All of us at some stage have days when we quite like our jobs. Some have more days like this than others. I have days like this when something extraordinary happens. This normally happens when I am out and about and not at my desk. If something extraordinary happens at my desk its normally because the shit has hit the fan.
Today was an extraordinary day for me because I was offered the chance to scale a ladder and tread precariously on scaffolding surrounding a timber framed structure to take some good photography. So what? Well, I am not mad about heights. I am also never one to refuse a challenge, particularly issued by a bloke. So ten rungs up I am fighting nausea and when I get to the top it takes all the strength I can muster to be in complete denial of my surroundings and focus on the task at hand – photography.
“I’ll just clear some of the planks away so you can get a good shot” says the builder. “Really?” I nervously reply, “aren’t they a bit crucial to the whole walking around a not-quite-built building?” He laughs and reassures me. I then get stuck in on some good shots. So keen am I on one particular shot that I am edging and eging ever further backwards til I am aginst the rails. I turn and I go completely dizzy and a wave of nausea hits me again. The whole situation isn’t helped by constant and regular reminders of how far up you are in-between virtually every scaffolding plank. Its all a bit precarious and make-shift – then the fierce wind from Siberia adds to the mix and I realise that the building trade is not for me. I have a bit of chat with the guys, thank them for their time and then ask if i can stay up their with them for the rest of the day as I cannot possibly face going back down. Going down is always worse than going up (hence why so many cats get stuck up trees).
They laugh again and then show me the gate that is put on the scaffoding to prevent anyone from unwittingly stepping off the platform, missing the ladder and plunging to their death (or a few broken bones at least). It is on a spring close system – quite a violent one, which, if you don’t hold it back all the way through and then as you alight the ladder it could easily act as a catapult and fire you to the ground. Thankfully the builders were being rather gentlemanly and held the gate open for me while I went back into complete denial again as I tentatively found the top rung of the ladder (gulp). As I started my descent one guy remarked on why the scaffoding company insisted on such a steep lean for the ladder as it “can’t be that safe”. I tried not to react knowing full well that was the very intention of his remark.
It made my day though. I was being pathetic in comparison to people (my husband for one) who work tens of feet above the ground every day but, for me, it was a little fear conquered – I overcame my need for terra firma and got on and did it. The only thing is when I got back to my office it was 10.30 so waaaay too early for a stiff drink (which is really what I fancied rather than coffee).
I later realised that I went up the ladder after I set up the film camera for the purposes of a time lapse video so I have got my whole pathetic climb on camera – doh!
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Thanks for reading.