt. I've had it for years in my spine, but my thumb and wrist? Ow ow ow. I am so glad you have cool gloves so you can keep riding. Your grandmother is the perfect role model.

  6. Great quote. I hope you are soon feeling better. And thanks for that image of Grandma. Big Love!

  7. I swear- every time one of my old-age related pains crops up badly I think of you and how you handle it all out of necessity and with grace. "Sabine has it worse," I think. This sort of thinking does not usually work for me but with you as inspiration, I do feel a bit more able to cope. Or inclined to, at least. So thank you for that.
    Now. May you feel better soon.
    And here's to your grandmother!

  8. Oh, I love that Thompson quote!

  9. I'm glad you got some new cycling equipment to accommodate your hands! I hope it makes a big difference. Please take care of that chest infection!

  10. The fact that you cycle everywhere is impressive to me. It is the sign to me that your disease is not queen, you and your bicycle are queen! I am sorry I stopped cycling, and now i cant do it very well anymore. You inspire me, gel gloves and ergonomic handlebars and all.