127 Seconds

It’s not been a bad morning, shifting the myriad of exceedingly heavy and/or awkward things that mum has strewn around the garden. Planters that have been in situ for so long that not only have the roots grown out of the bottom and into the strata underneath, but they have also disintegrated to a point where even looking at them might cause the whole thing to shatter uncontrollable, showering you with deadly plastic shards and the contains therein.

The main task, for me at least, was to empty the pond – there were no frogs, but there were freakish alien larvae things which were fascinating to watch before you convinced yourself that were it to leap from the water it could easily burrow into your brain like that slug thing in Wrath of Khan.

What I quickly learnt, after Carole and my mum had poked off to the shops for a variety of things costing less than a pound each, was that the decking is a death trap. I mean, that’s not actually that much of a breaking news story. We already know that it is slippery as a very slippery thing – maybe an eel in some lube – but the fact that it is rotting through in various degrees across the whole structure adds a further element of excitement to the whole proceedings.

In fact, rather than a game show based on seaside 2p machines, or that ridiculous one that used to be on BBC1 where contestants rolled a ball down a lane and hoped it stopped before it fell off the end, a game show should be made in which contestants are tasked with crossing a rotting deck.

I, it’s safe to say, would have been eliminated.#

I was happily bailing out the pond with a couple of plastic buckets. I had just emptied the buckets into the garden – the pond water being, basically, liquid plant food (and alien larvae things) when I head a crack.

And I fell.

Now, it wasn’t quite Hans Gruber off the Nakatomi Plaza. The drop between decking and the ground is only a matter of inches. But when you leg vanishes under you, into a hole that is only as big as your foot, it’s pretty unsettling. Or unbalancing, at least. You can think of it like when you stand in a snow drift. Or used to stand in snow drifts. When it used to snow properly, and not just the fine sprinkle we get nowadays that brings the nation to a standstill.

So I fell in this newly formed, splintery hole. My right foot disappeared. And I toppled to my right like a newly-felled tree. Swearing as I did it. The whole way down. To me it seemed to take a long time, but that’s because – like the last two seconds of a sporting event in one of those underdog movies – everything moves in slow motion as your brain is reacting to the fact that you could be, for want of a better word, fucked.

I wasn’t fucked.

I managed to land, more or less, on my arse. I mean, I was hanging off the edge of the decking, my leg was bent under the remaining – unbroken – deck pieces and my hand which had been clutching the bucket at the time was nestled in the remains of a plastic bucket, the edges of which were gnawing away at my hand.

I got out pretty unscathed. There are a few scratches, there is less skin on my leg. But for a minute or so there was a genuine worry that I would still be in that position when Caz and mum came back – bearing in mind they’d only just left – because I couldn’t work out what position I needed to get in to be able to free my leg. It was almost like I needed to move my leg to change position, but because my leg was stuck I couldn’t do that. I knew, in that moment, what James Franco felt like when he had to cut his arm off in that film. It was the exact same situation.

And then I managed to move a teensy bit, and I was able to escape.

But still.

It was close.

What’s worse, and will make the film adaptation of this tragic turn of events even more exciting, is that I didn’t even have a pen knife. Should the worst have happened, I would have had to saw off my foot with the shards of plastic from the bucket. The bucket that had previously contained filthy pond water with alien larvae creatures in it. I mean, the infection risk alone…