During our second Summer in the village, when our younger son was still chief lunch-maker and I had resumed the mantle of head gardener, my husband decided that he would begin the marathon chore of tackling the rust on the corrugated tin roof of the barn before actually painting it.
The area of the roof is 1700 square feet, and being at a high-pitched angle, it was necessary to invest in an extension hook ladder, which could be fastened securely to the ridge in the interests of safety, while also allowing for flexibility in movement when the ladder needed to be shifted to a new position.
Wire brush in hand, safety goggles at the ready, my husband climbed the ladder to begin the onerous task of scraping off years of rust. After an hour or two of tiring work, during which time he had been trying to avoid inhaling the rust, he was glad to take a break while our elder son offered to take over.
This pattern of sharing out the workload continued throughout the Summer. At the end of each day, not only were their clothes covered in rust but it also found its way into their hair, ears, nose and eyes, to the extent that they could have been mistaken for coal miners.
No sooner had they completed the time-consuming job of removing the rust from both sides of the roof, when they went all the way back to the beginning again to do the actual painting. Though it is fair to say the whole process had entailed hard graft, as many worthwhile jobs often do, their spirit of cooperation had created yet another bond between father and son.
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