Twelve years ago we had wooden decking installed at the back of our house. We are still very happy with it. It's like the house has an extra room - but outdoors.
The trouble with decking in northern England is it needs cleaning a couple of times a year. If you don't clean it, it can become slippery in damp conditions - as a layer of lethal algae begins to form on the surface of the wood.
Ten years ago at this very time of year, I walked over our decking to right a chair that had been overturned by the wind. Standing still but bending down, my feet went from under me and in the flash of an eye I was lying on my back - as if I had been thrown to the floor by an invisible wrestler. I lay there chuckling, glad the moment had not been caught on camera. I was totally uninjured.
From that day forward, I have been pretty good about cleaning the decking and when I walk on it I will often test its slipperiness. Being a somewhat cautious kind of fellow, my shoes are all rubber-soled. However, on Monday evening this week I had another fall on the decking.
I stepped on to it to attend to our deep fat fryer - that I often place outside to avoid related kitchen smells. Then all of a sudden - wham, bang thank you man - I was sprawled on the decking once more. This time the fall was at the edge of the decking and as I fell my right elbow was slammed into the adjacent stone path.
For a moment, I thought I might have broken my arm or dislocated my elbow. Such injuries could easily happen on slippery decking. But as I lay there for a moment, no doubt looking like "a complete twat" - as some of my fellow Yorkshiremen might have remarked, I realised that I had once again escaped significant injury.
I shall be out on that decking in the next few days in my wellies with a stiff brush, a bucket of Jeyes fluid and a power hose - to remove that layer of algae and prepare for wintertime. If you have got any wooden decking you might want to think about doing the same. If you visit a house or business that has wooden decking, please take care.