Thursday 5 May 2011


There was some inner world discussion about the title of this piece. Should it be 'Accidents' or 'Mishaps'. As you see, Mishaps won. The inspiration came from a potentially unpleasant happening. Actually, now I come to think of it, it was unpleasant, at the time. It morphed in to funny when it was successfully over. By now, you may well be asking what is 'it'. 'It' is me stuck in the bath. Several times before it has been a d..n close run thing but residual strength and a modicum of fear have ultimately levered me out; two parts residual strength and one part fear, I'd say. Anyway, came the occasion when the residue was minimal and the fear an impediment. Stupidly, I was alone in the house. Sensibly, I had vowed never to have a bath if I were alone in the house, (Heaven forfend that it be the Guru who was in. I'm not convinced , generous and kind though he be, I would want to put him through hoiking an elderly, unclothed lady out of her bath. On the other hand, I could always have sacrificed a towel to the waves in the interests of decorum. But the Gods be thanked, we were not put to that test.) How sense had become idiocy I havent yet had the heart to analyse , but alone I was. I tried as many times as I have digits on which to count, but my arms and shoulders were no match for those slippery slopes. After much too long, I sat back, took breath and stock and remembered the telephone I had brought in to the bathroom with me.( Not all stupidity, then) But whom to ring? I knew the Guru was inaccessible and I was not yet sufficiently frightened to call in the nearest neighbour who would be young and strong enough to hoik, on the unbelievably self-centred grounds that, a famous novelist, she would put me, identifiable, in her next book. Dear Reader, the combination of fear, shame and freezation eventually gave me the impetus to do my own hoiking. And, as you will have gathered, the thing speaking for itself, I emerged, intact, to write the tale. Further, as I write, a nice man, sent by the Council, has just installed a seat-lift in the bath. Another nice man will come, when summoned, to give me what he called 'a dry run' in its use. Nothing has more incontravertably alerted the 40 year old to the naked, stark reality of this truth: I am more than three score and ten, in constant danger of being wet, cold and stranded. The Gods forfend that I should ever suffer a humourectomy or an overgrown sense of shame because I suspect this may just be the first of many such age-related mishaps. Keep Calm and Carry on: yes, indeed.

On the same lines, the Guru, whom I had not seen for a while, came in one evening while I was still awake. I was really pleased I could see him but I was not suitable for viewing and leapt - yes, leapt - off the bed to fetch my dressing gown. I fell. First, I stumbled, then I fell, off the end of the bed where I had taken refuge after the stumble. At this point, Himself reached my door. He did try hoiking, he really did, but he was alarmed and I was laughing and neither condition helped much. Then, the instructions of a great sports masseuse came to my remembering ear. I rolled on to my knees and thrust myself up with my hands, supported by the very bed that had been my downfall. Poor Guru was treated to a sight of black underweared behind and rather too much flesh but he seems to have survived and, other than a multiplicity of bruises, so have I. (It was the underwear that was black. There were no bruises at that point.) A dear friend, of similar years, found herself in the bath situation in a far country. She, too, employed the knee manouevre, handicapped by the fact that one is damaged and more in the way than co-operative. However, she, too survived though now sworn off bathing for the rest of her days. Be warned: be very warned. It's upper arm and wrist strength you need to cultivate when you are fortyish. You will need that very much more than you will need a six pack or waistline three decades from now. And beware a man bearing a chair-lift for the bath. He has "you are a very old lady" written all over him. To cleanliness which may be instead of Godliness......

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! And point well taken - I'm off to the gym to build up the upper body strength!