Letters to a Sister : 42

I do hope you have managed to find Mum’s secret stash of sugar. Is her house warmer now she has replaced her windows? She was very pleased to have them done, to get rid of those leaky old ones and have them replaced with smart plastic ones. She even coped quite well with having a builder around.  It reminded me of when we did our building work. That was something of a learning experience for all of us.

Firstly, I learnt that wood really DOES float. Do you remember how the ducks started laying on the island? All those lovely big eggs and I couldn’t reach any of them. So, when we had the scaffolding up, after the builders had gone home for the day, I thought I might borrow some of the scaffolding planks and use them to walk across the mushy floor of the pond to raid the island. The bottom of the pond is full of silt and is very dangerous to walk in, so I figured, in my wisdom, that laying a plank across it would make a safe route. I lugged the heaviest plank I could carry up the garden and called grumpy eldest child to come and watch, so she could rescue me if I fell in.

She followed me up the garden muttering about revising for exams and that wood floats and my plan wouldn’t work. I could hardly carry the plank, it was so heavy, so I was sure she was wrong. She wasn’t (she rarely is.) I threw the great heavy plank into the pond and watched as it floated away.

I now had eggs on the island AND a plank of floating scaffold that I couldn’t reach. When the builders returned the next day I had to tell them that one of their planks was in the pond. I decided not to explain. They will have assumed it was one of the boys (which is an excellent reason for having children. They take the blame for all sorts of things.)

My next disaster also involved scaffolding. As you know, I am afraid of heights. It annoys me, seems silly to be scared of something so inconvenient. So I decided to conquer my fear and each evening, I would climb the ladders to the top of the scaffolding. I thought that if I went up to roof height every evening, eventually I would stop being frightened and my fear would be over. It didn’t work.

Going up was fine. But when I got to the top, my body just gave in to the phobia. My brain was telling myself it was fine, I was safe, sit up and look around. My arms and legs disagreed, shook compulsively and I thought I was going to faint. Very annoying. Husband was not impressed when he found me up there and had to come up and talk me back down the ladder. I decided to not try again the following night.

Husband had bit of a learning experience himself. We went to Spain that year for our holiday and he kept complaining of a pain in his side. He eventually went to the doctor and was told he had a hernia. I thought they were things old men got. I could not understand how city worker husband had got one. Then someone mentioned that he had been having weight lifting competitions with the boys, seeing who could lift the heaviest bit of scaffolding. It all made sense. I was perhaps not as sympathetic as he hoped, even though he assures me that he won the competition.

Do hope we don’t find Mum sitting on the roof – I’ll call you if I do.

Take care,
Anne x


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