Some years ago when I was still in my thirties, a lovely man called Mick moved in next door with his two sweet little girls Dutch and Beccy. Mick was a handsome geezer in a Clint Eastwood, crinkly faced, sun burned skin and silver haired sort of a way and he and I got on a treat. Mick would play my old man up something rotten flirting with me, telling me what a lovely arse I had and making wicked innuendos around the kitchen table, where he would often join us after the pub for songs, sung by my daughter Rebecca and accompanied by my pretty bad guitar playing. He was great fun and I loved him lots, I still do.
Mick was having his house renovated and a new roof was being put on, so there was scaffolding all around the building. I don`t recall how much we`d all had to drink that night but anyway we decided it would be a great idea to climb up on to the roof. We duly went out into the cold night air; it was autumn. My breath was frozen as we rather unsteadily climbed up the scaffolding and eventually made it to the relative safety of the roof. We all sat giggling on the apex of the roof. (That`s quite a good word for a Saturday – apex…) The night was black, the stars were all out in fine and sparkling array and we began to sing James Taylor`s version of Up on the Roof.
At this point, the vicar who lived next door, (well at least we all referred to John as the vicar, he was actually a Methodist Church Minister,) anyway, John came out because I suppose it was late and he could hear the singing and wondered what was going on. We could see him walking the length of his garden looking for the source and being unable to find it, went back indoors in a rather bemused state. We laughed, not at him, we`d had too much to drink. Eventually we all realised that the cold was settling nicely into our bones and that perhaps we should all go down and get back into the warmth of my kitchen. Now here`s where it got tricky…..
Mick had been a roofer for some of his life so he swung down that scaffolding like an orangutan on amphetamine. He moved with the speed of light and the vigour of a young man and was down on the ground in seconds. My old man was the second next to go, he was slim in those days and he also happily descended in under two minutes. Then it was my turn……
I realised that I was REALLY high up, I mean REALLY high up! I stood up and clung to the top of the scaffolding and recall even to this day thinking, “Oh s**t, I am ever so really high up.” The men below thought it hugely funny to start singing, “Dont jump off the roof Ma,” to me as I gingerly placed my foot on the first bar of the scaffolding and tentatively, one baby step at a time, made my way down to the safety of my garden. It took me a good few minutes but by golly – I made it! My old man says that he and Mick came back up to help me down but I don’t recall them ebing that chivalrous!
Mick moved away from us in the nineteen nineties to settle in pastures anew. I was lucky enough to still catch up with him from time to time in those days and now I would like to say, thanks Mick, for enriching my life with your funny, clever, entertaining and warm company but if ever you had tried to persuade me to do something like climb up on a roof ever again…… no chance!