Our Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Naxos Greece. It’s 2am and I can’t sleep. I have ear squeeze, it’s painful and it’s keeping me awake.  James is a sleep with eight stitches in his head and wearing a really ridiculous bandage on his head, his new fancy (expensive) flashlight is on the sea floor a few meters from the boat. It has not been a good day on the SV Ondine.

Have you ever read the book  “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?”  I loved it as child and read it over and over.  ( in Australia he is going to move to Timbuktu, not Australia) There is something very entertaining about misfortune. As they say “Comedy is tragedy plus time.” ( there is some disgreement on online about who said it, I thought it was Woody Allen but some sites say Carol Burnett )

On Fridays I usually post a picture of one memorable moment from the week. I was going to post this picture of Paloma and a goose.

But I ended up posting this instead.

Let’s face it I will probably forget the cheeky goose at the taverna in Lipsos, but I’m never going to forget James on the salon floor with blood pouring down his face.

We left lipsos at dawn for the twelve hourish sail to Naxos, we were a few hours in when James leaped up from the salon table and bounded straight into the doorframe with his head. He tells everyone who comes onto the boat not to wear a hat inside because it makes it impossible to judge the height of the entranceway between the salon and the cockpit and you will thwack your head on it. His love for his new favorite hat (It says Ondine, Aegean tour, 2011 and was a gift from Dave Rose) made him forget his own good advice. When he felt the engine shake he was up like a shot, hat and all, then he was on the floor with his forehead split open (He really loves the hat the first thing he asked me to do when we got the bleeding to stop was to try and get the blood out of it)  There was a lot of blood but I made James sit up and apply a lot of pressure to his head, while I fumbled around getting out the Marine 3000 medical kit. Luckily the bleeding stopped pretty quickly and his pupils looked okay. (I remembered one bigger than the other very bad)  I pulled out the handy dandy “A comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine” and was somewhat reassured by the fact it said that if you don’t lose consciousness that it’s rarely serious, then it suggested tying the wound closed with the victims own hair, not something I was ready to face yet, so we put a towel on James head along with some frozen spinach. We decided to continue on to Naxos.  James lay on the cockpit floor captaining, because of course during the drama the wind had shifted and now we needed to pay some serious attention to sailing, ah yes all this drama and sailing too. Finally James had to get up with the blood stained towel and spinach and plot a new course. Meanwhile the rest of the crew was getting seasick and vomiting off the back of the boat.  Once that James was happy with our new course and  the rest of us had dosed ourselves with Dramamine, James made a few comments about “feeling like shit and being really tired ” and” maybe it was because we got up so early”, I made a few useful comments like “ Well I’m sure it has nothing to do with gapping hole in your head.”  Then I had him lie down, he was apprehensive but I reassured him that the book said it would be fine as long a I woke him every couple of hours and ask him stupid questions like “what’s your name?”  I then sat on watch trying to work out what the! @* # I would do if I couldn’t wake him up and kicking myself that after all this time I don’t know more about sailing the stupid boat. (Of course you could look at it the other way and say how amazing it is that someone who has as little interest in sailing as me knows as much as I do)  I worked out the thing I was most worried about was getting the sail down with out James, the rest I thought we could handle.  I was more than relieved when we got close to Naxos that James still knew his name, even if it did take a few heart stopping tries to rouse him.  I had the kids and I do a dry run of “taking the sail down if daddy is unconscious.” It was not elegant precision in motion but if we had to, I think we could get it done.  We anchored in the first anchorage we could, on a remote beach. (I’ve seen people herding flocks of sheep.)

James found a terverna owner willing to drive him to the hospital. I stayed with the kids and made frittata out of  “ The spinach Daddy defrosted with the hole in his head” as Ronan so eloquently put it.

James returned from his Greek hospital adventure triumphant (Stitches at a Greek hospital 5 euro, lift to the hospital on the other side on the island 150 euro, no open wound on your forehead, priceless.) Unfortunately on the way to pick him up, James’ new fancy smancy flashlight got dropped into the water.  It’s a diving light, so it was still on illuminating the sea and tauntingly signaling where it was and that it wasn’t that far down.  James couldn’t dive for it because of the aforementioned hole in the head. I am a hopeless diver but I put on a snorkel and flippers, grabbed the fishing net and swam out to get it. I nearly did too, but on my third try I came up with an excrutiating pain in my ear.  Paloma then tried to give  it a go, she came close too,  but then she accidentally flipped the switch with the net. The sea went dark and the flashlight remains on the sea floor.

Not our finest day on Ondine but a memorable one.

And now Elvis Costello

UPDATE: Paloma got the flashlight and it still works! I got the blood out of the hat.  I’m thinking of of marketing a stain remover called “Alacrity”


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