Thursday, 23 April 2009

I'm in love with a lad(der)

I had my breakfast in the garden today. What joy to be able to say that. I sat and daydreamed and listened to the birds staking out their territories and hoping that the robins will want to nest in the special box we installed, rather than the old enamel teapot they chose last time.

As my bleary eyes wandered, they came to rest on the place where there used to be an 18 foot cliff-face of laurel bush. This monster was about 8 feet deep and you could easily disappear inside it and make a den. But it cast an enormous shadow over the lawn and next door's garden. It had to go. And eventually most of it did, with the aid of a lot of hired-in mechanical equipment. But before it did, I put a lot of time into trying to tame it with secateurs.

I'm a practical gal. I had a long career in a job where Health & Safety was uppermost in my mind at all times. I am quite neurotic about people taking unnecessary risks. But put me in my garden and I come over all fotherington-thomas, 'the one who sa "Hello Clouds, Hello Sky" and skip about like a girly'. Eyes turn all misty, the veg patch becomes 'the potager', the scabby apple trees at the bottom of the garden are referred to as 'the orchard'. And an old wooden stepladder held together with rotten rope becomes a safe means of climbing 10 feet into a laurel bush. Now, as you can see from the picture, this ladder has such a romantic appeal. It's faded to a shade that Farrow & Ball wish they'd invented and it's got a sweet little thumb-hole for carrying. So cute! So hazardous!

The rope holding the two sides of the ladder in an 'A' shape strained their last, just as I found my balance on the top step, secateurs in hand, ready to cut the laurel monster down to size. The first inkling I had that something was amiss was when I experienced an unusual dangly, airy sensation under my feet. Just as I was taking in what this meant, I jolted downwards a few inches and a sharp twiggy branch stabbed through my sweater and under my bra strap. So, suspended several feet in the air by a flimsy piece of Marks & Spencer elastic, I turned my mind to wondering whether that or the twig would give way first. Would I need to cut myself free with the secateurs? The matter was resolved without me, the twig snapped and I descended another foot into the hedge. The thing about a laurel hedge, I discovered, is that it eases you down through its branches, doing its best to support you on your way to spraining your ankle on a horizontal stepladder as you reach the ground with a thud.

So the stepladder has been demoted to perform a purely decorative function, but I am so madly in love with it that I lug it from place to place all over the garden so it can pose in discreet splendour to surprise and delight me. It's an accident waiting to happen, I tell you!

from The Compleet Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle


thewildhare said...

lol! Your accident waiting to happy is absolutely lovely, I must say! I will send you safe thoughts as you go about in the garden, Chrissie!

Anonymous said...

Lurve the ladder! Sounds like you had a most elegant fall.

Celia said...

Thanks for the reminder about Molesworth and Co - and the entertaining post about your little mishap. Glad you ame out of it safely.

Chrissie said...

Thanks, wasn't so lucky the next time - broke my right foot and my left leg in two places - needed several operations and a lot of metalwork to put me back together again!

Clare W said...

Ha I can see you are a gal after my own heart - loving chickens and ladders. So much more fulfilling than any other relationship! I have wistfully reminisced about Molesworthy too - thanks!

india said...

aahh, memories of Molesworth II

and i've got a ladder exactly like yours!

Chrissie said...

Haha - all the closet Molesworth fans are coming out to play!