A Rag Bag of Thoughts

The latest issue of Cattails is out and I appear in it twice – page 89 and page 91. However, they aren’t the best bits of the issue and there are 193 pages of good stuff to read. These two mark the point where I was really struggling to write. Things, as I have said, are looking up again now.

One of my neighbours has just been playing fast and lose with the laws of gravity, but has finally succeeded in putting a bird box in his conifer. It’s at least twelve feet off the ground, and much better than my weedy attempts. I usually chicken out when it gets to eight feet. I have bounced a number of times when falling off ladders and don’t see any point in pushing my luck. The strange thing I find is that if I were writing a novel I would have the fall in slow motion with plenty of time for flashbacks and reminiscence but in real life I often only have time to think “Oh . . .” as the ladder moves, then find myself lying on the floor. In fact, once I merely found myself lying on the floor, without the initial “Oh . . .”

I’ve fallen off four times, which is hardly a great sample, but at no time has my life flashed before me. That might be because I was between six and twelve feet up when it happened. If you fall off from fifty feet it is probably different.

Random Poppy Picture

It was also slightly different the time that I fell off due to the wood-wormed rung. I don’t count that among the four falls, which were all due to my carelessness – over-reaching or setting the ladder up on soft ground (correct, I’m not a fast learner).

On the way up, using a ladder from the shed of a gardening customer, I note the woodworm on the way up and thought “I must be careful on the way down”. However, I was so grateful to be on the way down (it was a tricky trimming operation twenty feet up a pear tree) that I forgot to be careful. The rung collapsed, as did the next one, I began to overbalance, I thought of the concrete slabs that were waiting, and I grabbed a branch, ending up swinging like a monkey. It is funny now, and you have permission to laugh.

I did learn from that. I bought a ladder and never used a customer’s ladder again.

The funniest thing i ever did was cut a dead branch on a tree. It was about twenty feet up (it seems an ominous distance when you read this post. I cut it using my pruning saw on a long pole, and my feet were firmly on the ground. The lesson I learned from this was that branches fall faster than you think so you should never stand directly under one you are cutting. I protected my head by fending it off with my forearm. The impact drove flakes of bark into my arm, which took some cleaning up, and ten years later I still have a lump on my arm where it hit.

I think 500 words is enough for now. If anyone is interested I have another selection of disaster stories, some of which feature electricity.

Bear with tools

15 thoughts on “A Rag Bag of Thoughts

  1. jodierichelle

    Simon, those are wonderful poems: your angel mother with her face changed by time was so touching. And I loved the idea of you passing sweets to Julia as you watch a male bird feeding his mate. Just wonderful!

    I DID laugh, however, at the thought of you hanging by a branch after the ladder incident. Hilarious.

  2. Helen

    I’m afraid I did laugh but glad you have survived the gardening incidents you mention.

    Anyway, congratulations on the publications. Well done after your hard work and perseverance.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      I’m thinking of inventing “self-righting trousers” based on car airbags so that next time I fall over I will rise automatically. And probably dramatically . . .

  3. tootlepedal

    I enjoyed your works, and as you say, there is a lot of good stuff in there with them. It must be good to be featured with other poems that you think are worth reading. l enjoyed your reflections on falling off ladders too.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Thank you. Yes, a couple of years ago I started judging magazines by the people they had in them – it gives a sense of balance. 🙂

      As fo falling off ladders, it’s not the falling that’s the har5d bit, it’s the bouncing that always worries me. 🙂


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