…but I stifled a cry of pleasure as I awoke to the welcome drumbeat of heavy rain which sounded like a heavenly annunciation that I would not be spending my day, as a latter day Sisyphus, endlessly filling and emptying a wheelbarrow with sand and cement. So now, I sit as a stranger at my keyboard, regularly casting nervous looks over my shoulder to confirm that the blessed rain, as seen through my office window, shows no sign of abating. In a comparatively short time I have been conditioned away from writing, cooking and, above all, taking pictures. My back aches less and my fingers are beginning to articulate without pain. How quickly we adapt. Maybe this only comes with age as I have distinct memories of my first efforts at being a “labourer” in the early 60’s. I had not long left boarding school and, although equipped with a rounded education, was not worldly wise. As was the tradition in those heady days I had “left home” and was living in a depressing “bed sit”. Earning money has never been my forte but an effort had to be made to pay for my new found liberty and I duly presented myself at Hampton Court Municipal Water Works where I had been told that there were openings for “labourers”. Not having any conception of what “labouring” entailed the first day’s work came as a surprise. One lasting memory entails unloading a lorry of bags of cement. I had no idea what cement was, let alone how much it weighed, so I happily joined the line of men waiting to be given a bag of cement from the lorry. It didn’t seem too taxing a job, from a distance, as the man on the lorry easily lifted a bag of cement and placed it on the shoulder of the waiting man who then strolled off chatting affably to his mates about fucking this and that as everyfuckingthing was somefuckingthing, but this lingua franca was new to me at the time. And then it was my turn and I smiled up at the man on the lorry who smiled back at me whilst putting a bag on my shoulder that was apparently filled with lead weights. My knees buckled and I was immediately much shorter. I was on my knees. I was fucked. I was fired. I do remember that labourers had good breakfasts as I spent my wages on one such “fry up” as I joyfully returned to the liberty of my depressing “bed sit” to listen to a man called Bob Dylan who had just made a record that celebrated being a “rolling stone” which seemed to be a pretty good career choice and which I felt needed looking into.
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