Friday, 4 June 2010

IN PRAISE OF THE POLES

A job well done is a joy to see. And this what what a team of 3 Polish lads (who work for Graham, the Gaffer) produced when they had to plaster the lower sections of the front of our new (1960's) bungalow.

The brickwork in the front had previously been covered over with faux tiles. Iain removed them all, i.e. all those that had not come off with the frost.

These lads were taught their craft in Poland. The finish was so outstanding - smooth and perpendicular - it made me wonder if I was not looking at the legacy of workmanship/craftsmanship which has come down from the days of building great cathedrals, castles and towers.

When I asked them about the work they had been doing since they arrived from Poland it was not a happy story. They had been taken on building sites to work, given poor tools and materials, expected to produce good work with this and in a short time. Then they were not paid what was agreed or not paid until after a long delay.

It all resonated with me, I am afraid to say. However I ended our chat on a brighter note. I said to the one lad who was the main finisher-off man with the eye for clean line and beautiful workmanship. "Very good work!" "Oh, it is but a small job..." "Yes, but just think of when Michaelangelo* was asked to demonstrate his work. He took up his brush, stood back, and drew ... a perfect circle."

* Actually, it was Giotto .... Vasari in his Lives of the Artists relates that when a Pope sent a messenger to Giotto, asking him to send a drawing to demonstrate his skill, Giotto drew a perfect circle in red paint and instructed the messenger to send that to the Pope.