Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nice to see...

I have been working on my daughter's house extensions. It has been physically very tiring because I have been putting in some long days. The last couple of days we have been sharing the site with a plumber. You will remember that I was a plumber. I have chatted with him from time to time and I am so impressed. He is proud to be a plumber and very conscientious about his work. He is very service orientated, wanting to do the best job for the customer. He obviously loves his craft. Working on site again and having to work out the job, and think out how to prepare for an unfamiliar cladding material has made me appreciate again the trades and the work involved. Ever since I was a boy and worked in a timber yard I have appreciated that every job, no matter how simple looking, requires some skill and expertise. There I met an old bloke name Ferge. He was just the caretaker, who looked after the stacks of timber for a furniture factory. But I soon came to appreciate that this old guy, who shuffled and wheezed about the yard with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, was really quite an expert. There was not much he did not know about timber. He could hold a stick of wood and tell you how dry it was and what type of timber it was and what part of the tree it came from. In today's world that sort of pride in a craft seems to be rare. I appreciated all the more the obvious pride in this plumber. I have learned never to take for granted the skills people have. Just as a famous pianist, painter or singer is a master at his or her art, so too the simplest looking job can be transformed into an art form by the attitude of the people doing it.

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