a) It is large like him.
b) He is keeping his trunk crossed that Eddie can find him some toilet paper.
c) An elephant never forgets so it is to remind us always to have sufficient toilet paper with us at all times so we don't make an ass of ourselves.
Ron is a retired British Rail engineer and he loved being with us on our decorating ventures. He loved the work, the comradeship, the leg pulling and general excitement - he got a real buzz from it all. He was extremely enthusiastic with a brush and a roller, so much so we could let him loose on just a few jobs where the resultant mess on the floor was not too much of an issue, being at pre-carpeting stage. He went at his work with such gusto that paint was sprayed everywhere in addition to the surface on which he was working. His hair, face and work clothes were rapidly covered, in whatever paint he was using, invariably brilliant white ceiling paint, and he very often looked like we had somehow used him as a brush because his hair stood on end, saturated in paint, often resembling a toilet brush. I have never seen a paint roller move so fast over the ceiling and whereas Chris and I always loaded the roller with paint to apply a thick coat of emulsion with a slow and deliberate roller action, Ron's technique was something to behold. He loaded the roller from the tray, lifted the dripping roller to the ceiling and rapidly whizzed the roller squeezing it hard and covering the same area time and time again so very little paint actually stuck to the ceiling, yet paint was sprayed in copious amounts everywhere else. He was rapidly covered from head to toe. He then waited for the paint to dry (but not long enough) and proceeded to apply a second coat with equal abandon. We did not have the heart to 'have a go at him' but explained our technique to him time and time again with little or no apparent success. On one occasion he made a very good job applying a coat of coloured acrylic eggshell to a bathroom wall and when we complimented him on his success he immediately got his roller out and went hell for leather over the same wall and promptly ruined it.
Anyway on this occasion Ron was helping us to prepare some flats for a good customer of mine and Chris and I were a bit pushed so we asked Fred for some assistance. It was late, Chris had gone home, and Ron and I were just finishing something off before Ron 'took short' and headed off to the toilet. After a while I heard a rather embarrassed voice saying, "Eddie, I'm in a spot of bother here! There is no toilet paper! Can you find any out there?". It is on such occasions that if anyone says that to us we acquire a sudden sense of superiority LOL. They are completely at our mercy - I am sure we have all been in that situation. I replied, smiling to myself, "Sorry Ron, looks as though you're in trouble in there 'cause there is nothing out here and the shops are all shut and we are miles from anywhere!". "God, what do I do?", grumbled Ron. I said I would have a good look round and after a while I shouted. "I have some good news and some bad news! First the good news, I have found some newspapers. Would you like 'The Financial Times' or 'The Guardian'" "I don't care! Either, Eddie, pass them both and what's the bad news?" "The print is smudged on both and there's not much of it!". Anyway I handed them through the door and left him to it. He seemed slightly irritated when I asked him if he'd managed to do the crossword - then I heard a rustling of paper. Smiling to myself, after a few minutes I heard some swearing, culminating with Ron complaining, "Hell! my finger's gone through and there's print everywhere!". "Hang on a minute!" I said, trying not to laugh, "I'll have another look . . . . . wait I've found something else! Yes, I have some good news and some bad news for you! First the good news. I've found some wallpaper. Now the bad news, it's ready pasted!". "Oh Hell!"
That did the trick, eventually, as a temporary measure I would imagine.
Anyway the moral of the story was that from that day onwards we always made sure we had a couple of rolls with us at all times.
Ron was, and is, a great character and I shall be recalling some other funny experiences when we shared his delightful company.