Now when it comes to matters of Health and Safety, well I practically invented it. I’ve done every course and been writing risk assessments since before I could wire a plug or do up my own nappy pins.
If Ingrid is about to do something dangerous, I’ll stop her, say something superior and suitably patronising and then make her make the situation safer before allowing her to proceed (unless she’s cooking and then we just abandon all caution)!
So after having a painful back for a week or so, I decided that I was now fit enough to tackle the vacuum cleaning. Living, as I do, in what is known locally as “The House of Four Beagles” (two canine, one feline and one …. well, Ingrid) the carpets soon turn from blue to Beagle coloured, especially as one of the mutts (Basil, the brains in the house) does nothing else but eat food and then immediately turn it into dog hair – I’ve no idea how he does it.
Now as those of you who are posh enough to have stairs but poor enough to have to vacuum them yourselves will know, that is the most difficult part to do. We have a variety of vacuum cleaning devices (none of the parts of which are interchangeable) with one of the machines being light enough to carry in one hand whilst holding the hose and today’s chosen attachment in the other.
It was going very well. I was impressed with the progress that I was making. The effects (because I hadn’t done it for a while) were instantly gratifying. Oh yes dear listener, I am a domestic god.
And then Bertie, a Beagle of quite an inquisitive nature, decides that this is some kind of game that I’m playing, or at the very least will make an interesting diversion from his busy social schedule. Being a generous soul, he brings toys to the party, which over time, he thinks he’s trained me to throw for his amusement. At about the same time, the cat decides that all this noise is a little too much for him and, in a display of daring and courageous athleticism, makes to leap across vacuum cleaner, Beagle, toy and me. Now in fairness his only mistake was one of timing, because as I lifted the toy to throw up to the top of the landing, the Beagle, who’s always way ahead of any of my plans, was sprinting up the stairs. The mid-air collision (as Newton could have predicted) obeyed all the normal rules of physics. Beagle tries some last minute aerial acrobatic collision avoidance manoeuvre, but he’s no spitfire and lands amidst the rapidly blurring mass which is me, vacuum hose and cable.
I, quite naturally, decide to step back out of the way at exactly the same moment that Mr Newton pops up again to remind me of a little thing called gravity (an invention that he’s rather pleased with as it saves him having to pick his own apples).
Thankfully I do have the aerial acrobatic manoeuvrability of a spitfire (ok so it’s more like a bouncing bomb) and I decided not to argue with Mr Newton, but to gracefully give in to the rather tedious and painful demands of this gravity thing (which I’m sure will never catch on).
After bouncing down several stairs, I came to rest (not quite the right way up) but with no noticeable injuries other than my back hurts again.
The Beagle (who from hereafter shall be known as ‘Paxo-boy the assassin dog’ on account of him being stuffed come Thanksgiving) was, bizarrely, not at all displeased with the turnout of events and immediately demanded that we play this excellent new game again. I declined his kind invitation and suggested he make the tea.
I almost hesitate to mention the fact that at some point during my flight, the vacuum cleaner hose went up my trouser leg, for fear of ridicule and quite possibly, disbelief. But it did. Well it could have been worse. Remember the cat who was, at some point in mid-air? This whole tale could have turned out very differently with me having to explain to Beagle Number 4 (or Ingrid as she’s known to some) why the cat was looking out at her from inside the Dyson ‘viewing bowl’.
So, bugger this. Who’s going to offer to come and do our stairs next time? I feel the need to acquire a maid.