5 day challenge: the ravell’d sleeve (4)

Two days ago I posted about a rather traumatic night when I set fire to my bed. I’m sorry to say that it hasn’t been my only bedtime disaster. I’m beginning to think it might not have been the best idea to theme this challenge with sleeping arrangements.

In 2006 I moved to the city of Aberdeen, where I rented a ground floor flat. One evening I was in the kitchen in my pyjamas preparing a bedtime snack, when I heard an almighty thundering crash. It sounded as if it had come from the flat upstairs, but what had caused it I couldn’t guess.

I left the kitchen and went to my front door. I looked up into the stairwell to the floor above, but there was no sign of any disturbance coming from there. Back in my flat, feeling puzzled and a little shaken by the strangely explosive noise, I opened my bedroom door. Expecting to see my welcoming bed all ready for me to hop back into, I was astonished and horrified by what I saw. The room was littered with dust and debris, including heavy lumps of plaster that had fallen from the ceiling onto my bed.

Plaster fallen onto where I would normally be sleeping!

Knitting up the ravell’d sleeve? Not tonight, missy. Aberdeen, 2006.

Before that night I hadn’t realised old plaster was so thick and heavy. The bits that landed on my bed and floor were like thin slabs of concrete with painted wallpaper stuck to them. If the ceiling had collapsed only a little later it would have fallen directly onto yours truly, no doubt resulting in injuries of some sort.

That night I slept on a makeshift bed fashioned from sofa cushions laid on the floor of the livingroom. I placed these under the dining table due to nervousness about being squashed by the ceiling in the night. I’m pleased to say that the livingroom ceiling remained intact and I moved out of that flat as soon as I could.


20 thoughts on “5 day challenge: the ravell’d sleeve (4)

  1. Oh my god Lorna that looks dangerous . That landlord must have had some idea what was going on with ceiling , thank goodness you were fixing your snack at the time it fell .
    We had some plaster fall off our ceiling once when we were trying to sell our house for the first time . My husband patched it up ( I will say my husband , although not a plasterer , is a carpenter so he has knowledge of a sort ) we sold the house last year , plaster still intact , ten years after my husband did it Whoops I just heard an almighty crash …only joking nobody was hurt whilst writing this post .

    • It sounds as if your husband did a good job on the ceiling, what a handy chap to have in the house. I don’t know if my landlady knew about the state of her ceiling but it took about a week before anything was done. The letting agents didn’t seem to think it was much of a problem, even when they came round to look at it. When I asked about compensation for loss and damage of my things and lack of a bedroom they just guffawed.

  2. Flipping heck! That would freak me out too! :/ Lucky that you favour a snack before bed! My husband, when I first met him (and then we both for a year and a half), lived in a sort of basement studio affair that was one huge room with an additional corridor running the width of it that housed our bathroom and kitchen at opposite ends with the back door in the centre. Well, there was a wisteria vine that had decided to try and grow through the toilet wall on the side of the house, and was doing a pretty good job of it too 🙂 and the root growth from this had led to the formation of a half-an-inch-wide jagged crack along the whole length of the main room that was a cause of great concern to me in terms of the whole side of the house maybe deciding to give way one day which would, as with you, leave us covered by ceiling – not to mention the contents and substance of a substantial portion of the house above 🙂 To top it all, the section was steeply sloped. However, since we were beggars rather than choosers, being students, I worked out that if we heard creaking in the night and could both get to the floor on my side of the bed, we could most likely survive in the pocket that I presumed would thus be formed by the huge concrete beams above us and then they could dig us out at leisure 🙂 – which, if you knew me would have you in absolute awe of my calm under the circumstances. Needless to say nothing ever came of it and we eventually moved to a much more stable proper flat.

  3. Your landlady might not have known. A ceiling collapsed in one of the buildings where I live because (the engineer’s report) of possible structural weakness from a recent hurricanes, a roofer stacking too much roofing material in one spot, and the ceilings being nailed, instead of screwed, up in the original construction. We all had to pay to have our ceilings screwed up thereafter!

    Screwed up, ha ha, I know! At any rate, it’s a good thing you went out for a snack and didn’t have a candle burning! 🙂

    • Oh dear, that sounds pretty bad but at least you got your ceilings sorted before anything terrible happened to your place. I don’t even want to think what could happen with the combination of a collapsed ceiling and a burning candle. I don’t know what my landlady really thought about it, although there had been a leak from upstairs some time before that which she knew about. I think that was what weakened the fabric of the ceiling and caused it to crash. I suspect she didn’t get that treated properly and was hoping it would just dry out or something. She did admit to me that it was probably the cause of the collapse.

  4. This bought back memories. I was about four and there was a thunderstorm, an electrical box on the ceiling blew up and chunks of plaster came down. I can still smell that damp plaster smell now.

  5. I’ve never been one for late-night snacks, but this incident has made me a believer. Late night snacks can save lives!! Or at least prevent a good bonk on the noggin. Pardon me while I go raid the refrigerator…

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