There are two ways of looking at, “Outdoors”.

One “Outdoors” is that getaway long weekend break when you go hiking in the woods, hunkering down over a wood fire and a roasting chicken with the fireglow twinkling off your tent pitched so it doesn’t flood when it rains or faces immediately downwind of the site latrines.

The other “Outdoors” is what occupies the greater number they’re the one who work outdoors with seldom adequate protectiion from the elements and who goes to work when it’s dark and comes home when its dark. And in-between probably started laying freezing cold bricks at 07.30 and continuing in freezing, biting wind until his chapped and cracked hands cried enough.

Or maybe he’s say, a pipe fitter, working on a petrochemical site that’s positioned on the coast where it’s flat and the wind wind whistles in from Holland having started its life as a white out storm over Moscow. Or a welder lying upside down on slippery wet scaffolding boards trying to keep his gas shield going over the howling gale force winds and having to give up welding straight as he’s shivering all over.

Site work, civil or mechanical has no respite, nor let up for contractors who are turfed out of their site cabins whatever the weather with fleeces and faux fur lined site windcheaters with matching hats that cover all the face except the tip of the broken veined nose.

Those who work “Outdoors” in winter are tough people and you can spot them easily in a crowd. The weather beaten deeply creased face, overly rosy red cheeks that looks suspiciously like the onset of frostbite and a drained tired demeanour that screams out “Let me stay in bed tomorrow” but they can’t as they’re working a 28 day on; long weekend off regime to earn good money for when they retire; which may be earlier than what financial provision they have prudently put aside.

Postal workers work outside but half the time they’ll be in a warm van or taking a break in a cafe knowing the clothing provided for thme will be warm, dry and they won’t have to take their gloves off. That and the fact they’ll be home by ten, feet up, drinking tea and reading the morning’s papers.

Foresters and farmers work outside in all weathers and you can tell. Four years on the trot of severe winter working can age a man by ten years and give him a life expectancy not dissimilar to that of a Glaswegian drunkard. Working in the summer ghelps compensate, the builder’s bum; working in tee shirts and shorts. watching all the young girls sauntering past in hot pants and generously filled tight blouses.

They deserve the bonus because show me someone who’s been a brickie all of these years or a site worker and not got to sixty five with crippling arthritis, bronchitis, permanent bad back and hips that click like those identity cricket gizmo’s the GI’s were issued with when they landed in Normandy at night back in 1944.

Working “Outdoors” may seem quite desirable as you watch “Outdoors” types in summer and you’re in an airless office where everyone seems to have stale BO but it has a payback. This winter take off your gloves and grab hold of a metal handrail and keep it there for a while until the feeling’s gone and you can smash your hand against the handrail without pain. Then thaw out and experience “Outdoor” working as suffered by millions of “Outdoor” construction workers.

Remember that as you pass a new building project all shrouded in green gauze and scaffolding. Look up and see the “Outdoor” workers freezing their nads off just to make a living keep that thought in mind when you fancy a job change and work “Outdoors”.

Journal Comments

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