Ouch! More speed and less haste is my new mantra

Neil's been having plenty of first aid this week from Mrs H

Neil's been having plenty of first aid this week from Mrs H - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Neil Haverson has spent plenty of time getting first aid treatment this week, all gently administered by Mrs H

More haste less speed. I'm not sure what this centuries-old proverb actually means. I reckon it should be the other way around. To me, haste indicates the job is being rushed whereas speed suggests moving smoothly at a fast pace.

I ruminated on this last week following an incident when I was late for an early morning appointment.

I was ready to leave when Mrs H engaged me in conversation. I kept edging towards the door but she kept on burbling.

'Did you hear anything in the house this morning?' she demanded. 'Last night as I was going to bed I heard something banging around. You were asleep. It was bigger than a moth. It sounded as though it had some sort of shell as it kept crashing into things. It went into the hall and I never did see what it was.'

By now I had the door open and a foot outside - but she had more to say.

'I put a light on in one of the downstairs rooms, I thought it might go for the light.'

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'Didn't hear anything,' I said hastily. 'Have a look when I get home.'

I dashed out of the door and headed for the car. Half way there, I caught my toe on the edge of a paving slab and went flying with a dive that would have been the envy of any footballer entering the penalty area.

Fortunately no neighbours were around to witness my humiliation. My car key disappeared in the garden. I scraped skin off both my hands and there was a whacking great hole in the knee of an almost new pair of jeans.

I picked myself up and staggered back into the house.

'Fell over,' I whimpered pathetically to Mrs H.

'You must wash those cuts properly or they'll get infected,' she said comfortingly. 'And try not to bleed everywhere!'

Take your jeans off,' She ordered. 'You'll have cut your knee.'

Removal of the jeans revealed I'd gouged out a large chunk of skin.

'Right,' ordered Matron H. 'Sock off and stick your leg in the bath and use the shower hose to wash it. AND DO IT WELL!'

Mrs H was going out with a friend later that morning. My fall meant her rituals to confront the outside world of showering, applying make-up, and doing strange things with the hair straighteners were running well behind schedule.

Nevertheless, she continued to administer to me.

Antiseptic was dabbed on the wounds and plasters applied. Fresh jeans on and I was ready for the off. While I was changing Mrs H had retrieved my missing car key from the shrubbery.

When I arrived home, she was just concluding her pre-departure grooming.

'Sorry if I've made you late,' I grovelled. 'I did trip over a paving slab you know. It wasn't an old person's fall.'

'Couldn't be helped,' she replied before dishing out a few penalties. 'You'll have to wash up and wipe down the bathroom. I just haven't had the time.'

For a few days my hands were sore and my knee even more painful so I was put on restricted duties.

The aftercare provided by Mrs H was excellent – although she may need to work on her bedside manner.

'Right jeans off, sit on the edge of the bath. Turn your leg a bit. The other way! Don't be difficult. The light in here is awful; sit with your feet in the bath. You'll have to keep a plaster on or there'll be blood all over the sheets. DON'T TOUCH IT! You haven't washed your hands.'

It seemed for the next few days everything I did involved the use of a damaged limb. Mrs H conducted a daily wound inspection. In spite of my howls of pain, I was soon back on fulltime duties. But I was still healing so I took great care in doing them.

You might say with less haste less speed.