While I sat looking out of the window, daydreaming instead of doing anything, it struck me how dirty the windows were. Tried to count back as to when they had last been cleaned. Some time before I went into hospital two years ago. No wonder they were dirty. Must arrange for someone to clean them as it is a no no for me these days.
Easier said than done. Two window cleaners both declined the job as one side of the house is double story. They couldn't work there. Too dangerous. Moaning about this to a friend she offered the name of a fellow who would probably take the job. I telephoned him and he agreed. Yes he could handle it, he was not worried about the height. A date was arranged.
He arrived on time. An enormous fellow, at least six foot eight and huge with it, a bandana holding his hair back. He checked out the terrain. No worries I was told. I could hear him setting himself up. What a relief.
Then I heard singing. He was singing opera – La Traviata surely. Yes he was singing the part of Alfreda. And he was singing well, very well in fact. I sat and listened. Smiled. How extraordinary. An opera singing window cleaner. The singing stopped as he moved on to the next window, then the singing started again. He moved around to the back of the house. Then came a knock on the back door.
"What is the fabric you have on the dummy in the side room?"
"The violet fabric? It's pure silk."
"Where did you get it? It's almost impossible to buy something like that."
I could only agree. I told him one of my sons had been teaching at the International school in Malaysia and that he lived in the Indian area where there were many shops selling pure silk. He purchased some for me, sent it home.
My window cleaner and his wife belonged to a local opera company, made up of people who loved to sing. They are invited to functions to sing and perform and would dress in formal clothes, if possible period clothes, to give a glamorous edge to their show. His wife made their garments, but buying the fabrics was becoming more and more difficult. Shops did not carry the velvets, brocades, silks they needed. He thought the silk was gorgeous. His wife had had the good luck to buy some red velvet which she was making into a gown to wear when they sang La Traviata.
So here was the reason for the singing while he worked.
I suggested his wife try a shop in Little Bourke Street, up near Spring Street, which had a wide range of fabric, much of it exactly what she evidently needed. He had never heard of it, noted it down, went back to the kitchen window, started cleaning and singing.
Next thing I knew he was at the front of the house and then finished.
He knocked on the front door. Told me I needed to get a glazier to seal one of the front windows where the sealing was breaking down and then he was off. Job done, singing stopped.
What an uplifting day for me. Did he do a good job? The windows have never been cleaner and the singing was an unexpected delight.
I smile whenever I remember it.