…according to Neville Lord, 50.
Working up in the air gives you a unique view of the city
‘From this high up, you get to see everything – and I do mean everything. I’ve seen people doing all sorts of things in their windows, where they think no one can see them. I’ve spotted people stealing cars and had close-up views of the peregrine falcons that nest high up on Battersea Power Station, where I’m working at the moment. Oh, and I’m sure I saw a UFO once.’
London is reaching peak crane
‘The city skyline is completely crowded with cranes nowadays. Soon we’ll have 17 of them on-site at Battersea alone, and they need anti-collision sensors to stop them hitting each other. Despite the top-class safety measures, it’s natural to feel a bit vulnerable up in the cab. I’ve personally witnessed a deadly crash, when a helicopter flew into a crane down the road in Vauxhall in 2013.’
Peeing at altitude is pretty low-tech
‘We’re equipped with special bags just in case we get the call of nature while up in the cab. It’s a long way down otherwise: it can take around 15 minutes to climb the ladders. Getting up and down is by far the most boring part of the job, especially when you’re caught in a sudden rain shower – which seems to happen a lot.’
Amazing views aren’t the only perk
‘Believe it or not, I once had a fear of heights. This job has helped me to overcome that. Another unexpected benefit was that at one point I got quite good at using those fairground claw machines. My two sons did as well and, funnily enough, both of them are now crane operators too.’
For more unique looks at London life, sign up here to get Time Out features straight to your inbox.