One of my Carpenters, John Both, couldn’t be a keener or more friendly guy, but as I tried to explain how frustrating it was to try and get him to do what I wanted to a Lankien outsider, it became clear to me how much I am up against here.
It has not been unknown for me to literally start a cut of a length of wood for him, saw until half-way through, and then turn my back, only to find he has decided to cut the timber in two at completely the other end, leaving my guiding cut half-sawn, and a whole piece of precious Ethiopian timber completely ruined. A lot of it, I used to think, was lost in translation, but it is this guy particularly who frustrates me so much that I am learning to laugh at his unique skill in ineptitude. I was breaking a doorway through the wall in the busy IPD procedure room, and I wanted to let John Both be in charge. I marked the door carefully, then got him to dig two holes outside to receive pillars, which would make it almost impossible to mistake where I wanted the door. Coming back from leave, I found a great big door-sized hole through the wall, in exactly the wrong place, with the pillars carefully installed NEXT to the entrance. He must have literally smashed through the wall where the pillars didn’t obstruct his demolition. Priceless.
I returned to the workshop, head in hands, where Gatkor, hearing my exasperated indignation, simply tapped his temple knowingly. ‘Typhoid’ was the only explanation he could offer. I don’t really know what Typhoid does, but I presume that it has a lobotomizing effect on the individual…! I could talk forever, when in better spirits, about these kinds of frustrations. Sometimes, though, it is difficult to laugh.