The age of grab-rails is nigh.


Perhaps wooden handrails come in limited sizes. In our double story town-house the handrail leading to the upstairs part runs short at the very top of the stairs. It means that going down-stairs one had to lean forward to grab the handrail. A rather risky manoeuvre for those whose final celestial real estate deal is getting closer. It doesn’t help to hasten this by having risky handrails. We might as well sing it out as long as possible. The prospect of rolling down the stairs during a windy and dark nightly wandering, just did not appeal.

‘Why don’t you go to ‘Bunnings’ and see what you can rustle-up for a handrail, Gerard?’ Helvi said yesterday. For those that are unfamiliar with the concepts of ‘Bunnings’. They are a huge empire of giant hardware stores throughout Australia. It’s more a way of life than mere hardware. Whole families can easily spend a cosy Saturday inside those giant metallic halls. Bunnings are good at promoting themselves. They have special ‘ladies nights’, whereby the finer points of the latest of demolishing tools are explained to willing females. Giant wrenches and spanners are passed around and fingered lovingly, accompanied by videos showing women on how to beat a disobedient husband into submission to fix the leaking shower head or rotting fence post.

There are child-minding facilities, line-dancing competitions, coffee lounges and on most Saturdays they have charities raising funds for the local fire brigade by selling sausage rolls and soft drinks. All in all, a rather new concept of ‘everything for the home.’ Australia has always been rather fond of doing up homes, renovating or modernising and generally vying with each other to make sure that the ever avoiding and mysterious ‘life-style’ is maintained. Bunnings is the Aldi for the home-renovator.

I duly took myself off to a Bunnings not far from here. The staff are always welcoming and trained to be helpful. Generally, you go through mile after mile of isles filled to the roof with hardware. The isles are well organized and adequate signage show clearly the available products. I headed for the handrail section. I was hoping to find something similar in design to the existing handrail. I did not find this so decided to visit the bathroom handrail section. Of course with the ageing population now greater than the younger ones, handrails are a huge market. Have you noticed that more and more handrails are being installed in public places? Only yesterday, while bending to bowl I needed to visit the men’s convenience, and the chosen cubicle had a mouth watering arrangement of aids to hoist yourself up from the bowl. Amazingly, both the tap and soap holders were activated by merely approaching them by hand. No more touching required! A win for the medical world avoiding those dreadful flu infections. Did you know that the latest to do the rounds in Europe is called ‘The Australian Flu?’

I finally found a rather nifty piece of handrail. It is made from metal, white coloured, and came with screws. It can hold 110Kilos and guaranteed for five years. I am optimistic and hope it will hold for more than five years. Seeing I weigh a lot less than 110Kilos, I reckon it will see me out for much more than five years.

We shall see!

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25 Responses to “The age of grab-rails is nigh.”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Happy handrail! I hear Bunnings is also a place to find a spouse—especially one who’s handy around the house.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Robert Parker Says:

    Well, videos instructing people how to actually fix leaking showers, fenceposts, etc. might seem more direct, but I guess beating your spouse into doing it, is probably more realistic. I did fix a very old washing machine, by watching a repair video online, and found out the broken parts were called “agitator dogs” – – isn’t that great?!
    And then someone let the agitator dogs out, and now they’re running our country!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I have to tell you, Gerard, Peggy is much more of a fan of hardware stores than I am. She loves them, and tools! I have a hard time getting her out. Every aisle needs exploring. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Handrails can be quite remarkable. One in the shower can keep you upright which is very important as there is nothing in a small tile room to help you stand up if you fall. A friend built one for me going into the garage from the kitchen to keep me from falling into the car. Brilliant. Another installed one coming up the back step after I tumbled into the room carrying a stack of plates. Very nice. We have two handrails on the front porch as well so you can see we are surrounded with handrails. No falling allowed. Your hardware store sounds amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Kayti. Only recently have we explored the issues of handrails. We do have an above toilet device and a shower chair, compliments of the local hospital who have a hire-out of all sorts of lovely aids and even includes a wig library.
      The above toilet installation reminds me of the Dada movement and Marcel Duchamp’s works of art.
      I enjoy sitting elevated on this very helpful aid. I don’t know what the charges are. It might well be metered. Who knows?
      It has two handy handrails on each side to lever oneself up. I love it.


  5. petspeopleandlife Says:

    It is a good thing that you are handy with tools and can install the railing yourself. And it is a good thing that Helvi was thinking ahead so a terrible fall can be prevented

    I hope Helvi is doing well at this time. She has been in my thoughts and prayers. Gerard, you and Helvi stay strong as you help her weave the journey toward wellness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Yvonne. Helvi’s next stage will be an operation in four weeks time. She is eating and we are back to walking along the small river.
      The handrail upstairs has been installed and it is now much safer. We are booked to go on a small river cruise nearby as part of a community transport social outing. Who knows the possibility of meeting new friends?

      Liked by 2 people

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Oh, good! I’m glad you found such a wonderful handrail!
    May it last many many years!
    Always good to be safe…we don’t want any falling going on. 😦
    Those Bunnings ladies nights sound wonderful! 😀
    HUGS to you and to Helvi! She is in my prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Carolyn.
      The Bunning’s Ladies night is to entice women to become acquainted with tools and empower on a more equal level. I think it is a good thing. The enquiry desk at our hospital had a man sitting there knitting away happily. It was a great sight. I was taught knitting years ago but haven’t done any for years.
      Hugs to you too.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. jennypellett Says:

    I love the sound of Bunnings. It’s the sort of place my Dad would’ve spent a lot of time in, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jenny. ‘Going to Bunnings’ is now an expected and respected phrase in Australia. Not unlike, ‘I am going to the movies.’
      It has quite a buzz and staff are friendly. To while the time away surrounded by tools, building materials and bathroom accessories is not bad and can be very inspiring.


  8. shoreacres Says:

    We have two large hardware/lumber/home repair franchises that sound just like your Bunnings: Home Depot and Lowe’s. I’ve never been inside a Lowe’s but every now and then I head to Home Depot — generally for tools, like a ratcheting screwdriver (I can’t seem to stop dropping them into the water) or the very occasional sander.

    Most of the time, I go to a small, family-run hardware, because I can buy only what I need there, and not what the store thinks I need. If I want just one 1-1/2″, size 10 bronze screw, I want one — not a package of twenty. And if I need some old-fashioned product that the youngsters at the big store never have heard of, I can usually find it at the small stores. The dust on the can always is free.

    Those rails are mighty handy. My mother had one that clamped on the side of the tub, and I’m sure it prevented more falls than I like to think of. I know exactly what you mean about that gap in the handrail by the stairs, too. It’s good that you have that taken care of.

    I’m glad to hear that there’s an outing in the works. A river cruise sounds like great fun, and a refreshing change of pace as well. Give my best to Helvi!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the family home-hardware used to be in every suburb as were the local butcher, hairdresser and many others.

      The large shopping complexes now seem to have taken over.
      The river cruise has been booked but we are put on a kind of lotto and will be notified if we are successful in getting a place on the cruise.
      Apparently the aged care services are booked to the rafters with elderly folk wanting to go on outings.
      Back to hardware. It seems that everything is now so tightly packed in sturdy plastic one almost needs a special tool to open a packet of screws.

      Liked by 2 people

      • shoreacres Says:

        I hate that packaging. Scissors no longer do the trick. It takes a knife or razor blade to cut through the plastic, and the plastic itself is so sharp that it’s quite capable of inflicting its own damage.

        Why — I do believe I have a pet peeve, after all!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer Says:

    We had hand rails installed in our shower/bath tub. I don’t know how we ever lived without them!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      So far I installed an extra extension of handrail to the stairs-[handrail. It is already reassuring us when going downstairs. I have yet to reach the age of falling over, but that might well happen in the future!
      Welcome to Oosterman Treats, Ronnie!


  10. Big M Says:

    I empathise, Gerard, I have quite poor balance, thanks to having endured a small stroke some ten years ago. Mrs M criticises me for using handrails ‘like an old man’, my reply is that it is a hell of a lot better than going A over T onto a concrete floor!

    Glad Helvi is having some respite from chemo leading up to the op. Walks and river cruises are pleasant diversions.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, I get similar remarks when engaging in spontaneous afternoon napping or even after breakfast snooze. ‘Old man’.
    I am thinking of retaliating by putting the above toilet aide around the dining table just before dinner.


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