Hinged Window

IN OR OUT?

CycloneThe breeze had got up, 100kph and rising. This was a good blow. The lady had hurried to close her windows of their third floor apartment; they were hinged to swing out from the side with a brass arm that allowed for various open stations – an old-fashioned type. The arm was kept in place by screwing down tight a knurled nut.

She had loosened the nut with one hand and was holding the window frame with the other, totally underestimating the power of that wind. Loosened, the window flew back taking the screwed-down arm with it. Not wanting it to slam back against the building she gripped the frame with all her strength – only to find herself hauled half out of the window before she wisely let go. The window exploded against the wall. As glass shards rained down on the street below, her husband, who had been watching the news of the approaching gale-force winds on the tv, laudably managed to extricate himself from the couch, dash across the floor, grab his wife around the legs and haul her back into the room.

The couple told me all this over a cup of tea, chuckling to each other as they relived that dramatic moment. I’d had to replace the whole frame and latch-arm, as well as the glass which was now a toughened pane. I must admit, the image of him hauling his wife back in had me smiling too – she was a very large woman.

The News belatedly upgraded the wind to “cyclonic”, and it was acknowledged that an earlier warning of its severity could have lessened the widespread damage to property. It was lucky, I thought as I drove off to the next job, that no one had been walking beneath that apartment that day, that moment. There is, clearly, a lot of luck in life.

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