If I thought my knee recovery was only going to take a week or so, then I appear to have seriously misled myself. I am now at one week and one day since the surgery and my knee is still quite swollen and (sometimes) painful. So frustrated was I about this, that I spent a hour googling miracle cures and when I did not find one, took a picture of my knee together with a impressive cluster of purple bruises that appeared on my thigh a couple of days after I had managed to twist my knee slightly while trying to sit down (yeah, go figure) and posted it on Twitter. Everyone knows that complaining about stuff on Twitter has miraculous healing properties, or at least that is what I assume, given the amount of griping that goes on there.
Today was going to make everything better though, it was the day I had decided to take my knee for a swim, now that the holes in my leg had healed sufficiently to ensure the blood would not attract sharks. I slapped a couple of waterproof dressings over the blood-stained steri-strips, which were all the surgeon had used to seal the punctures – and packed a beach bag.
Going to the beach is always a messy affair, because there is always so much damn sand, and the older you get, the more cracks the sand finds to invade. In addition, we had the two dogs and assorted gear – a 24 foot lunge lead to give Archie some freedom, but not enough so he could take off, and a boogie board that my husband had bought for Lucy, confident that her prowess as a swimmer would make her a natural surfer too. One thing I did not pack was plastic shopping bags. My husband had declared he had devised an excellent plan for ensuring Archie stayed with the team, which involved attaching his lead to sandbags. That kind of crazy scheme was not going to happen on my watch, no siree.
I had been a little worried on how well I would manage walking on sand – the distance from the carpark to the water was not huge – but then these things never do seem difficult when you are fit. I had run over a couple of scenarios in case walking was too painful, from moving on my stomach like a giant sea turtle, to rolling down on my side. Thankfully, the sand was quite firm underfoot and it was no more difficult that walking on grass.
We found a spot next to one side of a man-made harbour wall, which was built with giant rocks and unpacked towels and toys. The sea was not rough, but the low waves were coming in at a decent rate and there was a bit of a current, including a cross-current every now and then as they came around the wall. The last time my husband swam here, he forgot to take his glasses off, and emerged from beneath the water without them and unable to see. Fortunately, the water is very clear and he was not in too deep so I was able to find them before I had to spend the ready of my holiday with Mr Magoo.
Mr Magoo, as it happened had laid plans to foil my attempt to foil his engineering experiment. He pulled two plastic carrier bags from his pocket, filled them with sand and attached Archie’s lead to them. I have to admit he was right, that dog was going nowhere and it left me free to get in the water.
Archie is not keen on swimming, so after we got him wet to keep him cool (the temperature was around 40 degrees Celsius – over 100 in the old money) he busied himself digging a man cave in the damp sand under the rocks and stayed there for most of the morning, peering out from the gloom. It was too rough to try and get Lucy on the surfboard but she swam in to retrieve her water toy a good few times.
I was first in – I love to swim, it is just about the closest you can get to feeling weightless and I wanted to be able to move my leg and exercise my knee a bit without the added pressure of my considerable weight on it. I spent about half an hour in the water, bobbing about and covering the area Lucy was swimming towards to retrieve her toy. When we do this at the river, I only get to see her swimming out, but this time she was swimming towards me, with a look of concentration that was so intense, I felt like Kirk watching Spock make his mind up.
I was not able to swim properly at all, but did some serious bobbing about, trying to extend the movement in my leg without things getting too painful. My knee did tire quickly, but I feel it probably did some good, and I am a great believer in the healing properties of salt water.
As we were at the dog beach, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Our only companions were groups of small crabs that started to make their way across the sand and up the beach. Lucy spotted them immediately and moved towards them, only to find they disappeared in an instant as she approached, retreating into holes in the sand. She spent a fruitless hour trying to beat them at this – like whack a mole for dogs – but never got near them.
The only other people we saw during the morning were some very pleasant tourists from the USA, who had walked up the beach. We did not talk long, but we can now add ‘Americans’ to Archie’s death list – another reason we always have to keep him on the lead.
So a morning’s successful bobbing about was finished off with lunch at an open-air cafe where the dogs are allowed to sit at our feet and a water bowl is provided for them, followed by a return home to shower and find, inevitably, that although it looked as though there was sand left on the beach when we left, that simply can not have been the case, give the dunes that appeared in the well of the shower from our bodies after we washed.
More bobbing about beckons, I feel.