Friday, 17 December 2010

Finely Balanced

The top floor and the first floor are usually closed, asleep behind their shutters, when there are only two of us here.  Christmas means hoovering,  and catching spiders' webs with a curious brush of bristly, well, bristles on the end of an ever-extending telescopic handle (nothing else will do; it wraps the webs around itself and the spiders make off sulkily under the beams). And opening all the windows to air out before switching on the heating.

The external shutters are surprisingly heavy and once they start swinging outwards are balanced to keep going till they meet the wall and can be fixed back.  Two of them tried to pull me out of the window this morning as I had forgotten to let go and they had lost the metal pivots that fit inside the hinges.  The wind plucks and plucks at them until these work free and fall out.  Fortunately the bits of metal hadn't hit anyone in the piazza or the garden.

This is the kind of problem that niggles.  A tiny adjustment that requires a man to balance  high on  windowsills holding a heavy shutter, a hammer, a selection of pivots, and a can of easing oil.  It is snowing lightly, the wind icy and it's a week before Christmas yet after a call there was a young man at the door who had everything mended and had checked out all the surrounding hinges on the more exposed windows within half an hour.   Goodness knows what 'Elf an' Safety would have made of a head for heights, agility, quick hands and a thorough knowledge of a specialised carpenter's trade.  

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