Thursday, 18 September 2008

Scrabbling in the loft

Me and J, relegated to being 16, sat in my mum’s living room last night watching television. There were only 25 or so channels to flick through, being freeview, and we couldn’t find QI, so we were soon casting around for a distraction.

“Let’s play Scrabble!” I said brightly. I was sure I could find it somewhere under this roof, and I was right – it was in the loft. I stood under the trapdoor and eyed it thoughtfully.

Now, the loft at my mum’s is a perilous place that only I can access. My mum is too scared of the ladder, and everyone else in my family is too old, too young, or too fat to clamber above – hence it is the one safe place I can store things to rescue them from the fate of being carted off to the local car boot sale if ever I turn my back. The only downside is that things that go in the loft invariably get covered in loft dust – records cannot go above as they will get warped, and unless you wrap it very well, it all becomes a bit of a dirty old mess.

There is another problem with the loft.

The trapdoor hatch barely laces shut – it appears to hold on by a thread of metal. Once opened it is very tricky to close, you have to keep pushing it up hoping the lock catches, and I always worry that it will swing down unawares one day and smack me on the head.

Hence eyeing the trapdoor thoughtfully - was it worth opening it to win a game of Scrabble against J, or should I leave sleeping trapdoors lie?

A minute later I was climbing up the step-ladder to open the hatch. As ever, it swings open easily, releasing a small puff of dust as a greeting. I balance on top of the step ladder and wave the pokey stick up at the loft ladder, trying to get it to drag down. As ever, it falls fast and heavy, and I catch it and steady it, coughing slightly in yet more dust. The odour of faded paper drifts downs from above – ah, the loft. A dark yawn above has appeared in the ceiling, and up I climb into it, bravely sticking my hand into the small pit between floorboards to turn on the switch. Light illuminates – well - a pile of dusty pap, to be honest. Bin bags full of things that should have been thrown years ago, boxes ditto, furniture we have hidden over the years – and my board games. Juinor Scrabble is within sight - sadly never progressed to adult.

I grab at it, not wanting to actually climb into the loft, and soon am climbing back down with my dusty prize. But that was the easy bit – the hard bit is trying to close the damn thing again.

Several minutes go by as I try to bully the hatch into closing. All it does is fall down on me again – I’m not closing this time, it seems to say. I push, it falls – this repeats for a long while, until I call the ultimate weapon upstairs. J takes one look at the hatch – he and it are old enemies. Two tries later it shuts in defeat.

Twenty minutes later I also shut in defeat – how come the only word I can think to spell in Scrabble is ‘trots’?

No comments: