Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Reflections on Falling off a Ladder

One minute I was up the ladder. The next, flat on my back on the concrete terrace at the back of the cottage.  There wasn't even time for my past life to flash before my eyes.

I lay there, wondering if any bits were broken, but all seemed to be in working order, though the pot which held the blueberry bush looked a little the worse for wear. I gingerly set off up the garden to the house, reassured Tod that I was ok - not that he'd realised anything was wrong - and he departed for his normal evening of bridge.

I'm not good up ladders.  Much beyond the third step and I'm hyperventilating.  So later that same night, when my right foot had swollen (I was not quite as ok as I first thought) and the nurse at A&E asked what height I'd fallen from: "Un? Deux? Trois? Quatre? Cinq?" and I replied: "Cinq ou peut-être six", I meant steps and he meant metres. He looked a little startled.

It was a busy night at A&E and not much sign of a doctor.  I was relieved that the woman who came in with contractions was whisked away.  Not sure any of us in reception would have been up to delivering a baby. By 2am I still hadn't been seen.  So we came home, caught up on lost sleep and my foot has steadily mended ever since without medical intervention.

Friends suggest I should stop self-harming - what with the sun burn in early summer and now this.

I reckon it was hubris.  Pride and falling and all that.  I was busy; coping (I smugly thought) without asking Tod for help; rushing around getting the cottage ready, doing the garden, painting furniture; making the patio nice with curtains and shading. My second reaction lying there (after first wondering what I'd broken) was: "There's still so much to do".

And that's it. All this year there's been so much to do. In fact every year we've been here there's been so much to do.  Friends tell us they love what we've done in the cottage and the house, what we're creating in the garden.  Me, all I do is rush around, getting stressed, as I see more jobs to be done.

Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something: "Slow down. Stop and look around.  This is a beautiful place, to be loved and appreciated for what it already is. Pause. And take joy from what you have already achieved."


  1. I'm glad it sorted on its own...as things iften do...but what a nasty shock for you.

    I sympathise...I hate heights and one of the better features of finally disposing of the house in France is that I no longer have to hang out of four storey windows trying to paint shutters!

    I think you should listen to the Universe...it has a point.

  2. Thanks for the sympathy Helen. No way could I cope with four storeys! You have my admiration for your bravery. Four steps is more than enough. The Universe often does! :) I should listen more often instead of just charging on. :)

  3. I have the feeling that I am older in years than you but maybe a little wiser about steps and ladders. I have to be supervised and with a second body either on the lowest rungs or at least within falling distance. The ploy is that if I'm incapacitated then who would do all the other chores around the place.
    Take care.

  4. Hi Lesley - wise words. :) I thought I was being careful - given my dislike of ladders. It's an A frame. No idea how / why it tipped over.

  5. A-frame ladders can be very treacherous, Sue. A friend of mine had a very bad fall from one and she was only on the 4th step like you. Glad you managed to cope without a doctor's ministrations in the end. I'm hopeless on ladders too, if it's any consolation....

    Listen to the universe - it's has a lot more experience than you.

  6. Hello Perpetua, sorry to hear about your friend. Yes, I was very lucky. Hope the universe takes very good care of you over the coming days. Good luck with the op. :)