June 23, 2008

Pirates Ahoy!

Here's a cautionary tale for all those who enjoy one or more of the following: 
  • gardening
  • occasionally saying "arrrrrrr" in a silly voice
  • watching Johnny Depp buckle his swash
On Saturday night I watched "Pirates of the Caribbean" for the first time (yes, I'm a little behind the times). I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the irritating presence of the undeniably decorative but very over-rated Keira. 
I also admit to being a fan of the gloriously inane Talk Like a Pirate Day , and when in similarly silly company I have been known to utter a few salty expressions of my own. 

On Sunday I was indulging in a little light gardening to counteract some of the effects of a very enjoyable lunch with friends. In particular, I was continuing my personal attack on an invidious weed called bridal creeper:
"It is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts. ... In South Australia and southwestern Western Australia bridal creeper is considered the most important weed threat to biodiversity."
One of the problems is its tendency to climb and smother native plants, and the dangling fronds of young grass trees make them ideal targets. I am lucky enough to have several of these extraordinary plants, and I am determined that they will not fall prey to the creeper. 
This photograph was taken in my garden - the "double-headed" grass tree on the left is about 2.5 metres high, and probably over 100 years old. The younger one is maybe 20-30 years old.

The weed is a tricky thing to kill, because of the tubers underground, so I gently disentangle it from the grass tree, spread it out on the ground, and then paint it carefully with a mixture of potent herbicide and kerosene. Even so, it keeps popping up year after year, so it's an ongoing battle.

The "leaves" of the grass tree are over a metre long, very stiff, and with needle-sharp tips. ... Can you see where this is heading?

Yes, while I was enthusiastically scrabbling around underneath, I managed to stab myself directly in the eye. Owww.

Being medically qualified unfortunately does not make a person sensible about seeking medical help, so I dug around in a box of ancient medication samples and found some extremely out-of-date eye drops. Not surprisingly, these didn't help at all, and by 9pm I realised I had to go to the emergency centre for "proper" examination and treatment.
Night driving with one eye is not to be recommended, but I made it without incident, was seen promptly (eye injuries are usually a priority) and was relieved to find that I had a deep scratch in my cornea but not a puncture. Lucky! So I was jabbed with an anti- tetanus booster, squirted with antibiotic ointment, fitted with a cheery eye patch, handed a small parcel of medication, and sent on my way. 

It's now Monday, and I'm sitting here in my patch, squinting sideways with my "good" eye at the screen, feeling a teeny bit sorry for myself, but managing (just) to resist the temptation to tie a black bandana around my head and don some gold hoop earrings.
Goodgodspe'd ferrr now, me hearties!

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