A London Window Cleaner's Tryst With Destiny
Today something very exciting and exhilarating happened in my otherwise regular work life. That's if you call being suspended in the bosun's chair daily at a height of four hundred metres in blowing winds clinging to the sides of skyscrapers a normal working life.
I had just arrived at work today when I realised that I had left my bosun's chair and body harness including my abseiling ropes and the additional gear I carry for my safety in my garage where I had cleaned out my truck when I arrived home from work yesterday evening.
Without my gear I had no option but to join another crew who specialised in window cleaning platforms. These guys are a bunch of real funny guys who normally don't hang with us simply because we rarely meet due to our different workplaces as well as different work times. As the foreman crossed my name of the list I joined them in their van full of buckets, rope grabs, squeegee's, harnesses and the usual paraphernalia that accompanies our trade.
Being used to working alone as my job requires hanging individually and monotonously cleaning windows this sudden explosion of laughter and mirth was a different experience almost bordering on going on a picnic with all the hands digging into bags of chips and cans of soda. The ride downtown suddenly seemed different as I was not driving alone for once.
On arrival at the site the team leader chatted with me for a while about their working methods and safety measures that they adopt as a team. I was helped into my harness and we started cleaning the office building windows. Standing on the window cleaning platform gave my legs freedom for the first time. I could move about while doing the job. The platform also known as a suspended scaffold or a swing stage hangs from the top of the building securely anchored on which the crews stand or sit while window cleaning in London. Each cleaner wears a harness that is attached to the scaffold. It's a little funny though because if the scaffold falls so do we all.
As a team we were then directed to a new car showroom that was due to open and were instructed by the foreman to give a special shine to the glass windows of the showroom. I could only laugh as I wondered what he meant by a special shine. You either clean windows or you don't and this particular team was always known for sparkling window jobs. As the showroom was located on the ground floor and was only a floor to ceiling job we just used the water fed pole to clean the windows. I had the honour of giving the final sparkle touches using the ground lift and finished the job in record time earning wolf whistles and shouts for lunch.
It was just past afternoon and the team had finished the whole load of work assigned for the full shift. Lunch was pizza and salad and as we drove back to the yard I felt happy to be with the team. It was a fun filled working day.