Bees and toes

First day in Barbados so of course I had to go to the beach. I love the beach at Port St Charles. Beautiful golden sand, a light breeze to keep you cool, the occasional turtle popping it’s head out of the sea plus there’s hardly ever anyone there so it’s really chilled and peaceful. I, however, judge a good beach day on two things: injuries sustained and levels of sunburn at the end of the day. Last year on the exact same beach, I was walking along the shore to get to my sun lounger when I stood on something sharp. It must have been a broken shell or something but it really hurt. When I took my next step the pain intensified so I realised the shell must have got stuck in my foot. I lifted up my foot to inspect the damage, only to discover a bee hanging out of it. Now I was not only in great pain, but also panicking because there was a dying bee lodged in my foot. I yelled to my mum who was walking a few steps ahead of me ‘THERE’S A BEE IN MY FOOT!’. She turned around just in time to see the body of the now dead bee drop to the floor and leave its sting imbedded in me. I was hopping around yelling for my mum to get the sting out, when her fight or flight instinct kicked in and for some reason, she decided the best course of action was to run away and attempt to drag a sun lounger over to the shore for me to lie on like a stretcher. With hind sight, I’m not entirely sure why I couldn’t have just sat down on the sand for her to get a better look, but in the heat of the moment the dragging of a heavy sun lounger seemed like to logical thing to do. She finally made it back and pulled the sting out but all the commotion had caused a couple of people to come over to offer help/advice. The main piece of advice being ‘don’t stand on a bee’.

It reminded me very much of an incident that occurred when I was around 12 years old and on a family holiday in the south of France. Every day we would go to the beach, my mum would have her 3 meter exclusion zone around her towel that neither me nor my brother were allowed to enter and my dad would be in charge of entertainment for the day. One of our favourite family games was our version of American Football. The aim of the game was to get the ball and score a point by putting the ball in the hole without being tacked but it was basically just the 3 of us thowing the ball to each other and then tackling whoever had the ball, very few points were ever scored. On this particular afternoon I had the ball and was making a run for the hole in the sand. Miraculously, I had managed to avoid being tackled and made a dive for the hole. Just as I victoriously scored the first point of the game (and probably the first point of the holiday), my dad bear hugged my legs and brought me down to the ground followed by my brother who leapt on both of us. I got a sudden pang of pain in my toe and started to cry/shout/cry a bit more. When they piled off, my dad was trying to see what was wrong. I was so caked in sand that he couldn’t see anything. Loads of the locals came running over with specialist jelly fish sting spray because they thought I’d been stung but as we washed the sand off it became apparent that my toe was pointing at a right angle. Not only was my toe broken and dislocated but it was broken and dislocated at lunchtime in France which meant that it would stay like that for another 4 or 5 hours before the doctors opened again. After some high tech surgery (the doctor taped my broken toe together with my big toe) I was sent on my way and had to spend the rest of the holiday with my foot in a plastic bag and wasn’t allowed back in the sea.

Today: no injuries and no sunburn. Today was a successful beach day.

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