Saturday 9 January 2021

I banjaxed my back on Boxing day

Ambulance service, is the patient breathing?” 

"Yes, she's breathing."  

My sister was standing next to me. She was on her mobile phone making the 999 call. I was lying on the floor, my head on a pillow.


“Yes, she’s awake.”

“It’s my sister.”


By listening to her answers, I could work out what the questions were.


“No, there’s no bleeding.”

“Yes, she’s conscious.”

“It wasn’t a fall, no.”


I was lying there, just listening. I’d been there for well over an hour. It’s odd when you’re lying in that position for so long, unable to move. You start to notice the small details around you. All I could see was my sister. She was standing in front of the heater. She was wearing her work uniform – a Christmassy top and black leggings. She had good legs; very slim and shapely. How odd to notice the most bizarre details in the middle of a 999 call. You expect these things to be all blue flashing lights and mad panic but actually there was a surreal calmness.

You might be wondering what my accident was. Perhaps some major risky occurrence. An adrenaline-fueled sports activity. A tragic car accident or a spine-chilling slice of the kitchen knife.

No, not quite. It was very simple. I was hoovering.


Who knew that housework could be so dangerous?

I bent down to scoop up some dried cat food with my hand-held hoover and *crack* - my back just went. Something snapped and I keeled over on the floor. My spine just stopped working. As though a short circuit had cut and the power refused to flow.

I lay there on the ground, thinking that this would surely pass. A little rub of deep heat on the pain might sort it out. But I couldn’t move. I couldn’t straighten my back out and I certainly couldn’t weight bear enough to walk. I could only crawl.


So, there I was, ten o’clock on boxing day morning, crawling on all fours towards my bedroom to retrieve my phone. I waited for a while, hoping that it would pass, but forty minutes later, I still couldn’t move. I couldn’t straighten my back.


My anxious mind started to play tricks with me.

Maybe you’ll be paralysed forever.

Perhaps this is it. Perhaps your time is up.

Oh dear, well you did have good innings.

* I can be a bit of a drama queen, can you tell?


I phoned my sister. Luckily, she is a care assistant. Luckier still, she was at work and sitting next to a nurse. She put the nurse on the phone to me.


“Can you move your toes?”


“Your legs?”


“Your arms?”



Oh good, perhaps I was just a major drama queen after all and this was nothing.  


“But you can’t stand up and you can’t weight bear?”


“You’re going to have to phone an ambulance.”


Oh no, really? I didn’t want to waste the ambulance time. And I didn’t want to spend a day in hospital. I had editing to do; work I wanted to get on with.


“Yes, you’re going to have to. They’ll assess you. Can you crawl to the front door to let them in okay?”


What a fabulous boxing day morning. Crawling to the front door to enable access for the paramedics.


No sooner was I off the phone to my sister, than she sent a text two minutes later: I’m on my way up x


Bless her. She was going to clock off work and take the time to drive half an hour up the road to help me.


She arrived in and saw me lying on the floor.


“Awk Rose…” her face was full of sympathy. Immediately she clicked into care assistant mode, putting a pillow under my head and fussing gently around me.


When she got off the 999 call, she said, “Right, a paramedic will be phoning you back soon. They need to determine what kind of chair to carry you out in. And you’re not allowed to eat or drink anything.”


Oh jeepers, I thought. The neighbours will be all agog. A big bulky ambulance rocking up in our quiet cul-de-sac on a lazy Boxing day morning. They’d all assume I was on the drink on Christmas day.


“And I need to put the outside light on for them so they can find us okay.” She was all biz, whizzing around the place, full of life and vitality. She whipped out a piece of paper and a pen. “Now the cats, what food do they need?”


I relayed all the information. Soots has the tuna in spring water. The tins are in the cupboard next to the fridge. Toots has one of the Whiska pouches.

She was writing everything down dutifully.


“Right,” she nodded, all breezy. I could see why she’s a care assistant. There was no moping about here. No anxiety or fear. She brought a whiff of energetic vibrancy with her, dispelling any despondency or depression.


I heard the kettle being switched on. “Are you making yourself a cuppa?” I called. “There’s some chocolate in the cupboard if you want some.”

“No,” she said sheepishly. “I noticed you had some dishes so I’m just going to give those a wee wash.”

Bless. That was the second job I was going to do this morning. After the hoovering.


I continued to lie there, listening to her bustling around in the kitchen, washing the dishes, feeding the cats, chatting to Toots and Soots as she worked.


When she sorted the cats and the dishes and the lights for the paramedics, she was back at the heater, nursing a coffee in her hand. Her phone rang. It was the paramedics phoning back. A guy called Stephen. She passed the phone down to me. 


“Hello Stephen,” I said, lying on the pillow. This wasn’t the kind of pillow-talk I expected on boxing day morning.


Stephen sounded very pleasant. He asked me another heap of questions. I think he was trying to determine if I’d had a stroke or if I was lying in a pool of blood.

“Hmm, okay, we have two options,” he surmised, after he finished the questioning. “We can either give you gas and air and carry you out on a stretcher. Or we can phone the out-of-hours doctor and get him to give you an emergency prescription. Sounds like your back has gone into spasm and you’re going to need something to relax that.”


“What do you think is best?” I asked. Clearly, I’d lost the use of my decision-making skills as well as my back.


“I think the doctor’s prescription would be best. No point carting you into hospital if you can be comfortable at home. If you had been on your own, obviously we would have sent the ambulance out. But as your sister is able to drive and get the prescription for you, you might as well stay put.”


He was on loudspeaker and my sister could hear all this. Ruth was nodding eagerly; she was happy to do the drive to Forestside to get the script.

“I’m just worried about you lying on the floor so long,” Stephen added. “Do you think you’ll be able to crawl on to your bed or get a bit more comfortable?”


“Yes, I’ll do that,” I replied.


When I got off the phone, Ruth helped me on to my bed. It was well seeing she’s a care assistant. Her handling and moving training came in to play. She had one arm under my armpit and another under my leg. She was manoeuvring me onto my bed and I couldn’t help but giggle. I felt about ninety-one. She started giggling too and then she let out a snort.


“You snorted!” I laughed, nose-diving onto my bed in a fit of giggles.


She pulled my duvet up around me and tucked me in.


“Jeepers, whatever they’re paying you, it’s not enough,” I told her, gratefully. 

Then she was away off to get my prescription but not before she phoned my family to tell them the news.


“Get Voltorol!” my dad advised.

“You poor love!” my mum soothed.  


Ruth returned shortly with the prescription and checked if I needed anything else. She brought me a glass of water with a straw and my chocolate stash. 


And that was her. Away back to work again to carry on with her shift until eight o’clock that night.


I lay cosied up in bed, making calls and talking to friends about what happened.


What had happened exactly?

Well, I had to think about how I had been treating my back. My poor posture. Sitting on the bed with pillows propped up behind me; too much pressure being placed on my lower back.

I had to start thinking about solutions. Natural remedies that wouldn’t involve addictive medication.

The more I talked about it with friends, the more I learned about solutions.

Voltorol, Tiger balm, Ibuprofen, a tens machine, walking, yoga.

It’s about two weeks now since the accident. My back is much better. I can bend over and everything! I’ve even been out walking and I’ve managed to hoover the apartment successfully.

If I think back to that boxing day morning, my body told me it was about to seize up. I felt stiff and sore and thought briefly to myself that I could do with some yoga or gentle stretching.

That one quick movement was too much and my back just went into spasm. Too much lying around on Christmas day and not enough moving.

I listened to my body and I responded. I’ve been treating it with tiger balm and gentle walks. Every day I wear my tens machine which is basically a gentle massage on my back, neck or shoulders. 

Apparently, you can even fix the pads to your abdomen and let it massage your abs into a six pack. You know what they say, every cloud has a silver lining!

Thursday 22 October 2020

On Love ...

I love waking up next to you.

Seeing your face on the pillow next to mine.

Your eyes all sleepy and cute.

I give you a little cuddle and you stretch out in appreciation.

You give the best cuddles; cosy and warm and contented, as though there’s no other place you’d rather be.

Your love is the unconditional sort.

You don’t mind if I’m slopping around in my pyjamas or if my hair’s a mess.

You don’t care if I’m not wearing makeup or if I’ve put on a pound or two.

You don’t even care if I laze around all day, do no housework and binge watch reality TV.

You do sense my moods though. You pick up on it if I’m feeling a little down.

Those are the days that you’ll sit next to me and cuddle me more.




In fact, you do like to follow me around a lot, my little baby.

You even follow me into the bathroom and I joke that I can’t even pee in peace.

Whatever food I set out for you; you will eat – you’re a good boy like that.

Sometimes I have to take you out in the car for appointments.

You don’t like it and you’re scared but you’re a brave boy.

You don’t huff with me later.

You still come to me for cuddles and show me that I am loved.

I think you know that deep down, I just want to protect you and keep you safe.

After all, you’re my wee baby.


You knead your paws on my tummy to show me you feel safe.

When I’m working too long in my office, you’ll come and sit on the desk as though to say, “That’s it! You’ve worked enough! Now cuddle me!”

I love you, my little fur baby.




Tuesday 8 September 2020

5 tips for a great radio interview!

Recently I did a series of radio interviews to chat about my latest novel “Under your Skin”. I managed to get slots on BBC Radio Ulster, Cambridgeshire, West Midlands, Leicester and Hereford & Worcester – as well as a slot on Dublin City FM.

Here are 5 things I learned from doing those interviews:

1. Nerves are good!

Some people can’t imagine going on air for fear that the nerves would overtake them. They have negative fantasies that they would clam up or worse, stumble over their words and appear flustered. But I have found that it’s good to embrace that nervous feeling! Nerves are just a rush of adrenaline; nervous energy that perks you up and gives you the ‘oomph’ and motivation to stay alert for the interview. Imagine if you had no nerves at all; if you felt so bored and lethargic and really didn’t care about how you came across – that would be terrible!


Embrace that nervous energy – have a listen to one of the presenter’s previous programs so that you can get a feel for his/ her interview style. When they play music, have a little dance around your room – burn off some of that energy! Try some relaxation tips that actors use; force yourself to do some big yawns – that tricks your body into thinking that you are relaxed. It works!


Tell yourself that when the interview is over, you can do something nice for yourself – something relaxing. What you will find, is that all that nervous energy will turn into euphoric relief afterwards and you’ll be buzzing! You’ll be so pleased with yourself for facing your fears and doing it anyway. And you might find you enjoyed it!


2. Focus on the presenter

Every single presenter I have chatted to was friendly, chatty and welcoming. Funny that, they are paid to talk – that is their forte! They have asked you to come on the show, therefore they think you have something of importance to add to their program. They want you to talk. They will ask open questions to get a conversation going.


Imagine that they’re sitting opposite you. Imagine it’s a friend or acquaintance who has a genuine interest in your book and wants to know more about it. Chat away to that presenter as you would to anybody.

3. You know your stuff!

Remember that you know your stuff. Have confidence that there is no-one more equipped to answer those questions than you. They’re asking about your book – the book that has taken you months to write and has lived in your head for all that time. It’s unlikely that there’d be any question that you’d be unable to answer. So have confidence that you know your subject!


4. Be tech ready

The only slight panic I had was with a technical issue. Radio presenters generally prefer to phone you on a landline. My landline however, is rarely in use. It is also a handheld device that nestles in a cradle. For some bizarre reason, halfway through the interview, my phone completely died! How strange is that? When does a landline ever die? I think it was something to do with the handheld set.

Anyway, I quickly phoned the presenter back from my mobile and she was the ultimate professional. Without any fuss or drama, she simply picked up the interview where we left off and carried on. Thankfully it was a prerecorded interview but I learned my lesson – always make sure you’re tech ready!


It’s also important to make sure you’ll have complete quiet; that any other phones are muted and that the pets are in another room with the door closed so they can’t walk in and miaow halfway through! Also any potential visitors should be told to keep away and not ring the doorbell!


5. One click links

Here’s the bad news: radio interviews might not equal sales.

Think about it: If you heard someone chatting away on the radio about a book that sounds really interesting, would you think to yourself “Oooh, I must remember that author’s name and the title of the book so that I can go home, open my computer, look her up on Amazon and order the book.” Of course not.

That’s why it’s important to have one-click links advertisements on social media. Make it easy for your reader to have access to your book’s home. Like here:

"Under Your Skin" - available on Amazon - click here! 

Hope you found these tips useful. If you’d like to check out any of the interviews I did, please see these links below:

BBC Radio Leicester: 

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 

BBC Radio Ulster: 

BBC West Midlands: 

BBC Hereford & Worcestershire: 

Dublin City FM: 


Thanks for reading/ watching! 


Rose xx

Monday 20 July 2020

Author Interview - Sarah Davis

Hey Sarah! Thanks so much for joining me on my blog today! I'm really excited to hear about your writing process and about the inspiration behind your new book! 

Can you give us the first line of your new novel and a little blurb as to what it’s about? 

"The buzzing beneath eighteen-year-old Penny Osborn’s skin started while she spoke to the officer."

In one sentence it's a story about a twenty-year-old moving to northern Alaska for a job. More importantly it's about how she deals with life's challenges, moving on with grief and survivor's guilt. It's about man's vilest predator is ultimately man...whether by evil deeds or by the cage of our minds. 

What inspired you to write this novel?

I was daydreaming during a long drive about a veterinarian and her twin daughters moving from sunny southern California to the northern most reaches of Alaska. What circumstance could lead to such a move? 

From there, the twin telepathy entered the story and I considered what might the psychological effects be when the connection is lost (such as with distance, i.e. moving, or some other circumstances).

Can you tell me about that moment when you decided to sit down and write your first novel? How did you get over any hurdles of fear or doubt?

I learned about NANOWRIMO, an ongoing writing competition, that during November challenges a writer to write 50,000 words. I failed that challenge but pushed on. My family encouraged me to put it to paper, and so I did. Fear and doubt are constant companions, but no matter what, I am proud of my story and of what I have learned along the journey. 

Please can you tell me about your writing routine – how do you settle yourself down to write?

I put on noise cancelling ear phones (thanks honey!) and turn on music that fits with the mood. Sometimes I have to hide in my office or bedroom, and more often than not I'm scribbling notes and paragraphs for scenes to work on when time permits. 

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors who would love to write but don’t know where to start?
You start by writing/typing one word and follow it with another, and so on. You don't have to start at the beginning of the story. Write a scene. Write about a character. It's not scary, the writing process. It's sharing with someone who will give you honest, constructive feedback that's scary. 

What do you love doing when not writing?

Spending down time with my family (usually we are working but card games, movies, vacations), reading, playing with my dog.

Can you tell us about a funny/ embarrassing memory?

Absolutely not. 😉 Okay, so I grew up in a very small town in a German family. Took German in high school. While studying dog anatomy in vet school, I asked my study partners what a cha-hua-hua was. Well dunderhead, a chihuahua is a type of dog. I was very embarrassed but yet told my family.  My grandpa gave me a singing chihuahua stuffed toy for a I wouldn't forget what one was. 

Ever met anyone famous? What were they like?
A few... I’m actually related to a horse jockey, Dean Kutz, may he rest in peace. He was an amazing guy from an amazing family. I’ve also met an actress who played possessed child. She was very personable and funny. There was a rapper...he smelled like pot. Three country music singers…all very nice. As a veterinarian, I have worked with a few famous animals, too!           

Fantastic Sarah! Loved reading your answers! 

To follow Sarah on Facebook, click here.

To order Sarah's book on Amazon, click here.

To read my review on Sarah's book "Inside Voices", click here.                

Thursday 16 July 2020

In memory of...

I didn’t think they’d let me inside the church but they did.

I was early, as usual. I could never be fashionably late like some people.

I sat in one of the pews at the back. I recognised some faces.

Covid meant that some pews were cordoned off to make sure people sat apart but I was grateful I was allowed to sit inside.

A soft music was playing in the background. The altar was huge and impressive.

Hushed voices offered condolences to others. People tip-toed around quietly.

I hadn’t expected the tears to come so quickly but they did.

When I had gotten the phone-call to tell me your news, I hadn’t cried. After all, we had expected it for a long time. 

But as soon as I sat there, in that sacred space, with that beautiful music, the tears came.

I was embarrassed and tried to hold myself together.

People I knew came to talk to me. I brushed away my tears but they were sympathetic. They said that maybe it was time to let the tears out.

At ten o’clock, I swivelled my head around to look outside the church. I saw the hearse. And I saw the coffin. I knew you had arrived. I prepared myself to say goodbye.

Four men in black suits began to carry you up the aisle. We all stood to mark your arrival.

I saw you going past. The coffin seemed so small. My face crumpled with tears as I imagined you in there.

They took you to the front and set you in the middle. It was your party. We were all here for you.

The music was beautiful. You always did have good taste. I remember so many times you gave me lifts and we’d have a singalong in the car. You’d turn the volume up high and we’d belt the tunes out, raising our voices, letting go. You had made a playlist for your car and every song was fantastic.

I could imagine you sitting down and planning what songs you wanted played today.

“Here I am Lord,” the lady sang and I knew why you had chosen that. I remember you told me about the time that you made that decision. The decision that you were going to try to serve God and help others. That you would dedicate your life to trying to be of service.

And serve you did. You were always trying to be of help. Always trying to have a kind word and a listening ear.

The number of times you gave me lifts; helped me move house and took mum and I to hospital when Dad was was sick with cancer. The number of times you took me to Tesco late at night where we’d do our food shop. You always produced a little gift for me – chocolate or some other treat. And I’d have always bought something for you too. It was a pointless exercise – we could have just bought something for ourselves, but it became a tradition.

Your brother gets up to say a few words about you. I could tell it was your brother before anyone even introduced him. He’s your absolute double.

He said about how much you helped others, how the last twenty years of your life were dedicated to being of service. He talked about all your travels and how much you loved life. And he talked about the cancer, and how you fought it head on, never indulging in self-pity.

And then they played it. “Make me a channel of your peace”. And again, my face crumpled inwards with tears. I suddenly remembered the time that this song had come on. Years and years ago. And you announced “I want this song played at my funeral”. It wasn’t a morbid statement, just a casual observation and I had said, “Oh really? Nice song. I want Ave Maria played at mine.” And that was that, the subject was dropped and we went on to talk about something else. But now here I was, listening to this song at your funeral, knowing it was what you had picked.

I looked at you sitting up there in front of us. I could almost see your cheeky grin. I could almost imagine your pride that all the great music you had picked was being played. That you were getting the proper send-off that you deserved. That the church was packed despite Covid.

Afterwards when we were all standing outside, I got to speak to your brother. “That was lovely, what you said about Colin,” I said.

He immediately broke into stories about you, regaling me of funny incidents, telling me tales of your escapades together. He even told me dirty jokes that he said he couldn’t tell from the pulpit. It was like looking at a carbon copy of you. You look the same, you have the same sense of humour; it was as though you were there.

After some time of chatting to people and of getting to hug Jude, who had nursed you so well in the last few years, I stepped aside to phone a taxi. I was over on my own and I happened to be standing right next to the hearse, in which you were inside. I felt your presence very strongly beside me. I noticed the car tyres of the hearse said “Mercedes Benz” along them. It seemed like you were standing there beside me with your cheeky grin, saying, “Look Rose, I’m going out in style. Look what they’re driving me off in.”

Thank you, Colin, for being such a good friend, for adding to my life and never expecting anything in return. May you rest in peace. And may I try to have an ounce of the compassion and kindness you had.


~ In memory of Colin Murray ~