Pup?s finger food?
By MEL MARTIN
WHEN Richard Ennis saw a carload of fairies turn up to assist him only moments after a lawnmower nearly chopped his hand off, he thought he might be hallucinating from the loss of blood.
He wasn't. The fairies turned out to be actual people on their way to a fancy dress party, but they were nonetheless helpful in calling an ambulance and searching the grounds for the top of Richard's thumb.
Despite all their efforts, the body part was never found, and Richard suspects it may have in fact become finger food.
"I had a puppy with me and it looked suspiciously smug, so I figured the puppy got it," Richard said.
"Meanwhile, the fairies were freaking out and people with Eskies were running around everywhere looking for fingers.
"The dog was enjoying it though, when the ambulance turned up he wanted to jump in thinking it was a meat wagon.
"It's my neighbour's dog, but we do seem to have bonded now. Now whenever I see a person, my thumb wags!"
How Richard came to lose the top of his thumb began like many of his weekends ? mowing a council reserve at Nambucca Heads, which he does to help his local community.
But his community work came back to bite him on the bum . . . literally.
"It's quite a steep bit of land, but I'd mowed this area before," Richard said.
"I'd just completed one row and turned up the hill for the next, when the mower started to flip.
"I hit the ground and rolled away, but then the mower flipped again and came to a rest against my backside."
Richard instinctively put his hand out to protect himself, but although the motor had cut out, the blades were still turning.
"There was still a lot of centrifugal force, and it hit my fingers, smashing all the bones and leaving them hanging by tendons, and chopped off the top of my thumb."
Richard was flown to Newcastle, where a five-and-a-half hour operation saw his fingers sewn back on. Seven weeks on and on the road to recovery, Richard hopes his experience can be a warning to others.
"If you have a ride-on mower, make sure it has an anti-roll bar, because then it can only turn over once," he said.