Ladders feature remarkably large in our life here and not just because Mark and I are of shorter stature. Lloyd is tall. Many of our plants are much taller than he can reach. For many years we have operated on four aluminium ladders – three typical A-frame type and a full extension ladder. A few months ago, Lloyd stopped a pruning job halfway through and said that he did not feel safe continuing with it because of the state of the ladders. Lloyd is not one for complaining so, on the rare occasions when he red-flags a workplace safety issue, we take it seriously. Besides, we knew our ladders had become dodgy and rickety.
It has taken a couple of months, some research and many discussions but the first two of three new ladders arrived this week and it is ridiculously exciting. This is what is called a platform ladder. Now any of us can feel quite safe standing on the top rung because it is a larger platform with a safety bar on a very sturdy base. We bought the tallest one because it is the higher jobs that had become problematic here but I can see that this ladder may also give new options for my garden photographs. I may finally be able to get some elevated vistas of the summer gardens, particularly the Court Garden. It is heavier than a straight A-frame ladder but still light enough for me to move short distances on my own although I think it will be Lloyd who uses it the most.
The second ladder has yet to arrive. It is what is called an orchard ladder with just three legs, the back one of which is a prong. This means it can be located closer in to the plants and will do less damage in a garden because it is only the front two legs that need to be placed with care and it can be used safely in areas with more slope. We have gone for the tallest option again. We had been thinking about buying one for several years but even before it has arrived, I can see how helpful it will be. Mark is particularly looking forward to this one.
We will still keep the rickety A-frames and the extension ladder. The A-frames are lighter and easier to move around for small jobs, as long as we are mindful of their limitations.
While I was busy learning about ladders, I bit the bullet and found another shorter ladder, primarily for indoor use. It was way cheaper than the other two ones, says she justifying what feels like an extravagance. A snip at just under $80. Being of shorter stature, kitchen stepladders have always been a part of my life but even so, I cannot reach the top cupboards without bringing in a taller ladder. In a house with a high ceiling stud and five of the downstairs rooms having cupboards right to the ceiling, it does mean that anything on the top shelves languishes there, ignored and probably useless, except for once every five years or so when I might remember something or wipe down the toppest of the top shelves. No more! All is now within my reach. I wonder if it is time for me to declutter?
True, I bought it online and I may have hesitated had I seen it in person. It is a little larger than I had anticipated. Quite a bit larger. To balance out the extra height, it has a wider base. Note, it is another platform ladder which is helpful because these are way more comfortable to work from. Clearly it will not replace the modest, utility kitchen steps that we use every day so I must keep those, too.
When I was a child, we used to have just one type of flour for cooking. Now we have six on hand at all times (wholemeal, high grade white, ordinary white, self-raising, cornflour, spelt flour and tapioca flour). We probably only ever had one ladder too, and that would have been a solid old wooden one in those days. Now we have a ladder for almost every occasion.
ACC* would be proud of us.
Footnote: For overseas readers, ACC is our Accident Compensation Corporation – a longstanding, taxpayer-funded body that acts as an insurance company paying out on a no-fault, no-blame basis for medical and related costs – including wages and loss of income – for all injuries and accidents. It is not a perfect system and we all like to moan about it but it has freed this country from the litigious nature of many other countries. ACC also likes to educate us on dangers around the home and unsafe ladders feature regularly.
A quick garden update. Zach has reached as far as the bamboo grove in the Wild North Garden and we now have a path through it which I found quite exciting.
Mark’s low meadow (formerly the front lawn) had finished flowering so Lloyd ran the mower over it for the first time in over three months. I expect we will have a lawn back soon and that will continue until late spring this year when Mark will want to grow it again.