Building sites can be a mucky place especially during the Winter months where puddles of water and mud are everywhere. It was also hard work especially plastering as you seldom got to see much of your fellow colleagues as everyone was spread out so there was very limited time for socialising.
Working on new build was so repetitive, mixing plaster and spreading it on the walls. boarding out ceilings was also a nightmare, those eight by four sheets were heavy and needed two people. I believe now they have a machine that raises the boards into place before fixing to the joists.
I always recall my first visit to the states where I stumbled upon a building site, it was fascinating watching the differences in practice compared to ours. I watched two Mexican lads board out a ceiling in only a few mins. A lifting machine took the boards to the ceiling and these lads used a nail gun to fix them, these lads were also wearing stilts something Health & Safety would prevent in the UK. Here in the UK, we continued using galvanised nails and a hammer, we got there but it was hard graft.
New build was getting harder and a fortunate break saw me working on social housing. BS Heating wanted a plasterer to patch plaster where Electricians had rewired, this was a doddle compared to full walls and ceilings. This is where I met some of the craziest characters whose antics had you in stitches. I worked for a couple more companies that offered me a similar type of work but it was Durose & Gourlay where I met most of the characters featured in this book.
I have been tempted many times to write a book about these characters but no one would probably believe what they read. I can assure you that the contents of this book are almost 100% true and the people do or did exist.
Marcia Duncan, a young girl with learning difficulties, lives with her alcoholic mother in a small terrace house on a rundown council estate, manages to survive her non eventful life with a mixture of hilarity, ignorance and naivety. The only solace and comfort she has outside of her own little world is her best friend Molly, who, despite not being the idol Marcia perceives, takes her under her wing, protecting and guiding her through the highs and lows of growing up, moving forward from childlike activities in the park to the likes of disco’s, alcohol and fashion.
The day that Marcia was dragged by her mother to the doctors to find out that she was seven months pregnant changed her life forever. She genuinely had no idea how it happened, and after Molly explains the gory details, and Lily constantly bombards her with questions, the hunt for the father begins.
The consequent birth of her daughter is a blessing in disguise, giving her motivation for life, bringing family bonds to the surface and eventually a level of independence and self-worth. However the journey is far from smooth, and the frequent times when Marcia’s clumsiness and accident prone comical antics, hamper any kind of progress do not help in the least.
Terry Ann Morley was told by her Primary School teacher that she was ‘Not College material’ and by her father, ‘People like us aren’t teachers.’ Terry went on to prove both of them right by failing her English Literature ‘O’ Level three times.
She then went on to achieve a First Class Honours Degree in Education and taught for twenty five years.
Terry has three siblings, three children and three grandchildren. In the spirit of ‘Third time lucky’ she lives with husband number three and their three yellow Labradors.
During a spell of ill health she was advised by her doctor to focus on positive memories: Terry focused on the unusual and quirky situations she had found herself in during her career and then she wrote them down.
HEALTH WARNING. This book of short stories will make you laugh and make you cry. It is a delightful journey back to long-forgotten school days and will resonate with everyone who ever went to school and that means:Everyone, everywhere.