GRAHAM TURNER: In praise of craftsmen

A personal view
A personal view
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We’ve had workmen in at home this week, though to be more precise, they’re craftsmen.

With our front door ready to drop out of its frame and winter fast approaching, we thought it was time to do something about it. Plus, Mrs Turner fancied having some sort of porch or canopy over the door.

We looked at having a UPVC or composite replacement, but we’re pretty traditional folk and decided to stick with wood. However, there was then the question of who does that sort of job and who could we trust to do it?

After a few inquiries, we discovered it was a carpenter’s province and luckily we knew a couple through a work colleague of my wife’s.

This week – just as the weather changed – they started the job and it has been a joy to watch them work and see the results; they make it look so easy.

I suppose the speed and precision comes with training and experience, but I also think there’s an element of natural ability.

The smell of sawdust and varnish re-awakened memories of woodwork lessons at school and the rather mixed results I achieved – the fishing stool that sat, unused, in the shed for years because (apart from there being no anglers in the house) no-one really trusted it to take their weight; the dual-purpose teapot stand/egg holder which wobbled just a little too much to be safe as one and had holes too big to be any use as the other, and the tool box which, on the face of it looked perfect, except that it had two large drilled holes in the central divider because I had not followed the instructions properly.

In the ensuing years I have successfully (to a degree) completed various projects, including fitting a kitchen, but now I wouldn’t dare take on a big job. For a start, I don’t think my tool kit – comprising largely of a hammer, a single, very blunt, chisel, a few screwdrivers and a 25-year-old power drill – would be up to it. No, I’ll leave it to the experts.

-- Is it me or are the roads especially busy this autumn?

There’s always an expectation that as the schools return and the weather deteriorates, there’ll be more traffic and congestion, but it seems particularly bad this year and I’m leaving home earlier and earlier to arrive at work on time.