Sunday, 4 April 2010


Well, what a long time a week can be. Last Friday it was that I woke up and found my right leg unable to support my weight. Getting up the stairs required huge effort. In 72 hours I was flying to Malawi. Not a good time to lose mobility. Things went down hill during the day. For the first time people at work started saying are you alright, you’re limping? By Saturday the dull, nagging numbness that consumed my right leg had started to move to the left. Things got so bad I was forced to go out and buy a walking stick. Things improved a bit and I managed the last show on Saturday night and crossed my fingers for the next day.

Sunday was a marginal improvement again. Enough to encourage me that I could manage to get to Malawi. I could see in Fi’s eyes that she thought I was deranged for even trying it but I’d already packed and now I had a stick anything was possible. We got to the airport. While I lent on the check-in desk the kids took it in turns to limp up and down the airport with my stick. You could see the other passengers looking at us with sympathy...a whole family of limping English people for god’s sake. ..

And then all too soon I was on my own boarding a plane bound for Nairobi. Me, hand luggage and the stick. During the flight I found that my right leg was gaining in feeling but crossing my left leg could only be achieved by manually lifting it over the right. I dozed fitfully for the 8 hour duration. I was no better at Nairobi but the luggage was transferred automatically for the Lilongwe flight so I just had to limp and lean with the hand luggage. The four hours to Lilongwe (the second quietest airport in the world) via Harare was entirely slept. Which left me with a four hour wait for the final flight to Blantyre (the quietest airport in the world). I sat with my leg up and sipped a beer or was it two, could have been three, until I was called to board the Malawi Air flight. I made my way towards the boarding gate. Suddenly from behind me came a commotion.... Sir! Sir! Sir! Please wait... the bar man caught up with me just in, you forgot this...and he handed me my stick. Malawi was going to be just fine.


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