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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Downhill all the way


Prelude: Brother Sir Hugh has walked heroically in his time: from sea to different sea, along mountain ranges, through gorges. Older now, he reports facing a 3-mile walk and fretting he'll lack material for his blog.
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It's upping time and a smear of light downstairs shows through the front-door windows. Fidgety dawn is arriving earlier these days.

I'm at the top of the stairs in my upping-time garb: PJs, heavy fleece dressing gown, loose furry slippers. A decade ago, half-way down, my heels slipped and I bounced on my coccyx; slippers aren't exactly secure and I must go down carefully. I too am older, plus four years more than Sir Hugh.

There are thirteen steps and I recall vaguely there was a similar number at Tyburn, the old public gallows in London. Unlucky for some. It behoves me to hold hard to the handrail but the physics isn't propitious; my grip is in line with the stairs, a grip at right-angles would be stronger.

VR has always urged a tight grip for another reason. Eventually the rail will smoothen and we'll have a patina. Not yet, though; my fingers slide over rough wood underneath the rail. Most descenders will never notice, though.

Directly above the stairs is a tall slab of wall, the backside of our bedroom’s en suite. Hanging on it is VR's huge tapestry of a cockerel. Alas, rarely seen. Going downstairs you don't look out, but down.

My feet slide over the carpeted rim between step and riser. The movement echoes the coccyx slip but today I'm aware and not at risk.

Careful at the bottom. To the unwary there is always one step more. An awful sensation: expecting the ground floor but finding only air.

Distance? 4 metres?

11 comments:

Avus said...

I loved "smoothen". Very Anglo Saxon.

I similarly descend in similar lethal slippers, a bannister to clutch on either side.

Sir Hugh said...

This post has prompted a reply by way of a post on my own blog, "A game changer"

conradwalks.blogspot.com

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus: Two bannisters! Very belt and braces.

Sir Hugh: Fear you've missed the point entirely

MikeM said...

Thirteen risers at an uncommonly tall 20cm each would only be 2.6 m. But I've been on many ladders and had many near misses, almost every one of them from the second rung up, thinking the next step would be the ground. A ladder, rigged above your head and parallel to the stairs would give you a perpendicular handhold. As would a more practical series of pegs protruding from the railing. Both visually bad, and the pegs could take an eye out in a fall. Never mind. Be careful.

Sir Hugh said...

I presumed the point was to demonstrate that you could write a post about something insignificant and only four metres to illustrate your reaction to my complaint of the possible lack of material in the contrasting distance of three miles, but those were only my thoughts, which were worth noting I thought, and in any case I did make a decent post (in my opinion) in the end. My post by reply identified something else that was insignificant but eventfully meaningful - perhaps it's me that is becoming more abstruse?

Sir Hugh said...

Eventually

MikeM said...

Before you correct me, I'll agree that the hypotenuse of the stair triangle might approach 4m.

Roderick Robinson said...

Sir Hugh: Not insignificant, but small in scale. And, of course, make it readable and of mild interest - which, of course, I may not be the final judge.

It isn't simply my hobbyhorse, the matter recurs, unannounced, in what may be regarded as earlier types of blog, eg, Pepys diaries. On one day Pepys goes to watch the hanging-drawing-and-quartering of an officer in Cromwell's army who supported the uprising against Charles 1, P. then goes on to lunch with friends where he "orders oysters", returns home and is irritated by his wife's untidiness, kicks a piece of furniture and breaks it. A day of extremes you might say, which is what gives the diaries its special flavour. The momentous mixed with the mundane but - and here's Pepys' skill - somehow those smaller events help set the bigger ones in context - the context being P's lively life.

MikeM: You must have sensed me tossing and turning in bed, waiting to to get up and wield the Sword of The Hypotenuse. I'd read your earlier comment last night but my grandson is here as a guest (for the Borderlines Film Festival) and I had to stay my hand then.

But it will be a cold day in Hell when I out-techno you. A timely catch-up on your part. I must set a trap involving gerunds.

I particularly liked the fantasy whereby my house is slowly destroyed (aesthetically at least) in order to resolve a minor passing idea. For that I award you Tone Deaf's putty medal; by now you must have quite a collection.

Sabine said...

My father who just celebrated his 88th birthday and continues to laboriously climb and descend all stairs in his way nevertheless judges all homes by their potential to accommodate a stair lift. That smooth fold up gadget whereby one sits sideways being transported up or down. He himself of course is years away from installing one but knowing thst one of these can be fitted in a day (!) he has no fears of the future.

Roderick Robinson said...

Sabine: Stannah is the best known supplier of stair-lifts in the UK, Their adverts suggest they confer a regal look on their passengers. When the time comes for your dad to install one I suggest you also buy him the appropriate accoutrements: an orb, a sceptre and, of course, a crown. If there's enough cash perhaps you could hire a couple of out-of-work actors to enact the Changing of the Guard at the bottom of the stairs.

This presumes your dad favours monarchies. If he's left-wing the outlay is a good deal less: a flat cap and and Socialist Worker poster on a stick (suggested slogan: Stalin Wasn't Ageist).

Avus said...

Up, and to my PC, partaking of my morning draught on the way.......

A lovely paragraph about Pepys, Robbie, sums up him (and the Diaries) beautifully. He is one of my favourites and I must have been through those diaries at least 5 times. The "Companion" (volume X) is as interesting as the works themselves. I find it enhances my understanding of the period, is engrossing, informative and can be read as a work apart.

And so to bed..........