Curlews in the Goyt has reported that he missed his footing on the stairs last night and wound up in a heap at the bottom covered in tea (he was, he said, totally sober). I feel that he is not alone.
A report from the Department of Trade and Industry some years ago found that activities like serving tea or walking down a corridor cause great problems to the British. It advised that tea cosies incorrectly lifted off the pot or dropped on the floor are responsible for around 40 emergency hospital treatments a year, and that cosy accidents have doubled in recent years. However, a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers advised that you would need to have to have a major injury in order to make a claim. Dropping a tea cosy on your foot would not usually count, unless it had a teapot in it.
A more recent report in the Telegraph warned that a survey had shown that more than half of all Britons have been injured by biscuits. Hidden dangers included flying fragments, being scalded while dunking, poking oneself in the eye or falling off a chair whilst stretching for the tin. One unfortunate ended up stuck in wet concrete after reaching to pick up a fallen biscuit. For information, custard creams are the greatest hazard, whilst jaffa cakes are the safest – although, as Mr Potter QC ruled in a 1981 court case, for VAT purposes jaffa cakes are in fact cakes, not biscuits.
Of course tea-related accidents are only the tip of the iceberg. Clogs carelessly left on stairs cause a number accidents each year, closely followed by place mats, dustpans and bread bins. I imagine that abandoned clogs are a regular northern hazard, but place mats and bread bins on the stairs? Has the recession meant that people have used their tables for fuel?
Apparently the number of people who concussed themselves by running into a tree trunk has risen to almost 2,000 a year. I need to find out where that tree is and avoid it.
The report stated that almost 6,000 people sprained, twisted or broke a limb attempting to zip up their flies. I have heard of fly-related accidents, but never one that involved limbs in the strictest interpretation of the term. What’s going on? Similarly, people are advised not to remove tights while drunk. I recall a number of occasions in my misspent youth when I attempted to remove tights when drunk, with varying degrees of success, but I must have been lucky.
Certainly there is a need to be alert, because danger lurks in unlikely objects. Glossy magazines cause more accidents than chainsaws, and beanbags more than meat cleavers. However, health and safety advice must have been getting through, because sponge and loofah accidents and armchair-related injuries were both in decline.
Time for a cuppa, I think. I’ll don my helmet and goggles.