Stan Cullimore: Long days mean long to-do lists
It's been a crazy week here at Cullimore Towers. Just raced through my 'To Do' list. I mowed the lawn, got a new puppy called Mabel and even found time to mend the guttering. It was quite a busy old time. Mind you, I'm not surprised.
It's that time of year again; Longest Day time. Things always get a bit over-excitable around now. It's the long evenings. Why else would I agree to get a dog and then climb a 40ft ladder in howling winds to clean some dirt out of a plastic tube?
Perhaps I should explain. Our house is one of those old, crumbly buildings. The sort that are very tall and very thin. It is also very expensive to run. Every job costs a fortune because no-one likes getting that far from the ground unless they're getting well paid. So when a kind friend recently pointed out to me that my gutters were blocked, my heart broke a little. You see, clearing the gutters is a doddle. You can do it in two minutes with your bare hands. Or rather, you COULD do it in two minutes with your bare hands. If your arms were about 45 feet long.
My friend, Tony the Plumber, noticed my grumpiness and came up with a blindingly stupid idea. We could use his ladder to get up there and sort it out. I knew this was foolish. The correct way to clear out gutters that high in the sky is from a passing helicopter. Or from the safety of a scaffold tower. But those things are expensive and Tony's ladder was not.
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Which is why I found myself climbing up it shortly afterwards. I was a bit nervous, but not too much. We'd gone through health and safety checks. Everything was sorted out. My job was to climb to the top and clean out the gutter. Tony's job was to stand on the bottom and make sure the ladder didn't move. Simple. Until I shot up the ladder and realised there was a small gale whipping round the eaves. It's amazing how windy things get up there. But I got a good grip and set to work. After all, what could go wrong? Tony was anchoring that ladder to the spot. It wasn't going anywhere. He even started shouting out encouraging words from below.
After a while I noticed the encouraging words were getting clearer. Almost as if Tony was talking into my ear. I looked over and noticed his head sticking out of the bathroom window. At ear level. Hmm. So nothing was anchoring the ladder to the spot any more. I was pretty much swaying in the breeze like a ripe pear ready for the drop. I tell you, things got a bit windier up there for a while.
The long evenings are also why we now have a Schnauzer puppy in the family. Here are the facts. The sun was shining. Half my family are allergic to dogs. I was out for an evening walk. A very sweet dog came up to me and was very friendly. So I took some photo's. I went home and found the house was full of my lovely family. I showed them my pics and explained how delightful this doggy had been. Mrs C casually suggested we could get one. This was crazy talk!
I should fill in some background detail here. Because of the allergy thing, I've always been told the only dogs we can have in the house from now on are silly ones. Little yappy balls of foolishness that are just plain wrong. Quite frankly, I don't want to be seen with one of those things – so a dog was out of the question. Until now. Suddenly I was surrounded by the eager faces of my grandchildren, begging me to get a puppy.
The trouble is, as we all know. A dog isn't just for Christmas, or even the summer holidays. Getting a pooch is a long-term, time and money-filled, commitment. Not only that, I know exactly who would be in charge of all the hard bits. Going out for rain-soaked walkies, paying bills and picking up poo. I would be doing all of that. And still. I find myself typing this with a puppy lying at my feet looking all adorable and perfect and up for a game of chase-the-tennis-ball. You see, I told see. Everything has got over-excitable this week.
Which reminds me, I've just taken another look at my 'To Do' list. There's a few things in there that I haven't got round to yet. Does anyone actually enjoy repainting the spare bedroom? It's not my idea of a good time. Nor is selling my campervan. But Mrs C wants a smaller car. So it's on the list, it has to be done. There is one thing on there that really interests me though. Sorting out a grown-up gap year. What should I do? Where should I go? And can I take Mabel with me? Hmmm. So many questions.