Will’s World: Many a slip ’twixt tractor step and calf pen

One minute you’re young, carefree and single, with a life full of possibilities stretching endlessly before you.

The next you’re sitting down for a routine medical examination relating to a recent pension and life insurance policy review, while nervously wondering if whatever the district nurse is rummaging in her bag for is a rubber glove and a bottle of lube.

Such is the unbridled joy of turning 45. Before we got started, though, there were multiple questions about my lifestyle.

“How many units of alcohol do you drink in an average week?” she asked. “Depends how my daughters are behaving at the time,” I replied.

A blank stare was all I received. “Oh, maybe eight or 10 then,” I added sheepishly. An arched eyebrow this time.

See also: Farm Doctor: Could you recognise heart attack symptoms?

Under pressure 

Next, she asked: “Before I take your blood pressure, have you ever had problems with it before?” I responded with the straightest of faces: “Only when moving cattle with older family members.”

“Is that a no?” said the now visibly irritated nurse. “No, I haven’t,” I sighed, accepting finally that this wasn’t the occasion for dad jokes – and that she clearly didn’t know anything about farming families, either.

The thing is, though, I need to laugh about getting older, otherwise I’m not sure I’d cope with it. For example, it’s been a year of falls for me, with at least three of them happening in the most ludicrously comedic fashion.

The first was back in the spring, when my daughter brought me a cup of tea one evening.

I got off the tractor, missed the bottom step completely, and fell heavily into a muddy puddle right in front of her, much to her delight.

I didn’t even get the tea as she spilled it from laughing so much.

None of them saw the second, thank goodness, or I’d still be a figure of fun in the Evans household to this day.

Carrying two full buckets of milk to the calf pens, I slipped in a manner that you only see in cartoons (still not sure it wasn’t on an actual banana skin).

My legs went up in the air above my head and I landed flat on my back, covered in milk, with pride and shoulder blades equally bruised. It was 15 minutes before I (gingerly) stood up again.

Third time unlucky

The third happened on a recent family holiday with friends, where two of us blokes managed a spectacular fall from an electric scooter while showing off.

I can’t go into details on that for fear of further angering our wives.

That, and the cracked rib I’m pretty sure I received as a result, are enough to make me stay away from scooters in future, though. And (whisper it), we thought it was hilarious at the time, even if no one else did.

Despite the frequency of their occurrence, I don’t think I’ve crossed the threshold from falling over, to “having a fall” just yet, but at this rate it can’t be far away.

Farming is a bit like that, though, isn’t it? It’s no wonder they wanted to check me out, really; a life spent out in the elements, operating heavy machinery and working with unpredictable animals does rather leave you open to injury, and we’ve all gathered our fair share over the years.

We don’t choose the ibuprofen life; the ibuprofen life chooses us.

By the way, that thing the nurse was searching for? A urine sample bottle. I laughed out loud with relief.