Decorator takes on the oddest odd job of all
A Shirley man was 24 hours out of the Uruguayan port of Montevideo
today, sailing to one of the oddest jobs in the world.
Mr Norman Tropman is heading for South Georgia, one of the
remotest islands of the South Atlantic, where he will spend nearly two
years decorating the property occupied by the 50 inhabitants.
The island is so isolated only a whaling vessel can reach it, Mr Tropman
aged 33, will transfer to it at Port Stanley, in the Falkland
Islands, for the 700 mile leg of the three week journey. And to get
about on the island, Mr Tropman an amateur climber, potholer rambler and
long distance walker, has taken his skis with him.
Loneliness No Bar
His 18 years experience working as a decorator for a local building
contractor got him the job when he applied to a newspaper advertisement.
Mrs Jeannette Pettitt, a neighbour of Mr Tropman and his Mother, in
Union Road Shirley, said today: “I have never seen anyone as excited as
Norman at the prospect of this job, he has never flown before until he
boards the V.C 10 at Gatwick Airport for Montevideo, he regards
the whole thing as a challenge to his preference for the rugged, outdoor
life, he is the sort of chap who will not mind the loneliness one bit.”
Two-Year Paint Job: And it’s Near the South Pole!
18 years Mr Norman Tropman has been employed by a local building
contractor as a decorator. But on Thursday he began the strangest
decorating assignment that he, or anyone else, has ever undertaken.
Thirty-Three year old Mr Tropman left his home at 45 Union Road, Shirley,
and begun an 8000-mile journey by sea and air to paint houses on a
desolate glacial island inhabited by 50 people and a colony of penguins
The island of South Georgia, an isolated member of the Falkland Isle
Dependencies, lying over 1000 miles to His destination? When he arrives
on the island, after his three week journey across three Continents, he
will be greeted by a small group of inhabitants who remain during the
winter to maintain the base, but in the summer months, South Georgia
is a different place, hundreds of people return to change the island
into a centre for a thriving whole industry and to a man a community
that exists only for a few brief months. Winter or summer there are no
forms of transport except skis and not a single bush or tree can survive
east of Cape Horn South America. The job of decorating
every building on the isle will take him nearly two years, and came his
way after he noticed an advertisement in a national newspaper. He
applied and after an interview in London was offered the position.
"Thick protective clothing has to be worn at all times, Mr Tropman told
the news" on the day before he left, how he thought of a job that the
majority of people would never consider: “I am looking forward to it
immensely" I have never flown and never even left this country before.
So it will be all the more unusual.
When I arrive, I will be given my own centrally heated house and I am
quite sure that I will get to know the people well. To live under such
conditions, you would have to get on with your neighbours”. He
experienced considerable difficulty in finding room for the entire
luggage he wanted to take. With the help of his Mother, with whom he
lives, he drew up long list of the things he would need most, needless
to say that meant four pairs of everything where clothes were concerned!
but his calculations were a little out, he had been told by airline
officials that he would be allowed 44lbs of free luggage, and at the
very last count it exceeded three times that much! even so, he was
determined not to leave behind the kit that had cost him nearly £200.
and willing paid the extra, a final check to see that he had returned
all the library books about the island that he had borrowed and he was
ready for a journey that would turn print and pictures into very cold
reality, so on Thursday evening with bags and suitcases and cameras Mr
Tropman left his home with a restful two weeks ahead of him on Riviera
not an 8000 miles journey to an ice clad land on the fringe of the South