So this morning he turned up here proposing to paper the stair-well. He positioned the ladder on a narrow ledge over the abyss. It creaked and bent under his weight. Then he asked me to stand under it and help him measure the paper. Look, I've got too good an imagination; ladders scare me anyway- and all I could think of was what it would feel like to be skewered by a jagged shard of metal ladder with Carl's bulk behind it.
We sent him home.
He'll come back the week after next with his son-in-law. The son -in-law will hold the ladder. And Carl will (hopefully) have had a proper night's sleep. It won't be any safer in real terms but perhaps it will seem so. At least I'll be able to keep well out of the way.