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.’
‘An asphyxiation fetishist.’
‘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.