I do some labouring.
Hurra! for the honest toil of the working man. I have always craved for the simple dignity of manual work – the sort of simple rewarding stuff like the people on the ‘Uptown Girl’ video – and with building work on the cottage getting slightly wembleyey, I am also desperate to move things along in any way possible.
Thus the morn finds me helping cheery Ad the labourer with his task for the day, which is removing everything from the loft above my bedroom.
I inform him that before I was a labourer I had a Very Important job that involved thinking about things a lot and being very creative and all that, and consequentially I should plan the logistics of Moving the Stuff. He looks chuffed by my offer to take half the burden of his backbreaking task. I climb up in to the loft and explain that I will pass things down if he takes the weight and then carries them all to the other side of the site.
I have no idea how my loft got to be so full of junk; heavy junk at that. I start to move the boxes and Stuff around, whistling with the carefree air of a labourer.
I pass a box to him. “It’s heavy,” I warn him, as I unsteadily ease it down. He takes it with about one finger and plonks it down next to him. The next box, and the next, and then all the Stuff. “Not so heavy,” I lie. “Heavy.” “Heavy.” “Not so heavy”.
The last item is an old freestanding lamp covered in dust. I pass it down to Ad. “This is light.”
I laugh uproariously at my clever joke.
“It’s light. Because it’s a lamp, you see,” I explain, as I unsteadily descend the ladder. I laugh again at my own rapier wit. He does not laugh much, which I think comes from too much exposure to the unsophisticated humour of the lads on the site. (nb as I am a labourer for the day I am allowed to call them ‘the lads’).
I realise that I am expected to help him carry everything out and stack it nicely. Unfortunately it has now all become heavy, even the light, which ruins my joke a bit. We lug everything across the site, me sweating profusely.
The thing they do not tell you about being a labourer is that it is fucking laborious. I leave the last few bits and pieces to Ad, slipping off to the car and back to my temporary residence at Narcoleptic Dave’s, secure in the knowledge that my cottage will be finished forty minutes earlier than before.