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Pain in Spain is mainly 'armless

This one was supposed to be about the Spanish Beatles tribute band but that will have to wait. I have another holiday story to tell first.

It was a warm Mediterranean evening that might well have been sweet-scented, had the people who built the apartments and hotels around the beach-front at Cambrils left a square metre or so for plants. I was heading back from the supermarket, gently swinging a carrier bag containing four bottles of water and a packet of Jammie Dodgers, when I tripped and fell. Not, unfortunately, a laddish "fell on ma erse!" fall, but a gangly, full-frontal toddler fall.

I put out my arms to stop myself, to little effect. Picking myself up, I swore. My clenched jaws stripped out the vowels, converting the words to text language. "Bggr nd dmn t t hll!" Then I laughed, sort of, and noticed that the knees were now ripped out of the only long trousers I had brought with me.

The following day my left arm developed a fairly spectacular bruise. I found a chemist selling weapons-grade Ibuprofen, and took it easy for a day. Painkillers saw me through the rest of the holiday, which featured rides on hired bikes and some energetic wheelchair pushing around Barcelona and the Port Aventura theme park.

Back home, a fortnight later, I began to become concerned that my arm would not straighten. In A E, an X-ray revealed that I had fractured the radial head of my left arm. My elbow wis broke. They gave me a sling, in salmon pink, and I went home to a week of limited driving and no DIY.

It took me 15 minutes to tire of people saying, "It's OK, I'll get that," and I wish I had a pound for every time someone accused me of having been under the influence when I fell. I'd buy something that cost pound;3, because only my dad made the allegation, though he did make it three times.

I didn't particularly like doing everything one-handed. I got by with the right hand, and some generous, if tentative, assistance from the partially-immobilised left. Given the choice, I'd always opt for two fully-functioning arms, even if there was the possibility that eventually my right arm might develop into some sort of amazingly competent super-arm.

In the spirit of all the thinking skills and creativity initiatives that are proving to be popular and engaging at present, I leave you to construct your own analogy between arms, fully functioning or otherwise, and some of the new promotion structures in place in secondary schools.

Gregor Steele may have to further postpone the tale of the Spanish Beatles tribute band as the death of James "Scottie" Doohan surely merits discussion.

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