Sunday, 16 January 2011

Why I never got to see the Mona Lisa smile

When I was 7 years old my Mum, Dad, brother and I went off to France for a week. We would be staying at the house of a friend of my Aunt’s, they were off on holiday to England and we would be house-sitters of a kind for them while they were away.

When I look back the holiday seems peppered with really random things that happened, like the crazy next door neighbours who took a shine to me and invited me round to watch the Disney version of Robin Hood. In French. And the time when my Dad fell down the entire flight of stairs, crashing in to the numerous boxes of toys at the bottom. And the time when Mum severely bruised her crotch and the inside of her legs by walking straight into a bollard because she was trying to nosy into a fancy hotel. (That was the first time I ever thought I was going to die laughing.)

And then there was the time we planned to go to the Louvre.

My brother is 11 years older than me and had begrudgingly come on the holiday with us. I adored him and hated him in equal measure because he used to frequently torment me, in full accordance with the Big Brother Handbook.

One of the great things about staying in this house was that the owners had children who had vast quantities of toys. One of these was a remote controlled car. One morning, my brother took it upon himself to chase me with this car because he knew I would freak out and it would be hilarious. And so he chased me through the living room and into the kitchen at which point I started flailing my arms about and smacked the back of my hand into the beautiful old oak door frame.

Cue extreme wailing.

Mum was less than impressed. I was notorious for,
a) injuring myself and,
 b) over-reacting to it
And so she dried my tears, told me to sort myself out and we set off for the day.

At lunchtime we were making our way over to the Louvre when Mum noticed something strange about me. I appeared to have a dead arm which I was just letting hang by my side and not using. She marched over to me saying “For goodness sake, stop whinging” and picked up my hand. At which point she realised it was about 3 times its normal size and a delightful shade of purple.

So instead of going to the Louvre, we went to hospital.

I had x-rays taken of my hand. Then the Doctor came in to discuss the results with us. I remember sitting on Mum’s knee as this woman in a white coat sat down behind this massive desk and started speaking French at me. At which point I began to wail again. I’m not entirely sure why, I think I thought I was going to get in to trouble for not understanding her, either way it was a Grade A freak out.

She was lovely and switched to English to inform us that I was going to have to go back and have my hand x-rayed again as I’d been shaking with fear so much the first time that it was all blurry and they couldn’t tell if it was broken or not.

In the end it wasn’t broken. Story of my life. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sprained things. I’ve had more than my fair share of x-rays but I have been blessed with ridiculously strong bones (she says frantically looking around her for wood to touch).

So instead of seeing beautiful paintings by masters of the art world we came home with a sling, several compression bandages and my x-rays.

And the batteries were removed from the remote controlled car.


  1. Ah dear what a trip eh? Such a funny story!

  2. Ouch - though maybe a new years resolution and take a trip to France?

    Have a lovely non clumsy day,

    Nina xxx

    ps. I think us rams are all very clumsy, but as you say very strong bones!

  3. That made me laugh about your Mum sorry! Sounds like the sort of thing mine would do, noseying in places.

    And France is notorious (in my mind) for its bollards - in Dijon they have loads of them peppered along the main street. They are the size of footballs. So of course you don't see them on the floor there. Imagine kicking a solid stone football.

    Anyway, I saw the Mona Lisa a couple of years ago now and she's loads smaller than you imagine and you can barely get at her for all the tourists so it's not exactly magical - we were more exctited to glimpse Richard Bacon!

  4. And youve not changed a bit!!! You didnt miss much with the Mona Lisa, but the Louvre itself is soooooooo amazing. When we went, I couldnt understand how the DQ knew her way around and all the shortcuts. She explained that she had been in the Louvre so many times - virtually on PS3 Davinci Code game - she knew it like the back of her hand! (sorry - just realised what I said!)

  5. Oh your poor Mum crotching herself! Ouch.

    I don't get on well with art galleries, especially in very touristy places. I like time and space to stare at the things I like and I get easily stressed when that's not possible. I didn't dare venture into the Uffizi when I was in Florence. The queues alone nearly gave me a rash.

  6. Oh dear...what brought this story on though? I did enjoy it! Poor hand... xxx

  7. LOL....damn brothers anyways! (your poor mum's crotch!!!)


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