Lousy bloody birthday – Steve Canavan

Steve Canavan suffered a lousy birthday.
Steve Canavan suffered a lousy birthday.

They say with age comes wisdom but after what happened to me at the weekend I’m not sure I agree.

It was my birthday, an occasion I find just a little more depressing with every passing year – especially that moment when a family member inevitably dims the lounge lights, walks in with a small unappetising-looking cake with candles on, and you have to do your best to try and not look too pained while everyone starts a tuneless and half-hearted rendition of Happy birthday to you. 

Alas this year not everything went to plan.

What happened was this.

After all the excitement of opening the presents (that's sarcasm, I’m 43; I got four cards and a book from my mum that I’ve already read), I was in the kitchen peeling some potatoes.

The fact I had to do such a menial, mundane task on the anniversary of my birth – when you’d think, say, my wife might have offered – may surprise some of you, but Mrs C insists that at eight-and-a-half months pregnant doing any kind of chore around the house is beyond her – although she is still able to lie on the settee for prolonged periods eating Quavers and watching Masterchef.

Anyway, I’m peeling spuds and all of a sudden I feel the urge to sneeze, which in itself isn’t a bad thing because as we all know the function of sneezing is to expel mucus containing foreign particles or irritants and to cleanse the nasal cavity. Obviously.

However, I am quite a powerful sneezer (I inherit this from my mum; on holiday in Portugal, she once sneezed so loudly – true story this – that it set off a fire alarm and resulted in the evacuation of an entire hotel) and in the action of sneezing I involuntarily threw my head forward and smacked it against the kitchen wall, right at the corner point where it joins the back door.

I recoiled in agony, bent double, made a frantic wheezing noise like someone attempting unsuccessfully to get the top off a jar of pickled onion, and gingerly felt the top of my head.

When I looked at my fingers there was, horrifyingly, blood on them. This was not good.

I screamed to Mrs C for assistance but she couldn’t hear me over the sound of the Quavers she was munching, so I was forced, despite feeling groggy and slightly disorientated, to fish a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer and then lie horizontally on the kitchen floor for 35 minutes until I was sure I was not suffering from a fatal brain haemorrhage.

At one-point the cat, clearly more concerned than my wife, wandered in to see what the fuss was about. However, rather than fetch help he took advantage of the situation, lay down on my stomach and fell asleep.

I thought, as I clutched the peas to my cranium, it would be a really weird way to be discovered if I expired – on the kitchen floor with a bag of Birds Eye frozen petits pois on my head and a sleeping cat on my stomach. 

So, all in all, I’m rather glad that after half an hour of lying prostrate and regretting all the things in life I had meant to do but never got round to – such as reading the entire works of Shakespeare and walking the Pennine Way naked – I was eventually able to rise unsteadily to my feet and live to tell the tale.

This was good news for me but a blow for the cat, who had to find another resting place.

I considered going to A&E to see if my wound needed stitches but thought it was too embarrassing to say how the accident had occurred.

I now have a nasty little cut on my head and, worse still, I got blood all over the potatoes, had to bin them and go out and buy another five pound bag, but by the time I got to Tesco Express they’d run clean out of Cyprus and instead I had to purchase King Edwards, my least favourite brand.

What a lousy birthday.