So what does being a writer have to do with courage or recklessness?
I sit at my desk for long, long hours writing, editing and re-writing. Any writer will tell you that there is nothing extraordinary in that.
As a matter of convenience, my desk is positioned so that I face a window looking out on one of the thousands of residential streets in southwest London. The district of Battersea is Victorian. I live in a Victorian terraced house which looks out on other identical Victorian terraced houses in every direction. Quite boring, in fact, so what has this to do with the title, you might be wondering as you yawn?
It has to do with the view I have had for the last three days of builders working on the house directly across from me. These old Victorian houses have a lot of potential for expanding and that is what is happening up and down the street as cellars are excavated to build kitchens and scaffolding is installed to prepare for loft conversions. Some companies use sophisticated equipment while others use more basic techniques in an effort to economize on cost.
I have been holding my breath for three days as I have watched the men across the road on the rooftop without any harness or ropes to secure them. The rooftop is probably close to 35 feet above the ground. Today was the hiatus as they posed a skylight that needed four men to hold it, two of whom were outside on the slate roof – still unattached to any lifeline.
The job is done now. I only saw one man’s feet slip a little before he found purchase again, and none of the other men even noticed…
So ‘Fearless or Foolhardy’ or both? Perhaps you would like to decide for yourselves.
My days are going to seem dull from now on as they have moved to the back of the house out of my view.
But then, I’m a writer with a surfeit of imagination. I think that it was perhaps better to see them than to imagine them at the back dangling, hanging on for dear life – or perhaps not succeeding.