When I was a teenager I let in the window cleaner into the house. He came round once a month doing the windows both inside and outside. He was a seedy looking thin faced man, with ever shifting eyes. I didn’t give him another thought. After he had done the kitchen and living room windows he went upstairs to do our bedroom windows. Mum returned from the shops and was unaware he was in our house. Surprisingly she went directly to her bedroom when all hell was let loose, “What do you think you’re doing?” I heard her scream.
“Nuffink Missus – I was just looking a dry rag to finish off your windows, I wasn’t nickin anyfing.”
“Get out!” screamed Mum, “and don’t you ever come back.”
Apparently she caught him with his hands in the drawer where she kept her underwear.
Thirty years later I moved from Islington to a new rented house in Harold Hill in Havering. I Chair of the Harold Hill Tenants and Residents Association located at the time in a fairly new building in Myrtle Road. Each Saturday night we provided live entertainment with a pianist, guitarist and drummer. These were very popular cheap nights out. Local people would stand in front of our band and sing along with the songs. One very good singer was our window cleaner who loved to sing Al Martino’s – Here in my heart. Another was a small but powerful looking singer who liked to croon Nat King Cole’s – For all we know, we may never meet again. Not to be out done a number of the ladies would also get up – singing lovely old numbers like When your old wedding ring was new, or, Mother of mine – you gave to me – My Yiddisher Mamma, –Oh I aint Half proud of my old Mum –and she aint half proud of me Oh so many more of the old favourites.
It was then somewhat of a shock to read in the Romford Recorder that our guitarist/window cleaner was in Court. He’d been caught rifling through a woman’s chest of drawers exactly like had happened to me 30 years previously. Apparently, he was so traumatised he had to have his Priest to support him whilst standing in the dock.
As I knew both him and his wife, as a lovely couple I didn’t have the heart to sack him. I thought the shock and disgrace he had been through had probably punished him enough. I can only guess what his lovely wife must have said to him before that court case.