Before we begin, let me point you in this direction:
If I was in a position to award prizes, she would get at least one. I would buy the book, but I don't think I can afford the new tariffs.
To give you a well-deserved break from lime, I have some tales of a Gerard Hoffnung nature attached to this church in Banwell, Somerset.
You see how untrustworthy I am? I have already told a lie just to draw you in, because this is the church tower I almost destroyed by badly water-proofing a bag of quick lime at its top.
The main job was to restore and conserve the four gargoyles on each corner which serve as water spouts in rainstorms. There was one single lift of cantilevered scaffold right at the top, over 100 feet up. If you did not have a good head for heights, looking through the gaps in the boards could be quite disconcerting, and if you did not have a good pair of lungs, climbing the narrow stone steps to the top could be quite time consuming. I sprinted up in those days.
One evening, a colleague and I were surveying the great vista of this part of Somerset before going home, when he said, "You can smell that bonfire over there from even this distance. It must be two miles away."
I looked down to see a pile of hessian sacking on the wooden boards which was issuing a thick plume of white smoke. The quick lime had become damp and ignited the cloth, which was just about to burst into flame.
You cannot pour water onto quick lime to douse a fire. It just makes the fire worse. The only thing we could do was to rip away the burning hessian and throw it down to the car park, 100 feet below. Luckily, the car park was empty at the time, which was just as well because we also had to throw a bucket-full of hot, damp lime down as well.
This story was going to be about having to haul a block of stone weighing about 250 pounds up to the top of the tower. We did not have an electric crane, but we did have a 150 foot-long rope and a single pulley wheel. To use two pulley wheels would have given the gearing needed for one person to haul it up, but our rope wasn't long enough so two of us stood amongst the gravestones and psyched ourselves up for what was going to be an epic feat of strength and endurance.
Hand over hand it slowly rose, and when it was within 10 feet of the top, we both had a laughing fit.
We could not pull for laughing and we could not stop laughing. We were rapidly losing strength and it was the realisation of the dire consequences of letting go the rope that was making us laugh. It was extreme hysteria.
What happened next? With super-human self-control we stopped laughing and hauled it the last 10 feet.
Then we lay - exhausted - on the grass amongst the grave stones for about five minutes.