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Clapham omnibus

I have a phobia about any practical task

By CAR Hills   February 2000

“Is he trustworthy?” I ask the old man.

“He’s a good lad, is John,” says the old man, indicating the grinning, hulking figure beside me.

So I hire him. John has been hanging round our south London square and, on a pretext, has seen the inside of my flat, which is famously the most squalid on the whole estate. He has offered to decorate it for a mere ?200, but must have ?100 up front.

I trust the old man, the patriarch of four generations, all of whom live here. In 1935, he was one of the two young…

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