Saturday, 3 November 2012

Occupational hazard?

I love mountain biking, even more so since we moved to this area. But it is not without its dangers. I am not talking about the physical challenges and risk of falling off and hurting yourself, which is a given. No, I am talking about risks and dangers that are outside of your control. I am talking about dogs that are not secured. We have frequently encountered loose farm dogs on our rides, not just here but also when we lived in the Ariege, usually working border collies that are often quite frankly nutters. So far, we have managed to avoid a full-on physical attack from one of these dogs, mainly thanks to Andy's swift right foot, but that all changed yesterday when I was attacked from behind. I had no chance to think let alone to unclip and take a swipe at the bugger with my foot. It managed to sink its teeth quite deeply into my right calf. It hurt. Andy was behind me, jumped off his bike and gave the dog some of the same treatment with his fists and feet, which was not appreciated by the old lady whose dog it was. All she could say that it was not 'méchant' (aggressive). Yeah, so that's why it took a chunk out of my calf, was it?!! Jeez! I should say that we were on a public lane at the time. I rolled up my leggings and viewed the damage. It wasn't good. Fortunately the medical centre was only a kilometer away, although only a secretary was around. Fortunately the unexpected but well-timed arrival of one of the doctors saved us a trip into A&E in town. He seemed quite surprised at the damage with the biggest hole being more than 1 cm deep, allowing sub-cutaneous fatty deposits to come from the surface.
Thankfully he did a good job of cleaning up the wounds (Andy was engrossed!) and of stitching the holes
A trip to the pharmacie to pick up high potency antibiotics to try and ward off any possible infection, some good painkillers and a trip to the nurse for tetanus shots before I could head home to a leg-raised position on the settee. I am under strict orders to keep my leg raised and to keep off my feet as much as possible to ensure it heals as quickly as possible. I will have to do as I am told if I am to be back on my bike within the next few weeks. In the meantime, a visit to the gendarmerie is on the cards today where I will be lodging an official complaint. I don't know what action (if any) will be taken. We'll see.

In other news, I have good news. Andy has done a fantastic job on the woodburning c/h system. The job was pretty high stress at times and not without its problems, but he was able to solve all of the issues and it is now all up and running beautifully. It is wonderful to have heat right through the house and to be burning wood again.
One last bit of news, this time more about the amazing birdlife that we have down here. We spotted three great egrets last week which will be en route to warmer climates. No photos unfortunately, but they are very elegant, pure white and bigger than a heron. A lovely sight. More excitingly, we spotted a male hen harrier hunting in a field on one of our local walks the other day too. I have never seen a hen harrier, let alone a male one with its distinctive pure white body, pale grey head and black ends to its wings. It was the most beautiful sight.

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