1 EAGLETON NOTES: Feart o' Heights

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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Feart o' Heights

Today Cro posted about repairing his roof

I am exceptionally wary of heights. 

I used to rock climb but only because I loved abseiling. Don't ask me why I had no fear of, and actually enjoyed, abseiling but I did. However climbing up in order to do it scared the pants off me.

A friend nearly died when he was us a step ladder and it slipped. He could not have fallen more than his own height. We all have many such stories.

Friends had a house in the Poitou Charente. He was not good with heights to the extent that anything over a few inches from the ground was a problem. So, in the early days of this century, he asked me if I would "walk the roof". I understand that is what the French call the practice of getting onto the pantile roof and walking along it putting back into place the tiles which had been dislodged by the winter storms. In this case my task was also to photograph any more serious damage.

So I duly, walked the roof. I repaired all that I could and photographed that which I could not. 

The plan was that the materials would be purchased at the local bricolage and I would repair the roof. 

I should now tell you, dear reader, that it was a large roof comprising the house and barn. To the front the drop from the roof was only about 2½ times my height but at the back there was a very much more considerable drop. So being the feartie that I am I got a climbing rope that could be anchored on the front of the building enabling me to repair the back of the building. If I slipped I would not fall off the roof and could be hauled back up to the ridge. 

As it happened my friend abandoned the plan for that spring and I never did have to get up and do the full repairs.

That is me!

33 comments:

  1. If I could, I'd insert that emoji imitating Munch's The Scream... I've never been any good with climbing more than two or three steps up a ladder. In my childhood home I never once went up the ladder to the loft. Nor in any other house for that matter...

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    1. 😵, you might be able to insert emojis in comments by either dragging and dropping or, by right clicking on the mouse which might give that option (I use Apple not Windows so it may well not be the same). I have no fear of going up ladders - just a fear of falling off them.

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    2. On my phone now... 😱 ok from here it seems to work! I usually do blogging and commenting from Windows on my laptop with extra keyboard and then I can't. (Or don't know how.)

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  2. I'm not fond of heights, either.

    It's always intrigued me...so often it appears as men grow older the more they want to climb up on a roof, or guttering...up ladders...up heights...to do work they, at their age, should not be doing! It begging for disaster to occur!! Wake up! There are younger men out there capable of doing the job. You...you older guys...don't have to prove a damn thing!!!! :)

    Take good care, Graham. :)

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    1. Lee, I'm definitely an exception to your observation. I do still go up ladder and so on but I certainly don't want to do it. any more. I only do it if I have to. I also make sure that the ladder is well tethered.

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  3. Oh dear, talk about hanging on!
    Have you see Expedition with Steve Backshall? If not, then take a look at the episode in Oman, Jebel Shams, over 400 meter drop. The abseil there is absolutely stunning. I'm also height challenged, but watching that abseil is a total thrill.
    https://pbswisconsin.org/watch/expedition/longest-abseil-ulgtoy/

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    1. Maywyn, unfortunately the video is not available in my region because of rights restrictions. I have seen people abseil off various buildings hundreds of metres up. I don't love it that much!

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  4. There comes a time when one must become realistic about heights and quit the high stuff. Balance is a problem.

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    1. Absolutely, Red, and I'm getting to the stage of considering that more and more when things arise.

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  5. As a child, my brother and I would climb up onto our roof and cling to the chimney - we thought it was huge fun! Now I cannot even climb up a ladder and the very thought of being on something high scares the heebie-jeebies out of me. Somewhere along the way, I have lost that boundless joy and total disregard of fear that children seem to be well endowed with. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe not :)

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    1. Margaret, I lived in a two storey house all my life until I came to Lewis. I could no more have done that as a child than I could have flown. Trees were my limit. Oh, and throwing myself off sand dunes.

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  6. I've never been afraid of heights, I was a born tree climber and I'm still not scared of them (heights, that is) but I've become afraid of falling since taking a nasty tumble a few years ago. Lesson learned. That's a great photo!

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    1. Pauline, I can't really imagine you being afraid of anything or anyone. I'm happy to know, however, that since The Fall you've been more circumspect.

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  7. Hello, GB. That is a fab picture! How did you get down? Did you wait for the person taking the picture to get a ladder or just dropped down? Nevertheless, its quite scary. Cheers!

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    1. Ruby, Im afraid that I have to admit that that guttering would never have held even my weight. I Photoshopped it.

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  8. Two possibilities.
    (A), Very strong finger tips and guttering.
    (B), Photoshop.
    I suspect the latter. Gave me a smile, thanks.

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    1. lol nah it cant be photoshop, i think its strong fingertips and nice pull ups :)

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    2. Adrian, I could certainly have held myself up for long enough for a photo but it was Photoshopped for two reasons: the guttering would never have held me; and the idea of having my face scraped off by the pebbledash if I got the dismount wrong did not appeal.

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  9. Our house has those same tiles. The roofs are easy to repair, but one risks breaking more as you move around. I keep a long pole with a forked end specifically for pushing any slipped tiles back into position. Broken tiles are replaced extremely carefully. Love the photo!

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    1. Cro, the tiles are certainly very fragile when it comes to stepping on them (I took very grippy soft soled sports shoes especially to do the job) but the pitch is shallower than UK houses and it is easier to replace them. I had never thought of a long pole and I doubt I'd have had the skill. However there was a lot of serious damage up near the ridge in a lot of places and I had to go up to photograph that anyway.

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  10. Whew - good job you didn't have to go back up there! I hope your friend had his roof repaired eventually.
    I was never afraid of heights and to an extent still am not, but I have become more careful, more aware of risks and of my own mortality as I am getting older. As kids and teens, we think we're immortal and invincible; I didn't think twice about climbing any tree, wall, tower or other structure I could get to. My sister has always been the opposite and to this day has difficulties crossing a bridge made of planks where you can see in between, even if it is just a millimeter between one plank and the next.

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    1. Meike, I'm somewhere in between you and your sister. I've never been afraid of things like the glass floor in Canada's CNN Tower nor rope bridges nor trees but rock faces and ladders demand a great deal of effort on my part.

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  11. I'm with you Graham. You would never find me up a ladder. My balance has always been a little dodgy due to inner ear problems so I think climbing is not a good idea. I am glad you are still here to tell the tale.

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    1. JayCee, climbing is definitely not a good idea if one has balance problems. You have my commiserations.

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  12. I'm not a fan of heights that I have no control of such as ski lifts, flying and the like. I remember being scared of going up the Eiffel tower in the lift, walking the stairs, however, I was fine.

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    1. Jules, oddly I don't mind ski lifts in the least, nor para-gliding. In fact I loved paragliding so much that I almost took it up when I was in New Zealand. Helicopters with a clear bubble nose are my favourite though. Walking up tower stairs on the other had can give me the heebeegeebees.I have to say your fear seems much more rational that mine.

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  13. No guttering about here would ever hold you. Not even a sagging in the photo. It can't be true.

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    1. Rachel, it isn't true. I used Photoshop. The house and I were both real and taken almost at the same time with a little trickery then applied.

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  14. Timely. As I write this, professional roofers are currently scrapping off old shingles in order to put on new ones. Thankfully DH admitted that kind of work is beyond him now. I did point out (somewhat bluntly), that it wasn't the lack of skill or even bravado that might keep him from completing the job (he does still get up there to clear the gutters--the pitch isn't steep). Rather it was his lack of patience should he come across something he couldn't fix that would render the work a disaster. He was not amused. But I am still chuckling. As my mother would say, he has the patience of a boiling teakettle. Bless his heart. :)

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    1. Mary, one thing you definitely need when roofing or working on houses is patience. Losing one's cool inevitably leads to disaster of one sort or another - often involving self-injury.

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  15. If you want to make me sick without scaling any height myself: Just show me that photo of Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan, New York, US.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunch_atop_a_Skyscraper

    My stomach turns effortlessly, my spine crawls.

    U

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    1. Ursula, I have to say that when I first saw that picture years ago it made me feel quite strange and I still feel that way when I look at it now. Just imagine if you sneezed, or dropped a piece of lunch and tried to catch it.

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