Monday, September 18, 2006

The worth of labour

“Now doesn’t it feel good to get a job like this finished, to see the results?”

Knowing what was good for me I nod my head tiredly and mumble some reassurances. The right answer is, of course, “No, not in the slightest.”

The job in question is the laying of regulation standard rubber matting under the climbing frame at the bottom of the garden. LL, blessed be her name, decided this summer that the dry weather had made the ground too hard, and that our poppets where at serious risk of injury.

Now, certainly it may be true that regulation torn up tyre rubber may be a better surface to land on that earth, but our soil was no worse this summer than in any other summer. The kids used it no more nor no less than any other summer. The soil in question, though of a hard sand variety, was covered in a nice thick layer of rye grass. This particular variety was a “sports grass” planted at some expense years before, and felt just lovely under the feet when let to grow a few inches, as we did under the climbing frame. Because we cut, but didn’t collect the mulch, it had a nice soft layer of old dead grass beneath it was well.

LL was not to be denied though, and I’m sure our insurance company would be pleased if it knew, that a potential health and safety risk had been neutered. The thing is this thought that the results of hard graft felt better than not having done the hard graft. Don’t get me wrong, I like the house in tidy order, and the garden to be a pleasure to be in. However, I’m quite happy to use the results of my other hard graft, which I generally do enjoy, to pay other people to do the hard graft to keep my house in order. That has the dual benefit of being economically advantageous to the country as a whole, and keeping me relaxed and sane.

There have been times in my life when I’ve enjoyed hard work. I have rather fond memories of taking a sledge hammer to the interior of a house being demolished by a friend. I’ve also been fairly sporty over the years. Even today, there are activities which work up a sweat that I greatly enjoy.

I just don’t like digging. Given the perfect weather yesterday I would have been immensely content to sit under the shade of the apple tree, with something tall and cool in my hand, and watched the kids play on their unrubberised climbing frame. Instead I worked like a demon digging and flattening and hauling barrow loads of soil and sand about.

Ah well, such is life. At least the kids like it. Princess spent the afternoon bouncing around on the first batch laid, saying “Look at me, I’m a frog.” Maybe it wasn’t all bad.


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