Back in the shop. (Briefly)

J. and I came back from our two month summer sail on N.'s birthday (August 29th) and I was eager to get back into the shop - but not before undertaking a little property maintenance and winter preparation.  Addi came over from Vancouver and piled all the house firewood into the woodshed. (There's a much smaller pile still to stack down near the shop, if anyone happens to pass by.) We're fortunate in the younger generation. Firewood stacking has a rural attraction for urbanites, and is comfortably limited in scope - unlike, say, clearing and uprooting the invading Salmonberry bushes along the southern borders. And it's in a good cause - keeping the agèd P.'s warm through the winter.

Sometimes I have to remember that a workshop is a tool like any other - only bigger, and there are a couple of major problems down by the road. The lean-to roof leaks around the two big skylights, and has done so for some years. Not often, it's true, but reliably; not much, but enough to ruin a newly finished table-top, or an upholstered chair, or to rust tools. Secondly, the pretty shingled roof that is visible in the shop photo on the home-page has grown a small meadow of spongy green moss on its lower section, where the pitch artfully (and foolishly) decreases. I should have followed J.'s advice and cleaned off the moss years ago, but it was  picturesque, and people will stop and take pictures. But I didn't, and underneath the lovely green are rotting shingles. Corruption at the heart.

The first job then is to rake off the moss and assess the situation; this is easier in dry weather when the moss is light and can even be removed in neat rolls. I set up the step-ladder, two rakes and a nice new stiff broom, and get happily to work. The iPod touch has battery,  the Grauniad's Football Weekly podcasts are back for another season, and jobs don't get much better than this one, on a fine late-summer's morning.

I am inside the shop, sitting on a low stool. I have a cordless 'phone in my hand. I  stare at it for some time. I need to call J. at the house - it seems the right thing to do - but I can't quite remember how to do it. Many digits have to be dialled, and the handset hung up.  Then it will ring. Then I have to pick it up. Then I can talk to J. But what number do I dial? Finally it comes to me: my home phone number; it takes several tries before I remember to add the area code (we didn't used to have to do that). I hang up after the beeps begin. The 'phone rings, I answer it.

 "I've fallen off the ladder; I think you'd better come down and get me."


The scene of the crime. J. found the ladder lying on the ground, neatly folded up. A mystery.

The rest of the day was predictable. J. drives me to the hospital in Ganges; I am stretchered inside. "You should have called an ambulance", says the nurse. (Only much later does it occur to me that it would have been much simpler for me to have dialled 911 than a ten-digit number &c.) I do not feel at all well, and lots of things hurt. After a while a nice man rolls me away for X-rays. He seems to be pushing the bed very quickly round several S-bends, and I am  motion-sick. He doesn't get cross with me, which I am grateful for.

Good news. Nothing is broken. Worried questions from Dr. B. about the loss of memory. I have no idea what happened, no memory of how I fell, or how I came to be sitting on the floor of the shop holding a telephone. Things on the pain-front improve after some sort of pain-killer is injected. Later I pee into a bottle. The emergency ward is busy this afternoon; no-one hurries us, but I think they need a bed for a lady with chest-pains who is sitting in the corridor. It's time we went back home. J. pays for a pair of Chinese crutches from the nurses' station, and I hobble very slowly out to the truck, and we head back to 1520. The stairs await.

Talking things over later with Edward, he asks me: "Were you listening to your iPod??........."


The culprit?