Cheery BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood’s sunny outlook was eclipsed by much darker clouds when she was involved in a biking accident near Slough, Berkshire during the pandemic, that left her with injuries which her boss said looked like a shark attack.
The 59-year-old Scottish presenter and former Strictly contestant, whose debut romantic novel, Under A Greek Moon, has just been published, is still having trouble sleeping two years on.
“I got hit by a car from behind last year. Before that, I used to cycle and run and I did lots of big bike rides like the London to Brighton and the Palace to Palace.”
How badly were you injured?
“My left knee was badly injured. It was cut down to the kneecap and some of my nerves were hanging out. I sent a picture of it to my boss and he said it looked like I’d been attacked by a shark.
“But I had a brilliant doctor in Wexham Park Hospital who sewed me back together again.
“I was wearing a helmet, fortunately, so I only bruised my nose because my helmet had a peak at the front, otherwise I would have face-planted. So I was lucky.”
Did you have to take time off?
“I was off work for three weeks.”
Did you have physiotherapy?
“I did my own physio because it was during lockdown when this happened, when we were allowed an hour’s exercise a day (outside). It happened within that hour, on my day off, near where I live.
“Now, I walk a lot, which is giving my knee a lot of exercise, and I want to get back to running.”
How was your mental health affected?
“My confidence cycling on the road has gone to pot. I don’t do that now. I’m fearful now of cycling on the road.
“It was such a shock. I had dreams about it and I still do. Sometimes, I still get upset talking about it. It’s not on my mind all the time, but I dream about being hit.”
Do you have any lasting injuries?
“My knee still gives me a bit of pain, so I’m not running, but I’m walking, so that’s my main exercise now.
“I’m permanently scarred. I’ve also lost some of the feeling in my knee in places, I’ve permanent damage to my thumb joint and scarring to my elbow.”
How are you now?
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I’ve moved on.”
You danced in the 2015 series of Strictly? Are you still dancing?
“I don’t still dance – I have more of a problem with my knee these days dancing but I’m in touch with Pasha (Kovalev, her Strictly dance partner). I’m on a Whatsapp group with all my fellow competitors and occasionally at Christmas or at New Year we will drop each other a text.”
How else do you stay fit?
“I try to be careful about my weight. I know people say don’t weigh yourself every day, but I do. And I put on about 10lbs during lockdown, as somebody very kindly pointed out to me. But I had had an accident so I was immobile. I’m determined to lose the weight.”
Under A Greek Moon by Carol Kirkwood is published by HarperCollins, priced £12.99. Available now