In the late sixties, there was a downturn in shipping.
I was broke and unemployment benefit was meagre.
Since the age of fifteen I had always been in catering and
before that I was milking cows, and now I got a job
as a bin man. In the back of restaurants and cafes,
bins were open and attracted rats, black and brown;
we wore gloves but they were still jumping about
and as the foreman said it took too long killing them.
The job was easy enough, we started in the morning
and finished about noon, I went to the communal
bath for a long shower, but I still smelled of rats and
rotting food. A call came and I was needed in
the merchant navy…but for my fellow bin men this
was their honest toil and they were great mates.