The Winter of 62/63

Submitted by Member: Nuvistor

The winter of 1962/63 if you remember was a long and very cold one. Ice on the pavements and side streets that didn’t get any sun stayed for weeks.

This was my first winter at work and I was working with with an aerial rigger, basically cheap labour, I was supposed to be learning radio and TV repairs but I suppose it gave me some knowledge of working with people and customers, apart from what aerials worked best in certain locations. Also which locations were never going to be a good picture whatever was done.

Aerial jobs came in, the weather still broke them, the business had about 5 riggers, quite a large concern. We went out hoping the house was on the shady side of be street , it meant we could legitimately say it was unsafe with ice on the pavements and roofs.

We did the jobs we could but the unsafe ones had to wait, this meant the local cafe did a good trade as the riggers and their ‘mates’ would meet up and drink tea. Looking back the management took a benevolent view, no one was laid off and wages were paid even though only around half the jobs got done. Of course at the first sign of a thaw we were all hard at work catching up.

I was with a number of riggers in the first 12 months and it certainly opened my naive eyes to the differences in people. The ones who were totally honest and those who would bend the rules, these were the riggers not the customers. The first one I worked with was straight as a die, very often call at his mothers during a tea break and it was always tea and cake, he was married and had a little girl, grief she will be nearly 60 now. Some of the other riggers were not quite the same.

After 12 months I got to working with an engineer on outside calls then bench work. Somehow the company didn’t suit me and I moved on after a few years to a very small shop, much happier there.

Frank

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