New Curtains and Blinds

Tuesday Morning – The new curtains and blinds finally arrive. It seems an eternity ago that I ordered them, probably because it was. An hour or so later curtains and blinds have been erected downstairs. They look great, well worth the wait.

The fitter is putting the finishing touches to the Roman Blind when I walk into the upstairs room that serves as my study. I like it. He explains that it is the legal requirement that the string pulley system be at least 150cm from the ground. This is to prevent youngsters becoming entangled and potentially strangled by the string. He demonstrates the height with a measuring tape, then hands me a form to sign. The form states something to the effect that the fitting is in keeping with European standards for blind and shutter safety regulation EN13120:2009+A1:2014.

I shake my head glumly and say, ‘Perhaps I should have told you this earlier. My doctor has exempted me from all EN13120:2009 blind and shutter regulations.’

   ‘You have a what?’ replies the man in a surprised tone.

    ‘An exemption. You see a pulley system with fittings in excess of 120cm in height poses a potential threat to my wellbeing. I’m an asphyxiation fetishist you see.’

   ‘Excuse me.’

   ‘An asphyxiation fetishist.’

   ‘What’re those?’

Roman Blind

   ‘Asphyxiation fetishists, or gaspers as they are commonly referred to in the trade, are people who get sexual gratification from the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain.’ My gaze never leaves his face as I say this, and there is not even the faintest flicker of a smile.

   ‘No, I err don’t know anything about that’, replies the courteous, professional, if rather timorous man.

   I stride up to the blind and wrap the string around my neck. Now I’m smiling.

   ‘Don’t do that,’ he replies holding his arms out.

   ‘I’ll have to phone the shop,’ he says. ‘Do you have a doctor’s certificate? The shop might need a copy for their files.’

   ‘Don’t worry I’ll sign it, but be warned, if it results in misadventure this will be landing on your doorstep.’

Having signed the form I hand it back to him, thinking that perhaps I should tell him that I’m joking, as I’m feeling increasingly embarrassed. However it is evidently far, far too late for that. After refusing the offer of a cup of tea he completed the erection of the blind in the final room in less than half the time it took him to do any of the others. Then he was packing up his tools at a frenetic pace and heading out the door. I was surprised that he never questioned my preposterous and irrational lie. After all would a lower pulley system really prevent a gasper’s activities, and at any rate wouldn’t they consider ordering curtains instead. I put it down to the fact that when we are in a state of shock we often don’t think rationally, and simply go into panic mode.

The curtains and blinds look fantastic.



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  • Guy, I think we must both have the same sick sense of humour as I laughed out loud to this. That poor man! I can just picture him relating the tale to his mates down the pub. 🙂

    • He seemed fairly disturbed by it all, so it might be a little while before he tells his mates. Hopefully when he does they will find it amusing. Have a good weekend. Thank you for the comment.

  • Better hope there’s no problem with the curtains/blinds and you have to get the company to come fix it. He won’t want to make another visit.

  • You’re a cruel, cruel man Guy and I doubt your reputation will ever recover from this one.
    “I fixed some blinds for a guy ( intended) last week and you’ll never guess……………”

  • Guy, I’m gary emanuel a blind and curtain fitter for
    ….. I have to say that i would have had some great banter with you on this topic! For us in the trade it has caused some real issues and on the flip side people like yourself make this sudden health and safety scaremongering a bit more light hearted. I would have loved to of been a fly on the wall! Lol……
    How about this for rules and regs gone mad. I fit 5 venetian blinds for an elderly lady last week. The supplier makes them to the legal requirement ! The lady is only around 4ft tall and there are units to lean over to get to the chains! The chains are at 150cm but she can’t reach! I take pictures of this, send them to the supplier! Answer ” in the interests of child safety the blinds in question have been made to the legal chain lengths….”
    My answer is “I don’t think we will have any need to worry about the lady’s children as the eldest is 56 , lives in Canada and the youngest just turned 51, 6 ft tall and also lives outside of the uk!” Safety is important but come on, The worlds gone mad!!!!

    • Health and Safety have evidently made your life very difficult Gary. Dealing with these issues on a day to day basis must drive you mad. The story about the old lady is ludicrous. Perhaps there should just be a disclaimer that the client signs, stating that if the chain is fitted at less than the recommended height then the client is responsible for any accidents involving children or vertically challenged adults. Thanks for stopping by.

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