I’m all for equality between the sexes, but there are some things in life a woman should not have to do. I’ve had a normal, if rather quiet three days while Timothy’s been wandering around a Scottish mountain: I don’t much like sleeping by myself (it’s too cold) and I’ve apparently forgotten how to leave enough time to make a packed lunch in the morning, but otherwise I’ve pottered around, seen friends, read a lot and enjoyed the beautiful freckle-making weather.
Today, though, I had an embarrassingly girly problem needing a man-shaped solution: I bought a pretty new blouse this morning, and needed my white summer skirt to wear with it. Sadly, the freezing weather consigned my summer skirts to the loft many moons ago. Oh yes, the loft. You heave yourself through a hole in the ceiling by means of our rickety ladder, and there’s no boarding on the floor, and I have an unexplainable fear of having a mouse leap courageously onto my face as soon as I’ve poked my head in. I’ve only been up there once, at Tim’s insistence that I ‘see where everything was’. When it came to it, I was so busy trying to balance on the inch-wide bit of wood that was available and preparing to avoid kamikaze face-hugging rodents that I didn’t see much of anything at all.
All of this considered, the problem remained. I needed the skirt. The skirt was in the loft. The probability of the skirt coming to me was remote. Therefore…an obvious conclusion. It is courage, courage, courage, that raises the blood of life to a crimson splendour, said Horace, and quite a lot of his ideas were good ones. I went downstairs and wrestled the ladder from the cupboard. I started the ascent, then after some consideration, got off again, retrieved our house phone, and put it carefully on the floor at a place I might feasibly land with a broken back should everything go horribly wrong. Ascent number two took me all the way up the ladder with my head through the hole. I announced my arrival loudly to discourage any mice that might be waiting to make the attempt. It was very hot, and I could hear rather a lot of water trickling from somewhere. Oh, I thought, we’ve got a water tank. Either that or some pigeon or other is bleeding noisily to death in the corner. I decided not to look.
Quickly I realised that, without a light, I’d be not looking at just about everything up there, so I got down the ladder, fetched my phone (oh, this modern age) and went back up again. Finding the suitcase I wanted meant pulling myself up in a He-Man-style show of derring-do, then balancing on the bit of wood and leaning over the water tank to fumble with the clasps before grabbing the bag (NOT dropping my phone in the water tank) and leaping back down to the ladder again. I came down with a beetle in my hair (rescuing it from a strange and solitary life in the insulation, I presume). But I made it.
One day I will be capable and bold and will poke my head into any number of unknown lofts with courage, courage, courage etc. For now, I think I will ask Timothy to do it. Horace will not be pleased, but there you go.