It was a busy day onsite with both C and I working against the clock – me, conscious of the days I had spent in bed, trying to get through as much on my list as I could before nursery pick-up time and C working towards the worktop templating deadline of next Wednesday by which time all the base units will need to be fixed solidly into position.
It was this deadline which had sparked a conversation early yesterday morning about his chameleon-like abilities as a tradesman.
“We need to get the foremans plumber back onsite so you can crack on with the kitchen don’t we?” I had asked. “What day will you need him?”
C, working over his circular saw, had straightened up and was looking a little perplexed.
“The thing is” he said eventually “when the plumber is working I can pretty much do nothing. I was just going to start the plumbing myself tomorrow and do bits of it where I need to”
“Oh, ok. That sounds like a plan” I had replied and made a move to go upstairs to discuss this as a solution with S. Eager to convince me of his ability, he called up after me,
“You think of me as a carpenter, but there are some people who know me only as C The Plumber. Others know me as a tiler”.
I halted on the sixth step, turning around to see him at the bottom, stance wide, his face bright with pride.
“I know, it’s great.” I smiled “You’ll save our bacon again I’m sure”. I continued upstairs as he disappeared, seemingly satisfied, back to his carpentry.
Upstairs I shut the kitchen door and phoned S. Mid conversation I saw the handle turn and C enter, phone in hand. I signalled to him, indicating my own phone as I did but his mission was clear. Undeterred by my conversation he proceeded with his own…talking me through a selection of pipework-featuring photos accompanied by explanations of the intricacies, problems and solutions involved in getting each configuration to its pictured state.
“Can you hear this?” I asked S
“No I can’t” replied a resigned S, forced to wait patiently on the line until C finished his photographic pitch. Once satisfied that he had shown me all he could do I passed the phone over so S could give him some instructions regarding our appliances. He looked pleased as he hung up, S’s trust in him giving him the reassurance he needed that we valued his multiple talents.
“Thats what happens when you are good at everything” he said smiling, “some people don’t realise and just have you down for one thing. Now….I need to make a list….” and off he went with a renewed sense of purpose.
The novelty hadn’t worn of this morning.
“You won’t have seen me carrying these tool boxes!” he had said, indicating his plastic tubs full of plumbing paraphernalia.
“Indeed” I agreed.
Subjected to a tour through the myriad of items which might at some point be handy I tried my best to extrapolate myself from the area, but it wasn’t to be and my presence was required on numerous more occasions – the most crucial being to make a final decision about the layout. With this decision decided C could get on without me and by the end of the day had secured a key section in place.
Once upon a time in my dancing days an agent once informed me, puffed up with self importance, that it was essential to pick one skill on which to concentrate.
“There is no such file as ‘V’ for ‘Versatile'” he had said.
As I cleared our office of the clutter and dust hampering its effective usage so I could start addressing some of the tasks on my to-do list I decided that in our house that’s exactly the kind of file we will celebrate … and C can take his well deserved place in there with pride.