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The best thing was to hold fast until it blew again. You had to have faith in the ladders, which were always tied with a rope and staked at the bottom, but apart from that your mate always stood on the bottom of the ladder to anchor it. The real danger occurred when you wanted to move the ladder from one position to the next. I am talking about pole ladders here, not extending ladders. Pole ladders are exactly as they sound, basically a large pole tapered off from the base to whatever height you want.

I often wondered whether, when he was on his own, he rolled that floor covering back to take a long, loving look at the conquests that he had made. I can just imagine him saying to himself something like, “Second row down, fourth across. “Now that one was a brilliant affair. It really drained my passion” – jammy swine. It’s a pity that he couldn’t get gifts in exchange for so many packets. I’ll bet he could have bought a car and had the ride of a lifetime, metaphorically speaking of course. It would have been a proper little love machine, but then you don’t get gifts, and anyway some would say, “It’s like eating a banana with the skin on”.

If you had to travel on your back, it was one hell of a game and extremely uncomfortable if you crawled over a clinker. Nine times out of ten it planted itself right between your shoulder blades – very painful and exhausting because these jobs went on all day and the next, until the pipework was finished. Needless to say what a job it was. Having arrived at your destination, you then had to screw the pipe into position. I suppose I was very fortunate to be with a plumber with a sense of humour, who managed to get tears of laughter rolling down my face.

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