Describe someone you know who does something well.
You should day:
who this person is
how you know this person
what they do well
and explain why you think this person is so good at doing this.
My father’s family were all town dwellers but my mother’s family had been farmers for generations. My grandfather died in his 50s otherwise he would have taught me many of his skills.
Today’s farming is highly mechanised and most farmers do their own repairs and welding. However, there is one skill that farmers leave to experts and that is the building of walls around fields. In the south of England the land is good and the fields are divided up by hedges made of hawthorn or box. In the north of England the land is poor, steep and rocky and so stone walls separate the fields.
The person I want to tell you about is a man called Edward Falshaw, a friend of my grandfather, who was known to everyone in the local patois as“ Owd Ned” (Old Edward) he was the best wall maker for miles around. The walls are called“ Dry Stone Walls” and use no mortar to hold them together, just the weight of the stone. The walls start off wide at the bottom with two rows of large stones and smaller stones are put in the middle. At intervals larger stone go right across the wall to hold it together. At the top larger stones keep water from going into the wall. The walls breathe and insects such as bumble bees live in them and when it snows, sheep can huddle against the wall to protect them from the wind. Even if the snow covers them, they can still breathe.
Ned was a joy to watch working; he could look at hundreds of stones all around him and pick just the right one to fill a space. He never hurried and promised that the walls he built would be still standing a hundred years after he had died. The ones I watched him built are certainly standing after 60 years. I learned the gift of patience and the importance of thinking before acting from Old Ned. He never worked to a timetable and there was always a sense of calm around him. He seemed to be able to sum up people’s characters very well and any advice given was always good.
When I am out walking in my locality, I often stop and look at a dry stone wall. Some have not been well built and I think“ Ned would never have built a wall like this.” At other times, I see walls that must have been standing for well over 150 years with no maintenance and I wonder “if the guy who built this taught Owd Ned?”
There is something timeless about ancient crafts that gives you a sense of your own worth in history.