Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Manual Labour

I believe that each person has specific talents. Some people are better in certain things than others. And I’m OK with it. I’ve grown to know my strengths and my weaknesses. I’m not saying that through practice and hard work, you can’t improve. It’s just that some people might have a better starting point. I learnt this lesson around the age of 13. By that time I had been playing tennis for a couple of years. I had training sessions two to three times a week. So, upon starting high school, my newly acquired best friend Spyros decided to join me. Two weeks into training Spyros was playing much better than me. He could aim and strike easily, doing things that took me months to learn and even then I couldn’t always accomplish.

That same tennis childhood lesson was reminded to me last weekend. I had planned some DIY with JJ. We had to dig a trench in our front garden, since Monday we would be getting reconnected to the national gas grid. Digging the trench ourselves got us a £500 discount for the connection. That’s enough money to make us do it. The ditch had to be around 3.5 meters long, 30 meters deep and around a foot wide. It runs from the front gate to the entrance door, right next to the footpath. In paper it sounded easy enough.

Woman Digging - Pissarro

However, 20 minutes in, I was reminded how crap I am in manual work. I didn’t mind the rain or the wind. I didn’t mind spending my Saturday morning working in the mud. However, I found that my upper body just seemed to lack the strength needed to dig using a shovel. To be fair, last time I touched a shovel was a decade ago while I was in the army. And I know for a fact from my gym sessions that my biceps are generally not that strong. For some weird reason my triceps are much better.

happy helper

To be fair, I wasn’t totally useless. I was just not strong enough to shove deep enough in the soil to take out lots of dirt at a time. JJ was much better. He could take out the same amount of dirt in less than a third of time. I was doing 3 scoops (is that the right word?), he was doing 1. So, he ended up doing most of the shovelling. But apart from sulking a bit over feeling useless, I was able to help in other ways. I made the coffees and carried buckets of dirt and water. I cut roots and removed unwanted plants. I cleaned tools and provided moral support. These are as important things, rights?

Final result. We will fix the path at some point.

I just like to think that this is what makes us a great team. We have different strengths and weaknesses. He is much better at working with his hands and I’m better at working with my mind (I’d love to think). He’s the really cute one, I’m the… erm… I’ll get back to you on that.


  1. I don't think you give yourself enough credit in your talents and your looks!

    1. Thank you Ur-spo for the compliment... :-)

  2. That is SO not 30 meters deep!