Monday, June 23, 2008

A Frank Spencer Moment

It’s never been my intention to have this blog evolve into a year long catalogue of my many accidents and near death experiences but all I seem to talk about lately are the many mishaps and scrapes that I seem to drop myself into. Maybe I should just post my medical records and have done with it?

Today’s bone crunching event, however, has been a real humdinger.

Picture this. An electrician turns up on site today to attend to the many electrical failures that the building has incurred over the recent weeks – blown light bulbs, that kind of thing. Picture three particularly troublesome bulbs that stretch out over a flat ceiling right above a run of very high steep stairs. Ladders are not an option as the walls around the stair case are all lined with plate glass windows at just the point where a ladder would ideally rest.

The furthest bulb is a good 12ft above the bottom step.

Now the sane, even the corporate thing to do would be to hire a stair tower (at extra cost) to access the bulbs safely.

Not this electrician. He’s confident he can climb up the wall – which remember has windows inset into it and hence ledges – and can reach the blown bulbs with the power of his inhuman sparky agility. I’m not so sure about this but the electrician is already hoisting himself up using the banister as his first foot-hold.

The first two bulbs are swapped out easily enough – and I’m impressed the guy can do this one-handed given that his other hand is pinching hold of a ledge while his legs straddle a 12ft drop. The third and final bulb requires a manoeuvre that even Peter Parker would baulk at but Mr Sparks manages it. He must be clinging on with his teeth at this point I swear.

Meanwhile I’m halfway up the stairs having kittens. And they ain’t purring.

But there’s no going back at this point and... oh my God.... he’s done it. Mission accomplished. Great! Cue cheesy smiles.

So. Bulbs all changed. Just the problem of how to get down. And I bet we’ve all done this. Taken what looks like a simple route up a cliff face, a mountain side, a sheer office wall and then when it’s come time to head down again the route suddenly isn’t as simple. Or just doesn’t present itself at all.

Cue much swearing and foul language all round. Which of course always helps.

In the end we decide on the traditional (and probably most unhelpful) solution. I will “guide” his foot back to the banister allowing for his “safe disembarkation”.

Yeah right. Like guiding someone’s foot somehow diminishes both distance and gravity. A gap of 5ft suddenly becomes a mere 2 just because I’m guiding someone’s foot down through it.

Not sure how it happened because it all happened so fast. I guess Mr Sparks could hang on no longer. Suddenly I had 15 stone of tooled up electrician collapsing onto my right shoulder... somehow my right arm ended up hooked between his legs in an attempt to stop him falling any further.

What should have happened at this point is this: my shoulder dislocates and my arm breaks and I fall face forwards onto the sharp end of the stairs. The electrician continues his descent and cracks his skull open on the metal runs of a chairlift that awaits the impact of the rest of his body at the foot of the stairs. Mr Sparks get a broken neck and several cracked ribs. I get a face full of metal edging and a pension.

What actually happens is that Mr Sparks emerges unscathed because he manages to get a foot onto the banister (see guiding did help) and thus prevents the full weight of his body from crushing my spine into chalk dust (that ball was in God-damn-it). My arm isn’t dislocated – although it feels like it – just bruised and benumbed by 15 stone of electrician’s arse collapsing onto it. Thankfully a bit of arm wind-milling seems to get it moving again and despite a continued soreness and an ache that just won’t stop I’m in pretty good nick all things considered.

Mr Sparks and me agree that we never do anything that stupid ever, ever again. Next time we hire the stair tower and save ourselves a rather large laundry bill.

Final irony: tomorrow afternoon I am attending a meeting at council HQ to discuss Health & Safety and the compiling of Risk Assessments.

You know, I just might keep my gob shut...

30 comments:

Rol said...

At least he hand something soft to land on. It's a pity we're not still in the 70's, you could have sold your story to a sitcom... nowadays, the embarrassments required have to be a lot less physical.

Steve said...

Rol, if he'd fallen two inches to the right I'd be wearing his arse like a hat... now if that doesn't warrant a (w)hole sit-com I don't know what does...

Daisy said...

the blogosphere is eating my posts :(

Daisy said...

steve...you need bubble wrap and lots of it...wrap yourself it in and protect every part...this way either people will stay away from you for fear you are crazy...or you will be protected from their antics...either way you will be safe...and karen can pop your bubbles at night :)

kate5kiwis said...

can you hear my guffaws from here?
we've just spent a fortnight with frank, finally intro'd him to the kids. S10 in particular seems to have got his voice down pat: oooooo Bettttttyyyy, etc
love him to bits ('n'pieces)

do you have voltaren there? you know, a good anti-inflammatory (beats all that organic stuff hands-down).then you won't have to do quite so much arm wind-milling... X

Steve said...

Daisy, I always keep a roll of bubble wrap around for those very reasons... ;-)

Hi Kate, good ol' Frank nearly made it fashionable to ave a little bit o' trouble wiv me waterworks... God bless him. I shall look into the Voltaren thing - though I at first thought you were referring to a character from Doctor Who!

MOTHER OF MANY said...

With me picking something off the floor or even getting down on my knees to clean the floor always seems such a good idea BUT getting back up is always the difficult bit!
I also am accident prone,barely a day goes by without something.Today I bruised my fingers whilst taking the bottom off a down pipe(don't ask..... bloody plumbers!), now that is quite good as usually I would have broken my fingers!
I think you and I need to find some sort of keep-us-safe talisman however I am sure they only exist in TV shows like Supernatural, not real life.

Steve said...

Ally, if you ever find any - I'll take a hundred.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Never sure whether I should tell you I have laughed at your mishaps but since Kate has been guffawing, I think I can be allowed a little chuckle.

You really are accident prone at the mo. You are outdoing my son.

I love bubblewrap though. If you are going to wrap yourself in that you will find you are followed around by an entourage of addicted poppers one of which will be me so there will be none left for Karen to pop at night.

Definitely the stair tower next time though eh? Either that or employ lighter weight electricians.

Steve said...

Don't worry, Gina, guffaws are not only allowed but positively encouraged - though I must confess that I'm on pain killers this morning.

It might be quite nice to have an entourage though disappointing to note that all they'd interested in is popping my bubbles. I'm sure there's a humourous epitaph in there somewhere...

If only the electrician had been wrapped in bubble wrap then things may have turned out less painful all round!

Trubes said...

I got a fit of vertigo just reading this Steve but did laugh(sorry).
Voltaren is an excellent anti inflammatory and pain killer but can cause acid...talk to to your pharmacist, 'tho short term should be ok! Dr Trubes has spoke!
Anyway I hope you are not in too much pain.

Bubble wrap may be a good idea, particularly as I've just read about your finger accident!

Take care....These things, sometimes, come in threes.....Whooooh..

Di.xx

Steve said...

Di, as I lie hear in my hospital bed listening to the metallic gurgling of my iron-lung and the raspy guffaw of Sid James in the bed next to me, it is of some comfort to me to know that my self sacrifice in the cause of slapstick comedy is bringing happiness into the lives of so many able-bodied, accident free mortals who will never experience the sheer adulterated joy of slicing off their thumbs in a bacon grinder or adding pleats to their groinal area during a bizarre sewing machine accident... it is days like these that affirm my sense of purpose. Thank you. ;-)

-eve- said...

Oh no... wow, that reminds me not to be on the receiving end ;-) I'd much rather be the one climbing...lol. Was thinking that if I were ever changing those lightbulbs, I'd like to have you waiting below! ;-)

TimeWarden said...

Sounds like you need the attention of Hattie Jacques rather than Sid James, Steve, as long as she doesn't fall on you too! She's a bit of a heavyweight.

Perhaps, for your next trick, you could try holding onto the customer handle of a double decker bus whilst being towed along on roller skates and see if you can't avoid accidents that way!

Steve said...

Thanks Eve - always good to know I could find employment as someone else's safety net! Not sure I'd be a soft landing though!

Funny TimeWarden, I have a sudden hankering to climb up a church steeple...!

Inchy said...

Steve, I've upgraded your hero status to 'Active'.

You must move amongst the mere mortals of you community doing good deeds and performing acts of common sense wherever necessary.

If you need any pointers let me know.

Steve said...

Inchy, I can honestly say that "active" is an epithet that has rarely been applied to me. But thank you for the honour. I shall hold fire on the pointers as I'll probably impale myself upon them...

EmmaK said...

It's a pity you don't live in the US, you could now be suing for 'emotional trauma caused by exposure to builder's crack.'

Matthew Rudd said...

Would have been more bearable had it been a lady electrician.

Steve said...

Emma, if I lived in the US I suspect the electrician would have weighed a darn sight more more than 15st (if the media is to be believed) and I'd currently have a spinal length of no more than 2 inches...

Matthew, I doubt it would have been as nice for the lady... ;-)

The Sagittarian said...

Dear oh dear. The health & safety side of me is positively cringing, Steve. Let's be 'avin' no more of this. You got 2 wee lads and a wife to look after, that would be hard to do from at the very least a hospickle bed (let alone wheelchair... Consider yourself spanked. And not in a nice way.

Steve said...

Amanda, knuckles positively rapped. I won't be doing it again, no way, ma'am. P.S. Is it possible to spank someone not in a good way?

The Sagittarian said...

Dunno, technically we are not allowed to spank anymore over here! However, no-one is complaining about it (if it is still going on, that is!!).

The only quibble about spanking has been from some do-gooders who reported a father for giving his kid a quick cuff on the ear as he whizzed past on his bike towards a river!! Go figure.

Steve said...

Was the father trying to stop him... or increase his speed?!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

That's one lucky narrow shave!

I hope he's put long-life bulbs in!

Steve said...

Sadly not Laura, though if he had, he wouldn't have had to extend so far given their longer length. Could have avoided this whole episode probably... either that or I would have ended up with a long life bulb embedded in my shoulder blade.

Matthew Rudd said...

We nearly got you the Post of the Week award with this! Go to http://www.postoftheweek.com and click View The Shortlist.

Steve said...

Matthew, I'm highly honoured - thank you. Always better to be as "also-ran" rather than a "put down in the stalls before the race began"...!

Heather said...

phew. that coulda been a wee bit more painful than it turned out to be eh? How in the hell do we get ourselves into those situations?

Steve said...

Heather: by ignoring Health & Safety advice and all calls of commonsense...! ;-)