“Einen guten Rutsch” is the traditional German way of wishing someone a good start to the new year. Literally, “Rutsch” means a slide or a fall – “Slide well into the new year”. I didn’t intend to take it literally, but on venturing out following the first snowfall of the year on Tuesday, whoops! Down I went and banged my face on the pavement just about 100 metres from my home.
The first emotion in such cases is always embarrassment, and I was glad that there were no witnesses to my humiliation, but then I saw big fat drops of blood falling in the snow and realised it was coming from me. I clamped a paper hanky over my left eye, which was feeling a bit sore, struggled to my feet and set off for home.
Serendipity, says my friend, is my middle name. I had wobbled about 10 metres down the road when a car passed me, stopped, turned round and came back. Two angels disguised as a young couple returning from their skiing weekend popped out, examined my “wound” (I had no idea how bad the cut was, but there was a lot of blood on my face!) and insisted on taking me to the nearest doctor. Closed. All doctors in the village were still on vacation. The young lady phoned the emergency number and was told they should take me to hospital to make sure I wasn’t concussed and get my cut treated.
Our nearest hospital is a twenty-minute drive away on the Autobahn, but this kind pair had instantly assumed responsibility for the doddering elderly invalid they had rescued, and off we went. I have experience of Accident and Emergency in England, where it can take hours to be seen. Here, I seemed to be the only patient in the hospital!
My rescuers waited while I was examined and the cut over my eye cleaned up and glued (some kind of super-glue, better than a suture). No, I wasn’t concussed and could go. While I was being treated, the young man tried to wash some of the blood off my jacket – a small thing, but so considerate and kind. Then they brought me back home, right to my door, and went their way. The whole incident took just over an hour and a half.
I had the presence of mind to ask their names and where they lived, so that I could get back to them. Their house is only about another 100 metres further down the road where I had fallen, so today I took them a thank you gift in the form of a Three Kings Cake and some handmade chocolates from a local Confiserie. I do hope they will enjoy those and that they realise just how appreciative I am of their kindness.
The cut over my eye is insignificant, but the whole of my eye socket has now turned a wonderful shade of purple. As this is Carnival season, I am very tempted to cover the right eye in matching eye shadow and dress myself up in some kind of exotic costume. Or maybe not – it’s probably time I learnt to act my age, and I don’t think I have the stamina required for celebrating Carnival any more.
Happy New Year!