When I first saw this photograph, I was shocked at the stupidity of it.
Trying such a death-defying stunt just to decorate a stairway seemed a very stupid thing to do.
Then my mind took me back to the early days when we did so many silly things, trying to put food on the table when the kids were small. I remembered the house that we were hired to decorate. Gloss paint on all the woodwork and a very expensive wallpaper on all the downstairs walls and of course, the stairs. Nothing very complicated, we thought. A piece of cake…
Now, I am very tall, but that doesn’t help with old houses with high ceiling
We had a ladder, but that wouldn’t be any good on the stairs. Then I remembered the exercise bar that I had at home. The kind that spans a doorway so you can do pull-ups. With a bit of luck and a following wind, we could clamp it across the stairs to take the other end of our scaffold board. Make sure it is firmly fixed and level, then we could balance the stepladder on it to reach the top of the wall.
At this stage, I have to confess that I don’t like heights. I get nauseous and more than a bit giddy, but we needed the money.
Praying to all that was Holy, and armed with a carefully pasted and folded length of wallpaper, I ascended the ladder. It was very wobbly and I fully expected to fall and end up in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, wrapped up like a parcel in soggy wallpaper.
Those of you who have papered a wall will know that a fair bit of stretching goes on as you align the paper, trim the top and smooth all the bumps and air bubbles away. Several times, I swayed precariously on one leg but managed to complete my mission.
What I didn’t know at the time, was all the near heart attack moments that Anita was having as she tried to keep the ladder steady. She was in the perfect position to see just how dangerous it was and how close we came to disaster.
We had a lot of fun in those days, taking incredible risks, and some impossible jobs. This particular job was memorable for another reason too.
The owner of the house had several celebrity friends and they would often have to duck under our ladders as they came and went. The best day of all was when Bucks Fizz visited, and Mike Nolan signed his name on Anita’s arm! They signed their latest record for us and told the world about the crazy girls who were decorating their friend’s house!
So, taking risks was worth it that day!
Not every job had such high spots. Like the time Anita knocked over a tin of white gloss paint all over a dark chocolate coloured carpet! The owner caught us trying to scoop up the paint with spoons, and we expected our marching orders (or worse!) But they couldn’t have been nicer about it.
By the way, how are you supposed to wallpaper stairs?
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