Monday, 19 October 2015

Life's not always a beach!

"On the Beach"
In another life I ended up working for a Building and Construction agency. We were still living in Bristol then and I had been made redundant. With a wife, three kids and a very large dog to support it was imperative that I get a job - any job so I had signed up with this agency. To be fair I enjoyed my six months with them. I was young and fit, the work was varied, mostly outdoors, and the pay was good. I worked all over the South West on different contracts. One particular time I was working at Bristol Airport. It was being refurbished with Langs as main contractor. However there were only three men who were actually employed by Langs - the foreman, his assistant and a labourer. The rest of the workforce comprised agency workers like myself. I spent a lot of time working with the labourer who was called Jim Murphy. He was knocking on a bit and had been in the trade all his working life so he knew all the tricks despite which he was very well respected by his foreman. He was Irish so inevitably he was known universally as 'Paddy'. He was a genial, rather squat man with dark curly hair normally concealed under his hard hat which we all had to wear, and with the most striking blue 'Celtic' eyes. We spent a lot of time together and I loved to listen to his soft Irish brogue as he entertained us with  tales of life in the building trade and how much it had changed in his lifetime. Our work seemed to mainly consist of standing, brush or shovel in hand, just chatting away. But Paddy had 'foreman radar' and from whatever direction he came from he always found us hard at work sweeping or shovelling! Gradually as the job neared completion more and more men left until there was just the four of us. We were just doing a general tidy up before handing the site back to the airport authorities. It was late one Friday afternoon. Paddy and I were hard at it (!) shifting some sand from the front of the airport. The airport had remained open throughout the whole operation and throngs of people passed us  as they made their way to the main entrance and eventual departure.  As usual we were leaning on our shovels. "Strange isn't it" said Paddy " All these people heading off to Spain and such places. When they get there what will they do? Maybe relax in the sun under a blue sky and have fun on the beach playing in the sand with their buckets and spades....and pay a fortune to do it". He paused a moment and then continued with a twinkle in his eye "But look at us boyo. Here we are relaxing in the sun under a blue sky playing in the sand with our buckets spades....and getting paid to do it!". Great lesson in how to look at life from a wise and lovely man - fare thee well wherever you are my old friend.

1 comment:

  1. I am focusing on the positive things of life as much as I can, because dark times for Me. I loved your "Paddy" story, and, ironically, I love the beach as well. Your painting is superior-thanks for sharing!