It was my first day back at work after two weeks today, and a rude awakening for both my head and my knee.

The drive back to the city had been blissfully uneventful. There was a slightly higher than usual number of native wildlife corpses on the side of the road – either caused by them fleeing another bushfire that had gone through while we were away, or the fact that it was relatively early and whoever comes through and picks them up had not done so yet. I am not sure exactly who does this in WA, but fortunately for the young joey and mum that bounced across in front of my car, they were far enough ahead of me to make it safely.

When I first came to Australia, I noticed that nobody seemed to crash their cars. They rolled them instead. Generally the conversation would go:

Bloke A ‘What happened to your car, mate?’

Bloke B ‘Rolled it. Last Thursday.’

Bloke A’Too bad, mate’

Bloke B ‘Yep. She’s a write-off.’

I remember being astounded at this. I had never heard of drivers rolling their cars, and it seemed like a relatively benign way to have an accident. I heard this conversation, or a version of it, dozens of times in Australia – to the point where it almost seemed like a national sport – but never in the UK. Although to be fair, since I have been living here I have never hear of a lorry jack-knifing or shedding its load, which is how people like to clog up arterial roads in England. During rush hour.

Since those early days, though, the fashion sadly seems to have returned to crashing, Western Australia still has gravel roads, but many of them have been tarmacked since I got here first and maybe now it is slightly more difficult to flip a vehicle and possibly easier to skid faster in a straight line until the car impacts against something stationary. Today, I came crashing back into reality.

To start, my head woke me up at 4.00 am. The alarm was set for six, but that was way too late, apparently, even though I successfully protested by staying in bed till ten minutes before my alarm went off. My knee, which I have been able to pretty much keep rested and elevated, except for the occasional sortee, was taken around the dog park as I walked the dogs for the first time in ages. I tried to go slowly, but Archie, who can not be trusted off lead, seemed determined to drag me up as many slopes and through as many rose bushes as he could, while he was not engaged in barking furiously at pedestrians. He really has settled right back into city life without missing a beat.

Having been walked by my husband for two weeks, their routine has been totally flung out, as he prefers to walk them when it is convenient for him to do so, not first thing in the morning and early evening. Their 6am /6pm walk cycle (which they think is about meeting other dogs and sniffing stuff, but is actually so they can go to the toilet in the park and not in the house) has been thrown into complete confusion and replaced with an 8am – 11 am slot and a dash around the block in the dark around 9 pm. This means that before I left for work, I took the precaution of spreading newspaper on the floor, anticpating a scene reminiscent of The Battle of the Somme when I got home.

Almost as soon as I pulled up in the office carpark, my knee started complaining. It really did not want to be at work at all, and it remained that way for most of the day until I remembered to take painkillers and a colleague lent me an icepack. The dogs need walking one more time tonight and I had planned to go to the shops – but will have to see how much it is playing up later.

Going back to work just plain hurts today.





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