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Mary's face plantHolidays are a time of excitement, a time to get away from the ‘rat-race’ and embrace a different pace and place, a time to reconnect with your spouse, family, or friends. Ours began with a flight to Heathrow followed by one to Toulouse and a long drive to Sarlat-la-Caneda in the beautiful Dordogne.

Friday morning my husband and I put on our shorts, shirts and hiking boots to explore Sarlat, a golden town our guidebook refers to as the “foie-gras of southwest France”. Since this was my first day in hiking boots — the last hiking holiday was two years ago — I decided not to hook the top loop which left my boots a little loose and the laces a little longer than usual.

The historic town of Sarlat is beautiful, full of ancient buildings, bustling squares, narrow streets twisting unpredictably, steeply peaked roofs and everywhere you turn there’s another store selling foie gras or wine. We ambled here and there enjoying the sights and sounds then asked for directions to a cash machine. The answer was Rue de la Republique ‘pres de la pharmacie’. Off we went.

Rue de la Republique is made of cobblestones. With the guidebook tucked under one arm, I was chatting to my husband when suddenly I was on the ground, blood streaming from my mouth and a tooth that felt like it might be broken. You guessed it folks, a long loop of one laced boot caught the open hook of the other boot and the inevitable happened – a face plant. I went down so quickly I had no time to get my arms or hands out to break the fall.

People gathered around – someone offered to call an ambulance, another poured water on a length of paper towel so I could staunch the bleeding. Ian knelt beside me asking if I was all right. For a minute or so I lay there trying to decide what other damage had occurred then with my husband’s help I stood up feeling more than a little shaky. Paper-towel lady pointed us toward the pharmacy a few steps away where a kind man checked my mouth and prescribed painkillers as well as ointment for the swelling.

Moral of the story – tie your boots up the top!

PS – the following day my lip had swollen about twice as much as what you see in the photo. In addition, my chin and one unmentionable part of my body were a lovely shade of purple. Good thing wine does not require chewing 🙂